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“The Brady Bunch” MegaPost

Jun 6th, 2016 | By | Category: Michael's Guest Posts, TV Locations

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My friend, fellow stalker Michael, is proving to be a true Brady Bunch virtuoso!  Here he is yet again gifting us with yet another fabulous post about the 1969 sitcom – this one a round-up of nine different locales featured on the series!  Take it away, Michael!

I know, I know. Yet another Brady guest post foisted upon you. I swear, I do know how to find non-Brady locations. However, I had compiled a bunch of Brady Bunch establishing shot sites that I hadn’t seen posted anywhere online, and asked Lindsay if she’d be up for a catch-all post to at least get these addresses out there, and save anyone interested from duplicating research efforts. Note, as is frequently the case, while these establishing shots were filmed on location, the scenes with the actors were filmed on a Paramount soundstage.

Davey Jones’ Royal Towers Hotel

Wilshire Regent

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I thought I’d start with a location I happened upon by accident. This winter, I was in Los Angeles riding down Wilshire Boulevard when I looked ahead and saw a building that I thought had been used in a Brady Bunch episode. I snapped a couple quick pics and found their match when I got home.

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In the third-season episode, “Getting Davy Jones,” Marcia (in drag) and Greg sneak into Davy Jones’ hotel room in an effort to coax him into performing at the Fillmore Junior High prom.

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The establishing shot of of the fictional Royal Towers Hotel was in reality the Wilshire Regent, a luxury co-op built in 1963. The section of Wilshire Blvd where it stands, known as the Wilshire Corridor, is now filled with high-rises, but the Wilshire Regent was one of the first apartment towers built in the area. And lucky for us, the exterior of the building looks remarkably unchanged.

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Stalk It: Wilshire Regent, aka Davy Jones’ Hotel, aka Royal Towers Hotel is located at 10501 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Mr. Dimsdale’s Recording Studio / Mercola Building

Fred Hayman Building

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In keeping with the musical theme, the next location comes from an establishing shot in the third-season episode, “Dough Re Mi.” The Brady Kids, ready to share their musical stylings with the world, get in hock against their collective allowances to rent studio time from Johnny Dimsdale’s father so they can record a demo of Greg’s latest, “We Can Make the World a Whole Lot Brighter.” However, Peter’s cracking voice jeopardizes the venture and their “$150 non-refundable dollars.”

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One would think with a name slapped on the facade, it’d be a cinch to track down this location. Nevertheless, to this day, I haven’t found any other references to the Mercola Building (if anyone out there has, let me know!). As it turns out, I ended up running across this location by accident.

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Last year, I walked through Beverly Hills on my way to meet up with a friend for coffee, and as I meandered down Canon Drive I couldn’t help but notice the bright yellow Fred Hayman Building. But, no sooner did I start to reflect on the difference between Giorgio yellow and Bijan yellow (iconic Beverly Hills boutiques known for their use of the color), then my attention was caught by another structure in the area and I forgot all about the Fred Hayman Building.

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Researching that neighborhood when I got home, I found myself on Google Street View. Randomly turning my virtual self around, I saw the Fred Hayman Building again and realized it was a Brady location I’d looked for in the past.

Other than a paint job, the structure still looks remarkably similar to its appearance on The Brady Bunch. What looks to be a parking lot on the right of Brady clip is now home to Spago Beverly Hills, and the exterior of the shorter annex building has been remodeled numerous times, most recently housing a restaurant.

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Stalk It: Fred Hayman Building, aka Mr. Dimsale’s Recording Studio, aka Mercola Building is located at 190 (& 184) North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills.

Daily Chronicle Newspaper Building

Marfay Building

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In the first-season episode, “Father of The Year,” Marcia sneaks out of the house to mail an essay submitting Mike for the local newspaper’s father of the year competition. Later in the episode, an office building is used to establish a scene set in the publisher’s office.

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I stumbled across this building while looking through the massive archive of architectural photographer Julius Schulman that The Getty Research Institute has posted online.

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© J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10 Job 593)

As soon as I saw the photo, I knew that it had been seen on The Brady Bunch. It took me a while longer to home in on the specific episode. A quick web search found that the structure—known as the Marfay Building—was built in 1949 by Welton Becket and Walter Wurdeman. You may know Becket’s and Wurdeman’s work from many classic mid-century buildings throughout Los Angeles—Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Capitol Records Building, Cinerama Dome, and the Century City master plan just to name a few.

