Brady Bunch stars to visit Newbridge

Fans of the iconic 70s television series ‘The Brady Bunch’ are in for a treat this week when two of the family’s kids visit Kildare.

Fans of the iconic 70s television series ‘The Brady Bunch’ are in for a treat this week when two of the family’s kids visit Kildare.

Original cast members Susan Olsen, who played little Cindy, and her co-star Mike Lookinland, aka Bobby, will be at the Newbridge Silverware visitor centre next Saturday, April 9, to meet and greet fans and sign autographs.

The duo - now grown up but still recognisable as the pair of scamps who lit up television screens from 1969 to 1974 - are visiting to promote the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons’ Brady Bunch costume exhibition, which will be open free to the public from Thursday next, April 7, to Friday April 15.

The exhibition will feature garments from the original series, which will eventaully be auctioned by Hollywood Auction House on May 7 and 8. Newbridge Silverware has forged links with Julien’s Auctions, and has previously showcased some of its collections including the Michael Jackson, Bob Hope and Barbra Streisand exhibitions.

Susan and Mike’s appearance is the latest by a line of celebrities, from Dallas stars Linda Gray and Charlene Tilton to our own Jedward, who have visited the Museum of Style Icons in connection with both its permanent and temporary collections of showbiz memorabilia.

Ahead of their visit to Kildare, Susan and Mike looked back at their time on the show for the Leinster Leader.

Susan Olsen - Cindy Brady

What is your best memory from the show?

Maybe my favorite memory is when we arrived in Hawaii to film the three episodes there. Obviously getting to travel for the show was fun in itself. Robert Reed [Mike Brady] hated to fly so he had taken a ship and gotten there ahead of us. He met us at the airport as did our director Jack Arnold.

Bob was very much like a father and happy to see us. I was looking forward to swimming when we got to the hotel and Bob said that we should all go for a swim. When we arrived and got checked in it started to rain. Bob said “Don’t worry nobody pays attention to the rain here”. Off we all went to swim in the ocean in the rain, Bob taking me under his wing and promising my mother that he’d never let me out of his sight (I wasn’t a strong swimmer and Florence Henderson [Carol Brady] would later save my life in a small accident in the Hawaiian water).

We were out there having fun and I began to realize that other people in the water were starting to recognize us. It was really funny, they would recognize one of us then see another, then they would go get a friend and tell them. I was perched on top of Bob’s shoulders watching all this. I thought “They must think we are really a family” and it made me feel proud; and then I saw a rainbow had formed in the light rain. It was pretty idyllic.

What is your own favourite television series?

Currently it might be South Park but I really don’t watch much TV. I can honestly say that I only watch news and educational shows. I still record reruns of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Nurse Jackie”.

Did you ever play pranks on each other during the show?

Quite a bit but most pranks were not aimed at each other but at Maureen McCormick (Marcia Marcia Marcia). She was a very easy target. She daydreamed a lot so you could really get her to walk into any trap. She was very feminine and we loved her but she was so fun to tease. I didn’t play pranks on Mike but my goal in life every day was to make him laugh.

How did you handle fame at such a young age?

It’s much easier when you’re young, you have a wisdom that goes on holiday when puberty sets in. I think Mike and I had the advantage of that wisdom.

When you are a teen, your ego is more fragile you are trying to find out who you are and what is real in life. As a young child, it was always obvious to me that fame was not real and rather ridiculous. I couldn’t get caught up in it because I saw it as foolish. Also as a child, fame is nothing but a horrendous pain. When you are smaller than your fans, it can be frightening to get mobbed.

It was also somewhat difficult to go back to school and be on a TV show. Kids teased me quite a bit. Still I insisted on staying in public school because I didn’t want my life altered too much.

What is your favourite outfit out of those going to the museum?

It would have to be the beaded ones. They were the most risque and it’s noteworthy that when they recreated these for the Brady Bunch Movie they were less revealing. I was always pretty keen on breaking the “goody two shoes” image.

Will this be your first visit to Newbridge and Kildare?

Yes! I’ve never been to Ireland. All six of us Brady kids went to England in 1971. Our TV dad, Robert Reed took us on the QE2. We spent a week on ship and a week in London. Bob had studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and wanted us to see British theatre.

Mike Lookinland - Bobby Brady

What is your best memory from the show?

The crew and cast stopped work to watch the Apollo 11 lunar module lift off from the moon...on the Brady’s television in the family room by the kitchen!

What is your own favourite television series?

I am a fan of the old Star Treks and The Simpsons.

Did you ever play pranks on each other during the show?

The cast would sometimes plan a prank on the director (If we liked him). We’d give the scene a twisted punch line on take one. Also, we teased Maureen McCormick (Marcia) relentlessly.

How did you handle fame at such a young age?

We had close friends and families who were our support and kept us safe and sane. I say “we” because this was the case for all six of us kids.

What is your favourite outfit out of those going to the museum?

The purple suit with the beads for its overt garishness. I have many good memories of the performances wearing all of them.

Will this be your first visit to Newbridge and Kildare?

First visit to Ireland. Kelly [my wife] and I are excited!