The Greg Brady Project

Welcome to the official Barry Williams' blog

My friends call me Barry. From time to time I also hear the name Greg. Yeah, as in Greg Brady. The Brady Bunch represents a fun time in my life. But it’s only part of the story. There’s more to say and that’s what The Greg Brady Project is all about – a place to say it. So, I’ve invited some friends to join me and share their perspectives on the Brady’s, the 70′s and just about everything else. Now, I’m inviting you…

Author Archive

28 Oct
Bob Hunt


The Fonz tries to express that his political convictions were wr…wr…they were wr…

The following hypothetical scenario is so explosively controversial that I precede it with an emphatic disclaimer:  I am making this up, and therefore in no way does it confirm or deny the political opinions or lack thereof of the persons involved.  Having said that, I ask you to consider your reaction to an imaginary YouTube clip featuring a 1970′s-era recording studio.  Gathered around a pair of microphones are present-day Brady kids Barry Williams, Mike Lookinland, Chris Knight, Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen and Maureen McCormick, all of them looking considerably older than their last appearance in these surroundings nearly 40 years ago.  They sway and bop their heads, belt out a few sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na‘s, and recreate that classic moment when The Brady Six recorded Time To Change.  Their clothes are much like the groovy threads they wore back then, with one notable exception:  they’re all wearing Barack Obama t-shirts.  If such a clip were made, what would your reaction be?  Is it sitcom sacrilege for actors to mix political opinion with their iconic characters?

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23 Oct
Bob Hunt

I always suspected that Jerry Houser was a good guy.  Jerry Who?  Oh, ye of little Brady knowledge!  Jerry Houser, the actor who portrayed Wally Logan, aka The Man Who Married Marcia Brady.  I’ve always thought that he is probably a very nice person.  Now, I know that the image an actor projects as a fictional character is often unrelated to the true nature of the human being who is speaking the lines.  Take Margaret Hamilton, for example, whom we remember as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.  Turns out she wasn’t evil (who knew?).  So just because Wally Logan always seemed like the best brother-in-law a family could have, it doesn’t mean that Jerry Houser must therefore be similar.  It’s just that his performances seemed endearingly genuine to me.  Thanks to Maureen McCormick’s new autobiography, Here’s the Story, I now know that my hunch was on the money.

Oh, you won’t hear much about Houser in the barrage of promotion and press coverage concerning this book.  No doubt you’ve heard a salacious detail or two (or three or four) by now, and whether it’s the nature of modern media or the provocation of a publisher that knows sleaze sells, most all of the publicity has taken a decidedly negative slant.  There’s little point in elaborating upon those details here.  But what’s struck me the most about what I’ve read and heard in all of the recent press is that the positive and redeeming part of Maureen’s story is being largely ignored.

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12 Sep
Bob Hunt


For this I missed The Brady Brides?

I was twelve years old when The Brady Brides debuted on NBC in the winter of 1981, and nobody could have been happier about it.  The reunion of the entire original cast and the promise of an ongoing series was a wonderful antidote to the bad taste left behind by the notorious Variety Hour.  As far as I was concerned, that failed experiment was just a bad dream, its flying fringe and cheesy Krofft production a forgotten hallucination.  Now the Bradys were back where they belonged in the familiar house that Mike designed, and what’s more, there was the return of Real Jan (surely as God intended).  Naturally, I was a fixture before the color console for a season’s worth of Friday nights.  All except for one, that is.

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07 Sep
Bob Hunt

What’s So Funny?

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 2 comments

 

Eric Idle once commented on the elusive nature of defining comedy.  “If you analyze it,” posited the Monty Python alum, “it’s gone.”  That is, once you subject an attempt at humor to academic dissection, you destroy whatever might have been funny about it in the first place.  Like art, we may not know much about comedy, but we know what we like, or rather we know what makes us laugh.  We’re just not certain why.  So it’s no surprise that fans and detractors of Microsoft and Seinfeld having been chewing up a lot of bandwidth in the last week debating whether or not a new Vista ad starring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld is of any comedic value.  If you think it’s a laugh riot, count your blessings and read no further.  However, if you find the spot somewhat lacking in the humor department (as I do), let’s find out why.

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02 Sep
Bob Hunt

 

Barry Williams, Mike Lookinland, and Susan Olsen at the King’s Island Theater. 

When you or I think of the phrase amusement park, chances are our minds conjure up pleasant images of thrill rides, cotton candy, and happy crowds shuffling along asphalt paths under blue summer skies.  All these things were present in abundance last Sunday at King’s Island.  For three cast members of The Brady Bunch, however, there must have been one sensation in particular that they shared with the masses at the end of the day:  exhaustion.  From the moment the house lights went down for the first show at 2:00 pm until the last autograph was signed well past ten in the evening, Barry Williams, Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen were kept busy entertaining a steady stream of fans.  Four capacity crowds at the Kings Island Theater and overflow lines for the meet-’n'-greets proved that the Brady clan has not diminished in popularity.

“Did you know,” Barry queried the audience, “it’s 35 years ago this week that we filmed Cincinnati Kids right here?”  The eldest Brady led things off with spirited performances of The Real Greg Brady and You’ve Got To Be In Love To Love A Love Song.  Toward the end of the Sunshine Medley (featuring I Can See Clearly Now, Good Day Sunshine and It’s A Sunshine Day), Mike Lookinland came onstage with his immortal solo line, “Can’t you dig the sunshine?”  Susan Olsen joined them moments later, and a grateful crowd cheered at the return of three Brady siblings to the theme park they helped make famous.  As Barry put it, “We were a big commercial for King’s Island, because it was partly owned by Paramount Studios, which was our studio.”

