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Remember 'The Partridge Family?' Come On, Get Happy!

Culture | September 8, 2017


Who doesn’t remember the iconic '70s sitcom The Partridge Family? The hit show first aired in 1970 and ran through early 1974. It was a show about a widowed mother raising 5 children on her own (it had more than a few things in common with The Brady Bunch). The family was musically inclined and often took their talent on the road in that funky, multi-colored, 1957 Chevrolet bus!

One of the recurring songs on The Partridge Family was "Come On, Get Happy" -- it was a peppy tune as well as advice to the audience. The Partridge Family wasn't going to cure cancer or bring about world peace, but it was beloved and entertaining family viewing, achieving the highest ratings for its Friday night time slot in seasons 1-3.

As you may know, The Partridge Family was very loosely based on the story of the real life musical family the Cowsills. The Cowsills were a popular act in the '60s but were not cast as themselves in the sitcom because they were not actors. They were a very talented family musical group with many hit songs to their credit, including the title song to the musical Hair.

The Partridge Family's cast consisted of mother Shirley (Shirley Jones); children Keith (David Cassidy), Laurie (Susan Dey), Danny (Danny Bonaduce), Chris (Jeremy Gelbwaks in Season 1 and Brian Forster in Seasons 2-4), and Tracy (Suzanne Crough); and last, but not least, Reuben Kincaid (Dave Madden), the family’s sad-sack band manager. Each cast member had a distinct role on the show and in the band from vocals to playing musical instruments. And of course, Reuben, the family band manager, who was not a family member, always booked their gigs.

Each character brought their own talent and unique personality to the show. Shirley, a traditional mom, was ultimately in charge of the family as well as being a vocalist and keyboardist in the band. She constantly struggled with juggling the best welfare of her family, both personally and professionally. Keith, the oldest child and lead vocalist and guitarist, was an irresistible teen idol and heartthrob for many teen girls. Laurie, also a heartthrob for young boys, was a vocalist and pianist. Danny, the precocious and mischievous middle child, was a vocalist and bass guitarist. Danny was always at the center of most of the family drama and crises. Chris, the youngest boy, was a vocalist and drummer. Tracy, the baby of the Partridge Family, was the only member of the family who did not sing in the band, but she did play the tambourine. Whether you were a kid or an adult in the '70s, chances are that you identified with one of the characters on The Partridge Family.

Produced by Wes Farrell, The Partridge Family was an instant hit. The show took on a life of its own with an awesome cast as well as some popular '70s bubblegum pop songs, including the chart-topping hit "I Think I Love You" and the top-ten singles "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted" and "I'll Meet You Halfway." Others that might come to mind are "Come On Get Happy," "Summer Days," "Let The Good Times In," "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," "I Can Feel Your Heartbeat," "Together," "I Woke Up In Love This Morning," "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love," "Rainmaker" and "Baby I Love, Love, I Love You."

Although the Partridge Family was a fictional show-business family, they were people we were all able to connect with on some level. Each and every episode ended with an inspirational and positive message… Come On Get Happy!

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Josh Robertson

Writer

Josh Robertson is a freelance writer who lives in the past -- and likes it there. He's a former Playboy and Yahoo! Internet Life editor and current social media whiz/hack. He prefers Martin Denny to Herb Alpert, still reads his Kurtzman-era Mad magazines, thinks margarita mix is an abomination and believes Lazenby was the second-best Bond, deal with it.