TITLE: THE PATTY DUKE SHOW - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
DVD Release Date: September 29, 2009 (Shout! Factory)
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 36
Running Time: approx. 15 hours
Runtime of Special Features: 15 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: Looking Back With the Cast of the Patty Duke Show
We’ve all heard of identical twins, but identical cousins? Is it really possible? When you are teenage cousins such as Patty and Cathy Lane, it is! The Patty Duke Show finally makes it onto DVD in a six-disc DVD set featuring the entire first season of the girls that laughed alike, walked alike, and times even talked alike. Cathy is the reserved and worldly cousin that has seen it all, and Patty is the one that has seen it all from Brooklyn Heights and is more of the bouncy American teenager. Both, of course, are played by the star of the series, Patty Duke. The series ran from 1963 to 1966, and the first 36 (of a total of 104) episodes are presented in The Complete First Season.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Patty is suddenly doing better in French in the first episode, “The French Teacher,” but could there be a reason behind this? Patty is found to be a super-genius after taking a computerized IQ test in “The Genius.” Paul Lynde guest stars. Will Patty elope? Find out in “Elopement.” Ross decides to engage in a little blackmail against Patty and Cathy in “Slumber Party.” The high school basketball star moves in to the Lane house thanks to Cathy’s persuasive skills in “The Conquering Hero.” Two presidential candidates in one house? That is how it is in “The President.” In “Double Date,” Cathy gets two flu shots, which means that Patty has to go on two dates. Frankie Avalon guest stars in “How to Be Popular,” where Cathy wants to be popular.
Phil Foster (Laverne & Shirley) guest stars in “The Songwriters.” Cathy’s father is coming to town in “The Christmas Present,” but he won’t get too far when he ends up behind bars in another country along the way. Patty is on her way to becoming an astrologer in “Horoscope.” Patty becomes a novelist in “Author, Author.” Will the family leave Brooklyn Heights for Paris? Find out in “The Continental.” David Doyle guest stars in “Going Steady.” Cathy gets taken by a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman in “The Con Artists.”
The National Enquirer has nothing on Patty Lane, as is seen when she makes a few major changes to the school newspaper in “Chip Off The Old Block.” Patty buys a dress that she can’t afford with the intention of taking it back after the dance in “Slight Case of Disaster,” but you know how that always goes. Patty finds that she may be allergic to her identical cousin in “The Friendship Bit.” In “Patty the Foster Mother,” we find out how a teenage girl can accidentally become a mother without ever being pregnant. Richard wants to drop out of school in “Drop Out.” Cathy gets a chance to run the school for a week in “The Little Dictator,” but Patty is her one trouble student. The season ends with “Cousins,” which is a re-edited version of the pilot episode that explains how the cousins came together.
The packaging used on the set is pretty standard packaging for Shout! Factory, using double slim cases. The cover of the box art has a snapshot of Patty and Cathy with a green background. On the back, we have the typical information about the series and the particular season. There are a total of three slim cases in the set, with each disc containing two discs each. All three have a picture of Cathy on the front (why is Patty not there???) with a yellow background. The back of each case has an episode listing, but even better than this is the nice episode booklet included in the set, which contains descriptions, guest stars, and even trivia facts. The disc artwork is exactly the same as the cover art, with the pictures of Patty and Cathy. There are exactly six episodes per disc, plus the bonus features on Disc 6.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on each disc has the theme song playing with rotating pictures of the cast members on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen, the options are Play All, Episodes, and (on Disc 6) Bonus. When you select Episodes or Bonus, you get another menu with different music (transitional music) plays. An episode list comes up with all of the episodes. It is a pretty basic, but functional menu design. While there are no scene selection menus, there are chapters within each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality could have stood some improvement, although it is far from a total disaster. I did notice a lot of scratches and lines on the film throughout the set, and of course, there is a little grain and debris here and there. Other than those issues, though, the picture is mostly pretty clean and crisp. The audio, presented in mono, is fine too, but the audio volume levels tend to fluctuate throughout each and every episode. It can get annoying having to constantly change the volume on the TV. Still, I wouldn’t say that this is any worse than what we’d expect for a series that is almost fifty years old. Each episode is closed-captioned as well.
Most episodes appear to be unedited, running around 25:30 per episode. However, the episode “How to Be Popular” somewhat concerns me, running at 24:35, nearly a full minute shorter than the rest. I’m not sure what, if anything, is missing, although the episode does seem to start somewhat abruptly with very soft audio at the beginning. Exact runtimes are as follows:
The French Teacher (25:39)
The Genius (25:44)
House Guest (25:19)
The Bird & The Bees Bit (25:40)
Slumber Party (25:35)
Baby Sitters (25:05)
The Conquering Hero (25:42)
The President (25:34)
Double Date (25:34)
The Actress (25:32)
How to Be Popular (24:35)
The Songwriters (25:22)
The Princess Cathy (25:35)
The Christmas Present (25:26)
Auld Lang Syne (25:41)
The Tycoons (25:29)
Author, Author (25:34)
The Continental (25:36)
Let ‘Em Eat Cake (25:39)
Going Steady (25:38)
Are Mothers People? (25:34)
The Con Artists (25:22)
The Perfect Teenager (25:37)
Chip Off the Old Block (25:22)
The Wedding Anniversary Caper (25:32)
Pen Pals (25:26)
A Slight Case of Disaster (25:35)
The Friendship Bit (25:36)
Patty, the Foster Mother (25:34)
The Drop Out (25:31)
Leave it to Patty (25:31)
The Little Dictator (25:24)
The Working Girl (25:34)
The Cousins (25:31)
There is only one special feature on the set, but the important thing about it is that it includes an all-new interview with the cast, including the most important actress on the series, Patty Duke. Looking Back with the Cast of The Patty Duke Show (13:51). In the interview, we hear from Patty Duke, Paul O’Keefe, Eddie Applegate, and William Schallert. They talk a lot about how the series began and about how Patty Duke had to learn what it was like to be a “typical American teenager” in order to play the role of Patty, even though she was an American teenager. They all look, well, old, but for some reason, William Schallert (the oldest one) seems to have aged the best. Of course, the rest really don’t look THAT old, but they just seem old compared to how we saw them on the series.
I’ve honestly never watched this show much, and to be honest, I had difficulty getting in to it at first. However, as I watched more episodes, it started to grow on me, and it was interesting to see how the series was able to creatively handle plots that no other series could really even try, mostly due to the unique qualities of this series. After all, a series that still gets some (although not a whole lot) of attention and pop-cult status to this day after only lasting three seasons must have something going for it. It is a refreshing change of pace from the standard sitcoms, and in a way, is somewhat of a precursor to some of the bizarre and supernatural sitcoms that came along later. That is, even though there was nothing “bizarre” or “supernatural” about this series, it was an early test of what somebody can do with special effects, and I’m sure that it is no coincidence that series writer Sidney Sheldon and series producer William Asher later went on to I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched, respectively.
As far as this DVD set is concerned, it is a quality set that meets the standards we have come to expect from Shout! Factory. Fans won’t find too much to be concerned about with the set, and those that have never seen the series might find themselves getting in to it. While Patty and Cathy may be two of a kind, this series is one of a kind.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 09/28/09
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