Serling’s “Patterns”: A Television “High Point”

Sixty years ago today, a live teleplay by a writer named Rod Serling aired on the Kraft Television Theatre. It was called, simply, “Patterns.”

Patterns4

There was no reason to assume it would be special. But by the time it went off the air an hour later, Serling’s reputation as a writer par excellence had been born. As New York Times critic Jack Gould put it:

Nothing in months has excited the television industry as much as the Kraft Television Theatre’s production of Patterns, an original play by Rod Serling. The enthusiasm is justified. In writing, acting and direction, Patterns will stand as one of the high points in the TV medium’s evolution.

Patterns3

That’s pretty high praise. But as Gould said, it was indeed justified. He went on to call for a repeat performance — an unusual suggestion in that era. After all, it would mean reassembling the cast and basically staging it all over again. But on February 9, 1955, that’s exactly what they did.

I’ll be back on that date myself with a deeper look at “Patterns” and its connections with The Twilight Zone, which debuted almost five years later. But there’s no need to wait until then to watch it:

For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or PinterestYou can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. WordPress members can also hit “follow” at the top of this page.

Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 01/12/2015, in Teleplays and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. It’s amazing, Paul, but you still keep finding new ways to tell us about this great show. I had no clue that Patterns aired once, let alone twice. I was only two months old but still…

    I have to check this out and eagerly await your next post.

    • Thanks, Dan! I had to sort of laugh at myself, racing to post something before midnight, but I just had to mark the date, especially on the 60th anniversary. I wouldn’t be born until over a decade later, so I’m glad somebody saved this important show.

      I’m not sure how eager anyone should be for my next post about “Patterns,” but I appreciate the fact that you feel that way. Looking forward to your thoughts on the program itself!

  2. Yes, it’s interesting how you keep finding this stuff, Paul! :-] The end of last year I caught “Requiem For a Heavyweight” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056406/), which Serling also wrote. Quite poignant and quite the character study….

    • Yes, “Requiem” is indeed poignant and beautifully written. Hard to say which I like better, that or “Patterns.” I’m planning to write more about both this year, along with “The Comedian,” all three of which earned Serling Emmy awards pre-TZ.

      Glad you liked this modest post in the meantime, Frank. More to come!

  3. Now that I’ve seen “Patterns”, I can certainly understand why it was so well received. It is definitely an exceptional work of art. Serling’s writing, the acting, the whole performance is surprisingly engaging and very insightful. Only Rod Serling could make such an ordinary, run-of-the-mill office story seem so interesting and leave such a lasting impression. Well, YOU could write something equally compelling, but there are few writers out there who can boast such talent.

    Thanks for spotlighting one of Serling’s greatest works, Boss!

    • I can’t add much to the reply I left you on my Feb. 9 post, GF, so I’ll simply echo my thanks. I’d also like to tell you how humbled I am to have someone as talented as you even suggest I could write something of this caliber. That’s a compliment I’ll always treasure. :)

      I’m thrilled you like this post, and believe me, I’ll keep on paying tribute to Serling’s greatest works!

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