Patty Duke A Go-Go

 

Patty Duke Album Cover "Don't Just Stand There" 1965

Patty Duke Album Cover “Don’t Just Stand There” 1965

As an actress, Patty Duke was a true miracle worker.

The fact that viewers of the popular Patty Duke Show bought into this improbable story of identical cousins who looked alike, laughed alike, walked alike and  at times even talked  alike…well, the fact that we didn’t lose our minds was a miracle itself and a testament to her acting skills.

Patty Watusi’d her way into our hearts.

In a television season of improbable sitcoms like The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched  and My Favorite Martian, the story of “this crazy pair, ”one pair of matching bookends, different as night and day,  made an indelible impression on my pre-teen sensibility.

Serving as a wholesome yet, wacky template for teenage angst, it helped to maneuver the minefield of teenage years that would loom in the near future.

Patty Duke was part of our collective consciousness.

Is there a baby boomer who doesn’t know that Cathy adores a minuet, the Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette, yet, our Patty loves to rock and roll, and a hot dog makes her lose control …”-

Is there a baby boomer who didn’t dig that wild duet?

While every self-respecting boomer can recite the lyrics to the Patty Duke Show theme, her short-lived career as pop star may not have made as indelible an impression.

But it did to me.

Don’t Just Stand There

Patty Duke Don't Just Stand There Album Cover Liner

Patty Duke’s “Don’t Just Stand There” reached #8 on Billboard charts in 1965. Back cover of the album

The liner notes for the album are as effusive as Party Lane herself.

When sparkling, eighteen-year-old PATTY DUKE is called America’s most popular teenager, there can be no argument. The talented young New York City-born lass first conquered Broadway, went on to win a coveted Oscar for her performance in the film, “The Miracle Worker,” then continued her string of triumphs via “The Patty Duke Show,” one of television’s most highly-rated programs.

Just a short time ago, the amazing and precocious Miss Duke signed with United Artists Records and shortly thereafter, her initial single was released by the company. Patty scored heavily again with “Don’t Just Stand There” which became one of the big hits of the year.

This impressive roster of overwhelming conquests continues. Now Patty is starring in the motion picture, “Billie,” already being touted as one of the most delightful giants of the season, and she is presently hard at work on still more of “The Patty Duke Show,” more spirited, more refreshing and more entertaining than ever.

“DON’T JUST STAND THERE is PATTY DUKE’s first album ever, and just like everything else she touches, it is pure gold. It is certain to find a huge throng of eager fans waiting to purchase it and catapult it quickly high on the nation’s best-seller lists.

In addition to the title tune, it contains a wonderful selection of the great songs of the day — all eminently youthful and all hand-picked by our star of stars. As can be readily ascertained in these selections, Patty is a singer with tremendous charm and appeal. She is always an actress, putting a meaning into the lyrics that she seldom been equaled by one of such tender years. She is indeed a lyricist’s delight, in addition to being a delight to hear.

United Artists Records is proud to offer “DON’T JUST STAND THERE” by MISS PATTY DUKE — only eighteen years old — and already one of the truly big names in the entertainment world.

Patty Duke Does  Shindig

Patty Duke on Shindig

In June of 1965, an appearance on Shindig solidified her place in pop history for me.

By any standards 1965 was a stellar year for music with “Satisfaction,” “I Got You Babe” and “California Girls”  all competing for airtime on top 40 stations. How could poor Patty compete with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Sonny and Cher?

Yet her hit “Don’t Just Stand There” stood out for me.

Foregoing my usual Wednesday  night habit of the Beverly Hillbillies I crossed channels to ABC to tune into Shindig, not to hear Maryanne Faithful but  for the chance to hear Patty Lane  sing.

This multi talented actress may have been a short-lived pop star,  but her album would be the very first LP I bought.

Filled with infectious enthusiasm she covers Petula Clark’s “Downtown” and even does a version of  “Danke Schoen,” putting Wayne Newton to shame.

“Don’t Just Stand There”  has been compared to Leslie Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” yet Patty’s career as pop star never got off the ground.

But not to worry.

“Valley of the Dolls”  beckoned.

 

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6 comments

  1. A wonderful tribute Sally to an exceptional actress and singer. R.I.P. Patty. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. By being open about her own challenges, she helped to both educate and chip away at the archaic stigma we still attach to mental illnesses.

    Liked by 1 person

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