on May 13, 2005
The first thing that must be said after watching these shows (in full for the first time)is that I was impressed with the writing. Keeping in mind that it was a sitcom, the writing is pretty sharp, much sharper than The Brady Bunch.
Look fast, not only for the "Before they were famous" pop ups of people like Farrah Fawcett, Louis Gossitt Junior(with hair!), Richard Pryor and others but for the houses. The Partridge family lives on the "street" with the houses from "Bewitched", "I Dream Of Jeannie", "Hazel" and others.
You even see Keith Partridge drop off a date of his in front of the "Bewitched" house. Reusing these house facades was done over and over again in Screen Gems shows. It's fun to pick them out.
The shows are nicely cleaned up and sharp but fall short when it comes to the color.
On most shows, the color is not as rich as I'd expect from other releases of late 60's, early 70's color shows (which were made to showcase color TV which was newer and more expensive). Most properly done DVD releases of color shows of this era have a rich technicolor sheen (like The Brady Bunch, Star Trek and Here's Lucy).
Here, it looks like the color was dialed back a bit. While this doesn't make it an inferior transfer, it makes it less reflective of the time it was shown. The biggest effect of this is the lack of color in the skin tones. Where most shows of this period show skin tones looking pretty rich and colorful, on this DVD they are subdued.
The mono sound is fine and represents the soundtrack well.
The set loses a bit on the restoring of ephemeral bits that probabaly weren't seen since the original airings. Both Hogan's Heroes and Brady Bunch releases restored the opening "In Color" bumpers to beginnings of all the shows. I wish it was also done for PF.
Also, someone else mentioned that the original "Screen Gems" logo was delteted at the end as well (although I never found it scary). My memory of the yellow/orange background Screen Gems logo is inseperably tied to shows like Partridge Family, Bewitched, Gidget, I Dream Of Jeannie and others. Replacing it with the new Sony logo is jarring (just as it was jarring to have the SG logo replaced with Columbia Tristar before in syndication and tapes). It's a little thing but to buy a vintage show on DVD is to hope they get the little details like that right.
And yes, one show is edited. I know that even though I'm no PF expert. Shows of this time were expected to run at least 25 minutes sans commercials. The final episode of the season runs a bit over 23 minutes and is missing the tag. The least you should expect from purchasing shows on DVD is for the shows to be unedited. This appears to be an oversight so maybe it will be corrected.
The extras include featurettes and commentary and do thier part of giving little known details on the show. The best is a feature on the musicians that "augmented" the Partridge Family.
I have to admit the most fun extra was the couple bonus episodes of the Animated spin off "Partridge Family 2200 AD". As a fan of the good, bad and the ugly of 1970's Saturday Morning TV I loved seeing this. I never saw this when it was originally on (must of been busy watching Bugs Bunny) but it is a hoot. It looks like an excuse for Hanna Barbara to use the Partridge Family name and to reuse a lot of thier "The Jetsons" backgrounds. The writing is awful, of course, but so familiar to creatures of 1970's Saturday Morning that it works despite itself.
Note to DVD makers, do this whenever possible. Include a couple of the animated spin off series on the DVD release.
I'm hoping they put a couple of "Jeannie"s on "I Dream Of Jeannie", "Emergency+4"'s on Emergency and so on. C'Mon people, it's something in your vaults you can drag out and call it an extra with no extra work. It's part of the history of the live action show and of interest to it's fans.
Anyway, this set is not perfect but still reccomended to fans of the 1970's, classic TV and fun shows.
The transfers are good (even if the color is slightly lacking) and the extras are nice with the long overdue start of putting sample episodes of the animated spin off as part of the extras.
on May 10, 2005
It only took until their 35th anniversary for Sony to loosen the locks on their vault to finally present one of the best TV sitcoms to come out of the seventies! The Partridge Family was a money making phenomenon and it makes me wonder why the Sony execs have taken so long to bring this show out of seclusion. Due to extremely high syndication rights, this show has only seen limited airplay on classic television, much to the dismay of its fans. Well, now the time is here to "C'mon Get Happy!" once again. This set features 25 episodes of the first season, including the series pilot which captured the nation by storm!
