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…

16 Feb
Barry Williams

Ribbit Ribbit

written by Barry Williams in Blog, barry | 13 comments

‘Pepperoni Frog Pizza!’

I went to check out my girlfriend’s show this past Friday night. Well, actually not my current girlfriend, but Greg’s reoccurring girlfriend Rachel on The Brady Bunch, played by Hope Schwartz Juber. Hope is the daughter of our creator Sherwood Schwartz and married to world renowned guitarist and former band member of Wings, Laurence Juber. In the eighties Hope performed in a quasi rock, all female band called The Housewives, which coincidentally also featured Barbara Chase who is Florence Henderson’s daughter.

It was one of Hope’s dreams to turn the experiences she had with the band into a musical. So she collaborated with Laurence to write the music and she partnered with a writing friend to write the book and the result was a really fun, enjoyable Friday night at the theatre for a performance of Housewives 2 in the San Fernando Valley. The fictional story follows the lives of the three girls who make up the Housewives. Their ups and downs their egos, the mess ups and the comebacks and it is done in a very clever way. So clever that sometimes I found myself laughing right through the next joke which may warrant going back to see the show for a second time. In an odd way, because I didn’t have anything to do with creating the show, yet somehow I am proud of Hope. I hope Hope will forgive me (Greg) for taking her out on a date to the drive in all those years ago when that ginormous frog landed on her head and in the middle of our pizza.

Now Search & Win for Great Brady Prizes!

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13 Feb
Eric Greenberg

‘A Captive Audience’

Mark your calendars and rearrange your holiday travel plans for this Monday. Courtesy of the great website SitcomsOnline, TV Land will hold a President’s Day “Brady Bunch” marathon from 10am – 2pm. Here are the episodes you can expect to catch. And for our readers in Milwaukee, the site also reports that Me-TV has added the show to its weekday schedule at 6:30pm. Enjoy!

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08 Feb
Barry Williams

Up, Up and Away

written by Barry Williams in Blog, barry | 5 comments

She’s a beauty’

Many of you know I have taken up a long time desire to learn to fly.  It seems I have always had a reason or an excuse to keep myself on the ground and I finally have pushed them all out of the way and have been diligently studying and flying with Joe Justice out of Santa Monica Airport here in CA since October ’08.  Joe is the perfect choice for a flight instructor for me.  He is extremely experienced, safe, patient, plus he owns Justice Aviation

It is an interesting process taking up a new skill at this point in life.  I am used to doing what I know how to do well and, well…. flying is a brand new skill set and  a new way of thinking.  I am learning in a Cessna 172 and during my first few lessons I thought this would be a piece of cake.  I mean push the pedals turn the wheel and push or pull the yolk forward and back… what’s the big deal?  Around the third or fourth lesson however Joe stopped “assisting ” me quite so much and I quickly learned that there was a great deal more to successfully flying (and more importantly landing) an airplane than I had originally thought.  But here’s the deal, it’s FUN.  It’s challenging and rewarding and fun and I am hooked.

I am flying two to three times a week when in LA and I look forward to every flight.  It is an entirely new dimension to explore.  I am learning the local landmarks, the air spaces, aerodynamics, rules of the skyways and of course the all important controls and instruments.  Learning how to talk with ATC is also a challenge.  Everything in aviation is an acronym and for the uninitiated ATC is Air Traffic Control.  These men and women who work in the Control Towers are the pilot’s best friend while in flight, helping to keep all of the aircraft separated from one another.

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11 Jan
Bob Hunt

No fair choosing all six Oliver episodes.

A while back we asked you to name your Brady Six, the sextet of classic episodes that you consider to be the best of the Bunch.  Now it’s time to visit the other end of the spectrum with the Brady Basement.  These are the half-dozen lesser shows that you recognize with a slight sigh of disappointment whenever they air, not because they are inherently bad but simply because they are not great.  Though I truly enjoy all 117 episodes (call me the Father Flanagan of Bradyphiles, but I believe there are no bad Brady Bunch episodes), I am less likely to spend precious Brady Bunch-watching time with the following six installments, presented in the order in which they aired.

The angst of being the youngest one in curls.


