Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Brady Bunch Convention (2014)

Here's the story...   Like most 80's children, I grew up on The Brady Bunch (1969-1974) reruns and like many fans, fantasized about being a member of the Brady clan.  I always thought Brian Brady had a far out ring to it.  I was devastated when a family member told me that the kids had grown up.  I thought she was lying just to mess with me.  But a few years later, when I saw a promo for A Very Brady Christmas (1988), I realized she was right.  I couldn't believe the gang was back!  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nintendo games aside, that was the best Christmas present of 1988.  I practically wore out my VHS copy throughout the next year, which I still have to this day.  When the groovy news broke that the bunch would coming back to television as a weekly series, I cheered so loud even Pat Conway would've been jealous.  Sadly, The Bradys (1990) only lasted a few weeks as the new format didn't gel with fans.  As I entered my teenage years, my tv obsessions shifted to Saved by the Bell (1989-1993), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000) and Melrose Place (1992-1999).  But The Brady Bunch Movie (1995) revived my interest in the brood with it's hilarious take on America's favorite family living in the 90s and the DVD releases (yes, I do own the shag carpet box set) have gotten many replays over the last decade.  

In the fall of 2013, it was announced there would be a Brady Bunch Convention in East Rutherford, NJ the following summer.  As a horror movie fan, I was no stranger to the convention circuit having attended several over the years, particularly those pertaining to the Halloween film franchise. 

The guest list was filling out nicely.  For a split second Maureen McCormick was supposed to attend.  Jerry Houser (Wally) and Jennifer Runyon (Cindy, A Very Brady Christmas) were also scheduled but had to cancel for various reasons.  The Brady Bunch Movie had a nice representation and Robbie Rist (Cousin Oliver) and Debi Storm (Molly Webber) were welcome additions.

The sunshine day finally arrived and across the GW Bridge I headed.  The turn out was a bit modest compared to the horror conventions but the fans were just as enthusiastic.   

It was surreal to be in a room full of Bradys, creating a lot of love and good vibes for humanity (that's fine with me!)  

In 8th grade, I failed my exam on To Kill A Mockingbird cause I opted to read Barry Williams' Growing Up Brady instead.  Finding out he made fun of Lloyd Schwartz's wife overacting in a scene from A Very Brady Christmas was more interesting than the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

At least Christopher Knight wasn't wearing a nightshirt like he did in A Very Brady Christmas.

It was a twofer meeting Mike Lookinland, who was a also a greensman on Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988).  His wife, Kelly, played the dead waitress at the gas station.  He was pleasantly surprised that I wanted to talk about something other than The Brady Bunch.

Peter Brady aka Sherlock Holmes would've been disappointed in me as I forgot to ask Susan Olsen the real reason she didn't appear in A Very Brady Christmas - honeymooning or being offered less money than her siblings?

Cousin Oliver looking... different.  When it's time to change, then it's time to chANGe.

Geri Reischel (fake Jan, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour)

Caryn Richman (Nora, A Very Brady Christmas, The Bradys)

Christopher Daniel Barnes (Greg, The Brady Bunch Movie)

Paul Sutera (Peter, The Brady Bunch Movie)

Jennifer Elise Cox (Jan, The Brady Bunch Movie)

Olivia Hack (Cindy, The Brady Bunch Movie)

Henriette Mantel (Alice, The Brady Bunch Movie)

Debbi Storm (Molly Webber)

A near floorpan of The Brady Residence...

A panel discussion followed an afternoon of autograph requests and picture taking.  A nice tribute was paid to Ann B. Davis, who sadly passed away a few weeks prior.

I sure as heck wasn't gonna pass up a photo op with The Brady Kids, although I was hoping for my own blue square...

Overall, a swell time was had.  A few absences were felt but that leaves hope for appearances at a future convention.  I have a hunch 2019 would be the perfect year for it, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the original series.  And if the fan who was dressed as a Silver Platter happens to see this post, I would love to share your picture with your permission.

Related Locations:

The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)The Brady Brides (1981)A Very Brady Christmas (1988)The Bradys (1990)The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)A Very Brady Sequel (1996)

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