Starring Oscar nominated actress/singer Shirley Jones and her real life stepson, 70s pop icon David Cassidy, the show focuses on the exploits of a single widowed mom and her five children who tour the country in a Mondrian painted school bus and play their hearts out for audiences from Caesars Palace to local night clubs. Rounding out the cast is fifteen year old activist/feminist, Laurie (played wonderfully by NY model Susan Dey), 10 year old finanacial mogel, Danny (played to the tee by comedic genius Danny Bonaduce) and seven year old Chris (them played by Jeremy Gelbwaks later replaced by Brian Forster) and tamborene banging, five year old Tracy (played by Suzanne Crough). As a kid, I loved this group and was disappointed to learn they didn't really sing. But the songs and stories were quite good and funny and they won me over! Despite comments by ney-sayers, the stories were fun, solid and actually quite well written. The family was not perfect by the standards of their fore-runners and actually fought and argued and played pranks on each other, but in the end, there was a solid family foundation of love and togetherness sadly lacking in today's television. Each episode revolved around a song which most critics sighed that were moralistic and tied in with the story, but then again, isn't that what song writers do? Write about life experiences? I think people fought too hard against this show. In it's simplisticness, it is funny, touching and extremely enjoyable and addictive. 35 years later, I still enjoy David Madden's dead pan exasperation as the Partridge's harried manager, Reuben Kincaid as he realzes once again, he has been foiled by Danny Partridge. Filled with guest stars making their television debut are the likes of Jackyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett, Lou Gossett Jr, Richard Pryor, Bobby Sherman and many more. The first year of Partridges follow their exploits on the road whereas subsequent seasons show them more at home. This does not fail the show in any way, however, yet makes the freshness and newness of the magical first season stand out above the rest.
As to the production value, to the trained eye, some DVD enthusiasts may say these were not cleaned up but whereas the show was safely locked away there is little to complain about. The colors are beautiful, the picture and sound quality are excellent. Extras include two episodes of Hanna Barbera's Partridge Family 2200 A.D. featuring voice overs by Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce, Suzanne Crough and Brian Forster. Plus a bonus sampler CD disc from "C'mon Get Happy: The Very Best Of The Partridge Family" by Arista, plus features "Jump To Musical Performances" also two short documentries featuring David Cassidy, Shirley Jones and Danny Bonaduce and one about the music of the Partridges. Although short in length, the documentaries are fun to watch. Overall, a great package and a great price! Worth EVERY penny of the purchase price to view these in order!!! Thanks Sony for finally providing me with a time capsule to teleport me back to my favorite childhood years! Bring on Season Two, three and four and blow us away with the extras!!!!
This is my favorite season of the Partridge Family. The show was very different the first year with the band on the road and the shows' centered around young Danny and Mr. Kincades' antics more.
The show became a big hit and because David Cassidy was a huge part of that, they started to write more lines for Keith. Keith and Danny were very funny together, but unfortunately the show became a "living room" comedy in the following years. The DVD transfer is not bad, but there is some room for improvement.
The extras are cool with a featurette on the casting and one on the sound and music of the group. There is an episode of the short lived cartoon 'The Partridge Family 2200 A.D.' which is hilarious to see now! A 4 song hits CD of the group and some more stuff round out the extras.
The best thing about this release is that they were able to obtain the rights to two of my favorite songs which were never released on record or any form from the first episode "Together" and "Let the Good Times in" I hope they will be able to obtain the rights from future seasons so they can release the rest of the series intact. Come on! Make us happy!
As fans probably already know, the remaining seasons have been released with all music intact!
***End of Update***
on August 22, 2005
The Partridge Family's entry into the DVD format was exciting for me! I was 5 when the show debuted, and excited then too because I already loved pop music, thanks to the Monkees. And coincidentally enough, my name's Tracy and my little sister's name is Laurie. The shows are still a lot of fun to watch, and I was struck by how much "Danny and the Mob" is like a Monkees episode, particularly the romp-style chase during "That'll Be the Day."
The shows are fun, and I'm glad they included episodes of the awful cartoons. The extras leave a bit to be desired, however, with no scene selections, and no on-screen descriptions of the episodes. I'm also always disappointed with Susan Dey's decision not to participate in any PF projects. She really has nothing to be ashamed of, and the Partridge Family certainly trumps much of her adult work. And I, like many others, would like the Screen Gems closer reinstated. At least the Season 1 theme song was returned, unlike in syndication.
