Here Come the Brides
|Here Come the Brides|
Joan Blondell as Lottie
|Theme music composer||Hugo Montenegro|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52|
|Running time||48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Screen Gems|
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||September 25, 1968 –|
April 3, 1970
Here Come the Brides is an American comedy Western series from Screen Gems that aired on the ABC television network from September 25, 1968 to April 3, 1970. The series was loosely based upon the Mercer Girls project, Asa Mercer's efforts to bring civilization to old Seattle in the 1860s by importing marriageable women from the east coast cities of the United States, where the ravages of the American Civil War left those towns short of men.
As a television western, set shortly after the end of the Civil War, the series rarely featured any form of gunplay, and violence was generally limited to comical fistfights; this was in keeping with the restrictions on television violence at the time. Stories highlighted the importance of cooperation, inter-racial harmony, and peaceful resolution of conflict. Plots were usually a mix of drama and humor. Being one of the first shows targeted at young women, most of the humor was at the expense of the men, but not particularly bitingly so.
The 1951 movie Westward the Women follows a similar theme.
In the pilot episode, smooth-talking, charismatic logging company boss Jason Bolt (Robert Brown) is faced with a shutdown of his operation as lonely lumberjacks are ready to leave Seattle due to the lack of female companionship, he promises to find marriageable ladies willing to come to the frontier town (population 152) and stay for a full year. Sawmill owner Aaron Stempel (Mark Lenard) puts up much of the expense money as a wager that Bolt won't succeed in bringing 100 suitable women; the Bolt brothers betting their mountain, named Bridal Veil Mountain, home to their logging company.
The Bolts travel to New Bedford, Massachusetts, recruit the women, then charter a mule-ship to take them back to Seattle; the local saloon owner, Lottie (Joan Blondell) takes the women under her wing and becomes a mother figure to them, while Bolt desperately works to keep the women from leaving at the next high tide.
Eventually, the women decide to give Seattle and the loggers a chance; the ship's captain, Clancy (Henry Beckman), develops a relationship with Lottie and becomes a regular character in the series.
Much of the dramatic and comedic tension in the first season revolved around Stempel's efforts to sabotage the deal and take over the Bolts' holdings. Stempel became more friendly in the second and final season, which focused more on the development of individual characters and the conflicts associated with newcomers and with people just passing through. One running theme is the importance of family, as the Bolt brothers show through the closeness of their relationships, that by sticking together, democratically taking family votes, they can overcome the surprising obstacles life presents.
Bobby Sherman and David Soul were propelled to pop stardom as Jason's brothers, Jeremy and Joshua. Jeremy took a prominent role, not only as the boyfriend of Candy Pruitt (Bridget Hanley), the beautiful, unofficial leader of the brides, but also as a young man struggling with a conversation-stopping stammer. In one episode, he is temporarily cured of his impediment, following coaching by a traveler who has come to Seattle. Upon discovering that his benefactor is actually a con artist, his faith is shaken so deeply that the stammer returns.
The show addressed many social issues — racism, ethnic discrimination, treatment of the handicapped and mentally impaired, business ethics, and ecology.
- First season
Opening credits sequence:
- Jason Bolt (Robert Brown)
- Jeremy Bolt (Bobby Sherman)
- Joshua Bolt (David Soul)
- Aaron Stempel (Mark Lenard)
- Candace "Candy" Pruitt (Bridget Hanley)
- Lottie Hatfield (Joan Blondell)
- Ben Perkins (Hoke Howell)
- Corky (Robert Biheller)
- Olaf "Big Swede" Gustavsen (Bo Svenson)
- Essie Halliday (Mitzi Hoag), school teacher and eventually Big Swede's wife
- Franny (Carole Shelyne)
- Ann (Cynthia Hull)
- Second season
Those listed for the first season, plus
- Captain Clancey (Henry Beckman)
- Biddie Cloom (Susan Tolsky)
- Ben Perkins (Hoke Howell)
- Corky (Robert Biheller)
- Christopher Pruitt (Eric Chase, 1969–1970), Candy Pruitt's younger brother
- Molly Pruitt (Patti Cohoon, 1969–1970), Candy's younger sister
Notable guest stars
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A young Bruce Lee appeared as a Chinese immigrant named Lin in the episode "Marriage Chinese Style" (1969); this character was the only dramatic English language non-martial arts role in Lee's acting career. Character actress Nora Marlowe played Mrs. Bronson in the same episode.
