Backtracking: In Our Times: Star power impressed locals during September 1995

FileSUNY Oneonta freshman Jake Weiss, right, learns the ‘Brady Dance’ on stage Sept. 11, 1995, at the Hunt Union Ballroom with Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady on the TV series ‘The Brady Bunch.’

You could see stars — of TV fame — locally in September 1995.

One star was running on nostalgia while another was building her fortune. Barry Williams was Greg Brady, and Martha Stewart was herself.

BARRY WILLIAMS TOLD OF LIFE AS GREG BRADY

We can still catch episodes of “The Brady Bunch” on nostalgia TV channels such as Me-TV.

Greg Brady was a smooth talker. His friends thought he was “groovy,” as the show originally aired in the early 1970s. And he always got all the girls.

By 1995, freshmen at the State University College at Oneonta had been watching the re-runs of “The Brady Bunch” as they were growing up.

So when Barry Williams came to SUNY Oneonta on Sept. 11, more than 500, mostly students, came to see a performance which Williams described as “a one-man variety show” in the Hunt Union Ballroom.

Williams, the man behind Greg Brady had plenty of stories to tell. He said he wasn’t quite the confident, All-American teenager he portrayed on TV.

As The Daily Star reported the next day, Williams, “…lusted after his on-screen mom, Florence Henderson.

“He dated his on-screen sister Maureen McCormack — but things never quite worked out the way he’d hoped.

“And he even filmed one episode — the one where younger brother Bobby is a school safety monitor — high on marijuana.”

As described by The Star, “He showed off his favorite clips from the show and played songs from the new Brady Bunch CD. He poked fun at fellow cast members. He sang a song, ‘This is the Moment,’ and dedicated it to the audience. And just when they thought it was over, he changed into a typical Greg Brady outfit — tight, plaid bell bottoms, an equally tight bright plaid shirt, a fringed suede vest, platform shoes, and a multi-colored headband — and taught about 20 volunteers how to dance, Brady style.”

Williams’ goal as a performer was to make people feel better when they leave than when they came in — and to have a good time doing it.

Apparently Williams’ achievement was successful, because following the 90-minute show with cheers and applause he signed more than 100 autographs for fans.

FANS WERE MAD ABOUT MARTHA

Although she didn’t yet have the star longevity of Barry Williams, the “classy living and creative homemaker,” Martha Stewart, was rising rapidly in popularity.

Stewart made an appearance in northern Otsego County on Thursday, Sept. 14. She had lunch at the Cooperstown Country Club, followed by a lecture at the Alice Busch Opera Theater in Springfield, known today as the Glimmerglass Festival. Her appearance was sponsored by the Lake and Valley Garden Club of Cooperstown.

According to The Star the next day, “Stewart, a resident of Westport, Conn. and one of America’s pre-eminent lifestyle authorities, is famous for her simple, elegant style and hands-on, do-it-yourself approach.

“Whether discussing the how-to’s of building a garden trellis or the virtues of down comforters in her magazine, one of her 15 books, six videos, frequent lectures, radio programs or Emmy-award winning TV series, Stewart is viewed by many as she was by ‘New York’ magazine when it called her ‘the definitive American woman of our time.’

"She is a one woman industry, a guide to good living, an inspiration.

“‘She sets me on fire,’ said Carol Drachler, who drove from the Binghamton area to see Stewart with friends from her garden club.”

Twenty-five years later, Barry Williams is reportedly still singing, acting and performing, based in Branson, Missouri.

Meanwhile, Martha Stewart, following an insider trading scandal in the early 21st century, continues to be active in national TV appearances and projects.

This weekend: Post World War II plans were making news in or near Sidney in September 1945.

 Oneonta City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area before 1950. His Tuesday columns address local history 1950 and later. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at simmark@stny.rr.com. His website is www.oneontahistorian.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/opinion/columns/.

Ask Mark... 

Have you ever had a question about a history-making event or a prominent person in our area and didn't know where to find the answer? Well, we've got an expert who might be able to help you. Historian Mark Simonson has spent many years chronicling major local happenings, and he's ready and willing to dive into The Daily Star archives for answers, which will appear in this newspaper and online at www.thedailystar.com.

Write to him at "Ask Mark," The Daily Star, 102 Chestnut St., Oneonta, NY 13820 or email him at simmark@stny.rr.com

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