Partridge Family, The


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

About

The Partridge Family was broadcast on ABC from 1970 to 1974. A modest ratings success, the show peaked at number sixteen in the ratings for the 1971-72 season. While The Partridge Family never attracted huge audiences, it was a major hit with younger viewers. The series was also distinguished for spawning highly successful, if short-lived, commercial tie-ins. Children's mystery books and comic books featured the Partridges; their musical albums were heavily promoted; and David Cassidy, one of the actors, became a teen idol.

The Partridges were a fatherless family of six who decided, in the premier episode, to form a rock band and tour the country in a psychedelically-painted school bus. Most episodes began at the family home in California. Under the leadership of 70s supermom Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones), the five Partridge kids survived various capers that almost always culminated in successful concerts. Mom covered lead vocals. Teenage stepson Keith (David Cassidy) helped keep the family in line. Keith sometimes clashed with sister Laurie (Susan Dey) and everyone clashed with ten-year-old brother Danny (Danny Bonaduce), the freckle-faced bass player who was always looking for the big score. Danny's special nemesis was band manager Reuben Kinkaid (David Madden), an irritable man with a knack for getting the family into trouble when the plot needed fresh complications. Two younger Partridges, Chris and Tracy, rounded out the cast, along with a next-door neighbor, Ricky, and Reuben's nephew, Alan, who joined the show in 1973.

The show was not a sustained hit in syndication. During the 1990s, however, a retro-vogue endowed The Partridge Family with minor cult status. With their shag hairdos, flair pants, and polyester outfits, the Partridges epitomized the early 1970s. MTV vee-jay Pagan Kennedy praised the show for having made rock 'n' roll culture seem both exciting and benign: "The Partridge Family took drug culture, made it square, and added kids. It was hipness for the under-10 crowd."

The dramatic formula of the show--something between The Brady Bunch and Scooby Doo--rarely receives scholarly attention. References occasionally note Shirley Partridge's status as a supermother in the Donna Reed mold. For the most part, the show is remembered for its successful commercial tie-ins. Several Partridge Family songs became genuine hits, including the theme, "Come On, Get Happy," and "I Think I Love You," which sold four million copies. On the Partridge Family albums, Jones and Cassidy sang their own parts, but studio artists supplied background vocals and music. The Family never toured (since they did not play their own music), but Cassidy had a brief and wildly successful career as a pop singer. At the heights of his popularity, he could fill stadiums with pre-pubescent girls.

In 1973-74, The Partridge Family was switched from Friday nights to Saturday nights, opposite All in the Family and Emergency. The ratings quickly fell and the show was canceled before the next season. A cartoon sequel, Partridge Family: 2200 AD, brought the Partridges back to life in space. The show played Saturday mornings for one season (1974-75), featuring voices from the prime-time cast.

-J.B. Bird

CAST

Shirley Partridge....................................... Shirley Jones  

Keith Partridge........................................ David Cassidy  

Laurie Partridge............................................ Susan Dey  

Danny Partridge................................... Danny Bonaduce

Christopher Partridge (1970-1971)........ Jeremy Gelbwaks  

Christopher Partridge (1971-1974)............... Brian Forster  

Tracy Partridge.................................... Suzanne Crough  

Reuben Kinkaid .......................................David Madden

Ricky Stevens (1973-1974)......................... Ricky Segall  

Alan Kinkaid (1973-1974) ............................Alan Bursky

PRODUCERS  

Bob Claver, Paul Junger Witt, Mel Swope, William S. Bickley, Michael Warren

PROGRAMMING HISTORY

96 Episodes

ABC

September 1970-June 1973   Friday 8:30-9:00

June 1973-August 1974   Saturday 8:00-3:30

FURTHER READING

Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh. The Complete Directory To Prime-Time Network TV Shows; 1946-Present. New York: Ballantine, 1992.

Kennedy, Pagan. "I Think I Love You." The Village Voice Literary Supplement (New York), 10 December 1991.

Mitz, Rick. The Great TV Sitcom Book. New York: Perigree, 1988.

Steinberg, Cobbet. TV Facts. New York: Facts on File, 1985.

