» » Kraft Television Theatre Patterns (1947–1958)

Kraft Television Theatre Patterns (1947–1958) HD online

Kraft Television Theatre Patterns (1947–1958) HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Episode / Drama
Original Title: Patterns
Director: Fielder Cook
Writers: Rod Serling
Released: 1947–1958
Duration: 1h
Video type: TV Episode
Fred Staples is the newest executive in a large firm. He strikes up a friendship with Andy Sloane, the Vice President to whom he nominally reports. Staples is good at his job and the company's hard-nosed president, Walter Ramsey, is pleased with his choice. Staples has a crisis of conscience when Ramsey tells him that he's been recruited to replace Sloane, someone who has devoted his entire life to the company at the expense of his family. Sloane knows what Ramsey is up to but digs in his heels and refuses to quit. Tragedy ensues forcing Staples to make a choice.
Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joanna Roos Joanna Roos - Miss Lanier
Jack Arthur Jack Arthur - Starter
Joy Lafleur Joy Lafleur - Miss Stevens (as Victoria Ward)
Elizabeth Montgomery Elizabeth Montgomery - Ann Evans
Sybil Baker Sybil Baker - Telephone Operator
Shirley Standlee Shirley Standlee - Miss Hill
Everett Sloane Everett Sloane - Mr. Ramsie
Richard Kiley Richard Kiley - Fred Staples
June Dayton June Dayton - Fran Staples
Elizabeth Wilson Elizabeth Wilson - Marge Fleming
Theodore Newton Theodore Newton - Mr. Gordon
Ed Begley Ed Begley - Andy Sloane
Jack Livesey Jack Livesey - Mr. Jamieson
Ronnie Welsh Ronnie Welsh - Paul Sloane
Tom Charles Tom Charles

According to PBS's American Master's series web site, this drama was so popular that it became the first live drama in television history to be broadcast twice due to popularity. The drama was broadcast as both episodes 16 and 20 of season 8. Both broadcasts were done live, not on kinescope, videotape, or film.

Reviews: [3]

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    This is another review from my mini-marathon of original live TV classics and the movies they made of them. I've done "Marty" and will do "Requiem for a Heavyweight", "Bang the Drum Slowly" and "The Days of Wine and Roses". I'd love to see the original "12 Angry Men" with Bob Cummings but it doesn't seem to be available. I'd love to see a cable channel devoted to these old shows, even some non-classics if they represented early work by famous actors, directors and writers, (as so many of them did). But this will do for now. (Note: the 1955 TV Patters is hard to find on the IMDb. It doesn't seem to appear on the actor's credits. Look for Kraft Television Theater, Season 8. Strangely, the videotape of the TV Patterns also has Van Heflin on the cover, even though Richard Kiley played his role in that production.) "Patterns" was the teleplay that first made Rod Serling a big name in 1955. Of all these shows, this is the one where the film, which was made in 1956, is most similar to the play simply because most of the action takes place in corporate offices and a boardroom. The film is somewhat longer and has some establishing shots filmed on what appear to be the actual streets of New York. The script for the movie has only minor differences. The real difference is in the casting and there it's primarily the lead role.

    In the play, Richard Kiley plays Fred Staples, a former football All-American who has proved himself as an executive for a small business back in Ohio and now has been hired by a big tycoon, Walter Ramsey, played by Everett Sloane, (in both versions), in the greatest performance of his distinguished career. Ed Begley, (also in both) plays the only executive in the firm who is willing to stand up to Sloane and who has taken so much abuse over the years that it's affecting his health. (Interestingly, Begley's character in the TV version is called Andy Sloane bit this is changed to Bill Briggs in the film: perhaps the only instance in which the same actor played the same character in two different productions of the same story, but the character had two different names. I wonder if it has something to do with Everett Sloane playing the boss, although I don't know what.) Elizabeth Wilson is strong as the loyal secretary in both, (se would turn up a generation later in 9 to 5). Ronnie Welsh is Begley's son in both. Both versions were directed by Fielder Cook. I like the way Cook handled the death scene, shooting it from the dying man's prospective, in the film.

