The Partridge Family—Season 1

partridge family season 1 dvd cover episode guide
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Total '70s, a bit more socially conscious than Brady Bunch

So-so acting, typical sitcom stories

partridge family season 1 title card credits episode guide

There’s a song that they’re singing!!!

Widow Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) has her hands full while working full time and trying to take care of her children Keith (David Cassidy), Laurie (Susan Dey), Danny (Danny Bonaduce), Chris (Jeremy Gelbwaks), and Tracy (Suzanne Crough).  When Shirley is convinced to sing with the children’s band and Danny gets them signed to manager Reuben Kincaid, the Partridge Family is born!  Being “rock stars” doesn’t just happen and the work the Partridge Family is going to have to do is going to take them across the United States and maybe around the world…will the Partridge Family fly or fall?

The Partridge Family—Season 1 aired from September 25, 1970 to March 19, 1971 on ABC.  The musical-comedy series was inspired by the musical family band The Cowsills and was nominated for Golden Globes for Best TV Actress (Shirley Jones) and Best TV Show—Comedy or Musical.

partridge family season 1 episode 13 star quality cast performing

A family that sings together, stays together…except Oasis

Growing up, it was The Brady Bunch with The Partridge Family feeling like a second-rate rip-off.  Our family actually had a couple Partridge Family albums (including the Christmas one), and I was more familiar with them than the show.  The first season of The Partridge Family has a lot of the typical sitcom family tropes, but it also feels (if possible) slightly edgier than The Brady Bunch.

The Partridge Family feels a bit more adult in the quality of the jokes.  While there is always a tongue-in-cheek “there’s a kid in the room” telling of the jokes, there is sometimes slightly more sexual innuendo than the show’s Brady Bunch rivals (David Cassidy’s Keith blows Barry Williams’ Greg out of the water in the world of teen idols).  The show’s plots however are rather typical though more political this season with Susan Dey’s character being a bit of an activist and lots of “liberal” and “conservative” talk occurring (something also avoided in the Brady Bunch).  This gives the show a more adult feel which is nice.

partridge family season 1 episode 18 soul club

Danny Partridge is stone cold

The show does benefit from Shirley Jones who brings star power to the series (though both Jones and Dave Madden overact).  The children of the show have acting abilities about equivalent to their characters’ ages with Cassidy, Dey, Bonaduce, Gelbwaks (who was replacd after this season), and Crough sometimes struggling with their roles.  The season has tons of guest stars including Johnny Cash, Farrah Fawcett, Harry Morgan, Ray Bolger, Rosemary DeCamp, Jack Riley, Jaclyn Smith, Pat Harrington Jr. Vic Tayback, Morey Amsterdam, Jackie Coogan, Stuart Margolin, Dick Clark, William Schallert, Mark Hamill, Richard Mulligan, Harvey Lembeck, Michael Lembeck, Nancy Malone, Annette O’Toole, Laurie Prange, Michael Ontkean, and Bernard Fox.  Richard Pryor and Louis Gossett Jr. appeared in “Soul Club” which was briefly considered for a spinoff and Bobby Sherman appeared in “A Knight in Shining Armor” which was spun off into the short-lived series Getting Together.  It is kind of a who’s who of 1971.

The show (like The Brady Bunch) is kind of a fashion grab of the 1970s.  It carries a very hippie feel with the Partridge Family rolling down the road in their classic Mondrian-esque bus and the styles and looks of the characters all are dressed up in their best 1970s.  The Partridge’s house is carpeted in shag, and the whole set and costumes feels like a catalogue for Sears or JCPenney.

partridge family season 1 episode 23 not with my sister you dont shirley jones david cassidy relaationship

Don’t you think it is a little weird that you’re my stepmom in real life and play my real mom on TV?

A lot of what made the show big was the highly marketable music.  Much like The Monkees, The Partridge Family would feature songs each episode and these songs were featured on albums (to boost the show’s popularity).  The group even was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy (losing to The Carpenters).

If you never watched The Partridge Family but you grew up in the 1970s or the 1980s, you might want to have a flashback weekend and do it.  In most ways the show hasn’t aged well, but in its completely dated stories, dialogue, and lingo, the series has an endearing charm.  It shows how far things have come in things like race relations and feminism, but the show does boil down to family viewing (so don’t go in expecting high art).  If you go in with low expectation, you might be pleasantly surprised…and find yourself with some of the songs stuck in your head (unfortunately).

