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The Partridge Family (TV Series 1970–1974) Poster

(1970–1974)

Trivia

Danny Bonaduce would often struggle with his lines, especially during the script readings. It turned out that he was dyslexic. However, he also had an eidetic memory, in which case, he would memorize his own lines as well as everyone else's. He stated that this would often get him on the bad side of his fellow cast members when he would correct them or state their lines for them when they couldn't remember.
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Originally, the only cast member who was supposed to sing was Shirley Jones. However, after the producers heard David Cassidy's demos of the songs, they decided to let him sing as well.
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The house in which the Partridges resided was a combination of a studio set for the interiors, and an exterior façade on the backlot at the Warner Brothers "Ranch" complex in Burbank. The exterior house was also used as Mrs. Kravitz's house on Bewitched (1964). During the first season of this show, and the last season of Bewitched (1964), both shows used the same exterior of the house as the residence for their respective characters. The house was also seen in Pleasantville (1998) as Margaret's house, and Life Goes On (1989) as the residence of the Thacher family. Over the years, it has been remodelled and painted different colors, but is still recognizable, the front step and the shape of the roof are giveaways.
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Interestingly, despite the fact that they were a fictitious group, the Partridge Family was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy Award for 1970, which was won by The Carpenters.
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During the original run of the series, all eight LPs released by The Partridge Family had paper-themed titles. In release order, they referred to a photo album, a calendar, a magazine, a Christmas card, a shopping bag, a notebook, a crossword puzzle, and a bulletin board.
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Prior to getting the role of Shirley Partridge, Shirley Jones was one of the original choices to play Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch (1969). However, Jones refused the role because, as she put it, she didn't want to be known for "pulling a pot roast out of the oven every week", and at least with the role of Shirley Partridge, she would be portraying a working mother, which Carol was not. Interestingly, both shows ran back-to-back with each other on ABC's classic early 1970s Friday night line-up.
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Originally, the show was to star the real-life musical family The Cowsills. However, they backed out when the producers decided to have Shirley Jones take over the role of the mother from the group's actual matriarch, Barbara Cowsill.
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Susan Dey had a huge crush on David Cassidy during the entire run of the series.
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David Cassidy stated that when they recorded his voice during songs, they would record it at a quarter of a tone lower, and then play it back by raising it a quarter of a tone, thus making his voice sound higher than it really was. The intent was to make him sound more like a teenager; the result was, in Cassidy's words, like "they cut my balls off!"
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The actual singers for the Partridge Family are: Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, John Bahler, Tom Bähler, Jackie Ward, and Ron Hicklin.
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The name of Shirley's late husband was never mentioned throughout the run of the series.
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Rick Springfield was slated to replace an exhausted David Cassidy as Keith Partridge, had the show continued after the fourth season.
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According to Shirley Jones, "Laurie, Danny, Tracy, and both Chrises" (Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce, Suzanne Crough, Jeremy Gelbwaks, and Brian Forster) were given the chance to enter a recording studio, and sing and play for themselves. They weren't good enough.
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During the filming of the pilot, and a few early episodes, Susan Dey had to live with a guardian until she turned eighteen in December 1970.
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The exterior of The Partridge Family house, is the same exterior used on Bewitched (1964), The Donna Reed Show (1958), and 'Til Death (2006).
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Jeremy Gelbwaks was forced to leave after the first season, when his father's job took the family out of California. He was replaced by Brian Forster. According to Bernard Slade, ABC did not receive a single letter of complaint about the change.
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Several songs credited to The Partridge Family charted. The first single, "I Think I Love You" went to number one, and sold over four million copies. Other hits included "I'll Meet You Halfway", "Doesn't Someone Want to Be Wanted", and "I Woke Up in Love This Morning".
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During the first season, the theme song had a different arrangement, different lyrics and even a different title, "When We're Singing". However, during the second season, the more familiar arrangement of the theme song, with the more familiar title, "Come On Get Happy", was used, and remained the theme song throughout the run of the show.
