Freckles, laughter, big brown eyes, a "Munster-like mansion" in Newport, Rhode Island, a mini-mommy and a whole lot of talent. This is a Cowsill. It took America 500 years to create the Cowsills. Five hundred years of mixing nationalities, races, philosophies, beliefs and democracy within its' borders. Five hundred years of making families from all the people of all the countries of the world. The Cowsills happened. They are an entirely new dimension in entertainment today.
Bill, Bob, Barry and John Cowsill comprise the nucleus of the group. Their mini-mommy, Barbara Cowsill, lends her sweet, clear voice to the boys' harmony whenever it is needed. The road managers, Dick and Paul Cowsill, who chose not to enter the performing end of the complex, keep equipment straight and in order throughout their journeys. There is also a Cowsill "baby", sweet and cute as can be, eight-year-old Susan Cowsill (who is constantly teased by her all-brother family, who, although they'll never admit it publicly, adore her). Mr. Cowsill, like any father would be, is stuck with the job of coordinating the conglomeration.
Mr. Cowsill believes that love is a key word in raising a family, especially his. "When the kids do the right thing, they know it. And when they do the wrong thing, they know it." However, it is difficult for any father to actually define right and wrong. The only constant is love. "If I slip in some area, love will cover it. It's crazy, but I think you read me." Mr. Cowsill has said on many occasions, "Whenever any member of the family has a problem, we do like all families - sweat, all the while helping it work itself out."
Mr. Cowsill, Mrs. Cowsill and all concerned live in a 22-room mansion on top of one of the few Newport, Rhode Island Hills. As you drive up the winding drive, the first glimpse of the house takes your breath a-way. It seems as if you are dreaming. Ivy is growing all over the walls of the house, windows are broken, screens are hanging. It all has an air of "unreal."
The place could only exist in America or Switzerland or Poland. The grass has grown to a height of three feet. Curly, the family dog and very much a member of the family, hunts rabbits and other wild things in this amazing forest. The house is three stories high with a "Captain's Walk." As the story goes, when the captain had the house built way back, he put the walk on the roof so his wife could watch for his ship to come into the harbor. Today, Mrs. Cowsill uses the walk to escape from her eight riotous Indians. "This is my favorite spot in the world. I come up here to think and relax – pure heaven.”
The interior of the house fits the outside. The family or living room contains one large sofa, two chairs, and a TV set. Cooking of meals is done on a 1917 gas range, which requires a prayer to light. The would-be library contains a ping-pong table and the should-be dining room contains a pool table.
There are seven bathrooms and one shower. "Water pressure isn't so great," explains Bob. "The best time to take a shower is around 3 o'clock in the morning."
Luck, or maybe fate, introduced them to Artie Kornfield. Artie is a producer and writer. He is one of the necessary elements of the chemical reaction spoken about earlier.