10 things you probably forgot about the '80s classic 'A Very Brady Christmas'

Everyone returned for this reunion — minus the original Cindy, the original Sam, and Bobby's original hair color.

Watch A Very Brady Christmas on MeTV this Sunday, November 28, at 12PM | 11C as part of A Very Merry MeTV!

In the 1980s, just as much as the Rubik's Cube, TV reunions were all the rage. Andy and Opie came home in Return to Mayberry. The Clampetts struck it rich again with The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. There was The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair in 1983, I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later in 1985, Perry Mason Returns in 1985, Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge in 1987, Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis and The Incredible Hulk Returns in 1988… and so on and so on.

But no television family reunions featured more nostalgia and Aqua Net than the Brady comebacks. Early in the decade, the Brady girls got hitched in The Brady Girls Get Married. Seven years later, the gang gathered once again for 1988's A Very Brady Christmas.

Of course, the Bradys never really went away. After the original 1969 sitcom ended in 1974, the beloved blended clan bounced back with a variety show, The Brady Bunch Hour, from 1976–77. There was also a Saturday morning cartoon, too, The Brady Kids.

But things felt far different when the Bradys reunited for the holidays. We were clearly deep, deep into the Eighties here. The special opens with Mike and Carol, both sporting perms, doing aerobics. It's big hair and big hearts all around from there on, as the adult Brady children come home to flashback clips and saxophone solos. It's a gem for anyone who adores the '80s while missing the '60s.

Let's dive deeper into A Very Brady Christmas

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1. There's a new Cindy Brady.

Susan Olsen was in Jamaica celebrating her honeymoon at the time. Enter Jennifer Runyon, whom some might remember as Gwendolyn on Charles in Charge or one of Bill Murray's students at the start of Ghostbusters. Cindy is just about to graduate college herself in this special.

2. But at least the original Jan was back!

Eve Plumb famously did not reprise her role of Jan on the successful 1970s variety show The Brady Bunch Hour, though she was not against the idea. She agreed to do an initial Brady Bunch Variety Hour special, but balked at the commitment to a full season. She was up for doing a few episodes, but when the network presented her with an all-or-nothing contract, she walked. Plumb had aspirations of being a more serious actress. A decade later, however, she was ready to sister up with Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, once again.

3. Bobby was suddenly blond.

Mike Lookinland is naturally blond. But when he was cast as a child star on the original series, producers dyed his hair brown to match the rest of the Brady men. It was a somewhat miserable experience for the young performer, as the hot studio lights would cause the dye to melt and run down his head in brown streaks. We can't blame him for passing on the makeover process for the reunion.

4. There was a new Sam the Butcher, too.

Poor Alice! We learn that Sam the Butcher has left her for another woman. Ouch, Sam. In the end, he turns up disguised as Santa and earns Alice's forgiveness. Even the white beard cannot disguise the fact that Sam is no longer played by Allan Melvin, who was still alive at the time. Instead, actor Lewis Arquette filled the role. Some might remember him from Waiting for Guffman.

5. Greg had a righteous mustache.

Speaking of hair changes, elder Greg has a bushy lip-tickler here. It's a 'stache that would even make Phil Packer jealous. You remember Phil Packer, right? Peter's fake-mustache-wearing alter ego in "Peter and the Wolf"?

6. Marcia's kids were Cubs fans.

Adult life is not a bunch of roses for the Brady girls. Jan is separating from her husband, while Marcia's spouse was recently laid off. Marcia's two kids, Jessica and Mickey Logan, represent their new hometown wearing Cubs gear and colors.

7. The iconic Brady house had a serious Eighties makeover.

Naturally, the film opens on an establishing exterior shot of the classic Brady house. It's a good thing they do, as the inside of the home is completely unrecognizable, aside from the familiar staircase. The orange Formica kitchen has been replaced with blond wood. The living room is a riot of pale pastels, floral patterns, and glass brick windows. It seems as if Carol hired the Golden Girls to redecorate.

