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

07 Apr
Bob Hunt

Click Here

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 4 comments


Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…

If I directed you to click here with the promise that doing so would bring you, say, compromising footage of an attractive celebrity, or maybe a hilarious clip of a monkey jockey winning a potbellied pig race, or even a music video featuring vintage footage of Gerald Ford tarmac missteps, would you follow the link? Go ahead, ponder your options. Take your time, I’ll wait right here. Feel free to click at any time.

Did you swallow the bait? Congratulations! You’ve been Rickrolled! Now that you are officially part of an Internet phenomenon that has been growing steadily over the past year, hurry up and Rickroll your uninitiated friends before the trend catches their ears and eyes. It’s easy to do: simply post a hyperlink with a tantalizing title, but use the URL for a YouTube clip of Rick Astley’s 1988 pop smash Never Gonna Give You Up. Then sit back and smile at the thought of your loved ones sitting entranced before Astley’s signature moves (or move, as the case may be).

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04 Apr
Bob Hunt

The Barry Williams Game

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 3 comments


Kevin Bacon. He has a Barry Williams Number of 2.

If you haven’t yet heard of the established pop culture phenomenon known as The Kevin Bacon Game, chances are one of your friends (or one of their friends) has. In a silly twist to the sociological theory of “six degrees of separation,” participants attempt to link various actors to Kevin Bacon through a chain of no more than five movie collaborations. The closer the connection, the lower one’s Kevin Bacon Number. Thus, Barry Williams (who appeared in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star with Tom Arnold, who in turn shared the screen with the Baconator himself in We Married Margo) has a Kevin Bacon Number of 2. Or shall we say that Kevin Bacon has a Barry Williams Number of 2?

Thanks to a rather addictive Internet Movie Database search engine at The Oracle of Bacon, one can input the names of any two actors and instantly discover the degree of their collaborative separation. It may not surprise you that within the insular world of movie acting, most thespians can be connected to Barry in fewer than five links. In fact, when it comes to playing the Barry Williams Game, the most challenging objective may be to find an actor who has a BW Number of 4 or higher.

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31 Mar
Bob Hunt

Brady Book Review

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 1 comment

 

Welcome to the glorious debut (and quite possibly the inauspicious finale) of Brady Book Review, in which the intrepid staff of the GBP flexes its intellectual muscle (say, where did we put that intellectual muscle?) in unbiased critique of Brady literature.  Today’s installment concerns William Johnston’s 1969 effort entitled The Brady Bunch, a Lancer Book publication available wherever musty, out-of-print books are sold.  It was the first of eight Brady novelizations (five of which would be penned by Johnston) that crowded the paperback racks during the original run of the TV series.

If a survey of the genre is any indication, William Johnston was a prolific author of TV tie-ins, having already written books based on series such as Get Smart and The Flying Nun before the Brady Era (or BBE) and moving on to create Happy Days and Welcome Back, Kotter novels afterward (or AFJ – After Fake Jan).  Biographical information on Johnston is elusive, however, leading me to suspect that he might have been the Alan Smithee of TV novelizations.  Or at least the Franklin W. Dixon.  In any case, real or not, William Johnston knew how to crank ‘em out.

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26 Mar
Bob Hunt

‘Spin Cycle’
“Gee, I wish I had taken it easy on the clam chowder…”

We laugh now at the modest conventions that censored questionable content in television’s first decades. CBS avoided tweaking delicate 50′s sensibilities by seeing to it that Lucy Ricardo was euphemistically “expecting” Little Ricky instead of being “pregnant.” The same network was still skittish in the 60′s, forbidding Rob and Laura Petrie to sleep in the same bed. And although ABC allowed Sherwood Schwartz to shatter the matrimonial bed taboo, the sight of a Brady bathroom toilet was apparently considered to be too progressive. It was up to CBS to move forward on the potty front by permitting Archie Bunker to reinvent the punchline as an offscreen flush.

Then things started to loosen up (literally), with the world of cinema customarily leading the way. A common concern among the squeamish is emetophobia, or the fear of vomit. This was exploited to horrific effect in 1973′s The Exorcist, in which Linda Blair kept the split pea soup flowing. 1983 saw Monty Python playing the phobia for laughs in a notoriously over-the-top restaurant scene from The Meaning of Life. By 1986, even a mainstream feature like Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me had its share of projectile vomiting, as outrageously depicted in a boy’s tale of a fateful pie eating contest. Television would eventually catch up with the phenomenon, most notably in the format of reality television. From Fear Factor to The Amazing Race, inducing vomiting through the consumption of barely edible entrails and insects has become something of an American tradition.

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23 Mar
Bob Hunt

Starving for the Buffet

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 2 comments

‘All You Can Hear?’
‘All You Can Hear?’

If there is an audiophile to be found in our family of four, it would be me. I’m the one who transferred a habit of precise LP and cassette tape organization to a treasured collection of compact discs, filing each jewel case by artist and then by album release date. If you’re wondering where all the RCA cables and Y-adapters went, I’m your go-to guy. And who’s the one responsible for maintaining the electronic spaghetti that makes our component-filled armoire an entertainment center? Me again. So if anyone in our household should own an iPod, it’s yours truly. Yet, I’m the only one who does not. Yes, my wife and daughters amble about with smiles on their faces and buds in their ears while I merely contemplate my digital future. In fact, I had all but made up my mind to obtain the coveted 160GB Classic by this summer, when a stunning piece of news changed my tune.

