(CBS11) – Recently I was on Instagram with an acquaintance of mine who is a radio personality for WKTU-FM/New York (“103.5 KTU, The Beat Of New York”) and saw a picture with her and a friend together that could have been her twin. So what comes to mind to me?
The Patty Duke Show!
In 1962, Duke had just finished appearing in a dramatic movie called “The Miracle Worker” with Anne Bancroft, with Duke as Helen Keller, the young lady who was blind and deaf but learned how to communicate (Duke won an Academy Award for her role).
By the fall of 1963, ABC Television picked up the rights the Patty Duke Show that ran from 1963-1966 with 104 episodes. Duke played a 60’s teenager, Patty Lane, who loved slumber parties with her girlfriends, Paul Anka, and going to the soda shop to hang with friends.
She also played her Scottish twin Cathy (in a dual role). Both characters were completely different, with Patty a typical American teenager and Cathy a very proper and worldly individual. Co-starring were William Schallert as her dad, Jean Byron as her mom, Paul O’Keefe as her brother, and Eddie Applegate as her boyfriend. Schallert was in real life the longtime president of the Screen Actors Guild. Of these main actors, Paul O’Keefe is the only main star of the show alive today. And when the producers needed a double for shots with both Patty and Cathy, the actress they turned to was Rita McLaughlin.
Throughout its network television run, ABC never changed its time period: Wednesdays 8pm ET/7pm CT, at the lead off show for Wednesday nights. All episodes were in black and white but by the fall of 1966 the show was cancelled and virtually all shows were in color by then. The show was shot in New York, not Los Angeles, which was the trend back in the day. In addition, ABC wanted the production company, United Artists, to move to color in 1965 but that didn’t happen. Plenty of “back stories” on this TV series for sure!
The show was created by Sidney Sheldon and William Asher. Sheldon also produced shows like I Dream Of Jeannie and Hart To Hart. Asher was one of the directors for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz during the I Love Lucy days, and was married at one time to actress Elizabeth Montgomery (“Bewitched”). And it had a catch theme song, performed by The Skip-Jacks, called “Cousins”:
Meet Cathy, who’s lived most everywhere
From Zanzibar to Berkeley 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 Ballets Russes, 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.