‘Here’s The Story’ Of TV Creator Sherwood Schwartz
Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
July 13, 2011
Sherwood Schwartz, who created the TV sitcoms Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 94. In addition to creating the series, Schwartz wrote their theme songs, both of which spelled out their premises in detail.
Schwartz was waiting for acceptance to medical school in 1938 when he asked his brother, who was writing for Bob Hope’s radio show, if he could try his hand at a few jokes. He forgot about medical school, and was soon writing for Hope, then for the Ozzie and Harriet radio and TV shows. He shared an Emmy Award with his brother and others when he was head writer for The Red Skelton Show.
The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island were mocked by critics, but they were both hits that had long lives in syndicated reruns. Schwartz once said he envisioned Gilligan’s Island as a social statement, with the message that it’s one world and we all have to live with each other.
In 1988, Schwartz spoke with Terry Gross about his hit shows and his lengthy career producing sitcoms in Hollywood that appealed to middle-class America. He joked that his rabbi insisted that Goldstein’s Island or The Bernstein Bunch would have been better names for his shows.
“I must say,” Schwartz said, “I am commercial in the sense that I like my work to appeal to many people, and that’s my satisfaction. So to aim at the biggest, broadest base of audience, you’re better off doing The Brady Bunch than The Bernstein Bunch.”
Schwartz also wrote for The Joan Davis Show, My Favorite Martian and many other TV and radio programs. He is survived by his wife and four children. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]