HomeEntertainment‘The Brady Bunch’: Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda Got a Subtle Shoutout in This 1973 Episode

‘The Brady Bunch’: Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda Got a Subtle Shoutout in This 1973 Episode

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

If it weren’t for iconic figures like Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, fans may have never gotten to see “The Brady Bunch” at all.

While the surge in sitcoms helped more enter the entertainment world, Ball and Fonda played a specific role. It was actually their 1968 movie called “Yours, Mine and Ours” from 1968 that eventually helped “The Brady Bunch” get the green light after years of rejection from networks.

According to IMDb, an episode of “The Brady Bunch” called “Amateur Nite” features Alice turning on the TV and seeing the kids of the family on the screen. She shouts to Mike and Carol to come to take a look. Carol asks, “What kids Alice?”

Alice excitedly screeches, “Yours! Mine! Ours!” This is a reference to the name of the family comedy from Ball and Fonda.

So, how did a film help get “The Brady Bunch” their spotlight?

Background of ‘Yours, Mine and Ours’

The film “Yours, Mine, and Ours” is about a widower who has 10 children of his own. Then he falls for another widow with eight kids of her own. Suddenly, the two must navigate the massive family after getting married. It’s based on a true story.

They buy a big house, learn to make an absurd amount of school lunches, and navigate constant stresses and changes in the family. This includes an unexpected addition to the family as well as one member going to war.

The movie is really the 1960s version of “Cheaper by the Dozen.” That family, however, all comes from the two main parents. There was also a 2005 remake of the 1968 movie starring Dennis Quaid.

“Yours, Mine, and Ours” tackles the concept of a blended family and how to adapt. It introduced and more readily made the concept more widespread in the entertainment world.

How is ‘The Brady Bunch’ Connected?

“The Brady Bunch” also follows a similar plot. A man and a woman get married and end up with an eight-person blended family. It was considered groundbreaking when it first was on. This is part of the reason the network shut it down so many times.

At the time, most shows followed a healthy and married family. However, times were changing and divorce and other factors changed what a family looked like.

According to History. com, the show creator, Sherwood Schwartz, read at the time that 30% of marriages involve children from other marriages. He wanted to create a show that would represent two families being brought together.

Two years after he pitched the idea for his show, “Yours, Mine, and Ours” came out and was widely loved by the public. Instead of rejecting the idea for being too similar, ABC instead loved the idea for its similiarities.

Although “Yours, Mine, and Ours” helped launch “The Brady Bunch,” it wasn’t all pleasant. In fact, the film’s producers tried to sue Schwartz after the premiere of the show. He responded “Just be happy I didn’t sue you,” since the movie had a similar name to his original pilot name, “Yours and Mine.”

Regardless, “The Brady Bunch” and “Yours, Mine, and Ours” would help showcase a gradually more modern and realistic family.