The Partridge Family

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The Partridge Family
Genre Musical sitcom
Created by Bernard Slade
Starring Shirley Jones
David Cassidy
Danny Bonaduce
Susan Dey
Suzanne Crough
Jeremy Gelbwaks (1970–71)
Brian Forster (1971–74)
Dave Madden
Theme music composer Diane Hilderbrand
Danny Janssen
Wes Farrell
Opening theme "When We're Singin'" (1970–71)
"C'mon, Get Happy" (1971–74)
Composer(s) George Duning
Benny Golson
Warren Barker
Hugo Montenegro
Shorty Rogers
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 96 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Bob Claver
Producer(s) William Bickley
Paul Junger Witt
Dale McRaven
Larry Rosen
Mel Swope
Cinematography Fred Jackman, Jr.
Irving Lippman
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Screen Gems Television (1970–1974)
Distributor Columbia Pictures Television (1974–84; 1989–96)
DFS Program Exchange (1984–87)
The Program Exchange (1987–89)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996–2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–present)
Original network ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 25, 1970 (1970-09-25) – March 23, 1974 (1974-03-23)
Related shows Getting Together
Goober and the Ghost Chasers
Partridge Family 2200 A.D.
External links
[{{#property:P856}} Website]

The Partridge Family is an American musical television sitcom series starring Shirley Jones and featuring David Cassidy. Jones is a widowed mother, and Cassidy plays the oldest of her five children who embark on a music career. It ran from September 25, 1970, until March 23, 1974, on the ABC network as part of a Friday-night lineup, and had subsequent runs in syndication. The family was loosely based on the real-life musical family The Cowsills, a popular band in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


File:Partridge Family first cast 1970.JPG
The Partridge Family, season 1

In the pilot episode, a group of musical siblings in the fictitious city of San Pueblo, California (said to be "40 miles from Napa County" in episode 24, A Partridge By Any Other Name) convinces their widowed mother and bank teller, Shirley Partridge, to help them out by singing as they record a pop song in their garage. Through the efforts of precocious ten-year-old Danny, they find a manager, Reuben Kincaid, who helps make the song a Top 40 hit. After more persuading, Shirley agrees that the family can go on tour. They acquire an old school bus, a 1957 Chevrolet Series 6800 Superior, for touring, paint it with Mondrian-inspired patterns, and depart to Las Vegas, Nevada for their first live gig at Caesars Palace.

Subsequent episodes usually feature the band performing in various venues or in their garage. The shows often contrast suburban life with the adventures of a show business family on the road. After the first season, more of the show's action takes place in their home town rather than on tour.


Created for television by Bernard Slade, the series' executive producer was Bob Claver. The show was inspired by and loosely based on The Cowsills,[1] a family pop music group that was famous in the late 1960s. In the show's early development, the Cowsill children were considered by the producers, but because the Cowsills were not trained actors and were too old for the roles as scripted, Slade and Claver abandoned that idea.[2] Shirley Jones had already been signed as mother Shirley Partridge and star of the show.

The pilot was filmed in December 1969. It differs from the version that aired in 1970. In the unaired pilot, Shirley's name is "Connie", and she has a boyfriend, played by Jack Cassidy, Jones' real-life husband at the time and David Cassidy's father. Laurie has a line of dialogue about her late father once getting drunk at a Christmas party, and the family lives at a different address. This unaired pilot is not available on home video.

Shortly after the series ended, scriptwriter Roberta Tatum launched a lawsuit against Screen Gems concerning the creation of the show. Tatum claimed that she had submitted a similar premise to Screen Gems prior to 1970 called Baker's Half-Dozen. The matter was resolved out of court, with Tatum receiving a reported $150,000 from Screen Gems.[3]

The Partridge Family, season 1

Cast and characters

Notable guest stars

During its four-season run, many actors made guest appearances on the show. Some of them were known at the time, such as Morey Amsterdam, John Astin, Carl Ballantine, Edgar Buchanan, Dick Clark (who later hosted The Other Half from 2001 to 2003 with Danny Bonaduce), Jackie Coogan, Howard Cosell, Jodie Foster, Ned Glass, James Gregory, Margaret Hamilton, Pat Harrington, Jr., Arte Johnson, Harvey Lembeck, Harry Morgan, Slim Pickens, Richard Pryor, Barbara Rhoades, William Schallert, Nita Talbot, Larry Wilcox, Dick Wilson, and William Windom. Others would later become famous in other roles, such as Meredith Baxter, Richard Bull, Bert Convy, Farrah Fawcett, Norman Fell, Tony Geary, Louis Gossett, Jr., Harold Gould, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Hamill, Ann Jillian, Gordon Jump, Cheryl Ladd, William Lucking, Stuart Margolin, Richard Mulligan, Michael Ontkean, Noam Pitlik, Annette O'Toole, Charlotte Rae, Rob Reiner, Jack Riley, Jaclyn Smith, Vic Tayback, Nancy Walker, and Frank Welker.

