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The Red Woodloe Story

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Simone's Groomer
Simone's Groomer

Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 23
Location: northern illinois

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject: The Red Woodloe Story Reply with quote

Lately, I seem to have a near-addiction condition going on with the Partridge Family. Watching the shows, recording the episodes from season 3 (I'm so fortunate that here in Chicago, we have a station that is running the show 6 days a week.) and listenting to the cds.

One episode that I'm really enjoying right now is one of the first season's episodes, "The Red Woodloe Story." I always thought The Partridge Family was well-produced and a cut above standard sitcom fare and this story is such a perfect example. Yes, there are laughs and great lines, but the scale is tipped more towards telling a fairly moving story.

One unique aspect is the music by Shorty Rogers that plays underneath nearly every scene. The score certainly fits the story centering on a folk singer and never does it distract from the visuals but instead augments the goings on very well.

This episode demonstrates very effectively that Screen Gems never seemed to skimp on the sets or production values. One scene in particular is one of my favorites: the scene in which Shirley locates Red in the old church, where he finds solace after a case of stage fright derails the comeback performance arranged by the Family. It's a quiet scene, a beautiful scene. The actors are lit only by a faint reddish-orange beam courtesy of a stained glass window that adds a real warmth. I recall thinking that this scene was more akin to something from the motion pictures rather than a 30-minute sitcom. The scene respected the dignity of both the actors and the storyline.

Another scene of note occurs near the beginning where Red helps little Tracy with her fear of the dark. Again, a gentle, beautiful and moving scene that showcases both actors in very well. However, the one shot that does it for me as right at the end of the story.

The Family, along with Red Woodloe is performing in the old church; a nice and easy, but rousing gospel-rock number, "Find Peace In Your Soul." Here is where you realize just how important a good director and some clever camera work is to a series; the vocals of the performers fades and is replaced by a nice cover score by Shorty Rogers while the camera cuts to a long shot of the Family performing as viewed between candles in a candle holder. Something about that scene, the camera work and the jazzy little music score neatly wrapping it all up gets to me everytime...

...possibly because there is such an innocent, joyful quality about it all that I doubt we'll ever see again happening in a television show.
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Laurie's Classmate
Laurie's Classmate

Joined: 07 Apr 2005
Posts: 291
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a completely thought out and wonderful analysis of that episode! It is one of my favorite episodes as well. Thank you so much for putting words to your perspective. I think I see what you mean.

I have found out over the years that the comedy shows (PF included) that appeal the most to me must not only be funny, but must be about characters I truly like and care about what happens to them. "Mad About You" fits that for me too.

There is one show that I know is incredibly well written and very funny and it was enormously successful too, but no matter how hard I tried, I just didn't like it, was "Sienfeld". I do not dispute it's cleverness or those who say part of what made it so good was that the characters were supposed to be unlikable. But be that as it may, I just didn't get it.

The PF on the other hand is funny and smart and deals with the adventures and problems of characters I really like and care about. A great mix of high quality music, funny and smart writing and fully-developed and interesting characters... that is our Partidge Family....(wow, am I gushing?)

Jeff Rolling Eyes Wink Rolling Eyes Wink Rolling Eyes
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Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 3962
Location: San Pueblo, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been meaning to respond to this post too. It's really well thought out, and I agree with the sentiments. I'ts one of my favorite first season episodes.

I got to meet William Schallert a few weeks ago, and he remembers filming this episode vividly. He said he was into folk music at the time, and the song was right up his alley. Of course, he sang the song himself. He didn't have fond memories of the wig they made him wear, though. Laughing Laughing
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