Oct 262014

For decades — during the original run and then countless reruns — Florence Henderson, who presided over the Brady Bunch, was America’s perfect Mom.

We’ve invited Henderson to play a game called “They said you were mad at the Academy! Mad, I tell you!” In September, the Annals of Improbable Research handed out their annual Ig Nobel Awards for achievements in real, if ridiculous, research. We’ll ask three questions about the far horizons of science.



And now the game where the rewards of a rich, full life can be taken when a moment – we call it Not My Job. For decades, both during the original run of the TV show “The Brady Bunch” and then through countless reruns, Florence Henderson became America’s perfect mother. As Carol Brady, she presided over a blended family famous for its love, mutual respect and what must have been a lot of repressed sexual tension.
SAGAL: I mean, they weren’t actually siblings, right? Florence Henderson, welcome to WAIT WAIT …DON’T TELL ME.
FLORENCE HENDERSON: Thanks Peter, I’m happy to be here.
SAGAL: So we were reading your biography and it’s extraordinarily impressive prior to you getting the role of Carol Brady. You were, among other things, the first female guest host for Johnny Carson?
HENDERSON: Yeah, I go back a long way, Peter.
SAGAL: I can imagine. So you were a theater actress. In fact, you were an award-winning actress here to Chicago, I was proud to read. And then they came to you, presumably sometime in the mid-60s. The creator of “Gilligan’s Island” had an idea for a show about a blended family – mother with daughters, father with sons. What was your reaction when you first heard about this show?
HENDERSON: Well, it was in 1969, and I thought, wow, you know, I really didn’t want to do a TV series. You know, I had my own act and I was performing in Vegas and doing all of these exciting things. And my manager said, well, just go down and meet them. I thought it was great and it was fun, but I thought, well I guess it didn’t sell. And then I get the lead in the movie “Song Of Norway.” And I’m over in Norway filming and I get a message that “The Brady Bunch” sold. And so they started the show without me. They did six episodes without me and then I filled in when I got back to the states.
SAGAL: And “The Brady Bunch,” as I don’t need to tell anybody – well, certainly my age, became like the signal to…
HENDERSON: How old are you?
SAGAL: I am old enough to have watched it in the original series. How’s that?
HENDERSON: You sound like a baby.
SAGAL: Oh, thank you.


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