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Exploring “Morality’s Shady Side of the Street”

Sixty years ago today, the Kraft Television Theatre aired a repeat of Rod Serling’s teleplay “Patterns.” As a Twilight Zone fan, why should you care?

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Everett Sloane, who would later star in TZ’s “The Fever,” plays no-nonsense boss Walter Ramsey.

After all, this was four and a half years before TZ hit the air. And the program in question had nothing to do with aliens, time travel, or any of the other fantasy elements that made that classic series so famous. It was a straight drama. Yawn, right?

Not so fast. A few important factors make “Patterns” worth a second look, especially for Twilight Zone fans.

One is that it turned Serling into the proverbial “overnight success.” Without it, it’s fair to question if he’d have gained the clout to launch a certain foray into the fifth dimension. Read the rest of this entry

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.”

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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.

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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. Read the rest of this entry