My David Cassidy sighting was nearly everyday for three months. I was a production assistant on a film that David was in called, "Spirit of '76". This was the summer of 1989, before David had success on Broadway and in Vegas.
I sometimes drove David but most of the time he had a rental car. I spent most of my time driving another former teen idol, Leif Garrett. I was a film student at the time, and when I was hired by the production manager, I said, "Who's in this film?". When she said, "David Cassidy", I was stunned. A friend and I had just watched some Partridge Family episodes the night before and we were talking about our David Cassidy crushes and wondering what he was doing now. I rushed home and called my friend. We screamed and laughed. It was so coincidental and exciting.
David came to the production office the next week. I was asked to make a copy of his driver's license for the rental company. I have to admit, I took a peek at the information on it. It was kind of neat to see it (I wouldn't share the info with anyone, of course!). He is a very slight man. At 5''7" I seemed to be just about his height, maybe a little bit taller.
I didn't have any further contact with David until the first week of shooting. We were shooting in a disco and the days were long and exhausting. The disco had two balconies and to catch a catnap during a break in filming, I went up to the top balcony thinking I'd be alone. I curled up into a couch and as I was closing my eyes, I noticed two arms stretching into the air. David was on the couch next to me, also trying to rest.
We started talking and I'll never forget how frightened he looked when he first saw me. I think he didn't know if I was a fan or a weirdo. He literally jumped when I turned to talk to him. I'm sure it must be scary to have achieved the kind of fame he has - he always looked on his guard and wary of people. When he realized I was the P.A. from the office and I worked on the film, he relaxed. I confessed that I was a big fan of his and that I'd always loved the Partridge Family. He said that he did too, although, it was obvious that he was bitter about it. I helped the production's publicist with the actors interviews (I transcribed them) and I remember feeling sad when hearing David's. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) that being a teen idol ruins your credibilty and basically ruins your career. He regretted that he was never taken seriously in the music business as a singer or songwriter. We talked about the exploitation of being a teen idol because by then I'd gotten to know Leif Garrett very well and I knew about the horrible way he'd been exploited by his managers. David said that Leif's managers, the Scotti brothers, had approached him and he was warned not to cut any deals with them. David also got bilked by unfair contracts and bad management, but not to the extent that Leif had.
After about fifteen minutes, someone called lunch downstairs and David got up and started walking away. Suddenly, he stopped and turned around. It had just been a conversation for him, but I think he realized that it had been a very special thing for me. He said, "It's been nice talking with you" and held out his hand to shake. After we shook hands and he left, I wanted to cry because something that I'd always wished for had happened. As a depressed, lonely teenager in the early 80's, I watched the Partridge Family everyday after school. Whenever I saw David, his vibrance and passionate way of singing seemed to lift my spirits. I used to think to myself, I'd like to meet him someday but of course I never will. What were the statistics that I would meet him one day? (without trying - I would never go to a signing or some publicity thing like that. It just wasn't my thing). After getting this gig on one of his films (my first movie, too) and getting to sit and talk with him, I felt like I'd hit the lottery. After that meeting, I felt like my other dreams in life could come true, too. When I came down from the balcony a few minutes after David, I said to our prop manager, "I feel like dreams can come true". I was crying (happy tears) because I was suddenly filled with hope about life.
Later that day, David winked at me while he was filming a love scene. That made me smile (actually blush). On the whole, I'd say that it wasn't a good time for him. His fiancee, Sue, (now his wife) came to visit a few times, but he seemed distant and unhappy. This was a stinker of a movie but it was produced by Francis Coppola's son Roman, so that's why he did it (it had other big names attached to it). It was definitely a B movie, amateurishly written and filmed. He spent the long periods in-between shooting looking at catalogues for race horses and cars. Sometimes he'd hold up a catalogue and while pointing to a horse say, "Isn't that a beautiful animal?!". I remember nodding, but forcing myself because horses did not interest me at all. Out of boredom (and shooting a movie is VERY boring), people would smoke and eat during these long breaks, and I remember David could be critical of that sometimes. He'd say, "I'm so cool. I'm smoking", sarcastically as he passed me and other young P.A.'s smoking. In the film he wore flashy boots that he'd saved from his teen idol touring days. They lit up and said, "Rock and roll". Seeing him at forty wearing boots he'd worn in 1970 (or so) seemed strange.
A year later, I was a P.A. for a local talk show in San Francisco (we'd filmed the movie in the Bay Area). David was scheduled to be the guest for the last segment on a show. He was reportedly annoyed because he thought he'd be the guest for the whole hour, not just a segment .I said hello to him in the Green Room. He didn't seem to recognize me (I didn't mind - it had been a year and there had been a lot of crew members on the film). I told him I'd just been to the premiere of the film and he said, "I didn't see you there". That seemed kind of funny to me - why would he see me there? I was just a peon. My gut feeling is that he is a genuine and kind person, but he's been scarred by the teen idol experience (as I think a lot of people would be).
Those are some of my memories of David Cassidy.
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