The Partridge Family is an American television sitcom series about a widowed mother (Shirley Jones) and her five children who embark on a music career. It ran from September 25, 1970, until March 23, 1974, on the ABC network as part of aFriday-night lineup, and had subsequent runs in syndication.
In the pilot episode, a group of musical siblings in the fictitious city of San Pueblo, California convinces their widowed mother and bank teller, Shirley Partridge, to help them out by singing as they record a pop song in their garage. Through the efforts of precocious 10-year-old Danny, they find a manager, Reuben Kincaid, who helps make the song a Top 40 hit. After some more persuading, Shirley agrees that the family can go on tour. They acquire an old school bus, a 1957 Chevrolet Series 6800Superior, for touring, paint it with Mondrian-inspired patterns, and depart to Las Vegas, Nevada for their first live gig at Caesars Palace.
Subsequent episodes usually feature the band performing in various venues or in their garage. The shows would often contrast suburban life with the adventures of a show business family on the road. After the first season, more of the show's action took place in their hometown rather than on tour.
Created for television by Bernard Slade, the series' executive producer was Bob Claver. The show was inspired by and loosely based on The Cowsills, a family pop music group that was famous in the late 1960s. In its early development, the Cowsill children were considered by the producers for featuring on The Partridge Family, but because they were not trained actors, Slade and Claver abandoned that idea. Shirley Jones had already been signed as mother Shirley Partridge and star of the show.
The pilot was filmed in December 1969. It differs from the version that aired in 1970. In the unaired pilot, Shirley's name is "Connie", and she has a boyfriend, played byJack Cassidy, Jones' real-life husband at the time. Laurie has a line of dialogue about her late father once getting drunk at a Christmas party, and the family lives at a different address. This unaired pilot is not available on home video.
Shortly after the series ended, scriptwriter Roberta Tatum launched a lawsuit against Screen Gems concerning the creation of the show. Tatum claimed that she had submitted a premise to Screen Gems prior to 1970 called Baker's Half-Dozen, that was very similar to the premise of the later series The Partridge Family. The matter was resolved out of court, with Tatum receiving a reported $150,000 from Screen Gems.
- Shirley Jones as Shirley Partridge: vocals, keyboards, tambourine, percussion
- David Cassidy as Keith Partridge: lead vocals, rhythm guitar, electric lead guitars, banjo
- Susan Dey as Laurie Partridge: vocals, harmony, piano, Hammond organ, percussion
- Danny Bonaduce as Danny Partridge: vocals, bass guitar
- Jeremy Gelbwaks as Chris Partridge (season 1): vocals, drums
- Brian Forster as Chris Partridge (seasons 2–4): vocals, drums
- Suzanne Crough as Tracy Partridge: tambourine, percussion
- Dave Madden as Reuben Kincaid: band manager
- Ricky Segall as Ricky Stevens (season 4): singer