    The big difference is that Van Heflin played Staples in the film. Kiley is a fine actor and does a nice job playing a "nice guy" torn between his sensitivity and his ambition. Somehow, though, Heflin is even better. He has a gravitas Kiley, (at least in this early role), seems to lack. He just seems to carry a great moral force with him along with a basic friendliness and ideals. His wife is played by Beatrice Straight, who 20 years later won an Oscar for playing the wife of William Holden's corporate executive in "Network". Straight here is a glamorous, seductive and ambitious, not in an evil way but it's clear she's wants to be the "woman behind the successful man". I find her a little more interesting than June Dayton who plays the role in the TV version. You can spot a future TV series star in each version: Elizabeth Montgomery is a secretary in the TV version and Andrew Duggan shows up as one of the executives in the film.

    The strength of the script is that no character is shown as all good or all bad. Begley is admirable in the way he maintains his values at the expense of his health but why does he keep taking all this abuse instead of finding a place in life where he can actually accomplish something? He talks about putting his kid through college but it seems he just doesn't want to give up his executive position. Kiley/Helfin have values but ambitions as well that keep them from leaving. Sloane is a monster but he defends himself with the "all boats rise with the tide" theory that by building a successful business it will help everyone in the long run. He also senses that he needs something more than "yes" men around him and so he will never fire Begley, (even if he kills him) and wants the new guy to stay and take his place.

    Finally we come to the essential question: As SOBs like Sloane necessary to make the tough decisions that have to be made that benefit us all? They would certainly have us believe that. They have to defend themselves so often that they keep saying that. But I've seen "nice" guys make tough decisions, too. I've seen decisions made with regard to their immediate effect on people. It can be done that way, you know. Characters like Sloane are the way they are because that's what they want to be, not because we need them to be that way.
  • avatar


    An interesting story about the cutthroat world of big business. I definitely enjoyed the nuances of the script, which seems to be defining heroes and villains at the start but evolves into something more complex. It's not merely anti-corporate soapbox rhetoric. The performances are quite good, including frequent noir actors Everett Sloane, Ed Begley and Richard Kiley. But although I appreciate the skill and effort required to produce these plays as live television, it's not a form that excites me. It all comes off a bit flat, even in the most tense moments.

    7 out of 10
  • avatar


    Having recently watched this version of "Patterns" on YouTube, I suppose I should not have been surprised that a year later it was made into a major film, with a Hollywood actor in one of the lead roles - Van Heflin instead of Richard Kiley as "Fred Staples". Everett Sloane and Ed Begley played the same parts that they did in the television play, although the name of Ed Begley's character was changed from "Andy Sloane" to "Bill Biggs". The name of Everett's Sloane's character stayed the same.

    Anyone who wants to watch this film on YouTube, or look it up on IMDB, the title for the film version is: "Patterns of Power". It was also ably directed by Fielder Cook, better known for such films as: "Big Deal at Dodge City", "Prudence and the Pill", "How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life", and many good television productions.

    The studio knew they could do more with the production. But despite having more backing and could afford more cutting-edge production values and camera work - this was shown in the style of acting and the camera angles used in the film - one should not forget about the original teleplay of the Kraft Theatre version, which was first broadcasted live on NBC in January 1955. This was the pioneer version, which was able to prove that such a good story could work quite well in film.

    This, the original play, opened as another working day at "Ramsay & Company." But it is to be no ordinary working day. A new, younger executive is joining the company. A man who has been headhunted from a failing company that been taken over.

    At a board meeting, it soon becomes clear that the characters played by Everrett Sloane and Ed Begley both hate each other. They seem to have been with the company right from the start, having known each other for 24 years, and they both resent each other's position. Begley frowns at Sloane's ruthless, undeserved rise to the top; and Sloane despises what he sees as Begley's more practical and compassionate views being a disguise for weakness and lack of vision.

    Later it also becomes clear that Everrett Sloane intends to use "Staples" to replace the Ed Begley character, by making the atmosphere more difficult for him to work in, forcing him to resign. All this results in Begley collapsing from overwork, and pressure caused by Everett Sloane's constant bullying.

    Although every story has a moral, this story seems to have two:

    One moral is: that no matter how long and hard you work, there will always someone that will say that it is not good enough.

    The other moral is: that business does not always allow practicality nor compassion. There is always a bigger picture to consider.

    Sometimes there is a need to sacrifice the jobs of 200 workers in order to save 2000 (usually in one of the Board of Directors home town). However, the play suggests that greed, selfishness and a lust for power are more nearer the truth.

    Apart from the invention of the Internet, photocopiers, emails, laptops and mobile phones, very little has changed in business since this play was first broadcasted in 1955.

    Both the play and the film provide a lesson to us all, especially those who been in a similar situation at work.

    I have given the 1956 film 10 out of 10 for its production, and I give this television play 10 out of 10 as well.