‘The Brady Bunch’s Florence Henderson Said Co-Star Robert Reed’s ‘Merciless’ Treatment of the Show Crew Didn’t Stop Until This Event Happened
On The Brady Bunch, it’s common knowledge now that, while Robert Reed genuinely respected and had fondness for the show’s young cast and his other co-stars, he was not keen on the sitcom or its producers and crew.
His co-star Florence Henderson said that it wasn’t until one specific incident occurred that Reed finally began to see how difficult the crew’s job was.
This was Reed’s 1 passion, according to the show’s creator
To hear the show’s creator and executive producer Sherwood Schwartz tell it, Reed was more concerned with facts than with the craft of acting.
“[Reed’s] one passion was accuracy in a script,” Schwartz told the Archive of American Television. “He never had a problem with the humor. Never had a problem with the drama, of which there was, considerable. The accuracy was stamped on his forehead.
“If a writer got the population of Poughkeepsie wrong in the script, he’d walk off the set,” Schwartz revealed. “Not tell you why. Because he looked everything up in his Encyclopedia Britannica.”
Reed constantly criticized the show’s crew
According to Henderson, the Mike Brady actor saved his resentment for the show’s producers Sherwood Schwartz and his son Lloyd.
“It’s widely recorded how much [Sherwood] and Robert Reed fought,” she said. “Really, that was the only negative thing about the show was the fact that Bob and especially Sherwood and [director] John Rich did not get along.
“Bob was very condescending about writers and directors and especially Sherwood and Lloyd,” she added.
Henderson noted she regularly needed to help Reed remember that the show was a TV comedy.
“I’d have to go, every so often, ‘Bob, this is comedy. This is not Shakespeare.’ It was a situation comedy for television,” she said. “And for what it was, I think it was good.”
Henderson said this slowed down Reed’s negative behavior
Reed regularly criticized the show’s producers, directors, and writers, persistently questioning the smallest lines and words in a script.
“Bob considered himself to be a serious actor,” Henderson continued, “and the only one that possibly understood writing and producing and directing.”
Finally, when Reed directed one episode of the show, he began to see how challenging it was to do the work behind the camera.
“It wasn’t until Bob directed one of the episodes and fell so behind in the shooting schedule,” she said. “And I think that only then did he realize how tough it was to do a show like The Brady Bunch with so many pages a day, so many set-ups.”
Henderson and her co-star Ann B. Davis witnessed Reed floundering in his debut attempt to direct. The Carol Brady actor admitted they wrestled with whether they should help him or not after all he’d put the crew through.
“I remember [Alice the housekeeper actor] Ann B. and I looking at each other and going, ‘Shall we bail him out? Shall we try to help him? Or shall we let him stew and really suffer?’ Of course in the end we helped him, but after that he lightened up just a little bit with the directors. He could be merciless,” she admitted.