The Brady Bunch: Polyester Flashback
Ok, take your pick: The Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family?
Both had enough schmaltz and 70’s cheese to make a pizza the size of Texas, but they also had two hot commodities. Maureen McCormick as Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, and Susan Dey as Laurie. Individually, they were the stuff that teen wet dreams are made of, but together, they were the dream team of mud-wrestling pole-dancers! Add in to the mix Christine Taylor, Marcia in the Brady Bunch Movie (who is even hotter today at 40), and my head begins to spin as I transform into Linda Blair!
However, the shows were unevenly matched in the arena of male heartthrobs. Sure, the Partridge gang had David Cassidy, but the Brady’s only had Greg, who was no match for the Cassidy charisma. David was the next best thing to Davy Jones of the Monkees. Greg was no more than a close parallel to an accountant with a pocket protector.
Maybe I’m wrong, after all I was a Dey freak! My dream, Dey and night, or Dey at night, or Dey at my house in my bedroom….
The moms, Florence Henderson and Shirley Jones were red-hot cougars, in a TV-mom sort of way. They would have been great in a raucous Russ Meyer lesbian love story. This was unlike the male household leads who were unevenly matched. Papa Brady was tall, curly haired, and full of philosophy. Reuben Kincaid was a cross between Gomer Pyle and a zombie from George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead.” The younger kids didn’t really stand out too much either, except Jan Brady who kept saying, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” until she had to be medicated on tranquilizers before she became violent, or Danny Partridge who was a redheaded hellion who would have been institutionalized in real life by a real family.
Theme Songs are a whole other issue… The sappy crap pop music, from “C’mon Along Get Happy” to “The Brady Bunch Theme Song” by the way, versus the Partridge Family songs who were all studio musicians and singers, except for Shirley Jones and David Cassidy, Shaun’s big brother. They did have an actual hit with “I Think I Love You” that charted, or so you think? You didn’t know? The Partridge Family lip synched their way through the trials and tribulations of the pre-disco ice age of the early ’70’s when the land was covered in a polyester glacier of bell bottoms and leisure suits. Another difference is that the Brady’s had a car, and the Partridge Family had a big-ass bus with a psuedo-Merry Pranksters paint job to travel to their various tv make-believe gigs. It was that wild 1957 Chevrolet school bus with the post-Kesey influenced paint job that rocked our polyester socks. “Careful, Nervous Mother Driving” was on the back license plate as the grooviest family on the tube got hip and happy aboard the pablum version of the Yellow Submarine.
Both are to blame really
Both shows did ecological damage to the planet with their promotion of garish polyester clothing. It created such a rage that die-hard fans began gobbling up polyester like a plate full of magic brownies. This in turn led to the near extinction of the Madagascar Polyester lizards that were being shot and killed in great numbers to meet the voracious demand of the poly-public. Before these two shows there were 1,000 mating pairs of Poly’s. When they were hunted to near extinction, a ban was finally legislated and today the Poly is a protected species and it’s numbers have increased substantially. Greenpeace monitors the colony vigilantly and have been authorized to use extreme force against poly poachers.
Bell bottoms were another disaster, however it was not one of environmental concern, but rather from a fashion standpoint. It also led to the use of platform Fee Waybill shoes and wide white belts. These belts have vanished except for small pockets of golfers who still wear them on the links along with checkered pants and checkered pasts no doubt. That is why I don’t golf. But what about that bus? The Partridge Family Bus was purchased by the show’s producers from the Orange County School District, given an appropriate paint job for the times, a full tank of gas and a four season run on prime-time television, until the show and the bus started to get low on fuel and ratings.
The show was cancelled, everyone got on with their lives and loves, and the bus was sold numerous times to private owners for a variety of purposes. Eventually, it turned up abandoned in the parking lot of Lucy’s Taco’s in East Los Angeles and was officially junked in 1987. In 1993, David Cassidy went on a nostalgia tour in a replica of the Partridge Family bus and another bus impersonator is sitting at Universal Studio’s. Other wannabe’s dot the landscape and fake Partridge buses can be found in Atlanta, Georgia and even a farm field in Iowa!! It is definitely the Elvis of the bus world with more impostors and sightings than of the King himself.
So who was cooler: the Brady’s or the Partridges? Susan Dey was divine as Laurie but damn, Christine Taylor as Marcia in the Brady Flick is the Holy Grail of Brady’s!