Sherwood Schwartz, Creator of Gilligan and the Bradys, Dies at 94

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr. Schwartz weathered painfully dismissive reviews to see his shows prosper and live on for decades in syndication. Many critics suggested that they were successful because they ran counter to the tumultuous times in which they appeared: the era of the Vietnam War and sweeping social change.

Give or take a month or so, the original network run of “The Brady Bunch” coincided with two major upheavals in American society. The show, about a squeaky-clean blended family in California, began in 1969, shortly after Woodstock, and ended in 1974, soon after President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation following the Watergate scandal.

Mr. Schwartz’s work may have been seen as lighthearted entertainment, but some scholars of popular culture took it very seriously. David Marc and Robert J. Thompson, authors of “Prime Time, Prime Movers,” in which they advance an auteur theory of television, considered Mr. Schwartz an innovator who made a “surgical strike into the national psyche.”

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