Cicely Tyson, Jane Wyatt, Edward Asner, Majel Barrett (Star Trek), Barry Williams (pre-The Brady Bunch), Marge Redmond and Madeline Sherwood (both known as regulars in The Flying Nun), Bernard Fox (Dr. Bombay of Bewitched), Vic Tayback (an extra as one of 'Jason's men' in the premiere episode, later a guest star), Lynda Day George, Bob Cummings (star of The Bob Cummings Show 1955-1959 on NBC and The New Bob Cummings Show 1961-1962 on CBS), Daniel J. Travanti and James B. Sikking (both later known for Hill Street Blues), Larry Linville (M*A*S*H) and Billy Mumy (Lost in Space) all made guest appearances.
Mitzi Hoag, who played Miss Essie during the season 1, had two guest roles in season 2 as completely different characters, one as a Greek immigrant in the episode "Land Grant" and another as a nun in the episode "Absalom".
Season 1 (1968–69)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Pilot"||E.W. Swackhamer||N. Richard Nash||September 25, 1968|
|2||2||"A Crying Need"||Bob Claver||Skip Webster||October 2, 1968|
|3||3||"And Jason Makes Five"||E.W. Swackhamer||John O'Dea & Jay Simms||October 9, 1968|
|4||4||"The Man of the Family"||E.W. Swackhamer||Jo Heims||October 16, 1968|
|5||5||"A Hard Card to Play"||Bob Claver||William Blinn||October 23, 1968|
|6||6||"Letter of the Law"||Paul Junger Witt||Skip Webster||October 30, 1968|
|7||7||"Lovers and Wanderers"||E.W. Swackhamer||William Wood||November 6, 1968|
|8||8||"A Jew Named Sullivan"||Jerry Bernstein||Oliver Crawford||November 20, 1968|
|9||9||"The Stand Off"||James B. Clark||Teleplay by: Don Tait & Skip Webster|
Story by: Don Tait
|November 27, 1968|
|10||10||"A Man and His Magic"||Harvey Hart||Gerry Day||December 4, 1968|
|11||11||"A Christmas Place"||Richard Kinon||William Blinn||December 18, 1968|
|12||12||"After a Dream Comes Mourning"||E.W. Swackhamer||William Blinn||January 1, 1969|
|13||13||"The Log Jam"||Jerry Bernstein||Albert Reich||January 8, 1969|
|14||14||"The Firemaker"||Richard Kinon||James Amesbury||January 15, 1969|
|15||15||"Wives For Wakando"||Richard Kinon||Don Balluck||January 22, 1969|
|16||16||"A Kiss for Just So"||Jerry Bernstein||Teleplay by: James Amesbury|
Story by: Al Beich & James Amesbury
|January 29, 1969|
|17||17||"Democracy Inaction"||R. Robert Rosenbaum||William Blinn||February 5, 1969|
|18||18||"One Good Lie Deserves Another"||Paul Junger Witt||John O'Dea & Jay Simms||February 12, 1969|
|19||19||"One to a Customer"||Jerry Bernstein||John McGreevey||February 19, 1969|
|20||20||"A Dream That Glitters"||Herb Wallerstein||Gerry Day & Ila Limerick||February 26, 1969|
|21||21||"The Crimpers"||Paul Junger Witt||Don Tait||March 5, 1969|
|22||22||"Mr. & Mrs. J. Bolt"||Richard Kinon||Richard Bluel||March 12, 1969|
|23||23||"A Man's Errand"||Jerry Bernstein||Lee Oscar Bloomgarden||March 19, 1969|
|24||24||"Loggerheads"||Richard Kinon||Skip Webster||March 26, 1969|
|25||25||"Marriage Chinese Style"||Richard Kinon||Skip Webster||April 9, 1969|
|26||26||"The Deadly Trade"||Paul Junger Witt||William Blinn||April 16, 1969|
Season 2 (1969–70)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|27||1||"A Far Cry from Yesterday"||Bob Claver||William Blinn||September 26, 1969|
