I really loved this routine when it appeared in my collection but I never remembered the song. I used to watch the Partridge Family every Saturday night but this song just never stayed in my memory. I get the distinct feeling it was not played on the radio. I really don't think he should have recorded this as the Ronettes version is just beautiful (in fact anything that Phil Spector recorded was fab and I have his box set).
David Cassidy was really for the girls and I never took to him. It was only when I had this track in my own collection that I purchased his best of on CD and to be fair he did make some good songs but he had a manufactured voice.
The routine itself was absolutely beautiful. The girls looked stunning in their costumes and the wetlook macs were very much the big item of 1973. I seem to remember my Mom buying one of these from M&S. They were so common though - everyone had one.
I will award this routine ten out of ten and the best dancer is awarded to all of them but to pick one out I will opt for Babs.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
The header brought me here today. I've been meaning to rate this one for ages. What can I say, it's wonderfully innocent. Almost child-like. I love the way the girls go out of shot as the storm breaks, only to reappear in their rain gear. It's so unbelievably cute from start to finish, and I can see some Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in there too. A fine cover from The Partridge Family, though I'm guessing in reality it was only Cassidy's vocals that made it to record. Louise looks an absolute darling and she's my dancer of the day, and the routine itself gets a thunderous 10/10
So now that November is nearly here, the Autumn weather is going strong and so I thought I would comment on this routine at the right time of the year. What I like about this routine is that there are lots of smiles and all of the ladies get a close up which I really liked. This is a lovely routine and I'm sure I will watch this again very soon. It always puts a smile on my face.
The innocence of youth as seen from the vagaries and vicissitudes of age. A time when we were all younger and life was ahead of us. Unlimited goals and horizons lay before us, as we dwelt in our gilded tenderness of youth. Now much later in life I feel sometimes like the most dissatisfied man since Cicero. Is that not one of the tragedies of life, that we may never go back? Never return to a period in your own past that you might wish to, to relive again? Life and Time does not permit such a thing, this is not how the scheme of time unfolds. Ha! Were it not true were would we be, anywhere in the human dimension? We are left with our memories of events long gone, as cynicism and critical distaste consume us.
And now I find my critical faculties fade before me and fail in the light of such beauty found here. They fly from me and leave my undressed and purified in the face of their endearing charm. The effect of the seeming innocence witnessed has me doubting my own life experience. But was I not that young man of 12 at the time of this performance? As I approach my 59th year my sourness and bitterness fall as an easy prey to the innocence of Pan’s People in this refreshing and enlightening routine. I do mean to be sharply critical of something from Flick’s ‘oeuvre’, from Pan’s People’s finest work, whenever it would be justified to do so, but yet again I have to advise myself- not this time. But what do we have here, for the first Top Of The Pops routine we have available to review for several months, this day from 1973. This feels like a story in song and dance, and a progression in style of routine. Although the picture quality to watch is not great, there is still so much to enjoy and I cannot fail to be pleased by this number. Watching it over again confirms the dreamlike quality of the whole experience. We are transported to another place, a place of innocence and wonderment. From the moment the dancers appear against the stark black background I am engaged with them once again. The girls look very youthful and innocent in the short frocks with a ‘dark’ scarves round their waists and beribboned hair- no doubt the desired effect from Flick. At 00.06 they come on again and dance to the centre as if in a playground, and partake of their schoolgirl games. All linked hands and dancing in circles, such as was their wont in many school playgrounds. Then at 00.46 is the first hint that a change of circumstance is on the horizon. The rain effect no doubt necessitating the black background in the first instance. And here what rain, causing the girls to scurry away with hands on heads for protection and return fetchingly bedecked in short raincoats and hats. To signify what? The loss of innocence, perhaps. Or maybe it was a very showery day in Pansland. The circular movement about 00.57, causing the loose coats to billow around them is very effective and noteworthy for me. Then about 01.00 the rain ceases and the girls run off to discard their rainwear and return again with innocence and schoolgirl games resumed. But it cannot last, once innocence has flown the first time, there is always doubt and the deluge returns again at 01.43, causing another escape for the re-adornment of the rain gear, and on their return a feeling that these girls have grown up somewhat in that interim and are, from here on in, adults finding their way in the big wide world. The backward return at 02.08 seems to suggest these playful girls are now more mature and wise to whatever life may throw at them. And one has to be chosen- by the witness in us! All grown up- indeed. For the final denouement from 02.20 onwards I feel an underlying sense of sadness in the routine, made more evocative by the vocal timbre from David Cassidy, and not just because it is coming to the end. Perhaps it is the inevitable loss of your youth and innocence that we all must endure, as we progress through life. We must put away childish things and take our part in the world of maturity- so we are told. The ‘walking’ movement seen before, particularly around 00.52, is now more vigorous and pronounced towards the end- and always delightful. These are now young ladies marching out to meet their destiny. A destiny of who knows what! This last action should leave no doubt that a great change has taken place in these few moments. A change from young girl to young woman- a blossoming of life! The features of the routine, the spins, the kicks, the hand joining above the head, and backwards movements are all a deep pleasure to watch. A routine that I enjoy watching often and never fail to be entertained and gratified. The true depiction of a choreographers art in inspiration and practice. To all concerned, Flick and her team- I bestow my utmost praise.
