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.
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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!!!!
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!