Friends, the other day I was sent a link to a nearly 30 minute long PSA for quitting smoking by Patrick J. Doody. Patrick was not only an Author over on the former Retroist site but he also is a fellow devotee of the horror genre – to say nothing of the fact that he was also the writer for 2008’s Silent Hill: Homecoming, 2013’s Beneath, as well as producer on such shows as Beyond Stranger Things and Nailed It! More importantly however, I consider Patrick a good friend – and that is why he sent me this 1974 oddity starring Marion Ross and Tom Bosley of Happy Days fame. Which not only also has Robbie Rist of The Brady Bunch but takes place on the set of that series and features exterior shots of that house too!
Let’s Call It Quits is a PSA that was produced by the American Cancer Society in 1974 – although there is very little information available online if I am being honest. The WorldCat online resource site claims that there are at least two VHS copies of the PSA available to check out – although I found an online source in the UK that claims this was made in 1976. While I cannot provide too much more information about the year that Let’s Call It Quits originally debuted – as others online have already pointed out – there are some facts that we can’t ignore. One of those key pieces of information involves the use of The Brady Bunch sets – the popular series ended it’s five year run on ABC on March 8th of 1974. Happy Days which was also an ABC sitcom, began it’s ten year run on January of 1974 – so I’m assuming that when Tom Bosley was hired for the lead in this PSA, since he and Marion Ross were portraying Howard and Marion Cunningham at the time, it made sense they continue as Husband and wife as they already had on-screen chemistry.
It is also safe to assume that The Brady Bunch sets were still standing at the time of this PSA and as both shows had been filmed on the Paramount Studio lot – Brady Bunch on Stage 5 and Happy Days on Stage 19 – it was easy for the Let’s Call It Quits cast and crew to use the former for the PSA. As for why Robbie Rist, who is probably best known for his role on The Brady Bunch as Cousin Oliver was in the PSA – he was in a couple of ABC productions like the ABC Afterschool Special so it was likely he was on hand at the Paramount set during the day of shooting. I can at least tell you that this PSA which is presented as something of a sitcom – including a laugh track – was Directed by Jerry London who at the time had already directed a handful of shows such as The Brady Bunch and Happy Days in addition to the 1974 cult classic… Killdozer!
Let’s Call It Quits focuses on George (Bosley) and Maggie (Ross), a married couple who find more and more reasons to quit smoking. Maggie proves to have the greater willpower to give up cigarettes and we are treated to some of the ‘high jinks’ that George engages in to sneak a puff. Let’s Call It Quits also provides reasons why it is so tough to kick such an addiction… yet again in the light of a sitcom – so it really is something odd to say the least. It’s worth your time to check out though as besides Ross, Bosley, and Rist – it has quite a few actors that might be familiar to fans of 70’s and 80’s television.