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Mary Jo Conniff

Heart-throb David Cassidy. Source: Wikipedia

In the Fall of 1970 I fell in love for the first time. As I tuned into one of the most popular television shows in the world! My first love was David Cassidy, star of “The Partridge Family.” The show only lasted four years, but David continued to live on with millions of young women internationally! I still own all of the Partridge Family albums and David’s solo records. You “ain’t heard nothin’” if you haven’t listened to PF’s Christmas and David’s “Cherish” albums! For days when the show didn’t air I had the posters that adorned my bedroom walls……Sigh.
Let’s fast forward to 2001. I was a radio talk show co-host in Phoenix, Arizona, and I’d just booked TV star Vicki Lawrence, 70’s pop artist, and actress who was touring to educate listeners about the American Heart Association. She would be appearing on a local television station afterwards to do the same. I had also been informed that David Cassidy would also be appearing with Vicki to promote his upcoming Phoenix concert. OMGosh! I finally had a chance to see him LIVE! Imagine my excitement!

The Partridge Family Bus- Source: ABC, public domain

When my mind stopped reeling and I had regained some semblance of calm I decided to make a call to David’s PR person, Joanna. I put my big girl voice on and let her know that I had a show opening and would like to interview David to promote his concert. To my amazement, she immediately said, “Of course! Where and when?” I gave her the address of the station, and said the interview would be the following day and would be aired the morning of his concert. I thanked her in a very professional way.

I was so excited and eager to tell the office staff what I’d just done! Next morning our receptionist called to say that David just got out of a car. Folks from all over the building were lined up along the hall. He shook hands, and greeted everyone!

David smiled and asked for a tour of the radio station and commented on the artwork on the walls and the books on the shelves. He was indeed as gentlemanly as I thought he’d be, both inside and out.

Once inside the studio, the interview began. He was talking about his days on the Partridge Family, even singing a song that only a true fan would know. I started harmonizing with him! He appeared impressed, asking me if I would sing with him during his concert. When the blood stopped whooshing in my ears, I said “of course”!

As David spoke about his life, it was sometimes difficult to hear, but it seemed almost therapeutic for him. I listened for almost three hours until it was time to wrap it up. The last thing he did before leaving was to hand me a media badge that would allow premium seating for me, my husband, and my two kids! He reminded me that he was serious about me singing with him on stage. I was to wait backstage until he called me out on stage early in the show.

We arrived at the show, and we were escorted to our absolutely incredible seats. I walked to the stage nervously to find the backstage area. One problem. There WAS no backstage area. That was fine with me! I was in radio for a reason. But you betcha I sang every song loudly and proudly in my seat!

The show was terrific! Since my kids were raised listening to David’s music, they sang along and enjoyed the show, too! When the show ended, David’s lovely wife came to us and took us to where the star of the show was unwinding.

This was becoming the gift that keeps on giving. As exhausted as David had to be, he was warm and truly welcoming to my family. My 13-year-old son saw fans screaming for David and decided to become the goodwill ambassador. Colin ran to the fans who were waving thermoses, lunch boxes, posters, and album covers, taking them for David to sign. It was a beautiful sight with David showing high regards to my son and his great big heart.

David Cassidy was as I imagined he’d be. He was kind, warm, friendly, and authentic. It was evident to me that he was truly grateful to the fans who still appreciated him.
While I never got to speak with David, my first love, again, the tape of his interview is always close by. I hold the time we spent together close to my heart.

PS: In November, 2017, David Cassidy died of organ failure at his home in Florida. He was 67 years old. RIP, David. Your music and syndicated reruns live on and will give millions of us joy forever!

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