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Episode #18: Soul Club

 
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Scott
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 10:33 pm    Post subject: Episode #18: Soul Club Reply with quote

Soul Club
Written by Harry Winkler & Henry Dolan Directed by Paul Junger Witt Produced by Paul Junger Witt
Original Air Date: January 29, 1971

When the Partridges and the Temptations get their bookings crossed, the Simon brothers, owners of a Detroit nightclub called the Fire House, may have to go out of business to a loneshark -- until the Partridges organize a block party and Danny rallies the support of the Afro-American Cultural Society.
Guest Cast: Richard Pryor, Lou Gossett, Charles Lampkin, Herbert Jefferson, Jr., Morris Buchanan, Ben Frank

Song:
"Bandala," music and lyrics by Wes Farrell (on The Partridge Family Album)

Tube Trivia:
In 1997, TV Guide included this episode in their "100 Greatest Episodes of All Time" issue!
Comedian Richard Pryor has starred in countless motion pictures including "Lady Sings The Blues," "Silver Streak," "Car Wash," "The Wiz," "The Muppet Movie," "Superman III," and "Blazing Saddles."
Lou Gossett, Jr. won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role in "An Officer and an Gentleman." He has appeared in numerous motion pictures and guest starred on countless television series, including "The Rookies," "Mod Squad," "Love American Style," "McCloud," "Daktari," and "Little House On The Prairie."
Herbert Jefferson, Jr. played Lt. Boomer on "Battlestar Galactica."
Producer Paul Junger Witt joined Screen Gems in 1965 as an associate producer and director on "Farmer's Daughter and "Occasional Wife." In 1971 he co-produced the highly acclaimed telefilm, "Brian's Song." He later went on to co-create and produce such shows as "Soap," "Benson," "The Golden Girls," "Empty Nest," "Beauty and the Beast," "Blossom," "The John Larroquette Show," and many others. His feature credits include "Dead Poet's Society," "Final Analysis," "Three Kings" and "Insomnia."
Initially, Wes Farrell intended to use the song, "Warm My Soul" for this episode, but producers opted to use "Bandala" instead. He replaced "Warm My Soul" on the Up To Date album with "Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted," -- a smart move, as that song rose to #6 on the Billboard singles charts.


Last edited by Scott on Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:16 am; edited 5 times in total
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KathySTL
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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hate to picky. Scott, but the clus is called the Firehouse not the Engine House.

This is a fun episode but does make the Partridges a bit naive when Shirley offers to play anyway and the brothers are like saying I don't think we are going to make the money. In those days I don't think many African Americans were even watching the Partridge Family much less buying their music. So even in the show while there was a nice message about how we should all get along, it really is a bit of a fantasy episode.
Although the scenes with Danny and AfroAmerican Cultural society ( aka the Black Panthers are hilarirous)

In addtion to Richard Pryor and Lou Gossett, it should be noted that the actor playing the leader of the cultural society Herbert Jefferson , Jr. wen on to play Boomer in the Classic Battlestar Galactica.
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Scott
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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KathySTL wrote:
Hate to picky. Scott, but the clus is called the Firehouse not the Engine House.


In addtion to Richard Pryor and Lou Gossett, it should be noted that the actor playing the leader of the cultural society Herbert Jefferson , Jr. wen on to play Boomer in the Classic Battlestar Galactica.


OK, blame Joey Green. I just copied what he wrote. Laughing Laughing OK, blame me for not copy proofing. :lol:

I had an opportunity to meet Herbert Jefferson Jr. once and he was really nice. I think I remember him saying the PF was one of the first jobs he ever had in Hollywood.
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Lu groovychick1970
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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KathySTL wrote:
Hate to picky. In those days I don't think many African Americans were even watching the Partridge Family much less buying their music. So even in the show while there was a nice message about how we should all get along, it really is a bit of a fantasy episode.