First season episodes of The Brady Bunch stand conspicuously apart from the rest of the series for many reasons:  the kids are so young, the Peppermint Trolley Company warble the opening theme, and storylines focus on whether or not this whole blended-family experiment will succeed.  A more playful tone would eventually emerge, but some of the initial shows get stuck in syrupy drama or lethally sweet cuteness.  This episode has both, with director John Rich pushing Cindy to her most adorable limits and then casting her into the pit of melodramatic despair.  Should she give Mommy the single ticket to her school play?  Should she give it to her new Daddy?  Modern Brady watchers with the benefit of multiple rerun hindsight can only watch helplessly, unable to reach through the TV screen and shake little Cindy out of the dumps.

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06 Jan
Bob Hunt

Spirit of ’76

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 6 comments

Uncle Sam wants YOU…to drink enough 7UP to build this pyramid!

I was in the beverage aisle of my local megamart this morning when a sparkle of green light caught my eye.  There on the end shelf among a host of trendy boutique soft drinks stood several single bottles of 7UP.  They were real glass, with a bona fide bottle cap affixed to the top and 12 ounces of soda inside.  I was instantly smitten by these miniature replicas of the 16-ounce returnable bottles that were ubiquitous in the 70′s.  Then I saw the price:  $1.19.  Each.  And just down the aisle I could pick up a full 2 liters of 7UP for only pennies more.  Still, I hesitated before the retro bottles.  Why?  Should I care in the least how the goods I buy are packaged?  No.  And yet, despite myself, I do.

Somewhere out there is a beverage marketer who knows what memories are triggered when I see that glass 7UP bottle.  As I gazed upon its fragile contours, I saw a corner of my boyhood kitchen stocked with soda for a family gathering, the bottles standing upright in those cardboard carriers with handles that would cut into your fingers as you lugged them through the store.  I felt the coolness of frosted glass upon my forehead on a blistering summer day.  I heard the rattling of the conveyor belt that carried the empty bottles back to the bowels of the store after we had collected our deposit.  Good thing I didn’t pick it up and feel the heft of a bygone packaging era, or I would have found it much too easy to place it in my cart instead of back on the shelf.

The funny thing is this:  I wanted to buy that bottle of 7UP even though I had almost no desire to drink the product inside.  It was all about the packaging, which I reflexively associated with fond memories of my childhood.  Perhaps the strange psychological lure of clever product design, that dastardly method by which we are coaxed into buying things we don’t even want in the first place, was stronger than I thought.  For as I wheeled my empty cart down the aisle, I recalled a copious amount of 7UP being consumed on my street in the summer of 1976.

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29 Dec
Bob Hunt

2008:  All 117 in the palm of my hand.

1969-1974:  The Brady Bunch appears in its initial prime-time run.  As I was born in 1968, I am only dimly aware of its existence, but like Mozart played for infants, the show fills the space around my developing neurons and synapses.

1974-1979:  The First Golden Era of Syndication, in which I am exposed to the Brady canon repeatedly until the episodes are more familiar to me than the oral histories of my own family.

1980:  A friend shows me how he uses audio cassettes to record the sound from television shows by dangling a microphone in front of the TV speaker.  His recordings are low-fi and filled with atmospheric noise like kitchen clangings and his sisters chatting.  I immediately employ his technique to preserve a few Bunch episodes.

1981:  My parents stun the family by being among the first on the block to buy a VCR.  It’s a $500 top-loading behemoth with a wired remote that has one function:  pause.  Video cassettes sell for $15 each, and we try to use every inch of tape at the 6-hr. slow speed.

1982:  The Second Golden Era of Syndication, in which I catch Ann B. Davis mentioning in an interview that there were 117 Brady Bunch episodes, the first time I have ever heard this magic number.  Superstation WTBS runs the Bunch right after Leave It To Beaver five afternoons a week; 15 heavily-edited, commercial-paused episodes can fit onto a single videotape, and I’m on my way to capturing all 117.  “The Voice of Christmas” is the most elusive, as it’s always skipped in the syndication package unless it’s December.

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22 Dec
Barry Williams

Happy Holidays

written by Barry Williams in barry | 4 comments

And Tiger was my gift…

It seems like the holidays came out of nowhere this year – almost without warning. Now I’m scrambling to get everything on my Christmas list. Know the feeling? Two things to share before I get back to that. Feel free to also connect with me here on facebook which has been great for putting me back in touch with old friends. And best wishes to you and yours this season.

Now Search & Win  for Great Brady Prizes!

