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Monday, November 18, 2013

Flashback Monday: Come on Get Happy, Then Move to Reston

images.jpgIn previous Reston Flashbacks, we've explored our beloved earth-toned community's connection with one of the most beloved children's television shows of all time. But did you know that we also have a connection to one of the most beloved television shows in which a family drives around in a multicolored repurposed school bus and sings folk songs?

Confidential Restonian Operative "Joe" stumbled upon this exciting tidbit about Jeremy Gelbwaks, who played the first Chris Partridge in the Partridge Family and was replaced by a cybernetic clone when his family moved from California. Check it, Wikipedia:

He left the program (and the business) after the first season, and was replaced by Brian Forster in the summer of 1971. He and his family moved to Reston, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., where they remained for a year and a half before moving again to Connecticut.

Gelbwaks worked in the computer industry from 1982 to 1999, studied business at Columbia University, and is now a management consultant. He has appeared in a couple of Partridge Family reunions with his television family, including "Chris #2."
But there's more, including a poorly factchecked reference to Hunters Woods Elementary School!
When Jeremy Gelbwaks walked into his new sixth-grade class at Hunters Wood in Reston, Va., having finished filming his only season playing Chris, his acting career was over. The reason: His father, Norman, a U.S. government employee, had been transferred from L.A. But because the show had just begun airing, Jeremy-was a star. "Total pandemonium broke out," he recalls. "I enjoyed it immensely." The realization that he was no longer a Partridge "was troubling for me," he admits.

Eventually, Jeremy turned from the stage lo the sciences. Now 32, he lives in New Orleans with wife Patricia, a comptroller, and works for a major computer services company as a business and technology planner. He became a computer analyst back in 1983 while studying chemistry al Berkeley. Still, he never got show business totally out of his system. Gelbwaks made a brief stab al performing ("I wasn't good at Method acting"), then served as a production assistant on films in New York City in 1988. Even if he had stayed a Partridge, he consoles himself, he might not have achieved stardom. "But," he says, "you never know."
Could be worse -- the child actor who became "Chris #2" says in the same article that he remained a virgin until he was 22 and "is still available." Ladies? Also, there's simply no truth to the rumor that the Gelbwaks were forced to leave Reston because they suggested painting the newly launched commuter buses with this DRB-affronting livery:



  1. The Partridge Family was always way cooler than the Brady Bunch, but I could swear there's a copy of the Brady's house on South shore Drive.

  2. Great blast from the past... I was in the fifth grade at Hunters Woods Elementary when Jeremy attended and it was a big deal for the first week or so until our grade school attention spans returned to discussion of the latest Happy Days TV episode and pretending to be fans the band- KISS.

    Jeremy's younger brother (no name recollection) participated in the local Reston YMCA Indian Guides. Think Cub Scouts with an American Indian them that involved weekly evening 'tribal meetings' with our dads, arts & crafts and camping trips. Instead of patches, you earned feathers for your head dress. Vernon Walker, Reston's first Naturalist, founded the local chapter and was the Chief.

  3. And on the IMDB message board for The Partridge Family, loyal IMDB member "screenscreams" writes:

    "Jeremy was better looking and cooler than Brian. I will always think of Jeremy as Chris."

    By the way, good thing Danny Bonaduce's family never relocated here. That red hair of his would be absolutely verboten in Reston.

  4. Great. Now I have that song in my head... A whole lotta lovin is what we'll be bringin.. C'mon get happy!

    Just kill me now.

  5. Partridges, eh?

    One word: Pull!

  6. Don't forget Lake Anne Elementary school alum Greg Kinnear

  7. I was in the same 3rd or 4th grade class with Matthew Gelbwaks, Jeremy's brother and actually went to his birthday party at their house on Triple Crown Rd. in Hunters Woods that year.


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