June 10, 2012

Pop Culture Reunion: The Partridge Family

Blog Design Revisions

When I began this blog, my objective was for a design that had elements of pop culture (and more specifically, seventies pop culture) all over it. I opted for a custom design, but settled on a mult-colored polka dot shopping bag design as the background, but always planned to replace it when I found something better suited. Today, I found it: the pattern painted on the bus from The Partridge Family!  It is believed the design on the bus was based on one from artist Piet Mondrian, who was known for his geometric designs, specifically the one known as Composizione created in 1921, although the bus design was not an exact replica.  You may also note that one of his paintings is featured hanging on the wall of another house featured late 1960's sitcom: "Green Acres", namely the one that belonged to Oliver and Lisa Douglas, but that's a different sitcom for another post.  That will be the background until I decide to replace it with something else. You might also have noticed the Pacman/ghosts at the top of the page, something else I "borrowed", too, but that's been in place since day one. Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the design (I've made considerable revisions to the layout I bought, and it's the revisions I'm happiest with) as it stands now.

Another Cast Reunion

Anyway, today's post started pretty much as a share of yet another cast reunion for the early 1970's ABC show "The Partridge Family" which helped to create a few teen idols, most notably David Cassidy. Most of the cast, however, became household names, some for their continued work in show business, others as examples of how child stars go bad (the one I'm referring to would later turn things around, but for a number of years, he spiralled into substance abuse and even homelessness). The latter being, of course, Danny Bonaduce, who became famous at the age of eleven in the series "The Partridge Family". In spite of his young age, Danny was the wisecracking redhead, who was a persistant bane of the family's band manager, Reuben Kincaid (portrayed by Dave Madden).  By the way, totally unrelated tidbit about Danny Bonaduce: he actually attended grade school in Los Angeles with actor Gary Coleman, the kid made famous by the sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes".

I'll get to the reunion in just a minute.

As noted, most of the cast were celebrities as a result of the show. The only exception was the woman who played Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones), as she was already a star in her own right, having starred as the original characters in such Oscar and Hammerstein film classics as Oklahoma! (1955), Carousel (1956), and The Music Man (1962). Jones is also an academy award winner, although she became cemented in pop culture for her TV role as Mrs. Partridge on "The Partridge Family", even though the show ran for only four seasons. The Partidge Family became better known for its reruns in syndication as one of the earlier shows to go that route, but would be followed by many others.

In her personal life, Jones has two sons from her marriage to actor Jack Cassidy (Jack Cassidy died in 1976 in a fire caused by his cigarette which he fell asleep with, talk about tragedies, although he was already divorced from Jones by then, the reasons for the separation weren't made public, but Jack Cassidy was rumored to be gay), and Shirley Jones had adopted Jack Cassidy's son from a previous marriage who would go on to co-star with her on The Partridge Family (hence, David Cassidy is actually Jones' stepson, did you know that?) and became a teen idol as a result.

This isn't about Jones per se, but the fact is two of her kids would become mega-stars in the years that followed. David was the first, but younger brother Shaun would follow in his footsteps. My sister had a huge crush on Shaun for a time, but it was short-lived, as many youth crushes are.

Anyway, last year, NBC's Today Show continued a few reunions, one of which was the cast of "The Partridge Family". Shirley Jones couldn't make it, and Susan Dey, who resurrected her career more than a decade later with a stint on "LA Law" back in the '80s also skipped out, but all of the others (Suzanne Crough, Danny Bonaduce, David Cassidy, and Brian Forster) managed to attend.

For a period of time, NBC had the video available online, although the company's online video retention policy is unclear, but the page dedicated to that reunion can be found at http://www.today.com/id/35663539/ns/today-entertainment/t/get-happy-partridge-family-stars-reunite/ and the video was located at http://www.today.com/video/cmon-get-happy-partridge-family-reunited-436079683590.

"The Partridge Family" is actually running on right now on the Antenna TV network (see HERE), or you can get all four seasons on DVD.

With that, I can say the only other thing to do is visit this awesome website about "The Partridge Family" at http://cmongethappy.com/.  You can find out virtually everything about the show, and it even has the font for the show you can download for your computer (I used it to create this post's header) ... all free.  It's really awesome!

Now, C'mon Get Happy!!

Author P.S., April 28, 2015: Suzanne Crough-Condray, the actress who played the youngest daughter Tracy Partridge in the TV sitcom "The Partridge Family" about a musical family that ran on ABC in the early 1970s, passed away at the age of 52 due to cardiomyopathy.  Her obituary can be seen in the Los Angeles Times (see http://lat.ms/2cstLWK for the obituary), although at the time of her death, she was living in the Las Vegas area and had largely been absent from acting in the years that followed.  In the 2010 Today Show reunion, she said "I'm an office manager for Office Max.  I have two daughters, I'm married, I have a normal job."

Author P.S., November 21, 2017: Actor David Cassidy, who was best known as the actor/musician who played Keith Partridge on "The Partridge Family" passed away at age 67 today. Officially, the cause of death was liver failure (see the obituary at https://nyti.ms/2jNilUx for details), although he was admitted to a Broward County, Florida hospital prior to his passing, and was reportedly suffering from multiple organ failure (both his kidneys and his liver were failing). He became tired of being a teenage heartthrob, but his career in entertainment basically ended with "The Partridge Family". In an effort to spice up his squeaky-clean image, in 1972, he posed nude in a photo shoot by Annie Leibovitz for Rolling Stone, which was daring and did help him shed a puritan image, but it did very little to revive his career, and he ultimately ended up doing local dinner theater shows when Hollywood stopped calling. Like his father, he really struggled with alcoholism. He was arrested several times for driving drunk, and spent time in and out of rehab. Just before his death, he finally admitted to having liver disease caused by alcohol, which he called alcohol poisoning. In a way, his final admission of his many prior lies about his not having recovered from alcoholism was perhaps the first step towards recovery from addiction, but it came too late.

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