The Patty Duke Show

They laugh alike, they walk alike; at times they even talk alike..
You can lose your mind..when cousins, are two of a kind!

The Lanes, minus Cathy
Identical cousins? Not genetically possible but then this is teenage TV, where the flimsiest premise often passes muster. The Patty Duke Show aired on US TV from 1963 to '66. The show was largely a vehicle for the considerable talents of Patty Duke, who had already made a name for herself as a child performer, appearing in ads and soaps and most notably, starring in The Helen Keller Story with Anne Bancroft, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

The premise of the show was clever - a schizophrenic view of two teenage girls with entirely different personalities. Patty Lane was mischievous, charming, ebullient and a chronic schemer; always getting into a 'fix', while Cathy was calm, reserved and studious - the sensible one. Cathy, who was brought up in England, had been sent by her adventurer/journalist father to live with his twin brother (Patty's TV Dad) and his family.

Martin "Poppo" Lane and his wife Natalie were pretty much as close to perfect parents as it is possible to be - understanding, good-humoured, indulgent but firm when needed.  Regular characters included Patty's little brother Ross, a bespectacled nerd who was smarter and less annoying than the average TV kid and he had Patty's measure.. There was also a guileless boyfriend, Richie, who, complete with buzz cut and personalised sweater, was the all-American boy. Needless to say, Cathy's boyfriend Ted was  a cultured intellectual by comparison.

Patty AKA Cathy

 Produced and directed by William Asher, the  split-screen special effects featured on  The Patty Duke Show were quite sophisticated for the era and from the viewers perspective the suspension of disbelief wasn't much of an issue, despite the illogical premise. Although the show was very popular, not just in the US but elsewhere, the series  was not renewed at the end of 1966, evidently because the shift to colour would have been prohibitively expensive, given that ABC was switching all its prime-time line-ups to colour.

The Patty Duke Show is fondly remembered by baby-boomers who themselves were teenagers in the 60's - it gave them characters to identify with and a lifestyle to aspire to. Typically (in TV show terms), the Lane's were middle-class, affluent and their family life a series of pleasant adventures.

Patty and Cathy Lane - Patty Duke
Martin and Kenneth Lane -  William Schallert
Natalie Lane - Jean Byron
Ross Lane - Paul O'Keefe
Richie Harrison - Eddie Applegate
Ted (anyone know his surname?) -Skip Hinnant