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"I Think I Love You" was recorded on May 11, 1970 at Western Recorders in Hollywood. Produced by Wes Farrell, and arranged by Billy Strange, the vocals were performed by David Cassidy, Shirley Jones, Ron Hicklin, Stan Farber, Jackie Ward, Tom Bähler, and John Bahler. The harpsichord solo was played by Larry Knechtel.
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When David Cassidy announced that he was leaving the show due to exhaustion, the producers came up with two different ideas to replace him. One was to have Rick Springfield take over the role, and another was to have Wesley Eure introduced as a next door neighbor who sang and replaced Keith in the group.
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The Partridge Bus was painted in a style inspired by the geometric paintings of Piet Mondrian.
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The Partridge Family had a dog named Simone in the first season. However, it was gone after the first few appearances of the second season.
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In a few of the early episodes, David Cassidy didn't sing. He lip synched to another singer's voice in a couple of episodes.
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The character "Danny Partridge" was ranked number six in TV Guide's list of "TV's 10 Biggest Brats" (March 27, 2005 issue).
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Another interesting fact about the relationship between Shirley Jones and David Cassidy is that besides the fact that they were stepmother and stepson, Jones was only sixteen years older than Cassidy.
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Many companies, especially Sony, were making a fortune off of David Cassidy and his image, and his contract didn't require them to pay him any royalties, nor even ask his permission. Even girls who paid money to join the David Cassidy fan club had no idea that their allowances were lining the pockets of people he didn't know, or authorize to use his name. He was only able to change the terms of his contract when his manager realized that he'd been nineteen when he signed. The legal age back then was twenty-one, thus making his initial contract null and void. His manager was finally able to renegotiate and give him a piece of the action, as well as a new weekly salary reflective of his star status. Initially, David Cassidy was only earning a flat salary of six hundred dollars per week.
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Danny Bonaduce revealed many years later that during the run of the series, many people actually thought the kids played their own instruments, and thought that they should perform live. However, the only member of the cast to tour and perform was David Cassidy, who at the time, had a successful singing career in the U.S. and the UK.
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In the early episodes, Shirley Jones would provide narration. However, after a couple of episodes, the narration was dropped.
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The name of The Partridge Family's home town was San Pueblo, California.
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The series was based on the real-life family group, The Cowsills. The children were interviewed by the producers, but it was decided that they were too old to play the parts as written for the television series.
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The Patti Partridge doll was first introduced on the second season opener, "Dora, Dora, Dora". Tracy was shielding the doll's ears with her fingers to block out Dora's off-key warbling. The doll, although seen occasionally on several episodes before, was never seen again. According to Suzanne Crough, she kept the doll in her own personal collection.
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The show was ranked in the top twenty in its first three seasons, but going into the fourth, it was plucked from its 8:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 7:30 p.m. Central, time slot on Friday, and packed off to Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 7 p.m. Central opposite the top-rated All in the Family (1971) on CBS. That move, coupled with an exhausted David Cassidy wanting to move on, led to ABC finally pulling the plug in late April 1974.
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David Cassidy is playing guitar in the first episode as the kids go through their sound check.
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Reuben Kincaid (Dave Madden) had an airline stewardess girlfriend named Bonnie Kleinschmidt (Elaine Giftos) who was often mentioned and appeared on a couple of occasions.
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The occasional roles of Shirley's parent's Fred and Amanda Renfrew were played by Ray Bolger and Rosemary DeCamp. However, during the final season, the role of Grandpa Renfrew was taken over by Jackie Coogan and his name, with no explanation, was changed to Walter.
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Ruben Kincaid's (Dave Madden's) middle name is Clarence.
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Susan Dey wasn't the producers first choice to play Laurie. Another person who was considered for the role was Olivia Newton-John. Ironically, years later when the film Grease (1978) was being cast, Dey was the producers first choice to play "Sandy" before they eventually went with Newton-John.
