The Brady Bunch kids almost perished filming this roller coaster scene
Here's the story of a near-death experience on 'The Brady Bunch.'
In a decade of great change on television, The Brady Bunch was a rare wholesome spot on the primetime schedule. Every week, the Bradys would resolve their differences in the span of a half-hour.
Behind the scenes, though, it wasn't always rainbows and sunshine. During the show's fifth and final season, the cast was confronted with a scary scenario that could have turned lethal.
The episode "The Cincinnati Kids" follows the Bradys as they head to Kings Island amusement park in Ohio, as Mike presents plans for an addition. However, Jan accidentally walks off with her step father's plans by mistaking them for her Yogi Bear poster.
In case you're wondering how and why The Brady Bunch, Yogi Bear and a Southern Ohio amusement park mingled together, well, the answer is business. Paramount, the company that produced The Brady Bunch, was also a major shareholder in Taft Broadcasting, a Cincinnati-based media firm that owned Hanna-Barbera Productions and Kings Island. Corporate synergy!
Anyway, in one scene, the family rides a wooden roller coaster. It's an inconspicuous part of the episode, but it could have had serious consequences for the actors.
Before the cast got on the roller coaster, Robert Reed noticed the camera on the front of the car looked unsteady. In another account, series creator Sherwood Schwartz said he thought the camera was too tall and would hit an overhang. Whatever the case, a test run was ordered without anyone on board, just to be safe.
Sure enough, the camera flew off during the first run. When the car came back to the station, the camera was missing. Had anyone been seated in the car, the camera surely would have flown back and seriously injured them, perhaps fatally.
Two cast members who would have been spared were Reed (Mike) and Susan Olsen (Cindy). Olsen refused to ride the roller coaster, so a stand-in was used. Barry Williams (Greg) held his hands in the air to cover the stunt-double's face.
Who knew such a wholesome show could pose so much danger? You can watch the seemingly innocent scene above.
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Maybe that explains why the original 1973 version of "Charlotte's Web" and "Heidi's Song," both Hanna-Barbera feature films, were originally released by Paramount, and why the Brady kids had a(n unsuccessful) single of "Zuckerman's Famous Pig" with "Charlotte's Web" on the B-side (on Paramount Records, naturally, who also released the soundtrack album of "Charlotte's Web").
Besides The Brady Bunch, Kings Island was also featured in an episode of The Partridge Family in which Keith and Danny were vying for the attention of the hostess played by Mary Ann Mobley. Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench also appeared as a waiter wearing Pittsburgh Pirates colors who inquired, "Would you care for a drink?"
That's just speculation, of course. Nobody saw what happened to the camera, so there is know way of knowing when or how it fell off. It could have (and probably did) fall off the the side during one of the hard turns, in which case nobody would have been injured.