David Cassidy, famous for his role in The Partridge Family, had a following that viewed him as a clean-cut kind of guy. But Cassidy’s personal life did not exactly match the character of Keith Partridge on the sitcom. Let’s take a look at what Cassidy was doing off the set – specifically one of his encounters with LSD.
David Cassidy experiments with a variety of drugs
In his memoir C’Mon, Get Happy: Fear and Loathing on The Partridge Family Bus, Cassidy relays he began using “all sorts of drugs as opportunities arose” when he was a teenager in high school. He states, “that became an important part of my life, like part of my zest for living. I was reckless, wild.”
The drugs he experimented with included “pot, hash, psychedelics, mescaline, THC, speed, Tuinal, and more.” Cassidy was using speed “once a month, or once every couple of weeks, and sometimes go on a binge for two or three days. Maybe some diet pills or something.” He says everyone he knew was doing this in 1966 and 1967. He did it even though his body did not handle it well.
David Cassidy and LSD
When Cassidy first heard about LSD, it was illegal. He recounts trying LSD meant more than just taking the drug. “Trying it was about living that culture, the cutting edge of the sixties.” Further, Cassidy’s first use of LSD was while he was driving his mother’s 1959 Olds convertible. He says, “I even drove once while on LSD. I don’t ever want to do that again. That was actually the very first time I took LSD, in Palm Springs over Easter vacation, 1966.”
He was stopped by a police officer because his taillight was not working. Cassidy recounts he played the part of a “really nice kid with a busted taillight.” He was let go by the officer with just a simple ticket. The officer never realized Cassidy was on LSD because the drug had not “really kicked in much yet.” By the time it did kick in, Cassidy began to have vivid hallucinations.
He went to get something to eat and “the hamburger was dancing on my plate while the French fries were standing up and conducting music, which made me laugh so hard I couldn’t eat them.” Cassidy was clearly behaving in ways that Keith Partridge would never consider.
How the public reacted to David Cassidy and ‘The Partridge Family’
This raises an interesting question – just how successful was Cassidy and The Partridge Family show? The Hollywood Reporter states the show was the brainchild of Bernard Slade who got the idea from watching a group called The Cowsills who performed on The Tonight Show. The Partridge Family premiered in 1970 accompanying The Brady Bunch on Friday nights. Although the show was never rated past No. 16 with viewership at about 14 million per week, Cassidy was propelled onto the scene as a pop idol – even though his personal experimentation were far from the sitcom’s shenanigans.