File:The Partridge Family Cast 1972.jpg
The Partridge Family, season 3

Country singer Johnny Cash made a cameo appearance in the pilot episode. Ray Bolger played Shirley's father in three episodes, and Rosemary DeCamp played Shirley's mother in four episodes.[4][5] Then-Governor Ronald Reagan's daughter, Maureen Reagan, was also featured in one episode. Future Charlie's Angels stars, Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Ladd all made guest appearances on separate episodes.

Bobby Sherman appeared in episode 25 (the last episode of the first season) as struggling songwriter Bobby Conway; this episode led into a short-lived spinoff series on ABC, Getting Together, starring Sherman and Wes Stern as Bobby Conway's business partner Lionel Poindexter.


File:Partridge Family 1973.JPG
Shirley Jones and Ricky Segall, season 4


At the end of the first season, Jeremy Gelbwaks' family moved out of the Los Angeles area, and the part of Chris was recast with actor Brian Forster. According to David Cassidy, Gelbwaks "had a personality conflict with every person in the cast and the producers".[6] A dog named "Simone" was featured in the first season, but was phased out during the second season. At the beginning of the fourth season, a four-year-old neighbor named Ricky Stevens (Ricky Segall) was featured and would sing a children's song during each episode, but was dropped mid-season.


Led by music producer Wes Farrell, a group of hired studio musicians (informally referred to as the Wrecking Crew) actually created the Partridge Family's sound. The harmonious background vocalists were brothers John and Tom Bahler, Jackie Ward, and Ron Hicklin (initially the Ron Hicklin Singers). David Cassidy was originally to lip sync with the rest of the cast, but he convinced Farrell just weeks into production that he could sing and was allowed to join the studio ensemble as the lead singer.[7]

The Partridge Family Theme, shown over opening credits, underwent more than one incarnation. Season 1 episodes feature the song "When We're Singin'", which was replaced in subsequent seasons with "C'mon Get Happy".

"Five of us, and Mom working all day,
we knew we could help her if our music would pay,
Danny got Reuben to sell our song, and it really
came together when Mom sang along..." (from "When We're Singin'")

Later, when the new version appeared, it featured new lyrics sung to the "When We're Singin'" tune. With the new chorus finalized, "C'mon Get Happy" showcased the new verse:

"We had a dream, we'd go travelin' together,
We'd spread a little lovin' then we'd keep movin' on.
Somethin' always happens whenever we're together
We get a happy feelin' when we're singing a song..." (from "C'Mon Get Happy")

David Cassidy Rolling Stone interview

In the midst of his rise to fame, David Cassidy soon felt stifled by the show and trapped by the mass hysteria surrounding his every move.[8] In May 1972, he appeared nude on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in a cropped Annie Leibovitz photo. He used the article to get away from his squeaky clean image.[9] Amongst other things, the article mentions Cassidy was riding around New York in the back of a car "stoned and drunk".[10]

Broadcast history

For its final season, ABC moved the show from its 8:30 pm Friday night slot (where it rated first in its timeslot) to Saturday at 8:00 pm (opposite CBS' top-rated All in the Family, with which it could not compete successfully). After 96 episodes and eight Partridge Family albums, ABC canceled the show.


(Households with TV: 62,100,000)

  • 1970–1971: No. 26 The Partridge Family ABC Estimated Audience 11,899,800
  • 1971–1972: No. 16 The Partridge Family ABC Estimated Audience 14,034,600
  • 1972–1973: No. 19 The Partridge Family ABC Estimated Audience 13,348,800
  • 1973–1974: Not in the Top 30


Nickelodeon featured a run of The Partridge Family from 1993 to 1994 as part of its Nick at Nite lineup. The network used interviews and commercials featuring cast members, and created a new version of the bus for promotion. The show also aired at various times on Fox Family, Ion Television, and Hallmark Channel. As of January 2011, it airs on Antenna TV.

The cast was reunited in the 1990s on The Arsenio Hall Show and The Danny Bonaduce Show and were featured on E! True Hollywood Story, Biography and VH1's Behind The Music.

