Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Here’s the Story About Robert Reed Refusing to Appear in ‘The Brady Bunch’ Finale

Here’s the Story About Robert Reed Refusing to Appear in ‘The Brady Bunch’ Finale

50 years ago, in March 1974, The Brady Bunch aired its final episode… without the family patriarch played by Robert Reed. While the show concluded well overall, Mike Brady’s absence as the series ended its five-year run was a surprising twist.

Entitled “The Hair-Brained Scheme,” the final episode of the series depicts Bobby (Mike Lookinland) attempting to make extra money by selling hair tonic. His attempt to jazz up his brother Greg (Barry Williams) ends with Greg sporting a vibrant shade of orange curls right before his big high school graduation day.

In true Brady fashion, the family swoops in to save the day. They tamed Greg’s unruly hair just in time for the grand event. One thing they can’t fix is explaining their father’s absence. Carol (Florence Henderson) mentions Mike was out of town, leaving his eldest son’s big day without him.

Why Robert Reed Skipped Out on ‘The Brady Bunch’ Finale

However, Robert Reed was present on the set of The Brady Bunch finale, though not in a visible role. Known for clashing with writers and producers on set, Reed unsurprisingly criticized the episode as absurd and implausible.

In his autobiography Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg, Williams discloses that Reed made the independent choice to abstain from appearing in the episode due to his belief that it did not meet the standards of quality television.

It might seem like a far-flung explanation as to why Robert Reed didn’t appear in The Brady Bunch finale. However, the story is corroborated. In producer Lloyd Schwartz’s book Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch, he mentions Robert’s main complaint: “hair tonic can’t do that to hair.”

While his points were valid, the discontented actor inadvertently forfeited a role in the significant episode. Unbeknownst to the cast and crew then, the series got axed shortly after surpassing the episode count required for broader distribution. Nevertheless, the ensemble of actors did indeed bond like a family, despite the unforeseen conclusion.

Of course, Robert Reed would join the cast again in a few revival projects of The Brady Bunch. Reed gleefully joined The Brady Bunch Hour, a variety show that allowed him to sing and dance. That series ran for seven episodes in 1976 and 1977.

He also returned for two TV movies, 1981’s The Brady Girls Get Married, and 1988’s A Very Brady Christmas. Finally, Reed also returned for the 1990 drama revival of the series, The Bradys.