Tuesday, November 4, 2008



It's Obama Day--sorry, Election Day, and I'm proud to announce that instead of watching 24 hours of non-stop election coverage, I'm watching (mostly listening really) to a very charming movie called "Come On Get Happy", a dramatization of the backstage story involved in the making of the seminal 1970's hit TV show, "The Partridge Family". I became obsessed with the Partridge's when they first hit syndication--this must have been in the mid-seventies, just a few years after they began airing. Naturally, being a wise-ass ten year old, I was drawn to the wise-ass ten year old Danny Partridge (the ever-since doomed and self-destructive Danny Bonaduce). Oddly, I was also rather attracted--though I was too young to quite put words to it--to Shirley Jones who played the mother, Shirley Partridge. Somewhere around the same time I caught her Oscar winning turn in "Elmer Gantry" and was pleased and not necessarily shocked to discover that Mother Partridge was at heart the true hussy that I somehow felt her to be. In any event, the low-budget, low-aiming little biopic that plays behind me offers a number of witty touches--the guy playing Keith really chews it up, creating a convincing and obnoxious portrait of a twenty-year old rocker who is thrust into the spotlight playing and representing everything he despises. Also, they use what sound like actual music cues from the original show to underscore the dramatic scenes--a very deft little piece of musical period setting. By the way, the director of a great many episodes of the original Partridge Family was a man whose other work completely eludes me, but whose name I will never forget: E.W. Swackhammer.

Below I've posted a shot of the wonderful Carrie Baker Reynolds (who plays Denise in "City Island") walking upside down. That is, she is being viewed by Tony (Steven Strait) while he bends down to pick up some lumber--he sees her through his legs. When I described the shot, my DP said it wasn't necessary to turn the camera upside down, that it could be "flipped" later in the film lab. But I insisted that we do it for real. What the hell fun would the dailies have been the next day if we hadn't had this to look forward too? Also, for the hell of it, I've included the season two opening and closing credits of "The Partridge Family". Happy Patridge Day--make that Obama Day...

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Anonymous said...

I think the blood is rushing to my head just watching this clip :)

Lex said...

But of course you had to shoot the scene with the camera in the proper orientation -- otherwise all the stuff would have fallen out of her purse!! (Hee, hee)

As to the Partridges -- well I'm with you on almost all the other Movies 'til Dawn references -- but you may have lost me on this one.

BTW -- more LA legends we lost while you were away -- Chucko the Clown, Gil Stratton and Loyd Thaxton.

PS --Everyone MUST see this film -- it is wonderful, charming and just plain good .

Anonymous said...

Elmer Gantry. now your talking
Burt Lancaster ,Jean Simmons. What a dog Burt played.This film definitely
not like the Partridge Family or
little house on the prairie.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering how many folks are reading this & doing what I am
doing I am in my kitchen looking
under my legs at stuff.Confusing
myself I know that you can do it
in post but how do they get the legs
in the shot without shooting legs.
look forward to seeing this scene
play out. ciao

Daniel said...

You have to be of a certain age, born and raised in a certain time, to truly appreciate The Partridge Family. Yes, it's cheesy, but sometimes you're in the mood for cheese--as in Velveeta, not camembert.

If you grew up in the 70's, as I did, as I believe Raymond did, you watched a lot of television. Remember this was before cable and its unlimited choice of entertainment. And if you were a kid, and it was a Friday night, this is what you watched, without changing the dial (no remotes back then) from ABC:

8:00 The Brady Bunch
8:30 The Partridge Family
9:00 The Odd Couple
9:30 Room 222
10:00 Love, American Style

And if you had parents who let loose the reins because there was no school the next day, you'd stay up to watch the CBS Movie at 11:30, which at least half the time would be Planet of the Apes or one of its sequels.

Ahhh....good times.

Sherry said...

Hey Ray - I just noticed the strong resemblance between the Partridge Family bus and that old Mondrian-style piece of art you used to have hanging in your bedroom back at Evelyn's - which made it to NY I believe but only the first downtown iteration. Remember that thing? Am I right, did you really get the idea from the Partridge Family bus and not from some art history book?

David Cassidy, sigh....