When the digital subchannel Antenna TV premiered in January 2011, The Partridge Family became one of its offerings through the network's distribution agreement with Sony Pictures Television (parent company and successor of series producer Screen Gems).[11][12][13][14]


Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Result
1971 Grammy Awards Best New Artist[15] Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best TV Show – Musical/Comedy Nominated
1972 Best TV Show – Musical/Comedy Nominated
2003 TV Land Awards Quintessential Non-Traditional Family Nominated
Hippest Fashion Plate – Male to David Cassidy Won
2004 Favorite Teen Dream – Female to Susan Dey Won
Irreplaceable Replacement for Brian Forster replacing Jeremy Gelbwaks Nominated
2006 Favorite Singing Siblings Nominated
The Most Irreplaceable Replacement for Brian Forster replacing Jeremy Gelbwaks Nominated
2007 Most Beautiful Braces – Susan Dey Nominated



The Partridge Family was produced for ABC by Screen Gems. The company promoted the show by releasing a series of albums featuring the family band, though David Cassidy and Shirley Jones, who sang background, were the only cast members who were actually featured on the recordings.[7]

As the show and other associated merchandising soared, David Cassidy became a teen idol.[16] The producers signed Cassidy as a solo act as well. Cassidy began touring with his own group of musicians, performing Partridge songs as well as hits from his own albums, to thousands of screaming teenagers in major stadiums across the USA, UK, Europe, Japan and Australia.

The Partridge Family's biggest hit came in 1970 with the song "I Think I Love You", written by Tony Romeo (who had previously written several of the Cowsills' hits), peaked at Number 1 on the Billboard charts in December of that year. It sold over five million copies, outselling the Beatles' Let It Be, was awarded a gold disc, and made the group the third fictional artist to have a No. 1 hit (after The Chipmunks and The Archies).[17] The song's companion LP, The Partridge Family Album, reached Number 4 in the Billboard 200. It was also awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in December 1970, having sold over one million copies.[17] A string of hit Partridge singles followed: "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted", "I'll Meet You Halfway", "I Woke Up In Love This Morning", "It's One of Those Nights (Yes Love)", "Am I Losing You", "Looking Through the Eyes of Love", "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do", and "A Friend and a Lover".[18] These singles were showcased on million-selling albums including Up To Date, Sound Magazine, Shopping Bag, Notebook, Crossword Puzzle, and Bulletin Board.[19] Their holiday album A Partridge Family Christmas Card was the No. 1 selling Christmas record of 1971.[20] Record sales success was replicated internationally, with both The Partridge Family (group) and David Cassidy (solo) achieving huge hits in Canada, Great Britain, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In all, The Partridge Family released 89 songs on 9 albums between 1970 and 1973.

Danny Bonaduce album

Though Danny Bonaduce was not part of the session band, he also got a recording contract, and released a self-titled album in 1972, Danny Bonaduce. Though Bonaduce was credited as lead singer on all songs, he insists that he had a weak voice and that Bruce Roberts provided most of the vocals on the album. The first track, "I'll Be Your Magician", in which the 13-year-old Bonaduce seduces a woman into having sexual intercourse with him, has developed a cult following for its campy entertainment value. The original, watered-down, version was recorded with Cassidy for the Sound Magazine album, but was discarded and never released. In fall 2010, Cassidy dared Bonaduce to learn how to play the bass guitar lines on the songs the Partridge Family performed. Bonaduce learned the bass guitar line for "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted", stating that although he had no ability to read music, the song was relatively easy to learn; Cassidy and Bonaduce have performed together on rare occasions since that time.[21]

Animated spin off

The Partridges had a brief resurgence in animated form which saw the family propelled into the future. The animated Partridges first appeared when the kids did a series of guest spots on Goober and the Ghost Chasers. That idea evolved into a CBS Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera-produced cartoon in 1974, Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (also called The Partridge Family in Outer Space when rerun later as part of Fred Flintstone and Friends). Shirley Jones and David Cassidy did not voice their animated counterparts (Shirley Partridge was renamed Connie Partridge in the cartoon), and Susan Dey and Dave Madden had very limited involvement with this cartoon.