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The building’s facade was drastically overhauled in 1987, still you’ll notice the structure next door has maintained its integrity from the days of Brady.

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Stalk It: Marfay Building, aka Daily Chronicle Newspaper Building is located at 5657 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Encino Medical Tower Dentist Office

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Sometimes I luck out and an establishing shot does the work for me. Such is the case in the fourth-season episode titled “Love and the Older Man.” The Brady’s regular dentist has a new associate, Dr. Stanley Vogel, and Marcia is gaga, so much so that she fantasizes of a future replete with a dental chair in her living room. “Imagine me, Mrs. Marcia Dentist,” she dreamily exclaims.

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The Encino Medical Tower looks much the same as it did in the 1970s, however some of the charmingly retro arches have unfortunately been remodeled.

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Stalk It: Encino Medical Tower is located at 16260 Ventura Boulevard in Encino.

Gilbert’s Books

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Another Brady location that didn’t camouflage its real-world name can be seen in the first-season episode, “The Hero.” It also happens to be another episode where we find Marcia envisioning her future. This time she writes in her diary, “My dream of dreams is to be Mrs. Desi Arnaz Jr.” Unfortunately, Cindy accidently donates said diary to charity resulting in a mortified Marcia. The family forms a search party to scour LA’s used bookstores in an attempt to track down the journal; Mike and Cindy stop at Gilbert’s Book Shop.

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The Hollywood Boulevard-located bookstore is sadly no more, the building has been razed, and the W Hollywood occupies its former footprint (and then some). Fortunately, the Taft Building—the first high rise office building in LA, built in 1923—a sliver of which is visible in the Brady clip to the right of Gilbert’s, is still holding its own.

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Stalk It: Gilbert’s Book Shop was located at 6278 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

Valley Drug

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In the second-season episode, “The Not-So-Ugly Duckling,” when Jan’s crush, Clark Tyson, is more interested in Marcia, she decides that her freckles are “making her a social outcast,” and heads to the drug store to look for a quick fix. The establishing shot again makes no attempt to hide its name; Valley Drug in bold script is emblazoned above the doorway.

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A quick web search provided a present-day Valley Drug & Compounding in Encino. Although the Encino business’ logo matched the Brady clip, the structure did not.

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After digging through newspaper archives, phone books, and verifying addresses against old Los Angeles building permits I was able to confirm that the drug store shown in the establishing shot was located on the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Magnolia Blvd.

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Pharmacist, Sidney Simmons purchased Valley Drug at 5161 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in 1955 and in the early 1990s relocated the business down the road to 4800 Laurel Canyon Boulevard. In 1998, he sold the store to the Rite Aid chain and opened up the specialty pharmacy in Encino. An archived building permit shows the original drug store and its distinct chamfered corner entrance.

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Sadly, the structure is long gone and the land now provides additional parking for a Jon’s Marketplace. At least a present-day Jan wouldn’t have to go far to find a lemon for her at-home freckle treatment.

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Stalk It: Valley Drug was located at 5161 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in North Hollywood.

Television Studio (and Ballet Studio)
Metromedia Square

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Shown in a number of episodes, now-razed television and film studio, Metromedia Square was a popular Brady-establishing-shot location. The Hollywood-constructed lot was originally known as Nassour Studios and built in the 1940s. The Times-Mirror Company purchased the facility in the 1950s and Metromedia took over the studio in the late 1960s. In the 1980s Metromedia started leasing the lot to News Corporation and the name was again changed to Fox Television Center. Finally, Metromedia sold the land in 2000 and the studio was torn down and Helen Bernstein High School was built on the property.

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Establishing shots of Metromedia Square were used in a number of fifth-season Brady episodes, but the site is first seen in the forth-season episode “Amateur Nite.” Mike and Carol’s anniversary is coming up and the kids decide to buy them a silver platter. Unbelievably, Jan isn’t as familiar as most teens in the byzantine methods by which engraving is priced and can’t cover the cost of the customized platter. The kids naturally turn to song in an effort to pay their debts. Dubbing themselves “The Silver Platters,” they perform (in matching jumpsuits) on a local television show competition.

