9 Surprising Stories From Behind The Scenes of ‘Step by Step’

In a Los Angeles area lab in 1991, sitcom executives put The Brady Bunch and Full House into a petri dish, and Step by Step was born. It ran for seven years, and although it won’t be revived on Netflix anytime soon, it was certainly charming. Fans loved the wacky tale of a widow and divorcee who met on vacation and got married without telling their kids. The plot paved way for seasons of the charming misunderstandings and shenanigans that ensue when two families are blended.

The show emphasized love between the Foster and Lambert families, but behind the shiny facade of ’90s TV, things were a little darker. From abuse convictions to money troubles, the cast faced their fair share of grim issues.

Photo: Step By Step/Amazon

Brandon Call Was Shot In Both Arms In A Bizarre Traffic Dispute

In the middle of Step by Step’s run in 1996, Brandon Call, who played J.T. Lambert, was involved in a traffic incident that proved almost fatal. According to Call, he was driving home from studios in Burbank when a car began to tail him. Once the driver cornered Call, he stepped out and began firing at Call with a gun, missing his head and chest but hitting both of his arms. The young actor escaped and made it to a police station. The motive remains a mystery, but authorities suspect a traffic conflict.

Photo: Step By Step/Amazon

Sasha Mitchell Was In And Out Of Prison

Sasha Mitchell’s character, Cody Lambert, was a major source of comic relief on the show.  Sweet and dimwitted, Cody would often break the tension during more serious plot lines. Throughout the show’s run, Mitchell was in and out of trouble with the law for domestic abuse. Police were called to his house several times to investigate reported incidents against his then-wife, Jeannette Robbins.

Robbins was accused of child abuse in the past, and full custody of the children was granted to Mitchell because of alleged neglect and violence by Robbins. Mitchell was quoted in an interview syaing that he “restrained her in a way that was deemed spousal abuse” after she was violent toward him and the children. However, Mitchell was later convicted on charges of child endangerment.

Mitchell was sentenced to a 30-day jail sentence for violating probation after he was convicted of domestic assault in September 1995. He was allowed to leave prison during his sentence to shoot Step by Step.

Photo: Step By Step/Amazon

Angela Watson Was Robbed By Her Parents

After Step by Step ended, Angela Watson, who played Karen Foster, realized that the $2.5 million she earned from her 10 years as a child actor was gone — her parents misspent the money and saved none for her. Watson shared her story and discovered that it was a common problem among child actors. In 2000, she started Child Actors Supporting Themselves (CAST), an organization that assists child actors in managing their own finances.

Photo: Step By Step/Amazon

Sasha Mitchell’s Domestic Violence Eventually Got Him Kicked Off The Show

In 1995, Mitchell was charged with causing extreme physical harm to his wife and kicking a hole through the bathroom door. His attorney said Mitchell was framed, but the jury didn’t agree. The following year in 1996, Mitchell was once again arrested for abuse when he threw a chair against a wall, spit on his wife, and hit her with a couch pillow. He was later imprisoned for failing to complete his mandatory abuse counseling. The descriptions of the verbal and physical abuse are harrowing.

Mitchell was eventually fired from Step by Step. When he went to prison a second time, he was no longer allowed to leave for filming, although he returned as a guest for one episode in the show’s seventh season.

Photo: Step By Step/Amazon

Brendan Disappeared From The Show Under Mysterious Circumstances

The youngest child in the family was shy little Brendan, played by Josh Byrne, who was the most welcoming to his step family. In the seventh season, he disappeared from the show without reason. His TV parents still said they had seven children, but he was never onscreen again. Buzzfeed writes that Byrne quit acting and now enjoys attending renaissance fairs.

Photo: Step By Step/Amazon

There Were Creepy Echoes Of A Replaced Child Actor In The Opening Title

The role of dorky younger brother Mark Foster was originally played by a brunette child actor named Jarrett Lennon in the unaired pilot. The producers realized they needed Carol’s kids to be blonde and Frank’s to be brunette. Lennon was dismissed and replaced with Mark Foster. The pilot was re-shot, but the opening credits were not. Blonde Mark Foster has his own title card, but in the group shots of the family there is a mysterious brunette boy, who the editors clearly tried their best to hide.

Photo: The Hottie And The Nottie/Amazon

Christine Lakin Starred In The Paris Hilton Movie ‘The Hottie And The Nottie’

Everyone remembers the 2007 Paris Hilton film The Hottie and the Nottie, right? Probably not. With 4% on Rotten Tomatoes and a slew of nominations at the Razzi awards, the Paris Hilton and Christine Lakin-led film has fallen into the gutters of film history.

In the movie, Lakin (who played the kid sister Al Lambert on the show) is the ugly friend, and Paris is the beautiful one. But of course by the end, Christine’s character reveals she was beautiful all along and therefore worthy of the male lead’s affections, because isn’t that what love is all about?

Photo: Step By Step/Amazon

The Beautiful Body Of Water In The Opening Credits Is Actually A Six Flags Parking Lot

The show’s opening credits depict the two families adventuring in an amusement park. The show is set in Wisconsin, and the final image of the credits reveal an aerial shot of the theme park. Behind it are green hills and in front of it the sparkling Lake Michigan water front.

In reality, the amusement park is a Six Flags north of Los Angeles, which is in the middle of a desert. The hills were digitally altered to look green, and the parking lot was covered with a lake.

Photo: Lameer Witter/Wikimedia/Public Domain

Suzanne Somers Allegedly Plans To Live To 125 Thanks To A Blood Ritual

Somers was allegedly part of an experimental treatment by the Young Blood Institute on January 23, 2018 in which she began receiving scientifically unfounded treatments to “rejuvenate” her aging cells by swapping out her blood for the blood of teenagers and young adults. In this process, a young patient donates plasma. That plasma is purified and then injected into the older patient’s body. Somers is considered part of an official experiment, so only time will tell if the transfusions work.

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