Board game

Released in 1971 by Milton Bradley, The Partridge Family Game offers a glimpse of what life on the road was like for one of TV’s favorite fictional pop bands. The back of the box explains, “As on TV, many happenings occur to the Partridge family, this game describes one of them. They have finished playing at a local arena and must hurry to their BUS to get traveling again. On the way, they may have some delays.” The object of the game is to be the first player to get back to the tour bus.[22]

Comic books

Charlton Comics produced a comic book featuring The Partridge Family between March 1971 and December 1973. It features stories about the characters, song lyrics and features about David Cassidy. [23]

Reunion special

Three years after the show's cancellation, Shirley Jones and other cast members gathered with cast members of My Three Sons for the ABC special Thanksgiving Reunion with The Partridge Family and My Three Sons, that aired on November 25, 1977. The show featured the casts discussing the histories of their shows, although other than Jones and Fred MacMurray both portraying single parents of large families, the two series had no narrative link.

The New Partridge Family

In 2004, VH1 produced a pilot for a syndicated The New Partridge Family, starring Suzanne Sole as Shirley, Leland Grant as Keith, Emma Stone as Laurie and Spencer Tuskowski as Danny. The pilot was the only episode produced.

DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released all 4 Seasons of The Partridge Family in DVD Region 1. Seasons 1 and 2 have been released in region 2 and 4.

On October 15, 2013, Sony released The Partridge Family – The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[24] The 12-disc set features all 96 episodes of the series as well as bonus features.

The Screen Gems closing logo was removed from episodes for the first three seasons on DVD.

On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including The Partridge Family.[25] They subsequently re-released the first two seasons on June 24, 2014.[26]

On September 22, 2015, Mill Creek re-released Partridge Family- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 with the original Screen Gems logo reinstated at the end of the credits. None of the U.S. DVD releases contain the epilogue to episode #25 which does appear on Region 2 & 4 releases, the unaired 1969 pilot, nor any episodes of the spin-off series Getting Together. [27]

DVD name Ep. # Release date
The Complete 1st Season 25 May 3, 2005
June 24, 2014 (re-release)
The Complete 2nd Season 24 November 8, 2005
June 24, 2014 (re-release)
The Complete 3rd Season 25 October 14, 2008
The Complete 4th Season 22 February 3, 2009
The Complete Series 96 October 15, 2013
September 22, 2015 (re-release)

See also


  1. C'mon, Get Happy, p. 51-52
  2. "An Interview with Bob Claver, part 2". Retrieved March 31, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Appelton, Jerry, "TVQ", The Toronto Star, April 21, 1978, page D3.
  4. Ray Bolger at the Internet Movie Database
  5. Rosemary DeCamp at the Internet Movie Database
  6. C'mon, Get Happy Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus by David Cassidy and Chip Deffaa, 1994 DBC Enterprises, Warner Books Inc, p. 87
  7. 7.0 7.1 C'mon, Get Happy, p. 56-60
  8. C'mon, Get Happy, p. 92-95
  9. C'Mon Get Happy pg 167
  10. Rolling Stone magazine – David Cassidy – "Naked Lunch Box" (the title of the article), written by Robin Green, May 11, 1972.
  11. "Partridge Family | Antenna TV – Antenna TV". Retrieved March 31, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Antenna TV's Fall Schedule". Retrieved March 31, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Pavan - (July 25, 2011). "Antenna TV Fall 2011 Schedule; OWN and TLC Acquires Undercover Boss Repeats for Fall 2012 – News Blog". Retrieved March 31, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Antenna TV: Classic Television and Movies on KTLA's Antenna TV 5.2". Retrieved March 31, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. The Palm Beach Post-Times. Sunday, March 14, 1971. "Elite of the Record Industry Await the Grammy Awards", page B16
  16. C'mon, Get Happy, p. 68-73
  17. 17.0 17.1 Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 284. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "TSORT Song Artist 592 – The Partridge Family". Retrieved June 22, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "TSORT Album Artist 994 – The Partridge Family". Retrieved June 22, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Christmas in the Charts (1920–2004). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 179. ISBN 0-89820-161-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Parry, Wayne (April 10, 2011). David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce play Partridge song. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  22. Coopee, Todd. "The Partridge Family Game".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Ian Shirley,Can Rock & Roll Save the World?: An Illustrated History of Music and Comics. SAF Publishing Ltd, 2005. ISBN 0946719802 (p. 88-89).
  24. "The Partridge Family DVD news: Announcement for The Partridge Family - The Complete Series". July 15, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Site News DVD news: Mill Creek Licenses 52 TV Shows from Sony for Low-Cost DVD Release". August 27, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "The Partridge Family DVD news: Release Date for The Partridge Family - Seasons 1 & 2". April 18, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "The Partridge Family DVD news: Announcement for The Partridge Family - The Complete Series". August 7, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. "The Partridge Family Album" by Joey Green, 1994 HarperCollins Publisher

External links