Florence Henderson had this theory about Carol's first husband

Sherwood Schwartz was inspired to create The Brady Bunch by a four-line article.

'Till the one day when the lady met this fellow

And they knew it was much more than a hunch,

That this group would somehow form a family...

It's the opening to one of the most beloved family sitcoms in TV history. Everyone knows The Brady Bunch and the theme song sets you up right away with the plot. A single mother with three girls marries a single father with three boys. Add a housekeeper, move them all into one house, and hilarity ensues.

But how did Carol come to be a single mother with three kids before she met Mike? 

Creator Sherwood Schwartz knows why he chose to create a different kind of family. Schwartz said that, unlike many shows, he can point to the exact moment he got inspired to create The Brady Bunch.

"It was just a four-line filler piece in the Los Angeles Times," Schwartz said. "Just a statistic. It said that year, 1965, 31 percent of all marriages involved people who had a child or children from a previous marriage. It was just a statistic, but to me it indicated a remarkable sociological change in our country."

That statistic led him to create one of the most famous blended families. But still, how did this family happen in the first place? Schwartz claimed in interviews that Carol was divorced, although it was never mentioned on the show. Divorce was still relatively taboo in 1969, when the show started, so it's likely that the network just sidestepped any mention of a polarizing topic.

But Florence Henderson had her own ideas. "No, nobody ever said [what happened to Carol’s husband]. I always said I just got rid of him."

Wait, "got rid of him"?

"I killed my husband," Henderson said in interviews. "I was the original black widow!"

Uh-oh, Mike Brady had better be careful!

Watch The Brady Bunch on MeTV!

Sundays at 12 & 12:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
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rmcfg 21 months ago
As beautiful and charming as Carol and her 3 daughters were, what sane man woud have walked away from them??? This show started back in the 1960s when the Viet Nam War was still raging and the American public was getting sick of it. My guess was that her first husband had been a career military officer whom had been killed in action and he was never discussed so that tears would not flow from his fomer wife and kids who missed him so dearly.
L 22 months ago
Wrong wrong wrong. It is well documented that the inspiration for the movie came from (I love this movie) Yours Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball (a widow with 8 kids) and Henry Fonda (a widower with 10 kids). This in turn, came from the very real life story of the REAL Beardsley/North family.
bradyguy L 18 months ago

As the article says, creator/prouducer Sherwood Schwartz came up with the idea for the BB after reading an article in 1965, and Helen Beardsley's book had not even been published yet. As any true BB fan knows, when the producers of Yours, Mine, and Ours later threatend to sue Schwartz for taking their idea, he told them to check the date on the Writer's Guild registration of his pilot script for what was then called (coincidentally) Yours & Mine. Schwartz quipped "They're lucky I don't sue THEM!"
ncadams27 22 months ago
Carol (to her minister): You were friends, I would like you to say a few words about my husband at the funeral service.
Minister (in a comforting tone): Of, course I will. He was a dear friend. By the way, did he have any last requests?
Carol: Yes, he said “Put down the gun, she and I were just working late”
harlow1313 ncadams27 22 months ago
An oft circulated rumor is that his mistress was the curvaceous Nancy Kulp. Va-va-va-Voom!
ncadams27 harlow1313 22 months ago
I think he was running around with Mike’s wife.
Michael ncadams27 22 months ago
So they were swapping, and things got ugly?
Maybe Ralph Monroe of
Green Acres?
JustGeri 22 months ago
In the pilot/1st episode there is a reference to the boys’ mother who ostensibly died. Mike goes into Bobby’s room and doesn’t see the framed picture of his mother. Bobby explains he didn’t want to hurt his new mother’s (Carol) feelings. Mike tells Bobby he doesn’t have to forget his mother and that Carol wouldn’t want him to.
When Carol is talking the girls all at once, there is no mention of a father, deceased or otherwise. I believe, as the article suggests, Carol’s first husband ran out of them meaning a divorce. And divorce was still more taboo than not back then so Mr. Schwartz’s account makes sense.
Michael JustGeri 22 months ago
Just because the theatrical movie had Mr Brady returning from the dead doesn't mean he was actually divorced.

