May the Schwartz be with you

Staying home sick from school as a kid, back in the days before cable and VCRs, would not have been nearly as pleasant if not for the work of television producer Sherwood Schwartz, who passed away yesterday at the age of 94. My thoughts are with his friends and family this evening. Here, in his memory, are clips from his iconic creations – The Brady Bunch, and Gilligan’s Island. If you feel motivated to do so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on favorite episodes, and what the shows meant to you.

The following clip, which I think will give you some sense as to the kind of guy Schwartz was, comes from Entertainment Weekly:

…In 1997, when Sherwood Schwartz, who died today at the age of 94, sat down for a six-hour interview for the Archive of American Television, he was asked how he’d like to be remembered. “As a man who tried to explain, in his own way, that people have to learn to get along with each other,” he answered. It’s the concept at the center of his two most beloved shows, Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch. When creating Gilligan’s Island in the early 1960s, he wanted to place seven disparate people in a place they couldn’t escape. “Where could they be that they had to get along with each other? That was the idea for the show, and it’s the most important idea in the world today,” he said. “For people who toss away the show as just a silly broad comedy, it’s deeper than that.”

That Archive of American Television interview with Schwartz can be found here. I’m watching it now, and finding him to be a lovely fellow.

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22 Comments

  1. Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    For those of you who don’t get the reference in the title, just click here.

  2. Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Loved both shows! In fact, in college we would watch the Brady Bunch from 4:35 until 5:05 every day on TBS. I got to the point where I could name that episode in about 15 seconds. Had a minor crush on the Professor and fancy myself more like Mary Ann than Ginger.

    Stand outs: GI~the one with the guy who thinks it’s still WWII, the one where the Howells aren’t actually legally married & the skipper remarries them, of course–Harlem Globetrotters!
    BB~Greg as Johnny Bravo, Hawaii episodes, the one where they make the house haunted so that the parents won’t sell it, the one where some dude sues Mrs. Brady for giving him “whiplash” from a car accident (nice save by Dad there in the courtroom)…OMG they are all totally awesome!

  3. Bob
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I love the BB where Greg moves into Mikes den and turns it into something resembling Jimi Hendrix’s crash pad.

  4. Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, Bob! That’s also the one where he goes, “Morning Carol, morning Mike” and the parents are just flummoxed.

  5. Bobby! Cindy!
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    My favorite BB is the multicultural Grand Canyon vacation.

    I love it when Bobby says to the Indian kid, “Maybe we can make a deal.”

    I still refuse to eat beans and franks out of anything other than a flashlight.

  6. Kevin
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Loved Peter’s identity crisis: “Pork chopsh and apple shaushe”

    BB in Hawaii: To this day, I have an irrational fear of Hawaiian tiki dolls. One of my students gave me one after his Christmas break and I have hid it somewhere. Wouldn’t want to wipe out on my longbaord, or risk a tarantual invasion. Also, I often think about leaving a trail of popcorn to find my way back.

  7. Edward
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    If there was anything this stupid on television today, I’d make fun of it relentlessly. With that said, I loved both of these shows. Here are a few of the fist things to come to mind, in no particular order.

    – Gilligan getting out of a tough political situation by choosing a gorilla named Gladys as the winner of an island beauty contest.

    – Bobby idolizing Billy the Kid, until he’s set straight by a man who lost his parents to the famous gun slinger.

    – Peter’s voice cracking during a recording session, and how they incorporated it into the song. (Were they performing a The Silver Platters?)

    – Gilligan’s head turning into a radio. (It still amazes me to this day that this can happen.)

  8. Wilber Tamaro
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed masturbating to Marcia.

    (This is a throw-away account.)

  9. Tommy
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    BB – the driving contest between Marsha and Greg; Loved the two movie remakes recently as well, especially where the separate rooms in the attic is played out a bit differently once the two realize that they really aren’t blood relatives – cue ‘Let’s Get It On”!
    GI – the radioactive vegetables that provide super powers to all of the crew .

    By the way, read once where the characters in Gilligan were actually a physical embodiment of Dante’s Seven Deadly Sins.

  10. Mr. X
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe they were able to get three seasons of material out of the Gilligan’s Island concept. (My favorite was the episode where the Mars capsule landed on the island at the same time a glue pot exploded outside of the hut where Gilligan had been collecting feathers, and NASA researchers were confronted with images of what they thought were giant bird people on a beach.) Of course, toward the end, they had to rely more and more on dream sequences, where Gilligan would, for instance, imagine himself as a Dr. Jeckle/Mr. Hyde type of character in London. I would have loved to have seen it go on for a few more seasons, and get even more insane.

    And I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that Gilligan’s Island was ever a prime time show.

  11. Kim
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I can’t imagine that younger viewers would find anything to like in these shows. As much as I love them, I think it’s kind of like Stockholm Syndrome. There used to be nothing good on television. We like these shows because they were all that we had. We were starved for entertainment, and we had, maybe, four television stations, three of which were playing soap operas. It’s understandable that we’d come to love them. Still, there must be something special about these shows, in that they tend to surpass their competition, like Bewitched and Leave it to Beaver.

  12. Maria
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    It was their gentle silliness that made them enjoyable.

  13. Alice
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    There was nothing gentle about it. Do you remember how hard the Skipper used to hit Gilligan with his hat?

  14. Meta
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    The shows were good. The theme songs were better. Schwartz (with some help) wrote both.

  15. kjc
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Ginger was hot.

  16. alan ciegilece
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that I’m pretty unique, but did anyone else get into science because of The Professor?

  17. Ypsiosaurus Wrecks
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    R.I.P Sherwood

  18. Bob
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Leave it to Beaver is still funny. The funniest sitcom of all time is Sanford & Son. Which despite being dated in every way, is still completely hip and hilarious.

  19. Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Last summer, I stayed up late watching the trifecta of the Jeffersons, Good Times and Sanford & Son. I told some of the kids at school this fact and they were duly impressed and, dare I say, humbled to be in the presence of someone so cool :) :) j/k

  20. dragon
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Patti
    OMG!
    Like , I agree with everything you said.
    I’ve seen every episode of both of these shitcoms dozens of times and my favorites match yours exactly. The Japanese dude, and the fake neck brace. Bravo!
    .
    P.S.
    Mary Ann at her maximum hotness. As a Honey Bee -Vs- Mosquito.
    My sexual orientation was determined.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EgE6PbBEIc

  21. Edward
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    The guy in the neck brace was Jackie Coogan, from Chaplin’s “The Kid”. You probably know him best as Uncle Fester. The guy had one hell of an eclectic career.

  22. Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Yay Dragon! I’m glad we agree on this :) :)

    She is adorable. When you click on the link, it also offers to show you the mud bath scene with MaryAnn and Ginger…I wish my Professor had been in a mud bath :)

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