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Partridge Family

By Grant Balfour/Bret Fetzer

Like a groovy Family von Trapp, The Partridge Family arrived in 1970 with matching velvet outfits and wholesomeness bursting from every pore. Watching it now, you expect little more than kitsch--but the show, though certainly a sitcom representation of the world, is curiously fresh and appealing. This sheer likeability comes partly from the cast--Shirley Jones (The Music Man) looks foxy in miniskirts while still being the cool mom everyone wishes they had; teen idol David Cassidy is unexpectedly engaging as an actor (his charisma is all the more apparent when another teen idol, Bobby Sherman, makes a wooden appearance); and Danny Bonaduce's child-star rise sprang not from cuteness but his genuine comic timing. It doesn't hurt that many of the troubles the characters faced--swelled heads, rivalry, groupies (!)--were undoubtedly problems the actors were facing as their show became a hit.

Sure, there are utterly ridiculous episodes, such as when Danny is tutoring a mob boss's girlfriend about the stock market and the gangster, not knowing Danny is only 10 years old, gets jealous--but most episodes feature ordinary show business conflicts or straightforward family issues, like how the kids cope when their mother starts dating or how teenager Laurie (Susan Dey, who later went on to L.A. Law) feels ugly when she gets braces.

This simplicity, combined with some classic vaudeville-style humor, proves surprisingly durable. Plus, the list of guest stars ranges from Ray Bolger (best known as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz) to a young Richard Pryor, as well as other soon-to-be-famous folk like Charlie's Angels' Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith and a pre-Star Wars Mark Hamill. The first season collection includes a bonus CD with four of the Partridge Family's actual radio hits; their sound, a fusion of the Monkees and the Mamas and the Papas, is pure pop sugar (created by a host of Brill Building songwriters like Neil Sedaka). If the Mondrian-inspired paint job on the Partridge Family bus gives you childhood flashbacks, you'll happily regress when you watch this box set.

Laurie's love life, and a national TV spot for the band, is thrown into mayhem by a dentist's pronouncement that she needs braces. Rounding out the video is the show's final episode, "Anchors Aweigh." The suburban singing family seem slightly more mature, and quite a bit shaggier. George Chakiris (West Side Story's Bernardo) drops anchor and sweeps Shirley off her feet as a returning naval hero. But what Keith and Laurie try to bring together, can Danny tear asunder? The episode features Keith strutting out the funky number "Rollercoaster," and healthy helpings of poignant, poppy Partridge splendor.

Partridge Family on DVD!
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Season One


Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our Partridge Family forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other Partridge Family viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

I have been a fan of David Cassidy since 1972, even joined his fan club. I would love to watch the partridge family show again, I would also like my 10 year old son to watch them as he already knows all the words to Davids songs.

--Chris Hill

Note: This is just a random sample of the Partridge Family messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!



Aired: September 25, 1970 - August 31, 1974

Cast: David Cassidy, Susan Dey, Shirley Jones, Danny Bonaduce

Network: ABC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song: Definitive Collection available)

Image courtesy of ABC

Partridge Family memorabilia!
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David Cassidy Videos and DVDs!
Susan Dey memorabilia!
Susan Dey Videos and DVDs!

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Copyright 1994-2017, All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
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Review copyright and used by permission.