Celebrations should be thrown at local `shake shops' with rock 'n roll blasting on the juke box for the first-ever DVD release of The Patty Duke Show!
The series was one of the best and most beloved Classic TV comedies from the 1960's. Shout!Factory is continuing its string of great Classic TV releases (including Father Knows Best, My Three Sons and The Donna Reed Show) by presenting the complete first season of this iconic series on DVD for the first time.
The Patty Duke Show aired on ABC beginning Sept. 18, 1963. It lasted 105 episodes spanning three seasons - all in glorious black and white!
One year before, Ms. Duke had won an Academy Award® for her portrayal of the blind, deaf and mute Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (at the time, she was the youngest person to have won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress). As a result, she was chosen for her own self-titled vehicle, which featured her in not one, but two prominent roles.
The series followed Patty Lane (Ms. Duke), a `normal' 60's teenager living in the Brooklyn Heights section of New York City, who loves boys, ice cream, and sleep-overs. Her father is the managing editor of the New York Chronicle. In the unaired Pilot, her "identical cousin" Cathy Lane (also portrayed by Duke), whose father also works for the Chronicle as a foreign correspondent, arrives in the U.S. from Scotland to live with Patty's family and attend secondary school.
The series was extremely popular with both teens and their parents, turning Ms. Duke into an early teenaged idol.
As an adult, Ms. Duke has documented her long struggle with mental illness. The brilliant star sadly disclosed that she also suffered abuse during the years this series was produced. As a result, there is a genuine darkness beneath the fictitious veneer of these sweetly, innocent episodes. It is a true testament to her talent and very hard work that none of that was conveyed on screen. In my opinion, this series should still be enjoyed to honor her performances, for which Ms. Duke rightly received an Emmy nomination. (She is also the former wife of wonderful actor John Astin. The couple's son, Sean Astin, is also an actor.)
All 36 half-hour episodes and the unaired pilot are expected to be included in this DVD boxed set, presented on six discs (to provide background material as needed, clips from the Pilot had been utilized through "flash-back" scenes describing Cathy's arrival in the U.S.).
Special features are expected to include interviews with cast members, plus a featurette on the series. The show was created by William Asher, who also created and produced Bewitched; and Sidney Sheldon, who created a host of thrillers but also I Dream of Jeannie in the 1960's and Hart to Hart in the 1990's.
In addition to Ms. Duke, the core cast included William Schallert, who played Patty's father, Martin Lane; Jean Byron as Patty's mother, Natalie Lane; Paul O'Keefe portrayed Patty's sister, Ross Lane; and Eddie Applegate, who portrayed Patty's boyfriend, Richard Harrison in 70 episodes.
Schallert has one of the longest careers in TV and also film, and remains active in his 80's. (Incredibly, there was almost no hit TV show - in all genres - from the 60s through the 80s that he did not appear.)
The dual role played by Ms. Duke presented special effects challenges for the low-tech 60's, as they were rarely ever used in sitcoms of the day. (A VERY notable exception was the daytime gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows.)
In each episode of this series, Ms. Duke appeared as both characters in the same frame through the use of a split screen effect. To complement these effects, child actress Rita McLaughlin was used as Ms. Duke's double (almost always seen only from behind).
First Season episodes are: The Pilot; The French Teacher; The Genius; The Elopement; House Guest; The Birds and the Bees Bit; The Slumber Party; The Babysitters; The Conquering Hero; The President; Double Date; The Actress; How to Be Popular; The Song Writers; The Princess Cathy; Christmas Present; Auld Lang Syne; Horoscope; The Tycoons; Author! Author!; The Continental; Let 'Em Eat Cake; Going Steady; Are Mothers People?; The Con Artist; The Perfect Teenager; Chip Off the Old Block; The Wedding Anniversary Caper; Pen Pals; A Slight Case of Disaster; The Friendship Bit; Patty, the Foster Mother; Drop Out; Leave it to Patty; The Little Dictator; The Working Girl; and The Cousins.
"Cousins," was the unforgettable series theme. The music was composed by Sid Ramin, while the lyrics that stayed in your head like a causality loop, was written by Robert Wells. For those not old enough to have the song still playing in their aged noggins, here it is:
Meet Cathy, who's lived most everywhere,
From Zanzibar to Barclay Square.
But Patty's only seen the sights
A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights--
What a crazy pair!
But they're cousins,
Identical cousins all the way.
One pair of matching bookends,
Different as night and day.
Where Cathy adores a minuet,
The Ballet Ruses, and crepe Suzette,
Our Patty loves to rock and roll,
A hot dog makes her lose control--
What a wild duet!
Still, they're cousins,
Identical cousins and you'll find,
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike--
You can lose your mind,
When cousins - are two of a kind!
Here's hoping the remaining two seasons are quickly released.