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1970s / Brady Bunch - Final Episode
The final first-run episode of The Brady Bunch aired 40 years ago today: Friday, March 8, 1974. It was the 116th installment of the show. Robert Reed (who played father Mike Brady) thought the script was so bad he refused to appear in the episode. Here's the plot: The two youngest Brady kids come up with separate ideas to make a fortune. Bobby acquires a case of hair tonic from a mail-order company and tries to sell the stuff door-to-door at $2 a bottle. Cindy intends to breed rabbits. Bobby has no luck as a salesman. Oldest brother Greg--who is about to graduate from high school--takes pity on Bobby and buys a bottle of the tonic. When he uses it, however, his hair turns a ghastly shade of bright orange! Five shampoos only serve to make Greg's hair even more hideous. Eventually a dye job at Carol Brady's favorite beauty parlor restores Greg's hair to its normal shade of black just in time for his big night where he graduates with honors. (Mike is noticeably absent when the family returns home from the ceremony. He is said to be out of town on business.) Meanwhile, Cindy's rabbit-breeding efforts are in vain because she discovers she has only male rabbits. When Bobby tries to pour his unsold tonic down a drain, he accidentally spills some of it on Cindy's rabbits. Bobby and Cindy agree to make the best of the situation by selling orange rabbits. By the 1973-74 season, The Brady Bunch was in severe decline. The kids were all over 12 years old and the show's original premise of two families merging into one was long gone. In an attempt to appeal to a younger demographic, Robbie Rist was brought in as Cousin Oliver for the final six shows. It didn't work. NBC's Sanford and Son was clobbering The Brady Bunch in the ratings so ABC pulled the plug. The last rerun aired on ABC on August 30, 1974. Still, the remarkable cult following of The Brady Bunch was strong enough to garner three failed reincarnations: The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, The Brady Brides, and The Bradys. A 1988 Brady-based made-for-TV Christmas movie drew enormous ratings.