Interesting observation, Kathy! However, I disagree. Perhaps PF's majority audience were white, but every race can benefit from the message in that episode. I don't think it was specifically aimed at the black community. Same as Episode 91 in "Danny Converts" where he falls for a Jewish girl. The message is what counts here.
LOVED Ricard Pryor in this! Especially when he wanted to beat up (or lean on real heavy) a head of lettuce! Plus, the 'raft of violins' he envisioned for "Bandala".
A joy to watch!
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the assumption that African American audiences didn't listen to the PF's type of music is where the humor of the story, and desperation of the Simon Brothers and the loan shark came into play. They were expecting the soulful sound of the Temptations and they got the bubblegum sound of the PF. Plus, the idea that a white woman would stand up to an urban-styled crook (however benign he may have been for a Friday night audience) was fun to watch. But I'm not so sure it's true that black audiences weren't watching. I know some here on this Board did. Also, if you turn that argument around, then white audiences weren't watching shows like "Julia," "Sanford & Son," "What's Happening," "That's My Mama," etc., and white audience also weren't listening to The Supremes, Jackson 5ive, or any of the Motown groups, and I don't think that was true either. Very Happy

This reminds of the story of "Hairspray," where in the 60s, parents were freaking out that their kids were listening to soul music. Laughing It's so bizarre stuff like that happened in places. My parents never cared about the race of a singer. (My mothers' favorite singer was Dionne Warwick.) However, when I brought home "The Bitch Is Back," and "Love To Love You, Baby," I do remember my mother banging on my bedroom door and asking what I was listening to. The repetitive "bitch" and Donna Summer's moaning made her take notice. Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my favorite episodes in the first season! I have always enjoyed Richard Pryor and Louis Gossett Jr. Great talents that added real class to the episode. The dicotomy of The PF playing at a "Black" club in Detroit instead of the Temptations was a great question to address. As it was, there were lots of folks looking down their noses at the bubblegum pop that was our favorite group and the ability to show a segment of people that thought the family were nice folks anyway and gave them a chance to help out was for me a lesson in "it takes all kinds to make the world".

I do believe that David had to cringe at the "It's kind of an Afro thing" line but he said it (as he was paid to do). And it gave "Bandala" a slant that I am not sure it needed (I love that song! It's a highlight on the 1st album!), but very few family comedies of that time period were even attempting something as smart as address race in their scripts, so I give the PF kudos for pulling it off in an overall entertaining and thoughtful way. Whew! Enough of the pontificating...

The ability of Danny and the Culteral Society to make a connection as well as the comedy of Mr Gossett and Mr Pryor made me laugh and the song was top notch. The happy ending was to be expected and gave me a warm feeling inside.

P.S. I was also listening to the Jackson 5, the 5th Dimension as well as soul-pop, country and rock radio through my tweens and teens like many others because I like a large variety of music. I have no evidence showing just who else was listening to the Partridge Family, but based on record sales, I was not the only one.

Thanks for letting me go on and on....

Jeff
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, all: :D

As one of San Pueblo's Admittedly Few Resident, Black, PF Fans ( Laughing Laughing Laughing ), I felt COMPELLED to weigh in on this one.

While I'll acknowledge that this particular episode must have been groundbreaking for its time, IMHO, there still SEEMED to be a bit of uneasiness between the actors on both sides of the racial "fence", which wouldn't be too surprising given the topic (though I find it very interesting that David and little Danny were the only ones that seemed perfectly at home among "the brothers"). I must also agree with Kathy that back then there weren't many Inner City Blacks listening to TPF (and probably still aren't, let's face it) as Marvin Gaye, Al Green, The Temptations, The Spinners and, of course, The Jackson Five (all of whom I LOVE, among others, as well) RULED Black Radio.

If memory serves, despite the efforts of the previous decade's Love Generation, the country remained pretty much polarized along racial lines, unfortunately, and anyone (Black or White) who dared "cross over" usually found themselves somewhat "suspect", believe me. Crying or Very sad Confused Evil or Very Mad ESPECIALLY in Junior High where everyone was desperately trying to DEFINE themselves as INDIVIDUALS -- while remaining CLONES of their own little cliques! Laughing Laughing :lol:

Still, there were some very funny moments in this episode, including: Reuben's apparent fear of Heavy and his "muscle" team; the storekeeper's droll response to the always-brillant Louis Gossett, Jr.'s request for 10 loaves of bread ("Do you want 'em to go, or do you wanna eat 'em here?"); the inimitable Richard Pryor's "snorting" Wink Wink Wink of Shirley's smelling salts; Danny's joining The Afro American Cultural Society and actually marching with them, much to Shirley's understandable discomfort, Laughing Laughing Laughing despite a few cringe-worthy moments such as Laurie's wanting everyone to "Gimme five" by holding out her palm at the episode's end. Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

