Gary James' Interview With
The Partridge Family's
We all remember Danny Bonaduce as the wise-cracking kid Danny Partridge from The Partridge Family. But did you know that Danny Bonaduce has had another career as a radio host? Danny Bonaduce talked to us about that job and his time on The Partridge Family.
Q - Danny, last time I heard, you were on a Philadelphia radio station. And you're now on the West Coast?
Q - What do you do on the air? Do you play music? Do you interview people?
A - I play very few records. The radio station is a Classic Rock station, but I am mostly a talk show host. We play one or two songs every hour.
Q - Do people come in and you interview them?
A - We do have people that come in, but mostly it's just our gang and we talk about the news and what's going on in Seattle. Seattle is not the hot-bed of celebrities that Los Angeles is, so the good guests are hard to get. But we do have a lot of Classic Rock bands coming in for the casinos we around here, like Joe Walsh who's coming in.
Q - And so they most certainly bop into your radio station to be interviewed by you, being who you are.
A - They most certainly will.
Q - You must really like radio!
A - I do. I love radio. It's my bread and butter.
Q - What do you like about it?
A - It's immediate. When you're acting, it takes a whole day to do four pages of dialogue and you have do to it over and over and over again. The second I turn my microphone on and the second I turn my microphone off, my day is done. That is, whatever you said is as spontaneously as you're saying it, is the do-all, end-all of your radio career.
Q - I saw you awhile back on the Joy Behar Show.
A - Yeah. I did Joy Behar Show a lot.
Q - You said you appeared on The Steve Allen Show, Jack Parr Show and the Johnny Carson show. Now what were you doing on those shows?
A - Well, two of those are kind of a little bit mis-leading. On Johnny Carson I was promoting The Partridge Family show. Jack Parr and Steve Allen came back after they retired and they switched off weeks, so it wasn't their original shows. Actually it was not Steve Allen. It was Jack Parr and Dick Cavett.
Q - And you were probably promoting The Partridge Family on those shows as well?
A - I was indeed.
Q - Did you have an acting career before The Partridge Family?
A - I did indeed, but nothing big enough to be promoted on the Johnny Carson show.
Q - Your father was in show business. He was a producer and a writer. If he hadn't been in show business, do you think you still would have been able to get into show business?
A - Yeah, I do, because it wasn't my father that got me in. My father was a great help to me. My family, when you were growing up, you weren't really arguing unless you had a biblical quote or a quote by Socrates. So, I had this deep, gravelly voice and I was all of four years old and I said "As Socrates said," and I forget what it is I said, and I let it out in this big, booming, gravelly voice, and a guy looks up over the counter and looks at my mom and says "If you don't have that kid an agent by noon, you're making a terrible mistake." That was Richard Chamberlain, Dr. Kildare. My Mom, swooning for this man, had me an agent by noon. So my first shows were The Andy Griffith Show or Andy Of Mayberry, several episodes of Bewitched, The Ghost And Mrs. Muir.
Q - They re-run those episodes of Andy Griffith on TV Land all the time.
A - Oh, yeah. I get residuals for like 11 cents all the time. If it's over a dollar, it's from the '70s. If it's over three dollars, it's from the '80s.
Q - What was your role on The Andy Griffith Show?
A - My credit was Opie's friend. It was only one episode. I did Mayberry R.F.D. more times than I did The Andy Griffith Show.
Q - That is quite an accomplishment. Andy Griffith was one of the best shows ever on TV.
A - Well, thank-you. My father wrote a couple of those.
Q - He did a good job!
A - My Dad was an excellent writer.
Q - Did you say on the Joy Beher Show that you suffered some physical and emotional abuse at the hands of your father? Was he in fact jealous of your success?
A - No, he wasn't. I wrote, as my life story, a Movie Of The Week, they cut out everything except The Partridge Family and so I took my name off the writing credit and let them do whatever they wanted to do with it. And they wrote it in that he was jealous of my success, but no, he was not. As a matter of fact, he had a great distain for actors. He was not jealous of my career at all. He was probably jealous of my finances. (laughs) But he was not jealous of my career at all. The man was a genius.
Q - I take it he's no longer with us.
A - He is not.
Q - Talking about finances, please tell me you're not one of those guys who got ripped off by a manager or an agent, are you?
A - No. It's just that they didn't pay anything back then. Partridge Family, I started at $400 a week and ended at $600 a week and that's only 26 weeks a year. There was just no money to come from. All the money I have in the world comes from radio.
Q - How TV changed when they were paying Ed O'Neill $500,000 an episode.
A - No kidding. Somewhere along the line a lot more money got pumped into TV. I remember when Kelsey Grammar started making a million dollars a week, and Charlie Sheen was going for two million dollars a week.
Q - I always thought as Danny Partridge you had the best job on TV. I thought you stole the show from
David Cassidy. So, when The Partridge Family ended, where was your agent anyway? Why couldn't you have been slotted into another TV show?
A - You know, everybody thought that because they said David Cassidy was the romance and I was the comedy. Being the comedy at ten years old on a sit-com makes you look really good, but I was just so blatantly Danny Partridge at the time that it was very difficult to get work. And then maybe by the time I had out-grown being Danny Partridge, I was just young, lazy and lackadaisical and didn't take my acting career very seriously and to be honest with you, I was very good at being Danny Partridge, but that does not make me a good actor.
Q - You were actually so good at being Danny Partridge, I thought you were Danny Partridge. And Shirley Jones was so good, I thought she was the mother to all you kids.
A - Oh, it's funny. Sometimes she did too. I would be doing something that she would find inappropriate and she'd go "Danny, you go to your room right now!" And I was like, "Shirley, I don't really have a room here." We got close as a family.
Q - And she felt that when David Cassidy ended his role on the show, it was too soon. The show could have lasted another two seasons. Do you feel that way too?
A - Yes I do, but I hardly ever disagree with Academy Award winners!