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Smart Set Beauty Salon and Shopping Center from “The Brady Bunch”

Apr 22nd, 2016 | By | Category: Michael's Guest Posts, TV Locations

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While I originally intended to be filling this week with locales from my recent New York trip, I had a family emergency that landed me out of state since Monday.  At this point, I’m not sure when I will be returning home, so posts might be on the light side in the coming days and weeks.  Thankfully, though, my friend Michael, the fellow stalker who gifted us with the two fabulous Brady Bunch write-ups about The Golden Spoon Café and the Downtown Christmas Shopping District, has swooped in and saved the day by penning yet another guest post about yet another BB location.  Thank you, Michael!  So without further ado . . .

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In the final episode of The Brady Bunch, “The Hair-Brained Scheme,” Bobby, in the midst of a get-rich-quick venture, convinces Greg to tame his mane (in preparation for graduation) with some reasonably priced Neat & Natural Hair Tonic. Not unsurprisingly, the hair product turned plot-device quickly transforms Greg’s hair into something resembling a wig you might find in Harpo Marx’s hatbox. Eveready for a comedic crisis, Carol whisks Greg off to her beauty parlor (that specializes in groovy lady-mullets, no doubt) for a quick dye job. Lucky are we—the filming-location-loving audience—that their visit to the beauty shop is prefaced by two sequential establishing shots, providing us with a couple distinct looks at the location. First we are shown a wide shot of an outdoor shopping center, complete with a packed parking lot and a beauty shop nestled among a strip of storefronts.

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After the commercial break we are treated to a close-up of the building as the camera pans up from the parking lot across much of the signage displayed along the facade.

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The interior scenes with the actors were, as usual, filmed in a Paramount soundstage, but the clips of the exterior were filmed away from the studio. And with all the visible store names, I figured that it wouldn’t be difficult to pinpoint where the establishing shots were filmed. Famous last words.

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First I concentrated on the wide shot. The larger storefront on the left had a row of shopping carts outside suggesting that perhaps a grocery store was nearby. Christmas trees with the words “Holiday Greetings” were tacked onto the light posts. And, although blurry, I could make out the name of the beauty parlor: Smart Set Beauty Salon. Unfortunately, my perfunctory web search for Smart Set was to no effect, and without a grocery store name it was time to look a little closer.

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The next thing I noticed was the unique roofline on the building. It reminded me of the double-sloped mansard roof on the marina boathouse in my hometown, so I started thinking of water-side cities. And that maybe those decorations on the light posts weren’t Christmas trees at all; suddenly those trees were looking a lot more like sail boats. I then tried to make out the names of the other businesses. First was The Mariner Barber Shop (which worked with the marina-style roof), a barely legible ice cream shop, and the ridiculously named Posh Pourri. It was clear as (a sunshine) day that such a unique name was my best bet to zero in on the shopping center.

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Researching Posh Pourri, I first came across an expired trademark that had been registered in Marina del Rey and an article about the actor Herb Rudley. Rudley, along with his wife and a business partner, opened Posh Pourri in Marina del Rey in late 1967. He mentions in the article that they also considered the name “Port Pourri,” but ended up going with his wife’s suggestion since they hoped to provide a “potpourri of elegance.” I may never forgive him for not choosing “Port Pourri”—I love a pun.

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Unfortunately, neither the article nor trademark application listed an address for the gift shop. But, by looking at the history of Marina del Rey—a charming seaside community in the west side of Los Angeles—and the layouts of the malls in the area, I was pretty sure it was located in a shopping center that was originally known as Marina Waterside. Unfortunately, the center—now known simply as Waterside—has been remodeled twice since it opened in 1967, first in 1990 and again in 2005. To make matters worse, I couldn’t initially find any photos from its original look, and only a couple from the first renovation.

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Present-day aerial photography then came to the rescue. Looking at a bird’s-eye view of Waterside showed that new facades on the front of the building had replaced the original roof style, however on the backside of the building the roof was left partially intact and it matched the style seen in the Brady clip.

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Nearly positive I’d found the right spot, I still wanted more evidence linking Posh Pourri to Waterside, so off to my trusty library I went. A quick look in the US Shopping Center Directory from 1974 confirmed my suspicions. Not only was Posh Pourri listed, but so was Carol and Greg’s Smart Set Beauty Salon, Mariner Barber Shop, Brookdale Ice Cream, Suds ’N Duds Laundromat, Bon Marche Shirt Laundry, and Boy’s Market. Finally, proof that Carol was heading out of the Valley in order to maintain her far out ‘do.

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In December, I found myself in Marina del Rey and had to see the shopping center in person. Although it’s been significantly remodeled, and is filled with new businesses, it’s still easy to picture how the current-day layout translates to the Brady clips.

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I took a walk around the back of the complex and was happily surprised that a little bit of the old mansard roof was poking just far enough up for me to still see.

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The mall was last remodeled in 2005 by developer Caruso Affiliated who is better known for creating The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles.

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Although I’m always disappointed when renovations have significantly changed the look of a filming location, I’m afraid it was a necessity in this situation. The shopping complex’s 1990 remodel looked terribly dated and I can’t imagine that the facility would be thriving as successfully today (or even still exist) without some redevelopment over the past 49 years.

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So there you have it. Smart Set Beauty Salon may be long gone, however a Dry Bar now sits near the old Posh Pourri location. So, should you ever end up suffering the effects of Neat and Natural Hair Tonic, they might not be able to do anything about your sherbet-colored hair, but a least they’ll be able to smooth it out for you.

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Thanks once again to Lindsay for providing me a platform to prattle on about a 40-something year old Brady location.  (Editor’s Note – Big THANK YOU to you, Michael, for another fabulously and meticulously researched post! Smile)

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Stalk It: Waterside Shopping Center, aka Marina Waterside Shopping Center aka Carol Brady’s Smart Set Salon is located at 4700 Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey.

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5 comments

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  1. Ashley L. says:

    Michael is a guy after my own heart with his tireless research and Brady Bunch love!

  2. Patti says:

    I like in the directory, there’s a ‘Brady’s Answering Service’….perhaps a sideline for the Brady kids?? 😉

  3. John (Bay Area) says:

    Amazing! You should work for the FBI! I love challenging myself to find a location of a movie/TV/commercial scene right after I watch it and taking great satisfaction in figuring it out when I do. Most people would think its a crazy waste of time but its actually a great mental challenge. Better than Sudoku! 🙂

  4. MM says:

    Wow. Nice post.

    Coincidentally, I was in that shopping mall recently. Neat 😉


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