Thursday, July 15, 2010

Medusa Mrs. Partridge

At the end of the fourth season of the Partridge Family TV series, stars Shirley Jones and teen heart-throb David Cassidy both announced their plans to leave the show. The ABC network, reluctant to cancel one of their most popular programs, scrambled to find a solution that would allow them to keep it going without the two stars.

The series' writers came up with a radical new direction for the show, taking a page from such supernatural sitcoms as Bewitched and I Dream Of Jeannie.

In the fifth season opener, a prologue revealed that the Partridge family had embarked on a tour of Greece. While visiting a Greek temple, Danny Partridge loudly proclaimed that the Greek gods were nothing more than a myth, which invoked the wrath of Zeus, who turned out to be very much alive and well and still living on Mt. Olympus.

Zeus, in his anger, hurled a lightning bolt at young Danny, meaning to smite him. At the last second Shirley Partridge threw herself in front of her son in order to save his life, and was killed instantly (setting the stage for Jones' departure from the show). Then, remorseful at taking the life of the mother of the Partridge children, Zeus transformed Mrs. Partridge's smoking corpse into that of the Gorgon Medusa.

Reuben Kinkaid, the band's perpetually nervous manager, was characteristically flustered and distraught by this turn of events, and warned the remaining children never to look directly into eyes of their newly transformed mother, lest they be turned to stone. Keith Partridge, lead singer of the band, inadvertently glanced at Medusa during a performance of "I Think I Love You" and was permanently transformed into an immobile statue. This allowed the producers to replace David Cassidy with a stone replica for the rest of the series, which they wheeled onstage during musical performances.

For the entire fifth season, the band traveled the world with a lead singer that was a statue and a mother who was a Gorgon. Most of the plots centered around Kinkaid and the Partridge children trying to cope with life on the road while attempting to keep their friends and guest stars from being turned to stone by their monstrous mother.

The new direction was not well received.

The show's teen fans only watched the show to see Cassidy, and after his departure they tuned out in droves. Remaining viewers were confused by the abrupt change in direction and the addition of supernatural elements. The series was canceled after only a handful of episodes had aired, and the fifth season was removed from the syndication package.

This is a vector drawing, snakey hair and all. The snakes actually weren't the nightmare you'd think. It turns out it was kind of relaxing trying to arrange them all just so, sort of a mindless Zen exercise. Drawn all in InDesign. I cheated a little and added a distressed texture to the background in Photoshop.

Believe it or not, this sorry looking thing is the sketch I used to lay everything out. It's vector as well.

Extra credit Partridge Family questions:

1. In what city did the Partridge Family live? Hint: It's not L.A.

2. What was the name of the Partridge Family's dog?

3. What was Mrs. Partridge's job prior to joining the family band?

Mouse over below for the answers:
1. San Pueblo, CA 2. Simone 3. Bank teller


  1. This would have been the best of all the seasons. Now I want to see it.

    I don't know any of the extra credit questions. I could look them up on Google and then come back here and pretend to be smart, but I'll stay honest.

  2. I think most sitcoms would be improved by adding mythological creatures to the cast. Especially Two And A Half Men.

    I didn't know the answers to the questions either until I started watching the show on DVD.


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