The Brady Bunch enjoyed a successful run from 1969-1974 before spinning off into a myriad of sequels and other derivative projects.
In the process, nobody except creator Sherwood Schwartz (1916-2011) got rich, but the show's fans were enriched by its narcotic wholesomeness and oddly Stepford vibe, at once a reflection of our own families and an impossible ideal they could never achieve.
Out of all the characters, Jan (Eve Plumb, b. 1958) and Marcia (Maureen McCormick, b. 1956) seem to get all the play these days thanks to Betty Thomas's (b. 1947) The Brady Bunch Movie (1995) and its brilliant impersonations of McCormick by Christine Taylor (b. 1971) and Plumb by Jennifer Elise Cox (b. 1969).
But you wanna know what? The Brady Bunch was actually allllll about Peter and/or allllll about the actor who played him, Christopher Knight (b. 1957),
In honor of Knight's big 60th birthday today, here are 13 reasons why!
(13) Like Barry Williams, Chris Knight Knows His Value
In Growing Up Brady by Barry Williams with Chris Kreski (HarperCollins, 1992), Barry Williams recalled a time when Filmation Associates was negotiating with the child stars for the use of their voices in the animated The Brady Kids (1972-1973). They planned to stick together to demand more money. When Filmation threatened to create the cartoons without the actors (but using their voices and likenesses), the kids' rep threatened to sue. Over time, Williams claims, all the other kids and their parents caved — but not him and not Knight. They held out and avoided doing the show ... and got paid years later when a claim stopped just short of going to court.
(12) Chris Had Great Taste in Entertainment
According to a fan-mag appearance, Chris Knight's fave band was The Beatles, and his fave actors were Paul Newman (1925-2008) and Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011).
(11) Chris/Peter Was the #1 Draw
Christopher Knight was by far the most popular Brady kid. He was all over teen fan magazines because he was cute and the exact right age over which teen girls could swoon, not too old for any of them (as Barry Williams was for some), and not too young (as Mike Lookinland was for all).
(10) Chris Knew What He Wanted
In spite of being Mr. Popularity, Knight loathed going on tour with the other kids, even though it was incredibly lucrative in a way the series was not. Williams wrote in his 1992 book:
Chris Knight for example, really wanted no part of the live act. He hated singing, hated dancing, hated touring, and would probably have preferred o stay home and hang out like a normal kid.
(9) Chris's Fave Episode Is "A-Camping We Will Go"
This is literally nobody else's favorite episode. Knight is just cool like that. Watch it here.
(8) Chris Was Constantly Shirtless
Back in the '70s, teen heartthrobs were not as shy about shucking their shirts, and Knight was no exception. Case in point:
Or how about:
But this may be too far:
(7) Knight Never Stopped Looking Good Shirtless
Chris is 60, but following yet another a hot shirtless appearance on The Love Boat (1984), semi-recent photos reveal he is still a hot piece.
(6) Peter Is Real
The character of Peter is the most relatable of the Brady boys. A total dork, he grew up to enlist in the Army — and to not be very good at his job — on The Brady Brides (1981), and a bad businessman on A Very Brady Christmas (1988). By 1990's The Bradys, Peter is in his thirties and already in the midst of a full-scale mid-life crisis. What the hell was Jan complaining about?
(5) Chris Is Real, Too
Knight came out as — gasp! — balding with a series of commercials for Bosley - The Hair Restoration Expert. Bosley got their money's worth when Knight exclaimed, "This is my hair — this is MY. HAIR."
(4) Peter Can Get You Free Ice Cream
Shockingly, there was a Brady Bunch episode entitled "Marcia Gets Creamed" (oh, dear). But all we care about is that Peter worked in the ice cream shop. To hell with Marcia and Jan! Oh, and here is everything you'd ever wanna know about that ice cream shop.
(3) Chris Knows His Audience
Now that he's 60 and now that we're ... older, too ... Chris has launched an online furniture business, the Christopher Knight Home line. This venture follows his successful businesses in computer software and television products. So he has a a head for business and a bod for teen heartthrobbing!
(2) Two Words ... Porkchops and Applesauce
In the episode entitled "The Personality Kid" (1971), Peter is told he has no personality, so he begins trying to develop one. Oddly, he decides to try Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), giving us the immortal line, "Porkchops and applesauce," which was one of the most "swell" lines in Brady history.
(1) And Finally, Like Bob Dylan, He Used His Terrible Voice to Create a Classic
On "Dough Re Mi" (1972), when Peter's changing voice threatens a record deal, the kids cook up the idea to use his ear-poison instrument as part of "Time to Change," a sugary song about, well, puberty. It's just about the best song ever put on TV, though Bobby's groovy solos in "Sunshine Day" from the "Amateur Nite" episode (1973) did gave Peter a run for his money. To Peter's credit, his voice had improved a lot by that latter episode. Or maybe he just moved his lips and did his best to blend in.