Ask anyone people who grew up in the Tristate what their favorite Brady Bunch episode is and you’re likely to get the same answer: “The Cincinnati Kids.”
That episode, of course, was filmed in Cincinnati, or more accurately, Mason at Kings Island in the summer of 1973. It aired a few months later as the 11th episode of the show’s fifth season. This Sunday at noon Eastern time, Me-TV (local channels 5.2, and 7.2) will show “The Cincinnati Kids.” Coincidentally, the episode airs during the 45th anniversary of the Brady Bunch cast and crew visiting Kings Island. This wasn’t done purposely by Me-TV. They run the episodes in order and that’s just where “The Cincinnati Kids” fell.
According to a post titled “Here’s the Story” by John Keeter on the Kings Island blog, filming began on August 20, 1973 and lasted four days. The Brady’s, however, weren’t the first TV family to visit the park, as the Partridge Family filmed an episode there the previous summer. That episode, “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati,” aired in January of 1973 and will be rerun Saturday, September 8 at 8:30 a.m. on Antenna TV (64.2 in Cincinnati).
Viewers can watch either episode online for free. The Brady Bunch episode is available on the Me-TV website as well as Yahoo! View, both via Hulu. The Partridge Family episode is currently on YouTube, but one of the songs performed in the episode is missing. It could also be taken down at any time.
Of the two, the Brady’s visit seems to be the one Tristaters remember most. This may because most of The Partridge Family episode takes place across the street at the (now-demolished) Kings Island Inn. And even though that episode features a friend of The Cincy Shirts Podcast, Johnny Bench, as a waiter, there isn’t a whole lot of footage of the park to make Kings Island fans wax nostalgic.
On the other hand, almost the entire Brady Bunch episode was filmed inside the park and features some great aerial shots as well as plenty of footage of the family riding rides, many of which are long gone.
There’s another odd difference between the two as well. In The Partridge Family episode, the park is mentioned by name. In The Brady Bunch episode, it’s not. This may have been due to a chummier relationship between The Partridge Family’s production company, Screen Gems, and the Brady’s who were produced by Paramount.
Screen Gems, owned then by Columbia Pictures, was also the distributor for Hanna-Barbera animation studios, owned by Cincinnati's Taft Broadcasting who at the time owned Kings Island. Coincidentally, Paramount would own the park from 1992 to 2006 but never did leverage that episode in terms of offering merchandise, DVDs, or even putting up a sign.
Among the rides shown in the episode which are now gone include Wheel of Fortune, the canoes, Bayern Curve, Der Spinning Keggers, McScrappy’s Slide, Les Taxis (antique cars), Sky Ride, and The Rotor.
Rides shown that are still operating include The Racer, Scooby Doo (coaster, now Woodstock Express), Monster, Scrambler, log flume ride, and the football toss game in Coney Mall.
Never forget the moment the Brady's took over Kings Island with our Groovin' in Cincinnati ringer tee.