Highlights
Shirley Jones on the television movie Silent Night, Lonely Night, co-starring Lloyd Bridges
02:02
Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Partridge Family  (including the bus)
02:01
Bob Claver on casting The Partridge Family
07:07
Bruce Bilson on directing two episodes of The Partridge Family
01:46
Ralph Senensky on directing The Partridge Family
03:54
Who talked about this show

George Barris

View Interview
Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Partridge Family  (including the bus)
02:01

Bruce Bilson

View Interview
Bruce Bilson on directing two episodes of The Partridge Family
01:46

Bob Claver

View Interview
Bob Claver on casting The Partridge Family
07:07
Bob Claver on producing and directing The Partridge Family
02:23
Bob Claver on the characters of The Partridge Family and the musical aspects of the show
02:33
Bob Claver on the opening sequence and theme song of The Partridge Family
00:34
Bob Claver on The Partridge Family bus 
01:07
Bob Claver on working with the kids of The Partridge Family and how they dealt with celebrity
01:10
Bob Claver on his duties on The Partridge Family, the addition of Rick Segall to the cast, and the end of the show
01:22
Bob Claver on his favorite episodes of The Partridge Family and the show being a product of its time
01:34
Bob Claver on meeting President Richard Nixon during the run of The Partridge Family
00:41
Bob Claver on the questions he gets asked about The Partridge Family and the continuing popularity of the show
01:52
Bob Claver on the Partridge Family spin-off Getting Together
01:02

Henry Colman

View Interview
Henry Colman on working as a Screen Gems production executive on The Partridge Family
00:44

Ron Friedman

View Interview
Ron Friedman on writing for The Partridge Family
00:31

Leonard Goldberg

View Interview
Leonard Goldberg on getting The Partridge Family made
01:45

Shirley Jones

View Interview
Shirley Jones on how she came to be cast as "Shirley Partridge" on The Partridge Family, and on David Cassidy being cast as her son "Keith Partridge"
03:03
Shirley Jones on the cast of The Partridge Family
01:58
Shirley Jones on David Cassidy becoming a rock star from The Partridge Family
02:13
Shirley Jones on the character of "Shirley Partridge" on The Partridge Family, and on the writers getting ideas from Shirley Jones' life
06:49
Shirley Jones on how The Partridge Family reflected its times, and on working with show creator Bernard Slade
02:54
Shirley Jones on The Partridge Family being based on The Cowsills singing group, and on show producer Bob Claver
03:06
Shirley Jones on the musical aspects of The Partridge Family
01:20
Shirley Jones on the music of The Partridge Family
02:07
Shirley Jones on David Madden as "Reuben Kincaid" on The Partridge Family
00:51
Shirley Jones on Danny Bonaduce as "Danny Partridge" on The Partridge Family
01:01
Shirley Jones on Susan Dey as "Laurie Partridge" on The Partridge Family
01:52
Shirley Jones on the younger cast members of The Partridge Family: Suzanne Crough, Jeremy Gelbwaks, and Brian Forster
02:34
Shirley Jones on Ray Bolger and Rosemary DeCamp playing her parents on The Partridge Family
01:18
Shirley Jones on The Partridge Family bus
01:33
Shirley Jones on her favorite episodes of The Partridge Family, and on the merchandising of the show
02:03
Shirley Jones on "Shirley Partridge" being a role model on The Partridge Family, and on the end of the show
03:11
Shirley Jones on The Partridge Family reunions, and on the continued popularity of the show
02:52

Carroll Pratt

View Interview
Carroll Pratt on providing laugh track for Kraft Music Hall, The Steve Allen Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Odd Couple, and The Partridge Family
05:50

Charlotte Rae

View Interview
Charlotte Rae on moving to Los Angeles and appearing on many shows, including McMillian & Wife and The Partridge Family
04:00

Ralph Senensky

View Interview
Ralph Senensky on directing The Partridge Family
03:54

Jaclyn Smith

View Interview
Jaclyn Smith on appearing on The Partridge Family
01:21

Matthew Weiner

View Interview
Matthew Weiner on how he wanted to be "Danny Partridge" from The Partridge Family
00:40

All Shows

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
J
L
M
P
R
S
T
W