''The Partridge Family'' bus hits the road -- Nick at Nite is promoting the show's revival with a nine-city tour starring David Cassidy

By Melina Gerosa
July 30, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

No, you’re not suffering a hallucinatory flashback: There is, in fact, a patchwork bus, complete with ”Nervous Mother Driving” warning, cruising the streets again. To promote Nick at Nite’s revival this month of The Partridge Family, which originally aired on ABC from 1970 to 1974, the network has been steering the iconic bus on a nine-city tour, carrying ’70s fan-mag staple David Cassidy and sometimes his TV brother, Danny Bonaduce. The painted set of wheels isn’t exactly the real thing (the original is rumored to be housing two couples somewhere in New Mexico), nor does Cassidy actually ride from town to town (he flies). But at each stop there has been plenty of hoopla, which ”is more enjoyable now than when I did the show,” says Cassidy, 43, who will soon star in the Broadway musical Blood Brothers. ”People have the right perspective — kind of laughing at it as well as with it.” Some highlights from the road:

· Cleveland: ”The David Cassidy Fan Club president (U.K. chapter from Sussex, England, flew in,” reports bus driver Wilson Gordon. Nobody tried to rip Cassidy’s shirt, ”but one woman kissed and rubbed the seat where he had been sitting.”

· New York City: Bonaduce visited the club The Duplex to check out the updated lyrics of the club’s ”Partridge Family Medley.” ”We do the song ‘I Woke Up in Love This Morning,”’ says Duplex house pianist Gerry Dieffenbach, ”but we changed the words to fit Susan Dey: ‘I woke up on a new show this season/Left L.A. Law for Love & War/But it really sucked.”’ Bonaduce’s reaction? ”He said ‘It’s a good thing Susan didn’t hear that. She’s humorless.”’

· Los Angeles: The Dey bashing continued at an Arsenio Hall Show taping, where Bonaduce appeared with Cassidy and Partridge mom Shirley Jones. When Arsenio asked, ”Where’s Susan?” Bonaduce pleaded, ”Lighten up, babe! I have this terrible feeling I’m going to see her on Geraldo sitting with Marcia Brady.”

As for whether there was any Brady-like backseat bussing on the show, fans must wait till Cassidy’s tell-all tome is published in 1994. Says Cassidy: ”I’m not telling you any of the dirt for free.” — Additional reporting by Kate Meyers