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22 Dec
Bob Hunt

Know any tunes by this guy?

In the beginning there were the notes, and the notes were three short and one long, and they sounded like da-da-da-DUM!  So it was that precisely 200 years ago today, Ludwig Van Beethoven unleashed a momentous big bang upon the musical cosmos with the debut of his 5th Symphony.  Little did its audience know that they were witness to a spark of genius that would fuel artistic inspiration to this day and will likely continue to do so as long as humanity exists.

Consider the international fame and familiarity of those four notes.  Adults and children alike throughout the world recognize the tune and cannot resist singing the next phrase.  Orchestral performances of it are frequent, and personal listenings of its many recordings are constant.  Every facet of modern entertainment employs it as a universal point of cultural reference, whether to set a period mood or simply to tell a joke.  If only Ludwig had pioneered international copyright law and produced progeny that saw to its perpetual renewal, the world would now be owned by the Beethoven family.

But I speak with the jaded voice of a modern consumer, accustomed as I am to big, round anniversary numbers being celebrated for the ulterior motive of selling things.  Ten years is more than adequate for today’s entertainment industry to roll out expanded editions of its popular inventory in deluxe packaging, and 25 years is a legacy.  If only someone had harnessed the power of electricity and invented audio and video recording devices much earlier, I’m sure modern marketers would be salivating over the rights to Ludwig’s archival materials.  Just imagine the Beethoven’s 5th Symphony Bicentennial Box Set: The Ultimate Collection, featuring umpteen CD’s of rehearsals and alternate takes; a plethora of DVD’s including interviews, performances, and making-of featurettes; and a coffee table scrapbook as big as Austria.

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05 Dec
Bob Hunt

What, me starstruck?

written by Bob Hunt in Blog | 1 comment

What did the starstruck fan say to the minimalist composer?  Nothing!

You may have seen recent airings of an entertaining credit card commercial starring Mary J Blige.  In the spot, an everywoman in a hotel elevator is stunned when Blige comes aboard for a few floors.  The dazzled fan tries desperately to compose herself, but she cannot.  As her favorite singing sensation leaves the elevator, she manages to utter only a small and incomprehensible squeak.  It’s a great vignette that perfectly captures the humiliating experience of being starstruck.

Perhaps it resonates with me because I once found myself in a similar situation (well, similar in the geekiest sort of way!).  When I was a freshman at Ohio State in the late eighties, the great minimalist composer Philip Glass came to campus for a marathon performance of his epic Music In Twelve Parts.  The piece was typical of his work in that it consisted of a seemingly endless series of subtly changing repeated arpeggios.  Its length, however, was remarkable, requiring two fifteen-minute intermissions and an hour break in the middle so the audience could get dinner!  As a wide eyed college student who fancied himself a patron of the arts, I ate it up, mesmerized by the hypnotic repetition.  Besides, I was already a big fan of the score Glass had composed for the wordless arthouse film Koyaanisqatsi.

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13 Nov
Bob Hunt

Indoor Recess

written by Bob Hunt in Blog, The Brady Bunch | 6 comments

If only Language Arts were as captivating to them as this moment…

Brady fans, I bring you good news from the world of education.  Those worries that have kept you from sleeping at night, the creeping anxiety that a true appreciation of The Brady Bunch might die with the passing of your generation – I’m here to reassure you that your fears are unfounded.  Oh, I know that too many children today do not know Buddy Hinton from Harvey Klinger.  Yes, I am well aware that the phrases “Oh, my nose!” and “Something suddenly came up” have no special meaning for a depressingly large portion of modern youth.  But I shall not despair.  For I have seen with my own eyes the very evidence that makes me believe The Brady Bunch will be treasured long after its initial audience is gone.

It was the threat of rain that started me on the road to this revelation.  Before dashing off to my job teaching fourth graders, I tossed a Brady Bunch DVD into my bag of graded papers.  If the forecasted precipitation arrived before noon, I would need an acceptable option to keep my class entertained during indoor recess.  Sure enough, we spotted dark skies and a playground full of puddles when the recess bell rang.  I had my makeshift theater ready to go, with a boombox wired to pump out the sound and our trusty LCD projector standing by to splash the vibrant blue opening titles across the length and breadth of our overhead screen.  We arranged our chairs in rows, and soon a familiar theme resounded through the classroom.  Well, familiar to you and me, that is.

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