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The character Ricky was added during the final season, as it was felt a new younger child among the cast would add a boost to the ratings. Due to the popularity of the Jackson Five, Michael in particular, producers considered casting an African-American child for the part of Ricky.
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Along with Room 222 (1969), The Brady Bunch (1969), The F.B.I. (1965), Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law (1971), and Here's Lucy (1968), it was one of the six shows to be cancelled in 1974. Not only due to low ratings, but because David Cassidy was exhausted and leaving the show.
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Before the series, David Cassidy once admitted he had a crush on Shirley Jones.
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Shirley Jones was the first one cast for the show.
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Shirley Jones was thirty-six years old when the show started.
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One episode during the first season served as the pilot for the short lived Bobby Sherman series Getting Together (1971).
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According to the 1970 TV Guide Fall Preview issue, the name of Shirley Jones' character was supposed to be Connie Partridge. This was probably for Connie Cowsill; who was a member of the group the Cowsills which the show is based on. It was obviously changed to Shirley to adhere and acquiesce to Shirley Jones' comfort level with the role.
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Besides the singles, several albums credited to The Partridge Family also hit the charts, the highest charting of which was "The Partridge Family Christmas Card", which went to number one on the Billboard charts in 1971.
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Reuben had a nephew named Alan who was seen in one episode. He was going to be the Partridges' Assistant Manager. However, he wound up being a stand-up comedian.
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Shirley Jones was the producers' first choice for the lead role as Shirley Partridge. Happily, she decided to take on the role.
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Long before the show started, Shirley Jones had known David Cassidy, when he was only six-years-old, as she was friends with his parents Evelyn Ward and Jack Cassidy. After Ward and the elder Cassidy had divorced, Cassidy wound up marrying Jones.
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After Creating The Patridge Family, which was a huge hit show for Screen Gems and ABC, Bernie Slade's next big project was big another big TV hit; Bridget Loves Bernie; a sitcom about a whirlwind relationship between Catholic schoolteacher Meredith Baxter and Jewish cab driver David Birney. The show was extremely popular; it ranked number 5 for the 1972-1973 season. But unlike the Patridge Family which ran for many years Bridget Loves Bernie was short lived. It was very popular, airing in between Mary Tyler Moore Show and All in the Family, but also extremely controversial. Religious groups around the country picketed the interfaith show; so much so that CBS CEO William Paley personally decided to cancel it after bumping into many protesters on the street while on the way to work every morning.
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Despite their best efforts the Brady Bunch was never able to compete with the Partridge Family; either as a musical group in terms of chart success; or overall in the ratings either. Although the Brady Bunch went on to become a cultural touchstone and a cult classic with a fervent fan following; with many more spin-offs; movies and reboot series.
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In her autobiography Shirley Jones said she got along with most of her co-stars; but she did not get along with Dick Clark very well; or her onscreen father Ray Bolger. She said she did enjoy working with Jodie Foster though. She said everyone in the cast predicted Farrah Fawcett would become a big star; and she did; hitting with :"Charlie's Angels" just about two years after appearing on "The Partridge Family."
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Shirley Jones and Florence Henderson both appeared in the Broadway Oklahoma before starring in Partidge Family and Brady Bunch, respectively. They become friends on the show and stayed BFF since.
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"I Think I Love You" knocked the Beatles' "Let it Be" out of the top spot on the Bilboard top 100 in 1970.
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Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce, Susan Dey, Suzanne Crough, and Dave Madden are the only actors and actresses who appeared in every episode of the series.
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In the late 1970s both family acts and Variety Shows suddenly became very hot. ABC Television and Sid and Marty Kroft wanted to reboot the Patridge Family as a variety hour. David Cassidy and Shirley Jones passed; but the Brady Bunch were eventually offered this show which became the infamous "Brady Bunch Variety Hour."
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Partridge Family star Susan Dey would team up with Eve Plumb from the Brady Bunch as well as Meredith Baxter Birney from Family (and later Family Ties), as well as Robert Young from Father Knows Best and William Shatner from Star Trek for the TV movie adaptation of Little Women. The TV movie was a big hit; it was a ratings winner and it won two Emmys.