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The exterior is next see in the episode “You Can’t Win ‘Em All.” Cindy becomes a prima donna when her test scores qualify her to help represent Clinton Grammar School on a local television station’s quiz show. Cindy’s inflated ego has no bounds, even turning down Alice’s cooking with a terse, “A star can’t go on television all fat and broken out.” When at the television studio, Cindy freezes with stage fright the moment the red light on the camera glows.

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The exterior is shown again in “Adios, Johnny Bravo.” The Brady Kids—no longer strangers to the television studio—are taping a performance and Greg is pulled aside by a couple of quick-talking record producers hoping to mold him into the newest pop sensation because he literally “fit the suit.”

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The last we see of Metromedia Square is in the episode “Try, Try Again,” where it’s inconsistently used to establish a scene set in the girls’ ballet class.

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Although, I knew the establishing shots were of Metromedia Square, I wanted to figure out where exactly the shots were filmed. Strangely, I couldn’t find many photos of the lot, so I started with a contemporary aerial photo [below in color] and one photographed when the studio was still in existence [below in black & white]. I was also lucky to come across a few maps of the lot in my go-to resource, the LA building permit archives.

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From those, I was able to home in on the area that was shown in the Brady clips. The direction in which the roads intersected proved to be a helpful guide, and the corner of an “Audience Parking” sign in the Brady clip confirmed that I’d zeroed in on the correct part of the lot. The orange arrows on the aerial photos and map above mark the location of the camera and the approximate angle used for the establishing shots. I was also surprised to find that the corner of a building at Fernwood Avenue and North Van Ness Avenue, formerly across the street from Metromedia Square, is still there. It’s the KTLA building at Sunset Bronson Studios and still looks the same as it did in the Brady clip. Interestingly, the current Sunset Bronson Studios was the original Warner Bros. lot, purchased by the young studio in 1920, and the current KTLA building originally housed Leon Schlesinger Productions (of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies fame). Warner Bros. purchased Schlesinger’s interest in the animation company in 1944, and in 1953 they sold the entire lot to Paramount; KTLA moved into the old Schlesinger building thereafter. You can see a vintage photo of Schlesinger’s building with its distinctive quoining here. At least a little sliver of history from the Brady clip still remains.

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As you can see, Metromedia Square is no more and its buildings seen in the Brady clips have been replaced with the school’s basketball courts.

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Stalk It: Metromedia Square Audience Parking was located on North Van Ness Avenue at Fernwood Avenue in Hollywood.

Drive-In Theatre

Gilmore Drive-In

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The Gilmore Drive-In is another establishing shot location that was used in more than one Brady episode. In the forth-season episode “Greg Gets Grounded,” as a punishment for driving on the freeway while reading the back of a new record album, Greg’s family-car privileges are taken away for a week. After irking Carol and Mike with another misdeed, he narrowly avoids further punishment on a technicality by claiming that he followed their “exact words.” Predictably, Mike and Carol later hold Greg to his “exact words” and force him to cancel a date and bring Bobby and Peter to a frog jumping competition (naturally). After the competition, the young masters Brady absentmindedly leave their frogs in Greg’s car. Unfortunately for Greg, in a rush to pick up his date for a drive-in movie, Croaker and Spunker’s presence goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

And in the fifth-season episode “Peter and the Wolf,” Greg has a date with Sandra, but unless he can find a date for her cousin Linda, she’ll have to cancel. Enter Linda’s new date, a faux mustachioed Peter, alias Phil Packer, “Some swinging guy from another high school.” Need I write more? Obviously, nothing but comedy gold can come from a setup like that.

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The establishing shot as it’s seen in the episode is rather dark (as evening is wont to do), but with a quick digital adjustment, a few clues to the drive-in’s location were unveiled. The detailing on the screen tower along with the larger panel to its right seemed unique to the Gilmore Drive-In in Los Angeles. My suspicions were confirmed when the lightened image also revealed the Park La Brea Apartments in the distance.

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In the 1880s, Arthur Fremont Gilmore bought hundreds of acres of farmland around what is now Fairfax Avenue. In the early 1900s he struck oil on the property and transitioned from farming to the oil business. In 1918, his son Earl Bell Gilmore took over the family business and by the 1940s had sold the majority of their original acreage. He however kept a few dozen acres which housed Gilmore Stadium, Gilmore Field, the Farmers Market, and of course the Gilmore Drive-In.

