Sherwood Schwartz Dies
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
The creator of two of the most cherished television sitcoms in the last 50 years died today, one was about a large, blended, suburban family...
(SOUNDBITE OF THEME SONG, "THE BRADY BUNCH")
THE BRADY KIDS: (Singing) Here's the story of a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls. All of them had...
NORRIS: ...and the other about a group of travelers marooned on a desert island.
(SOUNDBITE OF THEME SONG, "GILLIGAN'S ISLAND")
THE WELLINGTONS: (Singing) Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip that started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship...
NORRIS: Hey, Eric.
ERIC DEGGANS: Hey. How are you doing?
NORRIS: Now, what do these sitcoms represent in the grand television landscape?
DEGGANS: So in the '70s, he created - or '69, I guess, he created "The Brady Bunch," which had three children from one relationship and three children from another relationship coming together in a new marriage.
NORRIS: Was that one of the first times that a sitcom held a mirror up to society and began reflecting cultural trends?
DEGGANS: And then by the time you get to the mid-'70s and you get to sitcoms like "Good Times" that were actually set in impoverished areas, then you had characters that were very directly talking about social ills and social issues.
NORRIS: One last question before I let you go. These shows are iconic but so, too, are their theme songs, and Schwartz helped write those songs. Did he have the foresight to understand that a theme song would give a show almost a life of its own? When we were playing those songs in the opening sequence, I'm betting some of our listeners started to sing along.
DEGGANS: Exactly. Well, even more than that, I mean, he understood that a catchy theme song was important, but he also understood that a catchy theme song that told you the premise of the show was important.
NORRIS: You know, those songs are going through your head right now. I could ask you to sing the "Gilligan's Island" song...
DEGGANS: It's already - it's going on...
NORRIS: (Singing) A tale of a fateful trip...
DEGGANS: ...and it's your fault, Michele.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
NORRIS: (Singing) ...that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship.
DEGGANS: There you go, exactly. Exactly.
NORRIS: Eric Deggans, always good to talk to you. Thank you so much.
DEGGANS: Thank you.
NORRIS: Unidentified Group: (Singing) ...we became the Brady Bunch.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BRADY BUNCH" THEME SONG)
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
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