What would have even been COOLER would've been Keith's having a little romance with one of the neighborhood girls (as DC did in high school) Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy -- but then again, maybe not as I would've probably HATED her Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad just as much as I did ALL the girls Keith dated back then! Laughing Laughing :lol:

Overall, I have to applaud the producers somewhat naiv
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was #78 on TV Guide's 100 Best TV Shows Ever list when they compiled it back in 1997. The only appearance for the Partridge Family, but I was very happy to see this one make it. One heck of a risky move by the writers, but it delivered big time.
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I admit that maybe I was being a bit too generalist in saying that there was mimmal crossover, I myself listened to the Jackson Five on TV and do fondly remember Julia. However, a discussion that came up at dinner this evening might put this in perspective. It was pointed out by my husband that BillyDee Williams himself commented about how he achieved a much wider permanent fan base after he portrayed Lando Calrissian in Star Wars than he had for his other films. This is strking when you realize that Lando was a supporting role and he was a leading man in Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues with Daina Ross.

And while I would never go so far as to say that there was never any crossover in entertainment tastes (The Rat Pack was a diverse group of fellows), even in the late 70's there still was a socail tendency for folks to stay culturally separate.
In my high school, we were integrated for classes and there never were
any exclusionary rules, but socially the students didn't tend to mix when it came to lunch and date/dance groups. I even noticed this in college also.

In that way, I would guess then the PF was copying Star Trek and being forward thinking. Good for them, better messages than the Bradys, who I don't recall ever having an African American guest star.

Prove me wrong on that one please.

Also, I plan on practicing my Djembe to Bandala from now on. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KathySTL wrote:


In that way, I would guess then the PF was copying Star Trek and being forward thinking. Good for them, better messages than the Bradys, who I don't recall ever having an African American guest star.

Prove me wrong on that one please.

Also, I plan on practicing my Djembe to Bandala from now on. Very Happy
There was that "spin-off" pilot on the last season of BB when the neighbors decided to adopt a kid & ended up with his Chinese & black friends too.
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,
Don't forget that in Spike Lee's movie Crooklyn (I think it was that one) there is a very pointed scene of all the kids sitting watching the PF and signing along! You can't sing along if you don't know the show! What more proof do you need that the show had a mixed audience?
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, it was the movie "Crooklyn" (1994) singing the song "I Woke Up In Love This Morning".
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too bad that this episode is NOT in TV Guide's latest Top 100 episodes of all time. Mad Back then, that episode was indeed was in the last TV Guide magazine in its original book format but i'm not sure what year it came out.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have fond memories of Charles Lampkin (Heavy) from the brilliant Tim Reid series, Frank's Place. Anyone else remember it?

The thing about most of the Motown groups of the 60s and 70s is that they appealed to black audiences, but they made a conscious effort to "play" to white audiences (their "revues" were mainstays in Vegas),but I think it wasn't quite the same the other way around. I think the kids watching the PF in Crooklyn were a bit of comic relief in the movie. I don't think Spike meant to convey that the Partridges had a very big fanbase among African Americans.

I actually didn't realize until the early 80s that America had "black stations" and "white stations" (until, ironically, a Canadian group called Martha and The Muffins recorded a song called, "Black Stations/White Stations"). In Canada, we never had anything like that. Our radio stations played mostly whatever was on the charts, regardless of the genre. You could hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, followed by Marvin Gaye, followed by The Partridge Family.

I always wondered whether there was any thought of spinning the Simon Brothers off into their own show. It sure had a "pilot" feel to it, like the Getting Together pilot at the end of the season.

I loved Bandala! It's inclusion in this episode is one of my happiest memories of this entire series. The only thing that could have made it better? More cowbell! ;-)

I've written elsewhere that my friends and I used to perform PF songs for the neighborhood back then. I think this block party was where we got the idea!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shirley says her middle name starts with an S, yet in ep. #4(See here, private Partridge)see says its L.

Darryl
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