Turned to Dust
Performance of ‘Patterns’ Called
Incentive for Others to Do Likewise
The repeat performance on Wednesday evening of Rod Serling’s play “Patterns,” which was every bit as successful as the original presentation a month ago, is an encouraging television development. Principally it to an illustration of how utterly silly it has been for TV program sponsors to put their treasures into a vault after one performance and then forget them.
The search for new scripts of quality, of course, must always be conducted earnestly and diligently but there is no reason why TV should have something of an inferiority complex toward qualitative works indigenous to the medium. Yet thus largely has been the case.
Broadway plays that have won approval are revived fairly frequently, as are adaptations of books. But generally the purely TV play has not been accorded the same respect. Presented once, it often has been shunted aside.
In breaking this tradition, the Kraft Foods Company, sponsor of “Patterns,” has made an important contribution in the artistic side of TV. One of the great frustrations in writing for video has been the ephemeral fame it offers. Nothing is more heartbreaking
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to a dramatist than to slave over a script for weeks and then, after one night, be asked to abandon his created child.
Indeed, this is one of the major reasons why many outstanding playwrights have scant interest in working for TV and why those who do write for the medium often hold back their best ideas for a novel or Broadway play.
By giving writers the incentive of repeat performances, plus the economic gains they represent, television can realistically raise its own standards. The more TV can do to better the craftsman’s lot, the better TV will be.
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POSSIBLE MISSING TEXT:
[The objection that networks have to repeating live ] ???
performances has been that a sponsor may thereby lose viewers—and prospective purchasers of his product—who already have seen the program. With a new presentation, this theory goes, he can attract maximum attention each time.
In the case of flops and turkeys, there cannot be a quarrel with this view; in the case of successes, there can. Much more is known now about viewing habits than when such theories were promulgated. For every viewer who does see a given program there usually may be one or two who don’t: With such a wide choice of programs now available m many areas, it is a rate show indeed than walks off the first’ time with a majority audience.
The success of the continuous movie performances on WWOR-TV, the repeated showings of “Victory at Sea,” and the ratings chalked up by “Badge 914’ (“Dragnet” under another name) all point to the growing market for secondary showings on the home screen.
The major hour‑long drama programs “Studio One.” Television Playhouse, the Theatre Guild and Kraft should take a look to their storage bins. Inside are some excellent plays that should be brought out for repeat appreciation and enjoyment.