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40 years later, ‘Brady’ sitcom ‘part of Americana’

Forty years later, three cast members of “The Brady Bunch,” returned to Kings Island, site of one of their most memorable episodes.

They rode the Red Racer — the same roller coaster they did in 1973 — twice with radio contest winners, spent time discussing the series and its impact and then performed four shows at the park Sunday afternoon.

Barry Williams (Greg Brady), Christopher Knight (Peter Brady) and Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady), who now all have families of their own, returned to the amusement park where the episode, called “The Cincinnati Kids,” was filmed at Kings Island Aug. 20-24, 1973, the second year the park was open.

In the episode, which first aired Nov. 23, 1973, Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed, took the family with him as he presented his architectural plans for a new addition to Kings Island. The plans became inadvertently misplaced while the family was in the park.

Reed passed away 1992, and Williams said other cast members of the show haven’t “totally embraced reminiscing” as much as he, Knight and Olsen. He couldn’t remember the last time the entire cast got together.

“The Brady Bunch” aired on ABC from 1969-74 and included 117 episodes. Williams said the show remains popular today because of its multi-generational fans. Those who grew up in the early 1970s watched the “Brady Bunch,” and they’re still watching the reruns, and their children and grandchildren are now watching the show.

“It’s been an unbelievable ride,” said Williams, 58, his hair sprinkled with gray. “After all these years, it’s still very rewarding. It’s family.”

When asked if he thought the show would be discussed more than 40 years after it debuted, Knight, 55, said he was always worried about the show being renewed the next year.

“We had no idea if we’d be on the next year,” Knight said. “But it makes kind of sense. It’s a show for kids and a filter that, when presented with it, they seem to pass through. It’s just been crazy. It seems we’re as popular today as we were back then. There’s just something about the Brady show that connects us with people. They seem to relate to us and what we went through.”

Williams added: “It’s part of Americana.”

The show has been translated into numerous languages, said Williams, who spent three years writing a book entitled, “Growing Up Brady.”

He truly understood the show’s impact when his 10-year-old son, while taking a Spanish class, and his classmates watched an episode of “The Brady Bunch” in Spanish. He said the teacher wanted her students to learn the language and appreciate the family values on the show.

Olsen, 51, the youngest person in the cast, said she was the only one who actually watched the show. She said viewing the episodes with her mother was like watching home movies. She never minds being associated with the show.

Then she looked around the park at the autograph and photograph seekers who started to gather. Each of them had their favorite Brady story, their favorite episode.

“We’re still loved,” she said, “and it feels good.”

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