The Partridge Family—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

partridge family season 1 episode 1 what and get out of show business first episode having a ball cast

“What and Get Out of Show Business?”

1.1       What?  And Get Out of Show Business? Airdate:  09/25/70

When her husband suddenly dies, Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) finds herself raising her five children Keith (David Cassidy), Laurie (Susan Dey), Danny (Danny Bonaduce), Chris (Jeremy Gelbwaks), and Tracy (Suzanne Crough) alone.  The kids find their band needs a lead singer and draft their mother against her will.  When a record executive named Reuben Kincaid (Dave Madden) takes a chance, the Partridge Family is born!

partridge family season 1 episode 2 the sound of money whiplash willie harry morgan shirley jones danny bonaduce

“The Sound of Money”

1.2       The Sound of Money Airdate:  10/02/70

A man named Willie Larken (Harry Morgan) claims an accident with the Partridge Family has given him whiplash…and Partridges must prove that Willie is faking.

partridge family season 1 episode 3 whatever happened to the old songs gradfather ray bolger

“Whatever Happened to the Old Songs?”

1.3       Whatever Happened to the Old Songs? Airdate:  10/09/70

Shirley’s father (Ray Bolger) and mother (Rosemary DeCamp) come to visit, and Shirley’s father adds himself to the tour.

partridge family season 1 episode 4 see here private partridge danny bonaduce

“See Here, Private Partridge!”

1.4       See Here, Private Partridge! Airdate:  10/16/70

Danny finds that no one in the band respects him but things change when Danny receives a draft notice.

partridge family season 1 episode 5 when mother gets married shirley jones dates john mcmartin

“When Mother Gets Married”

1.5       When Mother Gets Married Airdate:  10/23/70

Shirley starts dating an old friend named Larry Metcalfe (John McMartin), but her family thinks that Larry is after something.

partridge family season 1 episode 6 love at first sight keith david cassidy lane bradbury

“Love at First Sight”

1.6       Love at First Slight Airdate:  10/30/70

Keith deals with his new fame and being a sex symbol to his classmates.  When Keith meets Janet (Lane Bradbury) who doesn’t recognize him, Janet rejects him.

partridge family season 1 episode 7 danny and the mob vic tayback danny bonaduce

“Danny and the Mob”

1.7       Danny and the Mob Airdate:  11/06/70

Danny’s tutoring of mob moll LaVon LeVine LaVern (Barbara Rhoades) in the stock market enrages her boyfriend Harry (Pat Harrington Jr.).  When Danny is threatened by Harry, Danny goes on the run!

partridge family season 1 episode 8 but the memory lingers on skunk episode david cassidy danny bonaduce shirley jones susan dey

“But the Memory Lingers On”

1.8       But the Memory Lingers On Airdate:  11/13/70

A trip to the park leads to a skunk getting on the Partridge Family bus.  As the Partridge Family tries to get rid of the smell before performing for a children’s hospital.

partridge family season 1 episode 9 did you hear the one about danny partridge danny bonaduce

“Did You Hear the One about Danny Partridge?”

1.9       Did You Hear the One About Danny Partridge Airdate:  11/20/70

When Danny thinks he’s ruined the show by an on-stage blunder, Shirley and Rupert convince Danny that the show needs comedy…but Danny isn’t a comedian.

partridge family season 1 episode 10 go directly to jail shirley jones stuart margolin ron feinberg

“Go Directly to Jail”

1.10     Go Directly to Jail Airdate:  11/27/70

When a prisoner named Hank (Stuart Margolin) convinces the Partridge Family to perform in the jail, the Partridge Family ends up behind bars when an epidemic breaks out.

partridge family seaosn 1 episode 11 this is my song danny bonaduce david cassidy

“This Is My Song”

1.11     This Is My Song Airdate:  12/04/70

Danny and Keith are at odds when Danny claims to have written a song that Keith says he wrote…and Shirley must decide who is lying.

partridge family season 1 episode 12 my son the feminist jane actman david cassidy

“My Son, the Feminist”

1.12     My Son, the Feminist Airdate:  12/11/70

Keith’s new girlfriend Tina (Jane Actman) signs the Partridge Family up for a Women’s Liberation rally without the band’s permission.  When the Partridge Family agrees to appear, they find themselves at war with the morality board of the city.

partridge family season 1 episode 13 star quality danny bonaduce

“Star Quality”