Did anyone watch those wholesome in style U.S shows like The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch? I can remember them both pretty well from the time. Despite perhaps not being from the chore demographic for these shows, they were always very pleasant and easy to watch for me. And the charmful innocence displayed in the shows is so very noticeable. We know David Cassidy became a huge star because of his portrayal of Keith Partridge, his poster found on many a young girls bedroom wall, etc. But it cannot be denied he was a huge talent and had a wonderful singing voice, as evidenced by this track, ‘Walking In The Rain’.
Who should I choose for my Dancer’s mark in this pleasing number? I find that my eyes are always and so easily drawn to Ruth, with her two ribbons in her hair perfectly tied, while all the others have one, rather oddly attached to the hair, in some cases- Dee Dee and Louise! What else to look for? All of the members look endearing and charming as they play their games in the early part of the routine. Don't I find Dee Dee utterly engrossing at 00.41 as she comes to the front of the screen and lifts her dress while wearing a most delicious smile- or smirk- for us, the viewers' benefit? Then, about 01.24 she performs her spin better than the others, although Cherry is not far behind on this occasion. And surpasses the others again at 02.07 with her delightful head movements from side to side, as the team walk backwards with hands upheld. And that is shortly followed by their reappearance at 02.23 where it is seems noticeable that Dee Dee licks her lips in an engaging fashion as the walk backwards once more. And isn't Babs so very noticeable to me for the shaking nature of the clip as she runs off screen waving her rain hat at 01.08, also as she reappears at 01.15 with hands by her side, when all the others place their hands behind their backs? And at 01.35 she looks very happy and engaging for her little cameo, and as she runs off again at 01.43 to reapply her raingear and return once more about 01.50 with the most prominent and eyecatching spin round of all. Then about 02.15 Babs' look of open-mouthed surprise on her face as the rain returns and she leads the next escape, to return first at 02.19 with the most lovely smile- such a sunny disposition to be found here in the rain! Doesn't Louise look as totally stunning as she always does in this piece, and it is not a great pleasure to see her move towards the camera at about 00.33 and give the slightest of curtseys and an entrancing and bashful smile as she lifts her dress slightly for our enjoyment? And her whole performance is maintained with pride and aplomb throughout. Moving and dancing as delectably as she does. Without her own little cameo, Cherry seems the least prominent in this number, but is it not completely evident how exceptional she looks in the pink rainwear? How wonderfully flamboyant and exuberant she performs her rain walking, at 00.54 particularly, and how she demonstrates the most elegant little kicks at 02.34- again a delightful picture in pink is our Cherry. All of them impress in turn. That is true. Yes, but Ruth! Does she look so very enchanting and delectable up to 00.03 as she is seen walking backwards and off to our left? Are her walking movements and actions about 00.54, with her pronounced hand touching above her head and left and right kicks as good as anyone's? At 01.27 up to 01.30 would she resemble a picture of innocent charm and deportment? Does she look the most happy of all at 01.58 as she runs off in her in the sudden rain shower again? And from 02.26 to the end of the number, is it to Ruth that, inevitably and inexorably, my attention never leaves her no matter how I try? My response can only be yes to all these questions. For her movement, her becoming and delightful appearance in her pink raingear and all over attractiveness she wins it for me. Oh Ruth! What hold you have over mine own self, my eyes can never look elsewhere! How have you bewitched me so!
DOTD- Ruth. My one true Love. The young girl in her reminding the old man in me of the young man he once was, and the hope and dreams he once had should never be consumed by doubt or despair. However dark your mood or prospect, there is always a light to be reached, a sanctuary to be found. Ruth can bring that to me, whenever I am in need. The young girl has so much to teach the old fool.
Routine- 9.5/10. A routine to soothe the savage beast and straighten the furrowed brow for me. The freshness seen here is so endearingly reminiscent of times gone by. Times gone forever, but not forgotten. The moves and costumes all seem so redolent of that period. Why should criticism be invited to the table when calm, peacefulness and contentment are dining there?
My review of the routine certainly won’t be as eloquent as Hanway’s, but it’ll hopefully be of interest to anyone who takes the time to read it.
Until reading Hanway’s missive, I hadn’t really considered the interpretative aspect of this routine: I saw it simply as a delightful and charming piece of choreography. However, watching again with Hanway’s observations in mind, I’m left thinking that maybe Flick did indeed embroider a journey from childhood innocence to the realities of adult life into its narrative.
Leaving the philosophical aspects aside, the routine is an uplifting experience, with notable moments for me being the ‘walking’ step in the choruses; the ladies’ expressions when each deluges begins and ends; and of course Louise and Dee Dee’s coquettish cameos.
Overall, though, this routine highlights what draws me to early Pan’s People: many of their routines have a hint of the Light Entertainment traditions from the Fifties and early Sixties: for instance, this example wouldn’t have looked out of place on an edition of the original “Sunday Night at the London Palladium” series. Maybe Pan’s People could be considered a risqué version of the Tiller Girls!
Anyway, after all that waffle, my score:
And though it might be considered favouritism, DOTD goes to Louise.
Many thanks for the kind words about my reviews, Michael, it is very kind of you and pleasing for me to have some praise and feedback. And your reviews too are very good, and much more succinct and to the point.
I shall be waffling about another Pan’s routine very soon!