The Patty Duke show was a sit com with a twist, as the lead character and namesake Patty Duke played dual roles, one as Patty Lane, the streetwise tell it like it is typical teenage girl of the early sixties, and also as her more traveled and sophisticated cousin Cathy Lane. Their remarkable resemblance on the show was attributed to their fathers being identical twins. Casting Patty Duke in dual roles turned out to be a challenge, as special effects were still in their infancy, and a split screen was used when they appeared on the same scene both facing toward the camera. A double was used when one of them was facing away from the camera.
Patty Duke was only 16 and fresh off her success on The Miracle Worker, and the show ran from 1963 to 1966 and made Patty Duke a star while launching her movie career. By the early sixties the filming of most television shows had migrated from New York to Hollywood, but Duke’s age ran afoul of stringent California child labor laws so the show was filmed at Chelsea Studios in Manhattan. Patty Duke was portrayed on the show as the girl from Brooklyn Heights. Duke turned 18 during the show in 1965 but the show continued filming in New York as Duke was unwilling to move.
William Schallert and Jean Byron played Patty’s parents Mr and Mrs Duke. Paul O’keefe played her brother Ross and Eddie Applegate played Patty’s boyfriend. Several teen hearthrobs and singing stars of the 60s appeared on the Patty Duke show, including Chad and Jeremy, Robert Goulet, Bobby Vinton, Frank Sinatra Jr., Sal Mineo, and Sammy Davis Jr. The popularity of the show with the young set also made Patty Duke a singing star in 1965 with her release of the single Don’t Just Stand There, which hit the top 10 charts.
Even with high ratings on it’s last season, ABC did not renew the Patty Duke show, claiming that switching to color programming was way too expensive. All television programs were making the color switch during the late 60s.
The Patty Duke Show, Still Rocking At Brooklyn Heights, was a CBS movie released in 1999 which once again brought the original cast together. In 2009 Patty Duke once again did her dual role in a Social Security Administration public service announcement.
Patty was born Anna Marie Duke in Queens, New York in 1946