|28||2||"The Wealthiest Man in Seattle"||Richard Kinon||Teleplay by: Charles Watts & Paul Stein & Allen Clare|
Story by: Charles Watts & Paul Stein
|October 3, 1969|
|29||3||"The Solider"||Paul Junger Witt||Skip Webster||October 10, 1969|
|30||4||"Next Week, East Lynne"||Irving Moore||Henry Slesar||October 17, 1969|
|31||5||"A Wild Colonial Boy"||Paul Junger Witt||Michael Fisher||October 24, 1969|
|32||6||"Hosanna's Way"||Virgil W. Vogel||Rick Tobin||October 31, 1969|
|33||7||"The Road to the Cradle"||William F. Claxton||Ken Trevey||November 7, 1969|
|34||8||"The Legend of Bigfoot"||Herb Wallerstein||Richard Bluel||November 14, 1969|
|35||9||"Land Grant"||Virgil W. Vogel||Larry Brody||November 21, 1969|
|36||10||"The Eyes of London Bob"||E.W. Swackhamer||Ken Trevey||November 28, 1969|
|37||11||"The Fetching of Jenny"||E.W. Swackhamer||Henry Sharp||December 5, 1969|
|38||12||"His Sister's Keeper"||Jerry Bernstein||Skip Webster||December 12, 1969|
|39||13||"Lorenzo Bush"||Jerry Bernstein||Jack Miller||December 19, 1969|
|40||14||"Obie Brown and the Black Princess"||Richard Kinon||Bob Goodwin||December 26, 1969|
|41||15||"To Break the Bank in Tacoma"||Jerry Bernstein||Michael Fisher||January 16, 1970|
|42||16||"Debt of Honor"||Herschel Daugherty||Skip Webster||January 23, 1970|
|43||17||"She Bear"||William F. Claxton||Teleplay by: Don Tait & Allen Clare|
Story by: Don Tait
|January 30, 1970|
|44||18||"Another Game in Town"||Lou Antonio||Teleplay by: Larry Brody|
Story by: Seymour Friedman & Larry Brody
|February 6, 1970|
|45||19||"Candy and the Kid"||Jerry Bernstein||Daniel Ullman||February 13, 1970|
|46||20||"Two Worlds"||Lou Antonio||Jack Miller & Shelly Mitchell||February 20, 1970|
|47||21||"To the Victor"||Virgil W. Vogel||Skip Webster||February 27, 1970|
|48||22||"How Dry We Are"||Nicholas Colasanto||Roberta Goldstone||March 6, 1970|
|49||23||"Bolt of Kilmaron"||Nicholas Colasanto||D.C. Fontana||March 13, 1970|
|50||24||"Absalom"||Paul Junger Witt||Michael Fisher||March 20, 1970|
|51||25||"The Last Winter"||Jim Hogan||Tim Kelly||March 27, 1970|
|52||26||"Two Women"||E.W. Swackhamer||Jack Miller||April 3, 1970|
First season ratings were impressive enough to ensure its renewal for a second season, though only 152 ABC affiliates agreed to broadcast the series, compared to another Screen Gems' series, Bewitched, which was broadcast on 217 ABC affiliates in the same 1968/69 season, prompting ABC affiliated radio & television stations to add a voice-over in all related HCTB promotional commercials inviting viewers to watch " ...Here Come the Brides!, Wednesdays at 7:30, 6:30 central, over MOST of these ABC stations!"  For the second season, the family-geared series was moved from the 7:30 Wednesday night "Family Hour" to the more adult-oriented time slot of 9:00 Friday night in September 1969; this move to the Friday night death slot combined with the low ABC affiliate support caused the ratings to quickly slide out of the top 40, and production ceased in the spring of 1970, although most of those ABC affiliates repeated episodes throughout the summer months, as was then a standard procedure with most series. The final primetime episode in the United States was broadcast on Friday September 18, 1970.
