“The Brady Bunch Hour” began as a 60 minute special titled “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.” The show, produced by the genius duo of Sid and Marty Krofft, was such a success everyone figured they should just roll with it. And so “The Brady Bunch Hour” was born, and killed off only eight episodes later. The cast of the show was the same (with the exception of “Fake Jan” played by Geri Reischl), with an additional new neighbor, Mr. Jack Merrill, a jack-of-all-trades played by Rip Taylor. Their home, though, and motivation was quite different …
The premise of “The Brady Bunch Hour” is a bit convoluted, but it goes a little something like this. The Brady family was chosen to star in a variety show on ABC because they were just so talented! They left their familiar two story home somewhere in southern California for a place on the beach to film the show. Each episode is a mish-mosh of scenes – some feature the Brady’s doing variety show-like skits, others are behind-the-scenes moments with the family as they go about making each episode, then there are a few stuck in there that were more or less a continuation of the original “Brady Bunch” episodes and had nothing to do with the “ABC variety series.”
But one mustn’t forget that this was a variety show, which means GUEST STARS! They brought on the likes of Vincent Price, Farrah Fawcett, and Redd Foxx to add some star appeal, and the Ohio Players, Tina Turner, and Donny and Marie Osmond to spice things up. Then, there was the show’s secret weapon … the Kroffette Dancers and Water Follies because with a synchronized swimming team of dancers they just couldn’t fail! To say the least, the whole show was a bit confusing and bizarre for everyone, audience and cast alike.
I am bored and bothered by the “The Brady Bunch Hour” just watching to find YouTube videos to post, and the TV audience in 1977 had a similar reaction. The show was buried deep in the tombs of TV history to whither away unnoticed and unremembered, and we can all say good riddance!