It's great to see these episodes looking so good again. I'm going to loan my set to my sister so my 5-year-old niece can get a glimpse of what her mom and Aunt Tracy enjoyed over 30 years ago!
The Partridge Family was cool. Whereas the Brady kids thought they were cool, the Partridge family really were. I loved this show. I like the writing, the music, the acting. Danny Bonaduce is a classic. My favorite episode is when Keith moves out of the house to prove he's independent so he rents the house next door. Shirley is all proud of Keith for making it on his own even though secretly he is buying food from Danny. The scene is something like this,
"What did you get me?"
"A peanut butter sandwich and some potato chips..."
Keith inspecting the bag of chips, "These aren't chips, this is potato dust. You want me to pay five bucks for a peanut butter sandwich and a bag of potato dust?"
"Suit yourself, Keith..."
I have a friend who was so influenced by the show that he became a musician and named his first daughter, Cassidy, because of it. Now that's love.
Unfortunately, this show isn't on in syndication, any more...at least not in California. We just get the Brady Bunch...yuk...oh, look, Greg's hair turned orange from Bobby's magic hair conditioner...wow...I've only seen that a billion times...
Watch a real show...watch the Partridge Family and yeah, I'll say it..."C'mon, get happy..."
on February 22, 2005
The Partridge Family was a sitcom which capitalized on counterculture-bubblegum without scaring off middle America.
Because this is a 'family show', we do not see the group trashing hotel rooms or doing other shennanigans which I am certain are rock and roll roadtrip staples. Even the 'ladies man' and lead singer Keith Partridge (David Cassidy) is very chaste.
Season One (1970-1971) has 25 episodes and explains how the group was formed. Single mom Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones) had to feed her family somehow. All family members get groovy crushed velvet vests, and go on tour as a rock and roll band with a Mondarin-themed school bus.
Manager Ruben Kincaid (Dave Madden) is always booking the group in 'small' joints, despite their 'megahit' status in the series---which should actually have them headlining the big venues. This 'small' booking is supposed to be part of the band's/show's charm. They are rock stars, but they are also a suburban family.
The Partridges are rock stars who get mobbed by screaming girls--- but this family also goes shopping in the local supermarket and the kids attend area public schools just like many other early 1970's suburbanites. The Patridges also still live in the same house before their band instead of moving off to a mansion which would have more accurately reflected their new earning power.
A neat series factoid is that Jones was actually David Cassidy's real-life step mom, but neither of them knew that the other had read for this series until they were cast. Both Jones and Cassidy got along in real life and during the series run. Cassidy of course played eldest son and lead singer Keith Partridge.
I like eldest daughter Laurie Partridge (Susan Dey) who balances this rock and roll career with activist tendencies, including the emergent women's movement. She is actively involved with the local (fictional) Power Of Womanhood group and tries to call her brothers on their sexist behavior in several episodes.
In "My son the feminist" Laurie is amused when older brother Keith Partridge attempts to convince one of HER friends that he shares the same politics---when actually he is only trying to get her to date him and could really care less about performing at a feminist political rally. Throughout the season, Laurie makes observations that her oldest brothers (including Danny Partridge) do not share simmilar social convictions.
One thing this 'family' shares is the lip-synching. Although Jones could actually sing, and Cassidy eventually launched an offscreen singing career from his Partridge Family stint, the other cast members could not cary a tune to save their own lives. The voices heard during 'performances' and on the albums are actually studio musicians.
DVD extras are a feature which can 'jump' you directly to the song being played in each episode and episodes from the tie-in cartoon 'The Partridge Family 2200 A.D'. That Hanna Barbera cartoon had the Partridge Family playing music in a Jetsons-like future, AND can actually boast of some original 'family members' doing voicework for their characters.
Even though this DVD release only offers 3 discs, I like that many of the extras are spread out over two discs instead of having been crammed onto one dic.
on May 6, 2005
For starters, the price on this can't be beat. The show is charmingly retro, looks great, audio quality is great, and the silly costumes can't hide the fact that Shirley Partridge is the hottest mom you ever saw (next to my wife of course).
