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Retro : Partidges Land in Nick's Family Tree


"If I hadn't done 'The Partridge Family,' " says David Cassidy, "who knows what my career might have been?"

But because of his role as adorable Keith Partridge on the 1970-74 ABC sitcom about a singing family, Cassidy became one of the top pre-teen and teen idols around the world. And now, 20 years later, fans can enjoy their favorite teen dream when "The Partridge Family" joins the prime-time Nick at Nite lineup.

Besides Cassidy, "The Partridge Family" also consisted of Shirley Jones as mother Shirley--Jones also was Cassidy's stepmother--Susan Dey as fresh-faced Laurie and Danny Bonaduce as the wise-cracking Danny. The Partridges also cut several top-selling albums; including "Come on, Get Happy" and the single "I Think I Love You," which sold 4 million copies.

None of the Partridges, though, were professional musicians. Bona fide musicians worked on studio recordings, though Cassidy and Jones supplied the lead vocals. Cassidy, now 43, enjoyed a successful solo career.

Before "Partridge," Cassidy was known as a dramatic actor, having starred on Broadway in "The Fig Leaves Are Falling" and guest-starred on such TV series.

It was his then-manager who steered him into doing the series. "When you are 19 years old and trying to support yourself, you do every job that you are up for," Cassidy says. "You have no idea what's in your future. I was trying to pay the rent. I did this pilot and who knew? It might not have sold."

Cassidy, who appeared in an episode of CBS' "The Flash" two years ago and in the recent features "Instant Karma" and "Spirit of '76," believes "Partridge" will have a big following on baby boomer's No. 1 channel.

"It's a lot of people's favorite show," Cassidy says. "It was a very well-crafted show for what it was. It lasted four years. I ended it because I really wanted to get out."

Being a teen idol was an amazing experience for him. "You can't really compare it to anything now because the world was still very innocent then," Cassidy says. "There's no real hysteria now as there was then. Stars are much more accessible now.

Cassidy, who is writing an autobiography, says his original goal as an actor was to be respected. But he became famous so quickly that he couldn't walk down a street or go anywhere without being mobbed. "I really lost my focus and direction of what I really wanted to do. I hadn't really emotionally matured. I lost my own identity."

Still, Cassidy says, he had a great time doing the series. "I love the people I worked with," he says. "I think there was a lot of camaraderie involved. I was always goofing off. The Christmas reel is priceless."

In fact, Cassidy is screening the Christmas show during his concert tour this summer. "I'm going to do this '70s satire thing," he says. "I am going to put on one of my own jumpsuits and send myself and the whole decade up."

Cassidy says he believes people are nostalgic for the '70s because the '80s ushered in a dark period of terrorism and AIDS. "I think the last time people remember going out, partying, sweating and not having life or death consequences was the '70s. I mean this in a gentle kind of fun way, but it was the last kind of mindless fun we ever had. I think a lot of people really long for that. I want to celebrate that mindless generation."

"The Partridge Family" airs Monday-Friday at 8-10 p.m. and Saturday 10 p.m.-midnight; beginning July 19, the series will air weeknights at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon.

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