Bookshelf is a monthly column examining printed matter relating to television. While I love watching TV, I also love reading about it, from tie-in novels to TV Guides, from vintage television magazines to old newspaper articles. Bookshelf is published on the second Thursday of each month.
The Brady Bunch in “The Treasure of Mystery Island”
By Jack Matcha
First Published October 1972
Published by Tiger Beat/The Laufer Company
Since relaunching the Bookshelf feature at the Television Obscurities blog last July, I’ve tried to mix things up by not just reviewing TV tie-in novels. That’s partly because despite owning more than 100 tie-in novels, I’m running out of ones I can review. There are a lot of novelizations, which I usually do not like reviewing unless I have seen the episode(s) being novelized, as well as a lot of tie-ins to shows I’ve never seen.
Front cover to The Brady Bunch – The Treasure of Mystery Island – Copyright 1972 Tiger Beat/The Laufer Company
I can’t remember where I picked up my copy of The Brady Bunch in “The Treasure of Mystery Island” (an Official Tiger Beat Publication) but I’ve had it for a number of years and never read it so it got picked for this month’s Bookshelf column. I’ve only seen a few odd episodes of The Brady Bunch here and there, so I’m no expert.
There were quite a few The Brady Bunch tie-in novels published while the show was on the air. Five were written by William Johnston and published by Lancer between 1969 and 1970. Three others were written by Jack Matcha and published by Tiger Beat between 1972 and 1973. This is the first of the three Tiger Beat novels, all of which were mysteries.
It’s a short read at only 124 pages. Obviously this was intended for kids to read. There isn’t much of a plot. In short, the Bradys take a vacation to Mystery Island in Maine, said to be haunted by the ghosts of pirates, and before long Cindy and Bobby get themselves lost and the rest of the Bunch set out to find them.
Back cover to The Brady Bunch – The Treasure of Mystery Island – Copyright 1972 Tiger Beat/The Laufer Company
Like I said, there’s not much of a plot. I’m sure younger viewers of The Brady Bunch wouldn’t have enjoyed it. One thing that stuck out was the use of “Mother Brady” and “Father Brady” when referring to Carol and Mike Brady. At least once on the same page Mike was referred to as Mike Brady and Father Brady which was bizarre enough to take me out of the story. I don’t recall the characters on the television show being called Mother Brady or Father Brady but I could be wrong.
Also of note was a somewhat sexist passage in which Greg Brady worries that a girl he had met on the island was too shy:
Sybil was a pretty girl, with long dark hair and an expressive face. It was a shame she was so shy. If some understanding person were to help her out of her shell, she’d probably have a good personality. Her figure certainly seemed strong and athletic enough. Perhaps before the vacation was over, he’d invite her for a swim in the ocean.
Spoiler alert: they ended up going swimming together.