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Jan Brady and Laurie Partridge were sisters on television at one point. Eve Plumb, AKA Jan, played sister to a cast-member from her rival show, The Partridge Family, Susan Dey, in Little Women, the 1978 NBC mini series. Susan played Jo March, the hero and protagonist of the story, and Eve played her sister the tragic Beth March. Both actresses got good reviews for their performances and the TV movie was a ratings hit and won two Emmies for NBC.
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When he was conceptualizing this Bernie Slade was cross-pollinating the Monkees and the Cowsills.
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Amazingly, in a first and a last for television, The Partridge Family had a Christmas Special set in the old west; which was a musical number.
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Most of the songs performed on the show were originals. The only rock standards they performed were "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" & "I'm Into Something Good".
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Mark Hamill plays Laurie's boyfriend in the "Old Scrapmouth" episode.
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Before she played Shirley Partridge on The Partridge Family, one of Shirley Jones' signature roles was Laurey, the lead ingenue in the 1955 blockbuster Oscar and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma. This is ironic because her daughter in Partridge family has essentially the same name. Susan Dey plays Laurie Partridge on this show; spelled "L-A-U-R-I-E" not "L-A-U-R-E-Y" like in Oklahoma; but it is pronounced the same.
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Both Dave Madden and Danny Bonaduce appeared in the 1973 Hanna Barbera children's classic Charlotte's Web, as the Ram and Avery, respectively.
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Most of the cast, Danny Bonaduce, Susan Dey, Susan Crough and Brian Forster, appeared in the ABC 1974 animated spin-off Partridge Family 2200 AD.
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Most of the cast, Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Brian Forster and Danny Bonaduce, all appeared in a 1977 Thanksgiving Special where they performed again together. This was called the "My Three Sons Partridge Family Thanksgiving Reunion Special".
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This show was loosely based on the true life story of the Cowsills, who were a family rock group in the late 1960s. The father and manager of the group, Bob Cowsill, forced the young brothers and sisters to let the mother, Connie, into the group, much to the kids' consternation. It worked as a publicity gimmick but the kids in the group reportedly hated singing hard rock songs like "Hair" with their mom; and hated the goody-two-shoes image the group got as a result of that; since they were trying to earn their cred as a legit acid/ alternative type band along the lines of Rolling Stones, Crosby Stills Nash or The Byrds. This is a far cry from the TV show scenario where the kids drag the mom into the group and she reluctantly agrees. Also; originally in the Partridge Family pilot script the mother's first name was Connie; like Connie Cowsill; but Shirley Jones' people demanded that it be changed to Shirley. And ABC's insistence to the Cowsills that Shirley Jones star as their mother is part of why they refused to participate in the tv show; and why the title was changed from "The Cowsills" to "The Partridge Family".
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Though the critics slammed this show as being unrealistic:("How could such a young family of children form such a successful rock band?" they quipped); the truth was not too far from this TV-presented reality. The Cowsills, the group the Partridge Family was based on, had one member, Barbara Cowsill, that was only 7 when their first hit single came out," The Rain The Park and Other Things." Their mother Connie did in fact perform with the group; and the other members were mostly teenagers.
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Shirley Jones introduced the Cowsills for one of their concert shows; thus continuing the association with Cowsills and the Partridge Family.
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The Cowsills frequently perform "I Think I Love You," the Partridge Family hit from 1970, in their concert shows.
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Shirley Partridge had a job as a bank teller before she fronted with her son for the Partridge Family, making her one of TV's first working moms. She wasn't the first, though, Lucy also had a job as a secretary at a Bank on The Lucy Show;(1962) also a show about a working mother. Maureen Robinson (June Lockhart) was a doctor on Lost in Space (1965); that means she was a working mother as well.
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During the first episode, David Madden is playing Reuben Kincaid, however Gordon Jump is seen in the credits as playing him with no mention of Madden. Jump never appeared in the episode.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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