This Brady Bunch guest star was a singer once deemed ''too sexy for Italy''
Abbe Lane flirted with Mike Brady and nearly scandalized Jackie Gleason.
Read to Me
"Mike's Horror-Scope" feels unlikely any other episode of The Brady Bunch. It's not merely the supernatural overtones insinuated in the title and plot. The story is simply more adult — literally. The six Brady Kids do not show up until about 11 minutes into the episode — nearly halfway through. If this were the first episode you saw of the series, you would be excused for thinking it was something closer to I Lucy Lucy.
It begins in the bedroom, with a rare look through the sliding glass door that opens off of Mike and Carol's master suite. Mike hops into bed and rips off his slippers. Carol reads the newspaper, flipping through the pages to find the astrology forecast. Mike chuckles as he reads his forecast: "A strange woman will soon come into your life."
Of course, that strange woman turns up a couple of scenes later in Mike's office. She is the fabulously named and dressed Beebe Gallini, who hopes to employ Mike Brady's architectural skills to build a new cosmetics factory. She has the air of a Gabor about her. In real life, the actress' name is Abbe Lane.
Abbe Lane — doesn't it just sound like a Beatles outtake? The Brooklyn native was hardly 20 when she married Latino bandleader Xavier Cugat in 1952. The musician was three decades older. The couple collaborated on an album called Cha Cha Cha in 1955, released during what was arguably the peak popularity of Caribbean, calypso, Latin, jazz and exotica music in America.
Lane would go on to sing on albums with Tito Puente And His Orchestra and Sid Ramin And His Orchestra. The major record labels — Philips, RCA and Mercury — were no fools. They all slapped Abbe Lane in a skimpy dress on the LP covers. The redhead looked like a precursor to Ginger of Gilligan's Island. (Unsurprisingly, Tina Louise appeared in similar poses as a model/singer on Fifties easy-listening records.)
In 1963, a magazine called Adam labeled Lane "the Swingingest Sexpot in Show Business." The sultry singer caused a stir when she was slated to appear on The Jackie Gleason Show. Her costume was deemed to be too revealing, and she was forced to wear something more conservative. Likewise, when living in Italy with her husband Cugat, Lane was deemed "too sexy" for the national television network RAI.
Yes, in Italy, the country that gave us Sophia Loren.
When Cugat and Lane split in 1964, she stayed behind in Italy. Not forever, obviously, as she began turning up all over TV in 1965. She was on F Troop and The Flying Nun. Following her 1970 spot on The Brady Bunch, she had just a handful more acting roles, including a gig as a flight attendant in Twilight Zone: The Movie, in the remake of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet."
She eventually earned a star on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. You know who doesn't have a star on the Walk of Fame? Robert Reed, Mike Brady himself.