Monday, August 9, 2010

Classic Clip Monday: Bradys at the supermarket

We've probably all seen every "Brady Bunch" episode ever made (although for years I didn't see the one with the weird little aliens, leading me to invent the Klaputis, my name for an episode of a long-dead series that you somehow missed).

But for some reason, the 1971 episode where the Bradys are spotted at the supermarket and hired to star in a laundry soap commercial kind of fascinates me. (The YouTube clip has disabled embedding, but that link takes you to the first part of the episode on video.)

The supermarket they come out of in the first scene is so different than the grocery store we went to. There seem to be giant office buildings behind their store -- mine was in a small suburban strip mall just off the freeway, surrounded mostly by trees. A giant sign proclaims it was OPEN 24 HOURS -- common now, but rare to almost unheard of in the 1970s. Every car in the parking lot appears to be a hot sports car. And Carol, of course, sports a deep pink pantsuit. There's even a weird little bit where Bobby plays with the automatic doors. And don't you wish the cameras could take us inside the store? I'd love to see the 1970s products, labels and displays.

The episode gets weirder. The Bradys decide they can't do a commercial endorsing a soap unless they really prefer it to all others, so they get the kids all dirty a bunch of times and keep rewashing their clothes. It's a Very Mike Brady thing to do. Speaking of which, we all know Robert Reed had some serious Ahhhh-ctor issues with the show, and this episode especially was a thorn in his side, apparently. He wrote a letter of complaint to show creator Sherwood Schwartz about it, especially noting the stupidity of the character of the director who signs them up for the ad (played by ventriloquist, Tigger voice, AND ARTIFICIAL HEART INVENTOR Paul Winchell).

I just love how weird this episode is. The soaps all have excruciatingly simple names, like Safe and Best. Carol turns to a weird friend, Myrna (pronounced Meeeeeer-nah) for bad acting help. It just goes on and on, right up till the end when they get paid in soap, as in trucks packed full of the stuff.

And if you're ever looking for the actual grocery store, or any other Brady landmark, consult this page, which nails filming addresses for almost every episode. The store they show is labeled Mayfair Market, which apparently was bought by Gelson's, and it sounds like this specific one is located in Hollywood, right by Paramount, where the Brady Bunch filmed. This grocery store site confirms, with photos.

Remember this episode, or want to share any other random Brady Bunch thoughts? Or want to track down where a certain old scene was shot? Post in the comments.


Mike said...

The director following them around the parking lot was kind of a goof ball.

Another odd one was when Greg figured out a boy from another school was dating Marcia to get inside secrets to Greg's football team. So he made up a fake one for the guy to steal. I can't remember if Mike Brady got involved, or if was Greg's conscience got to him, but Greg tried to convince the kid the book was fake so it would be a fair game. The Bradys always tried to take the high ground.

Kim Kosmatka said...

I remember the episode where Carol rear-ended a guy in a parking lot...(same grocery store?) and then later ended up in courtroom because the guy wound up in a neck brace.
Remember Mike Brady dropped his brief case in the court room, the alleged "victim" turned his head toward the sound, and it was victory for the Brady family? Good times!