The man who created two of America's seminal TV comedies died early this morning. Sherwood Schwartz not only created The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island, but he also wrote the undeniably hummable theme songs.
Schwartz, who began his career writing jokes for Bob Hope, died of natural causes in his sleep surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Mildred Schwartz, and four children. He was 94.
The Washington Post adds that both of Schwartz's shows had somewhat short runs, but had surprisingly enduring lives in syndication. The Brady Bunch, a sitcom about a family of two parents, three blond girls and three brunette boys, ran for five seasons. And Gilligan's Island, a show about seven castaways, ran for three seasons.
Some people have dismissed Schwartz's shows as campy fluff, but Schwartz says there's a great underlying seriousness about them. In an interview he gave the Archive of American Television, he was asked how he'd like to be remembered.
He said: "As a man who tried to explain in his own way that people have to learn to get along with each other. I did it with comedy because that's what I'm familiar with, and I think it's more acceptable to tell it in comedy form. But that's how I'd like to be remembered."
In that same interview, Schwartz says that philosophy was at the center of the concept for Gilligan's Island. He wanted to show that seven disparate people could get along - or had to get along. In the end, he says we're all human and getting along is essential.
We'll leave you with an impossible question, which closes in a week: