‘The Brady Bunch’: How Creator Sherwood Schwartz Came Up With the Iconic Opening

by Joe Rutland

If someone starts talking about classic TV show openings, then “The Brady Bunch” is going to come up in conversation.

Why? Because of the unique way viewers are introduced to the show’s stars in each episode. You might recall that the opening has a lot of squares in it. They move around in different directions but remain in that square-like sector.

So, when “The Brady Bunch” creator Sherwood Schwartz needed something catchy to grab viewers’ attention immediately, he developed this opening.

“I believe that close-ups are what television is all about,” Schwartz said in an Australian television Network Ten special in the early 2000s. “How do you get nine close-ups? So I was just in my office, doodling around, doodling around…and I came up with this checkerboard.”

‘The Brady Bunch’ Creator Put His Doodling To Good Use

Obviously, the checkerboard look transferred into the show’s opening credits. Put it together with a very catchy theme song and you have the makings of a classic TV show opener for the ages.

Let’s take a look at “The Brady Bunch” opening from its first season in 1969. Make sure and notice the photo before the actual theme begins as TV shows were moving from black-and-white to color shows. They would let audiences know this ahead of time.

As you can tell, the opening breaks up the mother and her kids, followed by the father and his kids. Then it blends to show the mother and father together, bringing in the kids later in the opening.

Finally, the last empty box gets filled by Alice the housekeeper, played by Ann B. Davis.

“The Brady Bunch” lasted five seasons on ABC. Before each season, a new opening was shot since the kids’ looks would change because they also were getting older.

Schwartz would put the cast in many different situations. They also would travel to places like the Grand Canyon and Hawaii for a number of episodes. But “The Brady Bunch” never lost sight of its family-friendly nature, having guest stars from the sports and entertainment world show up.

Schwartz died on July 12, 2011, at 94 years old in Los Angeles.

Barry Williams Recalls Getting News Of Show’s Cancellation In Strange Way

As we noted, the classic TV sitcom lasted five seasons on ABC. How did the show’s stars find out about its cancellation? Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady, shares his story.

“Pretty much, out of the blue, on an, I think it was a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon, I got a call from a gentleman at the network,” Williams said as part of the Network Ten show. “First he said, ‘I’m sitting here Barry with a now half-gone bottle of bourbon’ and I said, ‘Well, sounds like you’re having a heck of an afternoon.’

“And he said, ‘Yeah, but not so pleasant. I’ve been given the task of informing the cast that the series has been canceled and there will be no more new shows,'” Williams said.

So this person with ABC, who no one really knows who it was to this day, called Williams and the rest of “The Brady Bunch” cast with the news.