Just noticed that Geri Reischl (aka Fake Jan) posted this photo her friend took of us at Michael Musto's book party the other night. As I've mentioned, Geri and I have a connection because of a post I wrote about her taking over Eve Plumb's role as Jan Brady in 1976 that was included in a book about the the ill-fated "Brady Bunch Variety Hour." Reischl has certainly gotten a lot of mileage out of her Brady turn -- and who can blame her? -- but I think it's interesting to note that no one ever talks about the fact that both Cindy Olsen and Maureen McCormick were also missing in action in other Brady reunions, "A Very Brady Christmas" TV movie (1988) and "The Bradys" series (1990), respectively. In fact, the only reunion to feature all of the original family members was "The Brady Brides" (1981), a short-lived series that ran when I was in 9th grade and was undoubtedly the most anticipated television event of my life. (The Bradys -- finally together again!!!)
Geri Reischl had the look, but no one could replace Eve Plumb, whose recalcitrant ways have been mimicked for the last 40 years. ("Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway" -- best. movie. ever!)
Jennifer Runyon was way prettier than Susan Olsen, and didn't even have a lisp. Easy to see why Charles was in Charge of her Gwendolyn character a few years before her Brady experien(th)ce.
Leah Ayres filled in (rather poorly) for Maureen McCormick on the downbeat series "The Bradys" (1990). Bobby was a paraplegic (married to Martha Quinn!), Peter's engagement fell apart, Jan and Phillip couldn't have a child (big shock, Jan's frigid!) and Cindy was fucking her boss at the radio station, a widower with two kids. But it was Fake Marcia who stole the show as a messy alcoholic! Eternally nontraditional hubby Wally couldn't hold down a job either, so they were forced to move in with Mike and Carol. Given what we know about the real Marcia now, it seems the role was a bit of typecasting. Might that have been why she sat this one out?
No doubt Dick Sargeant replacing Dick York and Sarah Chalke taking over for Lecy Goranson were the highest-profile television replacements of all time, filling two high-profile roles on highly rated shows.
Sarah Chalke lacked Lecy Goranson's blue-collar Midwest charm, and you could totally believe was Dan and Roseanne's daughter. It got particularly wacky toward the end of the show when Goranson came back (Roseanne said at the time that she hated firing Chalke but that she "wasn't Becky"), only to go AWOL again periodically, with Chalke filling in again. It's pretty crazy when you think of all the shows that pulled this replacement routine, though.
Mary Frann had just the right look and temperament to play Abby in the "Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion" TV movie (1987), yet I remember being quite sad when I saw a reference to this -- plus her more famous role as Bob Newhart's wife, Joanna Loudon, on "Newhart" -- in her obituary. Not only did she die prematurely (of an undiagnosed heart condition at age 55), the poor woman was always playing second fiddle to some other wife. (Let's face it, there's no substitute for Suzanne Pleshette.) Adding insult to injury, Frann was replaced as Fake Abby in "An Eight Is Enough Wedding" two years later by Sandy Faison!
Judith Baldwin spared Tina Louise a trip to the plastic surgeon, but she got around to it later, anyway
Tina Louise was reportedly eager to distance herself from the role that made her famous on "Gilligan's Island" when producers began talking about a reunion movie. But don't think for a second she didn't love it when Judith Baldwin stepped into Ginger Grant's stilettos for "Rescue From Gilligan's Island" (1978) and "The Castaways of Gilligan's Island" (1979).
The ever-vain Louise was a dozen years older than Baldwin, so I doubt she minded that most Americans thought she still looked like this in a bikini, especially with
The various actresses playing Catwoman weren't really the same type of recasting as some of these other roles, but I always did prefer Julie Newmar to Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt. She and Adam West had some serious chemistry, which is what the role was what the feline seductress role was all about. She also seemed to get Robin a little revved up for good measure.
Lastly, along with "Bewitched," the whole Marilyn Munster shakeup was my first experience with recasting. Every so often one of the 13 episodes with Beverley Owen would come on and rock my little world. She may have been first, but Pat Priest will always be Marilyn in my eyes. The Daily News says Owen was unhappy with her life in Hollywood so quit the business. Priest then took on the role for the remainder of the series' two seasons, yet neither returned for the numerous "Munsters" movies and remakes since, including "Munsters' Revenge" (1981), which featured Jo McDonnell as everyone's favorite homely blonde.
I never watched "Dynasty," but I know there were two Steven Carringtons and two Fallons (Emma Samms was Holly on "General Hospital" when I watched). Would love to hear about your recasting memories in the comments section.