Why not have Mrs. Brady unmarried? That's more to hide than divorce.
ELEANOR JustGeri 22 months ago
Upon watching The Newlywed Game reruns where all the couples have been married two years or less. Many couples reference their child or children. Of course, many wives could have become pregnant right away, but there are others who mention children that are obviously older. This gives credence to the statistic mentioned by Sherwood.
bagandwallyfan52 22 months ago
Even Perry Mason (Raymond Burr,)
Couldn't Solve these 2 Cases:
The Case Of The Missing Cat (FLUFFY) (Brady Bunch)
The Case Of The Missing Husband
Of Carol Brady
McGillahooala 22 months ago
I always assumed they had both been widowed. There is never a mention of the other parents. Kind of weird that these two would have been married to the types who go out for a pack of smokes and never come back. The most likely explanation is that the spouses were deceased regardless of what the stars or creator said in interviews later. If it wasn’t written in the story, it didn’t happen. No Willy Gilligan’s on the island and no deadbeat parents on The Brady Bunch.
Mirramanee McGillahooala 22 months ago
Like another poster says on this forum, Mike and Bobby discuss the fact that the boys' mother was gone (as in deceased) just before they leave for the wedding ceremony. Bobby had put away his mother's picture to avoid offending Carol. I agree there was no mention ever of the girls' father, though, not even in the pilot.
Coldnorth McGillahooala 21 months ago
And….. the girls never visit their father. He must have skipped out before Cindy was born. How do 3 girls never ask about their dad. I thought he died. Who could find fault with Carol.
Pacificsun 22 months ago
No disputing SS's own experience, interviews and how he's being quoted. But there were also two things. Lucille Ball was featured in a movie about a blended family ("With Six You Get Eggroll")?? And I believe that was inspired by a real family (in California) who made for an interesting human interest story in a Newspaper. They were a real family, with quite a few children. And I can't say honestly, if the family included adopted children or not. But it was about family chores, and teamwork getting along, etc., etc..

Keep in mind there are 𝓿𝓮𝓻𝔂 few original ideas in Hollywood!! As much as Sherwood Schwartz enjoyed patting himself on the back. In fact, Gilligan's Island might've indeed been his most original thought when it came down to it.
Moverfan Pacificsun 22 months ago
Lucy was in Yours, Mine & Ours with Henry Fonda about a blended family that had fourteen or fifteen children (it was based on a true story and he looked SO gorgeous in his Navy dress blues!). I think With Six You Get Eggroll starred Doris Day.
Pacificsun Moverfan 22 months ago
Okay! Thank you for that clarification!
Moody Moverfan 22 months ago
Both are great movies imo!
bradyguy Moverfan 18 months ago
LOL. 18 children WHEN they got married. ANd 20! children after they got...ummm....busy.

But who's counting? Not you.

And to clarify, Helen North Beardsley's book came out in 1965, the same year that Schwartz had found his inspiration in the newspaper article. And the FILM didn't come out until 1968, well after Schwartz had registered his pilot script for Yours & Mine with the Writer's Guild. All facts.
bradyguy Pacificsun 18 months ago
Yeah....except for Robinson Crusoe...the Swiss Family Robinson...and Lord of the Flies....
Moverfan bradyguy 17 months ago
It's been a while since I read the book or saw the movie. I knew they had a raft of 'em...school open house nights must hsve been fun...
Michael 22 months ago
Another rerun.
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LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 22 months ago
You said that right. Of course being a or the flagship series might have a tiny bit (LOL) with the over promotion.
Michael LoveMETV22 22 months ago
I wouldn't have thought rerunning Brady Bunch episodes would provide anything much new.
LoveMETV22 Michael 22 months ago
Well at least they're re-running the episodes as they had advertised it in the "Summer Block Party." Of course they pre-empted it, for obvious reason. But it's nice they're running it for the fans that were looking forward to it originally. As far as creating a story, they probably could have found information that they haven't done in a story before, but your right on the
"anything much new". But there also those who haven't read the article or are new to the website. So occasionally we get the old stories.
practicaljokerfan 36 months ago
A Tough TV TRIVIA Question
What does Moose (Barry GREENBERG)
From Happy Days have in common
With the Character Mr. Schump
From The Andy Griffith Show??!
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MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 22 months ago
Andy mentioned his name at a party or dance.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 22 months ago
This was once a story of speculation for a long time. MeTV (of course) has a story out there. There were ultra-fans at one time searching all over the internet for any clue. I'm surprised they didn't go searching in Cemeteries to see if there's a Headstone Inscription: "He Lies [the real First and Last name of whomever] affectionately known as the beloved Mr. Schrump."

