Barry Williams in Hammonton, NJ

By Newell Branin, Jr. (moonbeam911)
December 13, 2002

We started early on our 30 minute trek, Northeast to Hammonton. We wanted to get a good spot to watch the Hammonton Firefighter's Parade and find out where Barry would be going afterwards. See if he was gonna have an appearance to sign things or for pictures. Just before my daughter, Katelyn and I left, it started to rain. The organizers said that the parade would still be on if it rained, but if it got bad, they would make other arrangements.

When we arrived in Hammonton, it was raining, heavy at times. We called to confirm and they reported that the parade had been cancelled, but not to worry, Barry (along with other performers in the parade) would be making an appearance at the Hammonton Middle School. We showed up there and watched as everyone arrived.

Barry set up at a table in a hallway outside of the auditorium where the bands and dancers would be performing. He started signing things as soon as he got there. I talked to one of the organizers before he got there and they couldn't say better things about him. She said he was very relaxed and a great person. The crowd of people waiting in line for an autograph or picture ranged from ages of 5 to well over the 50's.

While waiting in line, I talked with some of the middle school aged band members who were in line in front of me and they were describing some of their favorite scenes from episodes of the Brady Bunch they have seen. Then we spoke to a middle-aged couple behind us (they had a lunch box, book and action figure to be signed) and we tried to convince their son that Barry Williams played Johnny Bravo. Yes, THE Johnny Bravo. Not the high hair, sunglass wearing, animated egomaniac. :) The whole event was a surprise to my daughter and she was excited about seeing him. After waiting about 20 mins, we got to Barry and talked a little and then we got our picture with him. He also signed my copy of Growing Up Brady.

During the performances, a string band (think Mummers) were performing. And they had Strutters (the ones in the funny costumes that dance around to the music), Barry got up from his table and joined them and danced around while the band played. We all loved it and soon the kids were all dancing around with him.

After the band completed their number, he then took the stage and thanked everyone for coming and apologized for the weather. He mentioned how when he got into town, he toured the proposed route of the parade and enjoyed the decorations and the feel of the small town. He joked how when he got on the plane to come here from LA, that he began to wonder (just for a minute) why he was doing it. Until he got here, then he realized it was worth it.

He went on and talked about how people came up to him and called him by his well known character's name, Greg Brady. He said how he was trying to get out of that title, but he didn't mind it because that is what he's know for and that is important. But, he added, he was surprised by so many people calling him by his "other character's" name, Keith Partridge. :)

He continued and thanked everyone for coming out and reminded us of what we were celebrating with the festivities tonight, the Holiday Season. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and returned to the table for more autographs and pictures.

Three hours after getting there, he was still greeting people, but finally the line was getting shorter.