Everything you ever wanted to know about the jumping frog scene from The Brady Bunch
It took a lot of hot water and shampoo to film this classic moment.
Read to Me
One of the most memorable episodes of The Brady Bunch is "Greg Gets Grounded." In it, golden boy Greg Brady gets banned from driving any family auto after Bobby tattles that he almost crashed the car rubbernecking. Determined to keep a date with a girl named Rachel (played by series creator Sherwood Schwartz's daughter Hope, who had another bad date with Greg in "The Big Bet"), smooth-talking Greg gets around being grounded by driving someone else's car to pick up tickets for his drive-in movie date, his claim being the "exact words" used to ground him didn't include his buddy's car in his punishment.
It's one of those episodes where every teen in the audience can relate to Greg's slick argument tactics with mom and dad. And Greg's finessing of language actually works, and he ends up getting to go on his date after all, but there's just one more hiccup.
He's promised Bobby and Peter to drive them to a frog-jumping competition, which threatens to make him late for his date. When he tries to back out, Mike shoots the "exact words" logic back at his oldest son, telling him he needs to follow through on his promise to drive his little brothers.
So Greg does, but after the contest, he's in such a rush to drop the boys off, nobody notices until too late that the frogs remain in the backseat. This leads to hilarity during Greg's date when the frogs get a little jumpy and end up leaping and landing on Rachel's head.
Everyone in the audience crushing on Greg would likely agree this was definitely not their dream date with the teen heartthrob, but according to producer Lloyd Schwartz, this particular scene gave his sister Hope nightmares. (You can watch it in the video up top.)
In the book he co-wrote with their dad Sherwood, Brady, Brady, Brady, Lloyd wrote, "My poor sister, Hope, has had recurring nightmares ever since she played in the memorable episode 'Greg Gets Grounded,' which found her at the drive-in movies with Barry Williams' Greg."
Lloyd then goes on to tell about all the struggles they had behind the scenes in that episode, starting with finding the right frogs.
"The same guy who brought us the frogs had brought us the tarantula that climbed on Peter during one of the Hawaii episodes," Lloyd said, complaining that the bullfrogs were so loud on set they had to be moved so the actors' microphones wouldn't pick up their croaking.
"This was the man you called when you need creepy, crawly things for movies," Schwartz said of the frog supplier before musing in Brady-like fashion, "I wonder if this is what he always had wanted to do when he grew up."
Once they had the frogs on set, though, that was only half the battle. Unlike Tiger, frogs don't come when they're called and they don't jump when directors shout, '"Action!" Lloyd said that the idea was to have the frog jump on Hope's head right when Greg goes in to kiss her. He wrote, "The director Jack Arnold said, 'Action!' The frog doesn't move.'"
Thinking quickly, they figured out the frogs would jump if they put hot water in a squirt gun, and luckily, Lloyd said the water wasn't visible to the camera. This did the trick, Lloyd said, "so when the frog was squirted, he leaped just as scripted."
But just because they could get the frog to jump doesn't mean they could tell it where to land.
More ingenuity was required to get the shot they really wanted, so Lloyd said they built out scaffolding in the backseat of the car, so that one special-effects crew member could lay flat above the interior roof of the car to catch a frog tossed up to him by a different crew member laying down on the backseat floor. The unseen crew member up above would then drop the frog on Hope's head.
As anyone who squirmed just watching this scene can imagine, the frogs weren't exactly the most sanitary things, and Lloyd confirmed when Hope got home, "she shampooed her hair six times."