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Built in 1948, the theatre reportedly had a 650-vehicle capacity and was designed by architects William Glenn Balch and Louis L. Bryan. The asymmetric panel that helped me identify the theatre, upon further research, turned out to be an enlarged light shield built in 1955. By the 1970s the theatre had fallen into disrepair and demolition permits were issued in 1979. Today, The Grove shopping center, specifically Nordstrom, sits in the screen’s former location, leaving the Farmers Market as the only remaining original Gilmore-related enterprise in the area. The former site of the Gilmore Drive-In is outlined in orange below, with an arrow pointing in the direction of the former location of the screen.

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CBS purchased Gilmore Stadium in 1950 and built CBS Television City on the land. Later in the decade, CBS expanded their studio onto the former site of Gilmore Field. Their website has some great aerial photos of the area, and many include the drive-in. Cinematreasures.org also has a nice selection of photos of the road-facing side of theatre’s screen tower.

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Stalk It: The Gilmore Drive-In was located at 6201 West 3rd Street in Los Angeles.

Rose Bowl Stadium

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In the fifth-season episode “Mail Order Hero,” Bobby’s in a pickle when after claiming to know Joe Namath, the football player is in town and Bobby’s friends call his bluff. In an effort to help her brother, Cindy puts pen to paper and speciously writes a letter to Namath on Bobby’s behalf, beginning with, “I’m writing to you because I’m very very sick.”

Inspired by the letter, the football player stops by the Brady residence, Bobby plays sick, Cindy plays nursemaid, and Mike and Carol, out of the loop from Cindy’s letter, shock Namath with their lack of concern over their dying son—“Well when you have six kids, something like this is bound to happen to one of them.”

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A scene set at the stadium office with Namath is established with a shot of the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. The entrance area to the 1922-built stadium has recently undergone some renovations, but the structure itself still matches the Brady shot.

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The angle from which the establishing shot was filmed obscured the Rose Bowl logo with some tress, but if you look carefully, you can still make out the corners of the signage.

Stalk It: The Rose Bowl Stadium is located at 1001 Rose Bowl Drive in Pasadena.

And there you have it, nine locations for the price of one. If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations and thanks for sticking with me! As always, many thanks to Lindsay for generously offering up her forum for another very-Brady post.  (Editor’s note – a big THANK YOU to you, Michael, for yet another scintillating and fastidiously-researched article!  Smile)

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10 comments

Leave a comment »

  1. Amazing work! So good. Did you see the aerials from the 1976 Above Los Angeles book? There’s a great pic of Gilmore Drive In.

    https://flic.kr/p/Nppbhd

  2. Mark Mercola says:

    Hi Lindsay,

    I came across your site searching for something else on Google and was curious.

    I can tell you a lot of history about the Mercola building. Suffice to say it is on Canon, just north of Wilshire. The building is still there, but alas no longer in my family. The business had nothing to do with music. I recall as a child my sister screaming when she recognized it on TV watching the Brady bunch show.

    Regards,

    Mark Mercola

  3. Ashley L. says:

    LOVE this! Seriously a stunning amount of work. Most of the establishing shots are so brief and nondescript, I can’t imagine how he does it!

    One little correction – the episode with Cindy going on the tv quiz show is “You Can’t Win Them All”. I know because I literally just watched it last night! :) “Out of this World” is the one where the younger boys get obsessed with UFOs.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for the correction, Ashely. I don’t know how I got that title in there—I must have been having a very-Brady meltdown from trying to synopsize so many episodes. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. Penny says:

    What a great post! I always wondered what building was used as the exterior for Mike Brady’s work as an architect. Do you know? Thank you –

    • Michael says:

      Penny: The old Beverly Hills library was used for the establishing shots of Mike’s office. If you look closely at the Brady clip you’ll notice the colorful stripes on the facade were a mosaic of colorful book spines. Unfortunately, the building was heavily renovated the 90s and is unrecognizable now.


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  1. […] (you know him from his many The Brady Bunch guest posts, which you can read here, here, here, here and here, as well as his columns on Too Close for Comfort, The Ropers, Life in Pieces, and Fuller […]

  2. […] columns from this week here, here and here, and his previous guest articles here, here, here and here.). Today’s locale is a longtime unknown site from a show I loved as a kid!  […]

  3. […] friend, fellow stalker Michael (you can read his other fabulous guest columns here, here, here and here).  As was the case yesterday, this article is, surprisingly, not about a The Brady Bunch […]