It had all come to a head in 1973: parents' groups had begun to actively complain about the violence of Saturday morning cartoons. From Mighty Mouse to Batman to even the Chaplinesque screwball antics of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, they simply wanted something more acceptable for their kids to watch. Television executives listened with a thoughtful ear.

Soon, an idea emerged: weren't most of their primetime shows rather cartoonish already? 7 people trapped on a desert island? A family of creepy albeit lovable misfits living in a strange house? A disguised alien on Earth? Why not take the next step and make the shows into cartoons - the hard part of character development had already been done for them!

About the same time as these shows began forming, Joseph Barbera was in trouble. He and William Hanna's studio was suffering a loss in cash flow, and they needed to find a hit - badly. He brought a pitch to CBS in early May 1974 about updating their classic show "The Jetsons" - putting Elroy in high school, Judy on the job as a reporter, and adding new characters.

"We love the idea, Joe. But the truth of the matter is - we don't think The Jetsons need new episodes; look at the old one's ratings! Sky high! Tell you what. If you change the main characters to The Partridge Family, you've got yourself a spot."

Joe was in no mood to bargain. He agreed quickly.

"Oh, Joe? One more thing. Keep the space angle. We really dig it."

Space angle? And so, The Partridge Family: 2200 A.D. was born.

The Show

Cities rising in the sky
Freeway traffic jetting high
The future's here for us to see
It's 2200 A.D.

It's the Partridge Family
Showing us how it's gonna be
The Partridge Family
Loving it all and having a ball
In 2200 A.D.

theme song lyrics

The whole gang was animated for the show, and a new character was brought in: the new Partridge pooch, Orbit, a thinly-veiled robotic knockoff of the Jetson family's Astro. Some of the live-action cast performed their voiceover roles: Danny Bonaduce, Brian Forster, and Suzanne Crough played Danny, Chris, and Tracy, while Susan Dey contributed to two episodes as Laurie before leaving forever for the silver screen, replaced by Sherry Alberoni.

Neither Shirley Jones nor the show's major star, David Cassidy, reprised their roles for the cartoon, and both also soon quit working on the live-action series as well. Even more interestingly, Dave Madden *did* record the voice for the Partridge's snarky agent and manager Reuben Kincaid, but his voice was not used; instead, it was handed to Hanna-Barbera veteran voiceover actor John Stephenson.

The show's premise was basically giving the live-action show a change of scenery: the characters were the same, the plots were the same (sometimes virtually identical to previous live episodes), and the whole feel was the same. In addition, each show featured a song by Boyce & Hart, the de facto in-house songwriters for Hanna-Barbera. The show began airing August 30, 1974. All in all, 16 episodes were produced before it was cancelled in February of the following year due to poor ratings.

Brief Episode Guide

My Son, The Spaceball Star
Danny lies to Shirley about making the Spaceball team. He's finally caught in his trap, and (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Gypsy Girl"

Danny, The Invisible Man
Danny gets an invisibility toy, with interesting results. Mickey Dolenz guest stars as a magician whose act is shanghaied by Danny's new gadget. Finally, (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Keep Rockin' On"

The Incredible Shrinking Keith
Danny's new invention shrinks Keith, which is a plus for his miniature fans on Minitravia. Order is restored, and (cut to happy ending)
Song: "You Make It So Easy"

If This Is Texas - It Must Be Doomsday
Boasting one of the greatest episode titles in modern history, the Partridge family end up on "Texxas" and are held as performing prisoners. Eventually, they sing so bad that they are evicted, and (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Love My Life Away With You"

Cousin Sunspot
Sunspot is hit by a ray (a lot of extraterrestrial intervention occurs on the show) and becomes an amazing singer. Side effect? Slow de-evolution into a chicken. The ray's power is reversed, and voila! (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Later On"

The Dog Catcher
Danny tries desperately to avoid paying for a dog license for Orbit: Orbit turns Fletch, dressing up as a janitor, dancer, and at one point, a bass drum. Finally, Danny claims Orbit is no dog, but a vehicle. A meter maid surreptitiously arrives and gives Danny a parking violation ... (cut to comeuppance ending)
Song: "One More Chance"

The Wax Museum
Madame Mussaud's (sic) wax museum is burglarized; strangely, the Partridge Family figurines are only ones stolen. Soon, a plot is uncovered to bring the figurines to life, thereby cutting into the Fam's valuable market share! Eventually, the thieves are nabbed, and (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Take Good Care Of Her"

Laurie's Computer Date
Keith and Danny are about to be forced to escort Laurie to a dance, when they set her up on a blind date - with a clumsy robot. Hilarity ensues, followed by a telling lesson that, yes, robots have feelings, too. Did I mention (cut to happy ending)?
Song: "Suzy, Don't Give Me Your Number"

Movie Madness
In a decidedly non-space-related episode, the family crash lands in Hollywood, and Keith gets stars in his eyes, almost leaving the group before someone reminds him of "David Cassidy - Man Undercover" and (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Keep Rockin' On"

The Pink Letter
Laurie dashes off a brutal letter to a no-show boy toy. When an excuse is offered, Keith and Danny race to stop the letter, eventually finding themselves facing interplanetary mail fraud charges. Misunderstandings are settled, and (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Gypsy Girl"

Cupcake Caper
While baking, Shirley loses a ring in the dough (apparently 2200 A.D. does not bring any major advances to the kitchen). Every cupcake is crushed, but to no avail. Finally, the ring is found in a cake baked especially for Shirley's visiting mother. (cut to happy ending)
Song: "You Make It So Easy"

Orbit The Genius
Orbit proves to be a TV quiz show genius, and is kidnapped by the evil two-headed Mr. Gemini. The family comes to rescue, of course, and (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Love My Life Away With You"

The Switch
The recurring "Let's-change-Keith" motif is in full effect here, as Danny pulls a switch on Dr. Binkey's new transmogrifier, turning Keith into a gorilla. Still, the show must go on, and afterwards, order is restored. Ahh yes, the inevitable (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Late At Night"

Car Trouble
Danny gets his license! Danny takes the old rocket for a joyride! Danny ends up in debt for twenty years! (cut to ... vaguely amusing ending?)
Song: "One More Chance"

The Roobits
Riffing off of the classic "Trouble With Tribbles", Danny's get-rich-quick scheme involving the ever so cuddly Roobits backfires when they reproduce abundantly. Solution? Free Roobits at the sold out PF show. (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Suzy, Don't Give Me Your Number"

Let's All Stick Together
Surprisingly the most interesting episode (of the 5 this author has seen), Danny accidentally breaks a priceless antique. The family uses a new epoxy to piece it back together, only to become stuck together for the duration of the episode. Just watching the giant mass of skewed legs, arms, and heads caterwaul across the screen is a delight. Luckily, the epoxy wears off just in time for the big finale, and (cut to happy ending)
Song: "Take Good Care Of Her"


Sure, it was silly. Inane. Maybe even a bit stupid. Yet kitsch purveyors everywhere are excited about the prospects of a full DVD of the show. I personally am just hoping for a brief run on Cartoon Network's Boomerang (all of the episodes I have seen I saw on Cartoon Network in the early days, before the original programming overtook the vintage stuff.) Until then, c'mon - get happy!

My only outside source was http://www.cmongethappy.com/2200/. It has a lot of art from the episodes, publicity stills, background info, interesting trivia. Basically, too much time on someone else's hand has led to the same disease for me.