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When it comes time to comment on the Temple, however, Cassidy is cautious. "I don't mind it if it's just for fun," he announces. "The Partridge Family definitely depicted fun and was representative of a time of freedom--really the last gasp of innocence in America. There was a dichotomy there, in that it was an era when dope, sex and cheap thrills were socially acceptable. Yet it stood for a very moral picture of what American families were like.

"Once one puts the spin of religion or church on it, though, it suddenly becomes rather serious, and we get concerned. As somebody brought up here in America, I respect everybody's right to choose whatever religious belief they want. But believe me, these were fictitious characters. The producers and the creators of the show only wanted to do something that would be a good time and commercially viable."

In that regard, they succeeded beyond most anyone's expectations. The Partridge Family is a knockout with a new generation thanks to its run on the Nickelodeon cable channel, which Cassidy uncharacteristically helped hype (he did so in part, he says, to attract attention to Blood Brothers). But while he appreciates what Partridge has done for him, he's learned to keep it in perspective. And he thinks others would benefit from doing the same.

"It's all well and good for people to have a fixation with television shows," he states, "and I'm glad we had a positive influence on a lot of them. But sometimes I suspect that TV programs and programming have had a little too much impact on people. It was really intended for people's entertainment and enjoyment, and not to influence them in any way in terms of a lifestyle choice."

Clearly, the members of the Partridge Family Temple do not agree. They're marching ahead with plans to publish their own magazine, to be called The Partridge Family Temple Funner, along with a Partridge bible. And, of course, there is their mission to welcome Keith to Colorado. About these goals, Cassidy offers this simple critique: "Dare I say it's rather...tragic?"

"Keith's a natural-born prick," Shaun responds, his mouth full of Casa Bonita cheese enchilada. "He's the War God."

"I met him at one of his book signings," Reverend Dan relates. "He wouldn't even talk to anyone, and he wouldn't sign anything except books that were bought at that store that day. I bought one anyhow, and when it was my turn, I told him about the temple, and how we worship him and drink his sperm. And he didn't even look up. He just said, `C'mon, get happy,' and went to the next person. I don't think he heard me.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts