Bobby's Hero
Season 4, Episode # 17
Number (#89) in series (117 episodes)
Network: ABC-TV
TV series:
Guest star(s) Burt Mustin
Richard Carlyle
Gordon Devol
Ruth Anson
Production code: 088
Writer(s) Michael Morris
Director Leslie H. Martinson
Original airdate February 2, 1973
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Bobby's Hero was the 17th episode of Season 4 of the The Brady Bunch TV series, also the 89th overall episode in the series. Written by Michael Morris, the episode, which was directed by Leslie H. Martinson, originally aired on ABC-TV on February 2, 1973.


Bobby becomes obsessed with Jesse James. Mike and Carol don't approve of his new hero, and try to find a way to convince him that James was nothing but a "mean, dirty killer."


When the family learns that Bobby's hero is Jesse James, Mike and Carol set out to teach him the truth about the outlaw. When books and censored movies on TV suggest to Bobby that James was not a villain, Mike tracks down a relative of one of James' victims to share his story with Bobby. That, plus a nightmare in which Jesse James kills the Bradys during a train robbery, finally gets through to Bobby.


Mr. Hillary, the principal at the elementary school, requests a meeting with Mike and Carol, who suspect that what Mr. Hillary wants to discuss is some bad news concerning one of the kids. Indeed, Mr. Hillary's concern is a composition Bobby wrote on his hero: Jesse James, the outlaw. In addition, Bobby, pretending to be Jesse James, brought a cap gun to school.

After Mike and Carol speak to Bobby about the issue, simply explaining that they're simply curious to know why Bobby chose Jesse James as a hero. Bobby says that he believes he will grow out of his fascination with Jesse James, but his actions say otherwise.

Later on, Mike and Carol try to prove their point that Jesse James is not a character to emulate, by allowing Bobby to watch a Jesse James movie that they know to show a lot of violence on Jesse James's end, but all the violent parts are edited out, making Jesse look like a cool guy. In turn, Mike and Carol understand why Bobby would idolize someone like Jesse James.

After finding and reading an accurate biography on Jesse James, Mike believes that Bobby having a chat with biographer Jethroe Collins might have the result he and Carol are hoping. Jethroe is friendly but firm as he tells Bobby about how Jesse James brutally and pointlessly murdered his father in a train robbery, and the grief and horror it caused him and his family.

Later on, Bobby has a nightmare where he is forced to watch as Jesse James murders his entire family in a train robbery.

When Bobby wakes up from the nightmare, he finally realizes what his parents were telling him, while also seeing Jesse James for what he really was: an outlaw and cold, vicious killer who murdered people, rather than the folk hero that Bobby initially viewed him to be.

Guest starring/Recurring cast


Originally, Bobby's hero was supposed to be a skyjacker; however, ABC rejected that idea (possibly because of the fresh memories of the hijacking of a NWA Boeing 727 jet by D. B. Cooper on November 24, 1971).

Mike Lookinland's fear in the train scene was genuine; Lloyd Schwartz had told him to imagine his own family being slaughtered by Jesse James. After the scene was shot, he was debriefed.