As someone who prefers that reissues not reinvent history I was glad that the first season theme song "When We're Singing" (which has the same melody as "C'mon Get Happy") was left intact. This is the theme song I remember.
So far I've only viewed the first two episodes but what a kick recognizing Harry Morgan (M*A*S*H) and a very young Farrah Fawcett in episode two. And the first episode, the man in black himself, Johnny Cash! The shows may be standard sitcom fare but what makes them unique is that you can play these DVDs with the kids around, no predictable double entendres, no tacky wisecracks, no characters trying to impress us with how "edgy" they are.
Although pre-order buzz suggested that a number of unreleased songs would be included on a bonus CD, what you get is a four song promotional CD for the companion "greatest hits" audio CD. Includes three of the most popular tracks from the first Partridge Family album as well as "C'mon Get Happy". Whole bonus audio CD clocks in at about ten minutes in length.
Well, maybe the absence of rarities is not a bad thing after all. The two unreleased songs from the pilot episode are only "Partridge Family songs" because they appear in the show but they don't have the Partridge sound and all vocals are handled by a faceless studio chorus. Worse yet, these two songs, "Together (Having A Ball)" and "Let The Good Times In", sound like they came from the same people who recorded generic songs for the Scooby Doo cartoons. The only notable thing about these two throwaways is that Neil Sedaka gets a writing credit on the latter song. As my wife came in I found myself embarrassed and explaining, "this isn't the Partridge Family singing in the first episode, they didn't know David Cassidy could sing yet."
With a price point like this there's bound to be some cut corners somewhere. In this case you get no accompanying booklet or sleeve with the DVD, just case and disks. If you're curious what songs are associated with which episode, or other details that you might expect with a DVD set, you'll just have to watch the shows or use the "jump to the songs" feature.
Seeing as the Partridge Family's music continued charting in the top 40 throughout the second season perhaps a Season Two DVD set will appear in six months. If that happens hopefully the final disk of that set will be an audio compilation of all the unreleased songs from seasons one and two. Just not the two throwaways from the pilot episode.
on May 6, 2005
I have seen about 5 episodes from this DVD so far. The Come On Get Happy opening Credits are NOT on this DVD because those lyracs were not yet on the theme song at that time. In the first season of the show the lyracs were "When We're Singing". The first season theme was more about who the family was. The end credits also had a different instrumental piece on the first season than next seasons.
The "Come On Get Happy" Theme was played on the openings beginning in season 2 along with an instrumental version at the end. So these episodes were as they were originally shown.
I hear reports one episode was an edited version. What likely happens here is that original airings once or twice in the course of many shows are slightly shorter than the second airings. Sometimes footage will be added on a summer rerun of a show on a network. This happens sometimes with The Simpsons. But at times the DVD puts the originally aired version on rather than the second airing version. Usually they choose the longer one but sometimes its not available. This happened with an episode of What's Happening First season. It was only cut by about 20 seconds but was noticable to fans who saw these episodes first run.
ALso the "When We're Singing" theme on the first season did indeed run in syndication in the 70's when Screen Gems had the rights. It was in 1982 when DFS Program Exchange got the syndication rights that the "Come On Get Happy" version was substituted in the first season as well as the instrumental; version at the end. Also the episodes were sliced from 25 minutes to 22 minutes. So its nice to see these in their original form again.
on October 27, 2006
I was born in 1965 and grew up with this show. Anyone who says that they didn't like it, I feel sorry for them. This show was a classic and always made a person feel happy. Who didn't want Shirley for their mom??!! The music was wonderful and it was just a nice, family show. I saw David Cassidy in concert and he was great. His voice is still awesome. My children are now enjoying this great show!
What a show !
With Shirley Jones as a very attractive mother and sunny and fresh Susan Dey. David Cassidy's likeness on just about everything.
Mr. Kincaide strikes me as an amusing, comical guy.
Overall, even with subtle sexual overtones, The Partridge Family was a good, healthy and wholesome family show, representing a family who had fun together and enjoyed each other's company.
Being sometimes nostalgic, I am happy with this purchase and have lent it out to my friends as they too enjoy it.