‘The Brady Bunch’: Why Florence Henderson Called the Casting of Show a ‘Stroke of Luck’

by Joe Rutland
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Imagine six child actors hired for “The Brady Bunch” not knowing if the show would make it. Florence Henderson was amazed by those picked.

“I think the cast, which was the same on the pilot,” Henderson said in an interview with the Archive of American Television. “I think that Sherwood (Schwartz, executive producer) spent hours and hours and hours and saw hundreds of kids for these roles.

“(And) I think one that made it early was Susan Olsen, Cindy,” she said of “The Brady Bunch” youngest sister. “But I think they saw hundreds and hundreds of kids and, my goodness, what a stroke of luck that they wound up with those particular kids. Because I think another reason why the show has lasted was that initial chemistry of Bob, Ann, me, and the six kids.”

‘The Brady Bunch’ Has Solid Mix Of Adult, Child Actors

So Henderson mentions Olsen playing Cindy. What about those other five child actors? Obviously, they were Maureen McCormick as Marcia, Eve Plumb as Jan, Barry Williams as Greg, Christopher Knight as Peter, and Mike Lookinland as Bobby.

The adults on “The Brady Bunch” in the regular cast besides Henderson were Robert Reed as patriarch Mike Brady and Ann B. Davis as Alice the housekeeper.

Everything has to work just right for a show like this one to stick around. Well, ABC didn’t have a powerhouse rating hit on its hand. What it did have, though, was a show that a lot of young people identified with at home. “The Brady Bunch” ran for five seasons on ABC between 1969-74.

All three adult cast members have died. All six child actors are still alive. Some of them remain active in show business; others have gone in different directions. The show remains a beloved fixture in rerun land on TV. New generations are always being introduced to “The Brady Bunch” and find themselves enjoying the Brady family’s hijinx.

Henderson Reminded Robert Reed That All They Were Doing Is Comedy

When it came time to go to work, no one was more focused on it than Henderson. She had the innate ability to make sure things were loose on the set when tense moments arose.

But she also filled another role on “The Brady Bunch” that wasn’t, like, an acting role. Many times, she would have to remind Reed about the focus of the show. Reed did a lot of serious roles before the ABC show, playing alongside veteran actor E.G. Marshall in “The Bold Ones” for a few seasons.

This wasn’t that. Henderson knew Reed needed reminders here and there.

“It was a sitcom but it was a little more stylized,” Henderson said. “And I don’t think Robert Reed ever understood that. You know, I’d have to go every so often, ‘Bob, this is comedy, this is not Shakespeare.’ The situation is comedy for television. For what it was, I think it was good.”

It was good, indeed, and still brings people a lot of laughter and joy.

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