1.13     Star Quality Airdate:  12/18/70

Danny gets a positive review for his performance by a prominent critic, and Danny finds it going to his head…and decides to go solo!

partridge family season 1 episode 14 the red woodloe story william schallert

“The Red Woodloe Story”

1.14     The Red Woodloe Story Airdate:  01/01/71

When the Partridge Family finds famed folk singer Red Woodloe (William Schallert) hiding out in a small town, they invite him to join the tour, but Red has reservations.

partridge family season 1 episode 15 mom drops out logan mays gino conforti dave madden shirley jones

“Mom Drops Out”

1.15     Mom Drops Out Airdate:  01/08/71

The Partridge Family has signed a European tour contract, but the European promoter Logan Mays (Gino Conforti) refuses to have the Partridge Family with Shirley Jones.

partridge family seaosn 1 episode 16 old scrapmouth laurie braces mark hamill

“Old Scrapmouth”

1.16     Old Scrapmouth Airdate:  01/15/71

Laurie learns that she needs braces and worries that her new potential boyfriend Jerry (Mark Hamill) will not like her, but a national broadcast might force her to show her smile.  When Laurie starts hearing the radio, she learns she could have a problem.

partridge family season 1 episode 17 why did the music stop shirley jones richard mulligan

“Why Did the Music Stop?”

1.17     Why Did the Music Stop? Airdate:  01/22/71

Shirley worries that she’s being a bad mother by letting the kids perform.  When Shirley reconnects with her doctor friend Jim Lucas (Richard Mulligan), the kids decide to stop performing so she can live her life.

partridge family season 1 episode 18 soul club richard pryor louis gossett jr

“Soul Club”

1.18     Soul Club Airdate:  01/29/71

A trip to Detroit proves to be a mix-up for the Partridge Family.  When they learn A.E. Simon (Richard Pryor) and his brother Sam (Louis Gossett Jr.) could lose their club to a loan shark (Charles Lampkin), the Partridge Family steps in to help.

partridge family season 1 episode 20 to play or not to play strike danny bonaduce

“To Play or Not to Play”

1.19     To Play or Not to Play Airdate:  02/05/71

When the Partridge Family arrives at a concert venue, Laurie finds her old friend Marc (Michael Lembeck) working at the venue.  When Marc and the manager Marino (Harvey Lembeck), the staff walks out and Laurie must decide if she’ll support the strike or perform the concert.

1.20     They Shoot Managers, Don’t They? Airdate:  02/12/71

Shirley sets up Reuben with her former coworker Cathleen (Nancy Malone).  When Reuben and Kathleen decide to get married, Reuben must stop managing the group.

partridge family season 1 episode 21 partridge up a pear tree keith david cassidy

“Partridge Up a Pear Tree”

1.21     Partridge Up a Pear Tree Airdate:  02/19/71

Keith is having money problems and is forced to have Danny as his financial manager…which could lead him to lose his girlfriend Carol (Annette O’Toole).

partridge family season 1 episode 22 road song maggie laurie prange

“Road Song”

1.22     Road Song Airdate:  02/26/71

The Partridge Family picks up a young hitchhiker named Maggie Newton (Laurie Prange).  Unfortunately, Maggie is wanted by the police.

partridge family season 1 episode 23 not with my sister you dont laurie lester braddock michael ontkean susan dey

“Not with My Sister You Don’t”

1.23     Not with My Sister, You Don’t Airdate:  03/05/71

A new guy named Lester Braddock (Michael Ontkean) has come to town.  While Keith initially sees him as a rival, he sees a new problem when he wants to take Laurie out.

partridge family season 1 episode 24 a partridge by any other name adopted danny bonaduce shirley jones

“A Partridge by Any Other Name”

1.24     A Partridge by Any Other Name Airdate:  03/12/71

When Danny thinks he’s adopted, the Partridges and Reuben struggle to find evidence that he isn’t.

partridge family season 1 episode 25 a knight in shining armor bobby sherman wes stern getting togther

“A Knight in Shining Armor”

1.25     A Knight in Shining Armor Airdate:  03/19/71

The Partridges find Bobby Conway (Bobby Sherman) waiting at their home to show off his musical skills to them.  When the Partridges try to team-up Bobby with a tone-deaf writer named Lionel Poindexter (Wes Stern), Bobby has a challenge ahead of them.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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