8. It was directed by Peter Baldwin, who directed everything.

The name Peter Baldwin does not likely ring a bell. But you have undoubtedly seen much of his work. For half a century, Baldwin directed classic television. He helmed episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle: USMC, Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show, The Love Boat, Too Close for Comfort, ALF, Full House, The Wonder Years, Sabrina: The Teenage Witch… and more. Oh, and The Brady Bunch, of course.

9. Two popular L.A. disc jockeys made minor cameos.

The Mark & Brian Show, a pioneer of the "zoo crew" type of morning radio programming, kicked off in Los Angeles in 1987. Mark and Brian made quiet cameo appearances in A Very Brady Christmas, playing two onlookers at the collapsed building site in the last act.

10. It was a massive success.

When it aired, A Very Brady Christmas became the most-viewed TV movie of the year, raking in a whopping 25.1 Nielsen rating and 34 share. That means that more than a third of all people watching television that evening had the Bradys on their screen. You don't see numbers like that anymore.


Before there was Fake Cindy, there was Fake Jan. READ MORE

Image: The Everett Collection

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bagandwallyfan52 5 days ago
Skip Young (Wally Plumstead
On The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Neil J Schwartz (Bag
Zombroski on HAPPY Days )
Roy Stuart(Cpl. Boyle on
Gomer Pyle USMC) and
Dawn Wells (Mary Ann Summers
On Gilligan's Island) :
I wish that Skip Young
Neil J Schwartz
Roy Stuart and Dawn Wells
Had all hosted a Variety Show
Together because those 4
Performers were great comedy
Do you know how to type? Have you ever heard of using the "Enter" key after typing more than 4 words. ALL of your posts are unreadable and annoying. Learn how to type and post correctly, then maybe people would read them and not just scroll through the nonsense you post.
albundy is just like WISEGUY.
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You are exactly like WISEGUY making mean
Comments hurting peoples
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that are not true.
A lot of METV Viewers
Have made wonderful
Comments and Wiseguy
Gave his own mean comments and Wiseguy
Did not care if he made
People mad or hurt their
Feelings.For instance I said
That Happy Days. Were Sad
Days when Chuck Cunningham(Randolph
Roberts) Bag Zombroski (Neil J. Schwartz) Moose
(Barry Greenberg) Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel and Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein Left Happy Days and all of those characters
Including Spike (Danny Butch) Marsha(Beatrice Colen) Wendy Misty Rowe
Trudy Tita Bell And
Flip Phillips Billy Warlock
And KC Cunningham Crystal Bernard and Jenny
Piccalo(Cathy Silvers) all
Vanished from Happy Days
With No Explanation and
WISEGUY said to me" What
Drug Are You On?
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The mean comments of
WISEGUY smd other mean
Comment Line Persons.
Christmas is a time to be
Nice to persons NOT make
Fun of them.
I do not unreadable and
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If you are going to say mean things about METV
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The METV Comment Line
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AllisonF75 7 days ago
Bobby and Cindy must have been getting master’s degrees since they were in college in Brady Brides and still in college in this movie. I believe Brady Brides was 1981 and this movie was I think either Christmas 87 or 88
AarHandy3 8 days ago
It also meant The Bradies' sojourn on a third network: CBS. The Bunch had already been previously seen on ABC (the original 1969-74 series, Filmation's animated 1972-4 spinoff The Brady Kids and the 1976-7 Brady Bunch Hour variety show) and NBC (the 1981 TV movie The Brady Girls Get Married and the short-lived Brady Brides).
Nala92129 8 days ago
I was startled, (not in a good way) by the perms, facial foliage, but my girls & I loved the Bradys. I never understood the hostility toward the Brady Bunch Variety Hour. We loved it!
rockinsuzy 9 days ago
I loved it. I watch it every year like I do The Christmas Story, Scrooge, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, along with all the other Christmas shows.
MichaelVegas 9 days ago
For me at least, it is nice to see what they are supposedly up to after all this time but a lot of the time, I feel disappointed, I do not want to know the young Jan that I remember being so innocent is divorced and has kids and had a bad life, or Greg lost his dream of being a star, or Alice lost the love of her life to another woman, these are things in my life I want to get away from and the reason why the show was so nice to watch, the innocent, fun of it, your problems could drift away not slam you in the face
Rick 9 days ago
Allan Melvin may have been *alive*, but he was exclusively doing voice-over work after 1983, and I suspect his health wouldn't have permitted him to be in the movie.
The 64 thousand dollar question remains. If Robert Reed thought so many of the scripts were too silly and got into so many arguments with Sherwood Schwartz, then how on earth did he agree to do the "Brady Bunch Variety Hour?"
".....then how on earth did he agree to do the "Brady Bunch Variety Hour?" "

