Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Shirley, Keith, Laurie, Danny, Chris, Tracy

Fifty years go tonight this popular TV series premiered.

In the pilot episode of The Partridge Family, the five children of a widowed single mother convince their mom to join them in their garage recording sessions and then watch their first record, “I Think I Love You” become a #1 pop hit. Less than two months after its television debut, the song shot to the top of the real-life pop charts.

The real-life family act the Cowsills inspired Screen Gems to dream up The Partridge Family. However the Cowsills balked when they found out actress Shirley Jones, and not Barbara Cowsill, would be playing the role of Shirley Partridge. Screen Gems hired four non-singing child actors for the various roles.

Columnist Danny Tyree wrote, “Musical snobs looked down on the show because the actors only pretended to play musical instruments and only matriarch Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) and oldest son Keith (Cassidy) actually sang on the show or the soundtrack albums.”

We now take you to a 1970 feminist rally.

The group was nominated for a Grammy, Best New Artist in 1971. No surprise, they lost, to The Carpenters.

Their TV series shown on Friday nights at 8:30 Eastern Time was #1 in that slot.

From 1970-71 it was the 26th most popular show with a 19.8 rating, seen by 11,899, 800 viewers.

From 1971-72 it was the 16th most popular show with a 22.4 rating, seen by 14,034, 800 viewers.

From 1972-73 it was the 19th most popular show with a 20.3 rating, seen by 13,348, 800 viewers.

And then the geniuses at the ABC network made a ridiculous decision, moving the show to Saturday night the next season.

From 1973-74 it was the 78th most popular show with a 9.8 rating, seen by 6,647,600 viewers. Why the huge drop in audience? The Partridges were now opposite another family.

All in the Family (1979)

After four seasons The Partridge Family was canceled.

To shed his bubble gum image David Cassidy posed naked for the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in 1972.

Why David Cassidy Bared All for Rolling Stone Cover

A terrible career move at the time.

Cassidy died in 2017 from dementia.

Susan Dey starred on the TV series L.A. Law from 1986 through 1992 as Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Grace Van Owen, who later became a judge. She wona a Golden Globe Award as Actress in a Leading Role – Drama Series for the role in 1988.

Shirley Jones and stepson David Cassidy, stars of "The Partridge Family"; Picture on September 23, 1970 | Photo: Getty Images

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