The Partridge Family

Heather Marie Studebaker

If you were alive 30 years ago you probably can recall those Friday nights when you were sitting in front of the television set during prime time watching a widowed mother and her five children who charmed America and broke a generation gap with their groovy, bubble gum sounding tunes. You probably would also know that "The Partridge Family," with its something for everyone cast and groovy tunes, took over America as an instant success in the fall of 1970.

The Partridge Family was the 70s successor to the Monkees who were a mid 60s hit. Both the Monkees and the Partridge Family were fictional rock/pop bands produced by a television branch of Columbia Pictures called Screen Gems, but unlike the Monkees, the Partridge Family strictly was about wholesome and traditional family values. (UBL.com)

The famous cast included screen and stage veteran Shirley Jones who played the mother, Shirley Partridge. Shirley Jones had been in numerous plays and movies including Rodgers and Hammerstien?s "Oklahoma!", "The Music Man", "The Big Slide", and the 1960 film version of Elmer Gantry which won her an Academy Award for her role as a prostitute. In 1956, Shirley Jones married actor Jack Cassidy who was the father of her future co-star David Cassidy.

Born April 12, 1950 in New York City, David Cassidy grew up in the show business atmosphere with both his father and mother being avid performers. After he graduated from Rexford, a private school in Beverly Hills, he worked with the Los Angeles Theater Group and was featured in the Los Angeles theater production of "And so to Bed" (members.tripod.com). After that he moved to New York and back to Los Angeles while starring in several plays and TV shows including "Mod Squad" and "Bonanza", but David Cassidy didn?t get his big break until he returned to his first love, music, when he was cast as Keith Partridge.

Other cast members who played Partridge siblings included Susan Dey, a popular New York fashion model who played Laurie Partridge, and the red headed and freckled Danny Bonaduce who played Danny Partridge and to many people?s surprise actually came from an 100 percent Italian background (The Partridge Family Deluxe Souvenir Album).

The youngest partridges as you may know were Chris and Tracy. Chris was first played by Jeremy Gelbwaks during the first season, but his parents soon became uncomfortable about his acting with the mania that surrounded the show and took their son out of the cast. He soon was replace with young Brain Foster. Suzanne Crough, who played Tracy Partridge, did not have trouble playing the role of the youngest child. Coincidentally she was the youngest in a family of eight children. The only permanent cast member who was not a partridge was the family?s manager, Reuben Kincaid who was played by Dave Madden.

With its remarkably sought and talented cast its no wonder that the show became a top-rated series very soon after in first premiered on ABC-TV on September 25, 1970 (UBL.com). The basically fictional group was based on the real life family pop/rock band called the Cowsills. The show?s greatest feature was the terminally cute David Cassidy who had that killer smile, and who was the only voice heard on records besides Jones who sang background vocals. As crucial as David proved to the of the show, it is surprising that the show?s producers were skeptical about hiring him because Shirley Jones was his step mother. Fortunately, Jones assured the producers that her and her step son were on good terms and convinced them to cast him.

Besides the face and voice of David Cassidy, one other feature of the show was the balanced comedy that was generated between Dave Madden?s character, Reubin and the sharp-witted Danny who always had some kind of money making scheme up his sleeves.

In the premiere episode, the Partridge siblings convince their mother to help them make a record label demo and ten year old Danny compels manager Reuben Kincaid to listen to the tape. Before they know it, they are driving a psychadelic school bus to Caesar?s Palace in Las Vagas to sing their first gig in maroon crushed velvet costumes. In real life, the Partridge family song "I think I love you" was released and became a hit selling over one million copies and holding the number one spot on the pop charts for