7 things you never knew about The Brady Bunch and ''Adios, Johnny Bravo''
See what the groovy super-Seventies episode has to do with Mayberry, Playboy playmates, and an unreleased single.
It's hard to forget that sparkling matador jacket. "Adios, Johnny Bravo" remains one of the most memorable episodes of The Brady Bunch. Barry Williams, Greg Brady himself, has continued to perform in that character for decades, even naming his 1999 pop album The Return of Johnny Bravo.
This particular episode has it all — singing and dancing, super groovy clothing, big hair, bold Seventies colors, sibling jealousy, a happy ending.
Let's take a deeper dive into "Adios, Johnny Bravo."
1. It was the last time the family performed their songs on the show.
"Adios, Johnny Bravo" originally aired as the season-five premiere of The Brady Bunch. Though that final season contained many more memorably moments — the trip to Cincinnati, the ice cream parlor, Bobby's UFO dream, the failed spinoff "Kelly's Kids," Alice and Sam getting engaged, etc. — the Brady Kids never sang and shimmied together. The six boogied and belted out "You've Got to Be in Love (To Love a Love Song)" and "Good Time Music" in choreographed numbers that opened and closed the episode. More on the latter below…
2. Maureen McCormick and former Playboy Playmate Claudia Jennings later became friends working on a grindhouse movie.
Playboy magazine had selected Claudia Jennings as its Playmate of the Year in 1970, which perhaps made her an eyebrow-raising casting choice for clean-cut Brady Bunch in 1973. She plays the hip talent agent Tami Cutler who lures Greg to go solo. Later that decade, Jennings became known as the "Queen of B-movies," turning up in low-budget pulp like 1977's Moonshine County Express — a film that also featured Maureen McCormick playing her sister! Jennings would also audition for Charlie's Angels, a role that eventually went to Shelley Hack. The actress died in an automobile crash in 1979.
Image: New World Pictures
3. The Johnny Bravo cartoon is not inspired by Greg Brady's alter ego.
Johnny Bravo aired on Cartoon Network from 1997–2004. The cartoon centered around the title character, a self-centered cool dude with a blond pompadour and Elvis accent. Van Partible created the character and series for Hanna-Barbera. Many assumed the name Johnny Bravo was a reference or lift from Greg Brady's alter ego. Not so. Van Partible's full name is Efrem Giovanni Bravo Partible. Giovanni Bravo… Johnny Bravo!
Image: Cartoon Network / Warner Bros.
4. Greg and Bobby's pants are straight from the Sears catalog.
Those plaid pants in the opening number — they will certainly trigger flashbacks for many kids who grew up in the early 1970s. To most, those loud flares are known as "Sears pants." Need proof? Check out these catalog pages from around the time the episode filmed. Two decades later, The Brady Bunch Movie acknowledged the fashion inspiration. Mike declares, "Put on your Sunday best, kids. We’re going to Sears!"
5. "Good Time Music" was never released on record.
The Brady Kids recorded several albums at the peak of their fame, beginning with Merry Christmas From The Brady Bunch in 1970. Meet The Brady Bunch (1972), The Kids From The Brady Bunch (1972) and Phonographic Album (1973) followed. However, that final LP had been released the summer before "Adios, Johnny Bravo" aired. Their "family" recording career was wrapped up at this point. Thus, "Good Time Music," the big number in the finale with the creamsicle costume, never saw a physical release on record. A version of it was finally recorded by the cast of A Very Brady Sequel for that soundtrack in 1996.
6. Eve Plumb later played the role of the music producer.
The Annoyance Theatre in Chicago began producing a spoof stage show called The Real Live Brady Bunch in the early 1990s. Now-famous ensemble members like Andy Richter and Jane Lynch played Mike and Carol in restagings of classic episodes such as "Adios, Johnny Bravo." Eve Plumb, the real Jan Brady, happened to enjoy the show. She agreed to step in and play the role of the record producer one night in Chicago.
7. Mike again references his alma mater — the same school attended by Mayor Stoner of Mayberry and Cliff Huxtable's rivalry..
As we mentioned in a previous Deep Dive of The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry mayor Roy Stoner hangs a diploma from "Norton College" above his desk. Years later, a similar Norton College diploma can be seen hanging in Mike Brady's office. In "Adios, Johnny Bravo," we get further exploration of Mike's college days, when the Brady dad looks at letter for Greg from "State College," Carol's alma mater. Mike pokes fun at State College's sad excuse for a football team while Carol mocks Mike's allegiance to "dear old Norton College." Another sitcom made reference to this made-up American institution. Cliff and Clair Huxtable both attended Hillman College, which also became the setting of A Different World. In an episode of The Cosby Show, "Back to the Track, Jack," we learn that Hillman has a rivalry with — you guessed it — Norton College.
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