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18 Aug
Bob Hunt

 

Quick!  Grab your credit card, make your flight arrangements, and tell the neighbors you can’t make it to their cookout on the day before Labor Day.  Why?  Because no fewer than three Brady stars will be returning to King’s Island for four shows of singing, dancing, and Brady Bunch anecdotes!  Susan Olsen, Mike Lookinland, and our own Barry Williams will be there to entertain, reminisce, and provide memorable meet-n-greet and autograph opportunities for Brady fans of all ages.  As we reported previously, King’s Island has been steeped in nostalgia this summer, what with classic park stunts of the 70′s being recreated by Robbie Knievel and Rick Wallenda.  What better way to cap off their retro summer than a Very Brady Reunion on Sunday, August 31.  At last your dreams are coming true!  So don’t just sit there – spindle your blueprints into a yellow cylinder and make your way to Cincinnati this Labor Day Weekend!

Now Search & Win for Great Brady Prizes!

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13 Aug
Bob Hunt

Ticket to Rye

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | No comments

 

Lamb House, Rye, East Sussex, England.  This (and social networking) brought us together… 

The other day, a best-selling author thanked me for purchasing his latest book.  Not too unusual, perhaps, except for the fact that we were five time zones apart when it happened.  We’ve never even met each other, in fact, and until recently we were carrying on our lives without the slightest hint of each other’s existence.  The circumstances that produced our unlikely connection make up yet another tale of the way in which the Internet and social networking are changing our lives in unprecedented ways.

The author is Guy Fraser-Sampson, a former lawyer who has become an expert in private equity investment, having written a pair of successful financial books and keeping busy with lecturing at a business school and various public speaking engagements.  He lives in London, though he has also called Paris and Abu Dhabi home.  I, on the other hand, am an elementary school teacher who has lived in Ohio all of my life, and just reading the Wikipedia entry on private equity causes my eyes to glaze over in a heart-palpitating catatonia of incomprehension and fear.  What could we possibly have in common?

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22 Jul
Bob Hunt

 ‘All Thumbs Down’
‘All Thumbs Down?’

There’s a lot of hubbub going on right now about the departure of film critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper from their long-running syndicated review show, At the Movies. This is understandable, as any television program that has been around in one form or another for the last 33 years qualifies as an institution of its medium. An entire generation has grown up taking for granted the presence of a pair of Chicago critics commenting on the latest releases from opposite sides of the aisle. The thumbs-up, thumbs-down gimmick introduced by Ebert and Gene Siskel on the first incarnation of the show, PBS’s Sneak Previews, grew so popular as a movie poster endorsement that it began to lose its impact, forcing the critics to invent absurd shades of recommendation like two thumbs up – way up. Like any other TV entity that has been with us for decades, it is hard for us to imagine its disappearance. However, although Disney apparently intends to reinvent the show with different hosts, I would argue that At the Movies and other television programs of its ilk have outlived their utility in the digital age.

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16 Jul
Bob Hunt

Resurrecting Anarchy

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 3 comments


Back with more stuff…

If an eight-note bass run segueing into Count Basie’s Jumpin’ at the Woodside still causes you to stop whatever you’re doing in wide-eyed anticipation of a portly stagehand’s shuffling dance moves, then you remember the anarchic joy of The Gong Show. The jazzy motif would interrupt the show at an unexpected moment, causing host Chuck Barris to ecstatically dance along and whipping up the audience into a jubilant frenzy. All this to hail the unremarkable moves of Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, who did his thing while a bizarre assortment of incongruous props pelted him from the wings. It made no sense at all, and that was the point. The recurring bit was one of the greatest intentional non-sequiturs in television. Who among those of us who enjoyed it has not since hoped in vain for those infectious bass notes to bring forth a chaotic interruption of a dull business meeting? The numbers for the third quarter were not as high as we–What’s that?–It’s Gene Gene the Dancing Machine!

Playing along with entertainment conventions and then suddenly destroying them with dadaist glee made the novel game show parody special. No doubt Comedy Central will try to capture that riotous spirit with its new version of The Gong Show set to debut tomorrow night. Hosted by Dave Attell, this latest incarnation promises to retain the format of unusual acts judged by a rotating panel of irreverent celebrity judges. But is it possible for anyone today to recreate the strange concoction of surrealism, send-up, and nod-and-a-wink hipness that Barris and company perfected?

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11 Jul
Bob Hunt

So Long, Surprise

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | No comments


I was a compulsive record flipper in the days of vinyl. Whenever I could break away from my parents, whether at the mall or some discount store, I would make my way to the nearest racks of LPs and look for the file tabs with the names of my favorite artists. Then I would start flipping through those albums, hoping that today would be the day I would find something new. Growing up in a small, Midwestern town, it was the best I could do to stay connected with the musicians I admired. Often, I wouldn’t even know that a new album was in the works until I uncovered it right there at the store. And concert itineraries? Maybe a few dates would come to light thanks to the latest issue of Cream or Circus, but without a regular scanning of bigger city newspapers, a favorite act might swing by the nearest metropolis and be gone without a warning, like the errant path of an unexpected comet. Weekends were for staying up late in the hopes of catching that special performer on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert or The Midnight Special. In between these peaks were the longest valleys of endless record listening and wondering what my preferred entertainers were up to.

One of my all-time favorite artists from those days has a new album coming out at the end of this month, and oh, has the period of anticipating a new release changed!

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