Cue up ABBA's "Money, Money, Money" for the simple answer.
Robert Reed loved performing on Broadway, and the variety format enabled him to sing, dance, tell jokes, and break away from the "Dad" role that he had grown to hate.
TonyDStrong 9 days ago
The Variety Shows were horrid. I remember wondering when they would get back to doing the Brady Bunch the way it was.
Barry22 10 days ago
I would hardly call The Brady's Variety show successful
KJExpress 12 days ago
"Bobby was suddenly blond." I seem to remember Mike Lookinland's hair got lighter in the original series, after the first season or so when they stopped dyeing it. It was also lighter in that variety show they did. Guess they were grasping at straws for something to say here.
MrsPhilHarris 12 days ago
Maybe it’s just me but I Robert Reed’s smile looks pretty phoney.
KJExpress MrsPhilHarris 12 days ago
Now that you mention it, it does look rather strained, like he'd rather be somewhere else.
cperrynaples 12 days ago
Actually, most of remember Lewis Arquette as either the son of Charlie Weaver or the father of Alexis, Roseanna, Patricia, and David Arquette!
Michael cperrynaples 12 days ago
I thought hewas best known for playing J.D. Pickett, Erin's boss on The Waltons.
cperrynaples Michael 12 days ago
Well, maybe that too!
RobertDubs 12 months ago
I remember reading that all four Brady men (Robert, Barry, Chris, and Mike) had mustaches at the start of taping. Sherwood Schwartz insisted that two of them shave, or else he joked they'd have to rename the special "A Very Brady Mustache" So Mike and Chris shaved their mustaches and filmed the special clean shaven, while Robert and Barry kept their mustaches.
daDoctah 24 months ago
I thought there was a Mandela effect happening when this article claimed that Lewis Arquette was in the Santa suit as Sam the butcher. Was sure I remembered it being Hal Smith. Then, while poking around the other articles on the website I found a pic of Smith as Santa from the same movie. Seems I remembered him in the costume all right, but he wasn't Sam.
KathyMcKinny daDoctah 12 months ago
Hal Smith WAS in the Santa suit in the original series, he was the Santa that Cindy asked to give her Mommy back her voice for Christmas, when Carol had laryngitis before she was to sing in church for Christmas.
cubman 24 months ago
I think Marcia is still popable as long as there are no bright lights.
Utzaake 24 months ago
6. That's no way to raise children!
JohnDRipper 24 months ago
That there were TWO Cubs fans in the world, was the least realistic thing on the show...
Barry22 24 months ago
As I have mentioned once before, Susan Olsen did a walk-through cameo in the airport scene.
Pacificsun 24 months ago
Pretty ironic the BBR featured a remodeled 80's decor, considering that in 2019 HGTV just sunk millions of dollars into the Brady Bunch Studio City Home remodel! Enjoy the article below:

Lillyrose Pacificsun 24 months ago
I think that’s ironic, too.
Michael Pacificsun 12 days ago
And they made such a fuss about getting it seventies correct, including the avacado green.
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