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18 Mar
Bob Hunt


She was wisecracking yet efficient, gentle as a rule but firm when necessary. Unflappable amidst chaos, she could restore order in an instant. She knew how to read the face of a troubled child and deliver just the right words to make it all better. Her sense of humor was infectious, and she loved a good joke even more than the next person. Long ago she dedicated her life to serving others, always with a satisfied smile of quiet contentment.

Alice Nelson, devoted housekeeper of the Brady family? Certainly. But I’m actually describing Sister Barbara Simon, my fourth grade teacher and “personal Alice.”

Sister Barbara belied the stereotype of the stern disciplinarian nun. She was jovial and witty, and she refused to take herself too seriously. On one occasion during a church festival, she was working the hamburger grill when she overheard a customer requesting a toasted bun. Her famous reply: “Tell him to stand by the fire if he wants his buns toasted!” How many nuns would dare say such a thing? Sister Barbara was so friendly and likable, she could get away with being charming where others would be offensive. Day after day she entertained herself by peppering her instruction with jokes, most of which went right over the heads of her young charges.

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13 Mar
Bob Hunt

The mild wit and even milder caricature of TEEN WORLD, 1974

If you were an adolescent girl during the summer of 1974 (and I can most assuredly tell you that I was not), you might have passed a few leisurely hours thumbing through the pages of Teen World and Tiger Beat, carefully removing full-page posters of cute boys for display while scowling at the ones you thought were undeserving of space on your bedroom wall. You might even have felt your heart pitter-patter as you came across this bit of scoop in Teen World‘s June issue:

“What else is happening with the Bradys? Well, for one thing, all you faithful Barry Williams fans can stop worrying. A lot of people were afraid that bouncy Barry was going to leave the show. But that’s just not true – whew! Barry is definitely going to stay with the show, so you’ll be able to watch him every week! Probably, Barry will be entering college on the show, so you’ll be able to watch some exciting academic exploits, too! Isn’t that great?”

Before you and your friends could find the Funk and Wagnalls and look up “exploits,” Teen World breathlessly continued:

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08 Mar
Bob Hunt

The Cost of Convenience

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | No comments

‘Rescue from Gilligan’s Island’
The televisual event of the century…or at least I thought so.

Rise up, children of the digital age! Break free from your iPods, erase your TIVOs, avert your weary eyes from YouTube! For once there was a time when young people lived in a strange and analog land, where there was no such thing as media on demand. Consumers lived only in the present, unable to reproduce their favorite entertainment for later viewing. Subjected to the whims of broadcasters and distributors, they were forced to experience content at the moment it was presented (yes, it’s true!), with no promise that it would ever be repeated. A nightmare, you presume? Not necessarily.

For all of the convenience of today’s media storage options – and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we have them – their very existence comes at a subtle but certain price. Never again will we know the anxieties and joys of transitory media. For example, let’s say you missed a pithy comment from one of the political debates, and now everyone’s giving their two cents about it around the proverbial water cooler. No problem, as the remark in question is doubtless a YouTube search away. That movie everyone’s talking about? If it’s not on DVD now, it will be soon. But back in the analog days, if you missed something, it was gone. That was the “anxiety” part of it.

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07 Mar
Bob Hunt

O m’guh!

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 3 comments

With two daughters of Disney Channel-watching age in our house, we often hear the latest catchphrases repeated throughout the day. Most times the favored phrase du jour doesn’t last more than 24 hours before dying out. Occasionally a word will have more staying power and enjoy repetition throughout a week or more. You might assume it’s the girls who are doing all this parroting, but I must confess to being just as much of an offender (if not more so). My current favorite? The rapidly-spreading O m’guh!

I first saw it as a comment posted below a photograph on Flickr. The picture showed a shopping center as it was in the early 70′s, and locals who remembered frequenting it in their formative years gushed about the image bringing back vivid childhood memories. Some said more than others, but one viewer summed it all up by saying nothing more than – you guessed it – o m’guh!

Not to be confused with the ubiquitous OMG nor the full-blown exclamation Oh my God!, the friendly o m’guh! is simply fun to say. Once I got the ball rolling in my family, we found it especially amusing to use in the most mundane situations:

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18 Feb
Bob Hunt

Wacky Packages Redux

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 18 comments

Ajerx Cleanser. Gadzooka Bubble Gum. Crust Toothpaste. Land O’ Quakes Butter. Ring a bell? If so, you probably bought a few packs of Wacky Packages stickers once upon a time. Though introduced to the juvenile public in 1967, the subversive marketing parodies didn’t really catch on until 1973, when the legendary “1st Series” hit groceries, gas stations, and carry-outs everywhere. For a mere nickel, a kid could open the bright red wrapper to find a pair of stickers, a checklist, and a stick of bubble gum. Ironically, I recall these satirical jabs at consumerism as the first collectible items I desired owning.

Words alone cannot do justice to the allure of Wacky Packages. A big part of their appeal was the wonderful graphic artwork, which skillfully mimicked original packaging while adding absurd elements for a surreal send-up. Thus, Windex Window Cleaner became Windaxe Window Breaker, the familiar clear bottle bearing a label inscribed BREAK GLASS TO REMOVE AXE. And naturally, there was a large axe dominating the interior of the bottle. Though the humor was simplistic and mild, the artistic accomplishment could be mesmerizing.

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