The theme song "Seattle" was written by Jack Keller and Ernie Sheldon. Both Perry Como and Bobby Sherman recorded slightly different variations of the song. Como scored a minor hit, with his version reaching No. 38 in the U.S. Sherman's version, although receiving some airplay, was never released as a single. There is no reference in either version regarding the TV series title, i.e.; "...look out everyone! Here Come the Brides!" Starting with the series debut in September 1968 the series opened with a rousing instrumental score featuring screen stills of "Jason", "Jeremy & Joshua", "Candy & Aaron" and "Lottie". Starting with episode 8 ("A Jew Named Sullivan") as evidenced by the end credits, and to coincide with the spring 1969 release of the Perry Como 'pop' recording, the TV theme was reworked by overdubbing vocals/lyrics to the same theme music already recorded (as used previously) along with updating all the opening character stills, including the addition of a "Clancy & Biddie" screen; the added lyrics performed by "The New Establishment" and updated screen stills were featured for the remainder of the first season and remained unchanged for the entire second season. In the beginning syndication years, the instrumental version of the opening credits was placed on all episodes. In recent years, the vocal theme of the opening credits has been restored to the second season episodes (although with the first season screen stills).
A French-language version of the show and theme song (performed by a chorus of male singers) was a smash hit in French Canada, under the title Cent filles à marier (A Hundred Girls to Marry Off); the show capitalized on the popularity of the American version and the fact that a similar "bride drive" (see Filles du roi) is also part of Québec's cultural mythos.
DVD releases and books
On October 14, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that it had acquired the home-video rights to the series, and it later released the final season on DVD. It was subsequently released on February 28, 2012. However, the season 1 opening cast-and-credit sequence was used for this release, using the New Establishment's vocals, but ignoring Henry Beckman's and Susan Tolsky's respective credits.
In December 2009, BearManor Media released a nostalgic look into the program's history, Gangway, Lord: (The) Here Come The Brides Book by Jonathan Etter, which featured a foreword by Robert Brown. Bobby Sherman was the only (then) surviving cast member who did not participate with the publication. However, Sherman did discuss the series in his autobiography, Bobby Sherman: Still Remembering You, whose contents he dictated to Dena Hill, and subsequently published by Contemporary Books in 1996.
Reruns were aired on CBN Cable during the mid-1980s.
Early in January 2011, digital sub-network Antenna TV began airing the series.
INSP broadcast the series in 2018.
The Decades channel aired most of the series during a weekend marathon on June 2-3, 2018 in widescreen format; the episodes were cropped for the widescreen presentation.
Star Trek crossover
Barbara Hambly's Star Trek novel Ishmael has Spock traveling back to the time and place of Here Come the Brides after discovering a Klingon plot to destroy the Federation by killing Aaron Stempel (spelled "Stemple" in the book) before he could thwart an attempted 19th-century alien invasion of Earth. During most of the story, Spock has lost his memory and is cared for by Stempel, who passes him off as his nephew "Ishmael" and helps him hide his alien origins.
At the end of the story, Captain Kirk discovers that Stempel was one of Spock's mother's ancestors, a reference to the fact that Mark Lenard also played Spock's father Sarek in episodes of the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as several of the Star Trek motion pictures. In that sense, Lenard played both Spock's father and his maternal ancestor.
Aside from Lenard, other Star Trek guest cast members were series guest stars: Robert Brown (both of the Lazaruses in "The Alternative Factor"), David Soul (Makora in "The Apple"), and semi-regular Carole Shelyne (the visible representation of a Metron in "Arena", whose voice Vic Perrin provided in that installment).
- "Television Obscurities - The Ugliest Girl in Town".
- Here Come the Brides - Official Press Release, Plus Rear Box Art & Revised Front Art Archived 2011-11-14 at the Wayback Machine TVShowsonDVD.com 2006-03-07
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2011-11-07. Cite uses deprecated parameter
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- Here Come the Brides - 'The Complete 2nd Season:' Shout!'s Street Date, Cost, Packaging Archived 2011-11-12 at the Wayback Machine TVShowsonDVD.com, 2001-11-07.
- Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2015. 2016-03-30. ISBN 9780786476671.
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