But I bet you there were people trying to do that!

Especially because he never spoke nor was he credited for appearances, I always thought he was a Friend of Production who reveled in his obscurity. Who just wanted the pleasure of being visibly recognized for the fun of it. And to leave Fans with a perpetual mystery for the rest of TAGS' days!! 😎

What neat legacy, that his mystery is what ultimately made him famous!!
Well okay. We would ALSO know you, from your topic. And the list of names, often put into a serialized running of your comments. I do believe we have them memorized now. 😉 Just sayin ...

So you have immortalized them in your very own way!!
Mr Schwamp and Moose were
BOTH Two Mystery Men who were two quiet guys who didn't
like to CHIT CHAT just like
From The Andy Griffith Show
Didn't like to CHIT CHAT.
Moose was a nickname for
Barry Greenberg s character on
Happy Days and nobody knows the real first name of Moose
and Mr Schwamp liked to travel
Because in the GOMER Pyle USMC episode called Gomer
The Welsh Rarebit Fiend TV
Viewers can see Mr Schwamp
Drinking coffee in the restaurant
run by the waitress played by
Lucy Landeau who Resembled
Mrs Garret (Charlotte Rey ) on
The Facts of Life .
Mr Schwamp also attended
the marriage ceremony of
Andy Taylor and Helen Crump
On the first episode of Mayberry RFD with Barney Fife as the best man and Barney Fife even went on the Honeymoon with Andy and Helen!!
BAG ZOMBROSKI Neil J Schwartz was another Mystery Msn of Happy Days -I believe that BAG was a nickname for
Neil J Schwartz's character of
BAG but what was Bag's real
First Name.
Also I wonder who the actor was
Who played Mystery Man BUZZ
On the 1974 Happy Days Christmas Episode called Guess Who's Coming To Christmas which was the Last Appearance of Chuck Cunningham 2 Randolph Roberts.
Buzz was the man in Howard's
Hardware Store who fell down in the hardware store.
So BUZZ on Happy Days belonged to s club called The
Mystery Men of America!!
AnnieM 36 months ago
I was, I think, 5 years old when the Brady Bunch first premiered. I remember very clearly watching it, and being confused as to why the dad's first wife was living with them. Yep, for several episodes at least, I thought that Alice was Mike's first wife.
Pacificsun AnnieM 22 months ago
I thought Ann B. Davis was one of the most natural actors on TV. She was interviewed decades after TBB, and she was the same person. Just not being a housekeeper.

What a cool job!! Being paid for who you are!
justjeff Pacificsun 22 months ago
To me, she'll always be Schultzie on "Love That Bob"...
Michael Pacificsun 22 months ago
She's part of a long line of tv and movie housekeepers. They aren't identical but fit a certain mold. They are more than an employee.

