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measles measles measles
April 30, 2019

Instead of listening to their doctors, some people are turning to a 50-year-old rerun of The Brady Bunch for medical advice.

Television shows, movies, and video games can educate viewers and users on medical conditions — the Oregon Trail famously taught players the dangers of dysentery, cholera, and diphtheria — but not every storyline is accurate. The 1969 Brady Bunch episode "Is There a Doctor in the House?" made coming down with the measles look like fabulous fun. When all six kids got sick, they stayed home from school for a few days, spending their time goofing off and trying to color their spots green.

Several people who are against vaccinations point to this episode as proof that the measles are no big deal, because if Greg and Jan didn't die, your kid won't, either. "We were all giggling and laughing because the whole family in The Brady Bunch got the measles," TV producer Del Bigtree, a critic of vaccines, told NPR. "Where is the sitcom that joked about dying from AIDS or joked about dying from cancer?"

The episode first aired six years after the measles vaccine was developed, and that year, there were 25,000 cases in the U.S, with 41 deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Maureen McCormick, who played eldest daughter Marcia Brady, is not happy that people are using the show and her image to promote their anti-vaccine beliefs. She told NPR that when she was a kid, she had the measles and "it was not a fun thing." Lloyd Schwartz, the son of late Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz, also takes issue with what's happening, and said his father "would be sorry, because he believed in vaccination, had all of his kids vaccinated." Catherine Garcia

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