And they've mostly disappeared, society changing.
bradyguy justjeff 18 months ago
TWO Emmys, baby!! Ann B. was VERY underrated for those who only know her as Alice Nelson...
ELEANOR 36 months ago
Yup, for their purposes, it worked to be very vague about the previous history of Carol and Whatshisface. And that worked well. So when you get together with your friends, do you have a detailed discussion about their family tree? And if the subject comes up, mumbling and staring at the floor is all that you need to know at the moment. So after one or two episodes about blendedness, the storylines, often ripped from dinnertime stories of the Schwartz's children, reflected normal family life.
LalaLucy 36 months ago
Always appreciate the sense of humor the actors from this show have about their characters. They were all perfectly aware of the cheesy nature of the show and did not shy away from joking about it. 🙂
LarryBell 36 months ago
Did anyone catch the special Dragging The Classics -The Brady Bunch? That was bizarre to say the least. It was like watching the Brady Bunch on acid. And no I’m not Transphobic, it was just weird to see is all
LarryBell 36 months ago
I loved how in the movie she alluded to her hubby being the Professor on Gilligan’s Island lol
Beatseeker LarryBell 36 months ago
...and gilligan's dad was a billionaire...!
bradyguy LarryBell 18 months ago
Silly line...from a bad movie. 😁
JosephScarbrough 36 months ago
Yes, divorce was still a very taboo subject to discuss, especially on primetime TV, which is one of the reasons why at the time, THE ODD COUPLE was actually a very controversial show that was always under a lot of network meddling and scrutiny.
What saved 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 storyline, was that they could be considered more "separated" than divorced. Because it wasn't Oscar's choice to leave, nor was it Felix's. I 𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙚 they were "thrown" out of the house by their wives. Because it was about their lifestyle (sports obsessive & being a slob. Obsessive/Compulsiveness and picky). Meaning, impossible to live with. There was never any mention of philandering. And the storylines made the Odd Couple pay dearly for their ejection. Of course they fiddled with girlfriends afterwards, because the storyline also needed to make it very clear, they weren't gay. So it was a tricky line, and (in that day) probably only those two actors could carry it off. Although I think Jack Lemon and Walter Mattau did the play (but I could be wrong). The play also had an amazing writer and played for years on Broadway. So the network was safe.
Mike Pacificsun 22 months ago
For The Record:
When The Odd Couple opened on Broadway, the original Oscar was Walter Matthau; the first Felix was Art Carney.
When the movie was made, Matthau kept the part of Oscar; Jack Lemmon came aboard as Felix.
The Odd Couple played national stage tours for most of the '60s; usually, star actors played the leads - and there was a long list of Big Names standing in line to take those tours.
When The Odd Couple played Chicago for the first time, Oscar was Dan Dailey, and Felix was Richard Benjamin.
Pacificsun Mike 22 months ago
Interesting! I didn't know all those other things. Just that it was a big Broadway hit. I'm glad Art Carney took the role of Felix. He must've been hilarious against Oscar! Always wanted to seea real NYC Stage Play. And never will.
Andybandit 36 months ago
I would have liked to know about Carol's first husband, and Mike's first wife. I never understood why they needed Alice. Couldn't Carol take care of the house, and the kids have chores. Like I did when I was growing up.
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Pacificsun Andy 22 months ago
Not quite, but funny.
When they remodeled the fictional representation of the Brady House in Studio City, I believe (but could be wrong) they included the room for the housekeeper.

Read more here: https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/a29107564/what-happens-to-brady-bunch-house/
Djpmasman Andybandit 22 months ago
To this very day, the thought of men raising children is aprehensible at best, and back then, it would never fly. Divorce was also seen as taboo, which is probably why Mrs. Brady's original husband was never mentioned, but that she had custody of the 3 girls (which is still commonplace in divorces, meaning children are awarded to the Mother automatically). That's why Mr. Brady's Wife was deceased, as was many other single Fathers back in the day, and he had a housekeeper to do all the things his Wife would of normally done at that time...
Moverfan daDoctah 20 months ago
Six kids and two parents...I always assumed Alice's room/apartment had a private bath.
Moverfan Michael 18 months ago
I suppose the Bradys were well-off--Mike was an architect, after all. I would like to know who decided men couldn't take care of the house and/or themselves, though...when I was growing up, my mom and dad used to tell me stories about how he taught her to cook!
Deleted 36 months ago
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Michael 36 months ago
All we had in the sixties was one black & white "portable", a second one after my grandparents died in 1970. No color until 1980. I didn't know anyone with a tv set in their room, though the kid across the street had a set in the basement. I think the pafents must have had atv set elsewhere, but don't know. First time I saw Space Ghost was on that basement TV.
lynngdance 36 months ago
I watched it! 😆 (And yes, I like his fruity name too lol)
LoveMETV22 36 months ago
Lol! Love celebs and famous people with food in their name: Halle Berry, Ken Berry, Darryl Strawberry, there's others but just thought of those few with fruit. 🍋🍓
36 months ago
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Pacificsun 36 months ago
An RCA (1980's) that was still running in 2010. Ended up with another family.
Coldnorth 34 months ago
I love body part last names. Many of them are pro athletes. Colon, cheeks, head etc
bagandwallyfan52 22 months ago
I like first and last names that
Rhyme like:
Happy Days
Ralph Malph
Melvin Belvin
And on Leave It To Beaver
Frank Bank played Lumpy
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