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Bewitched

Category: Comedy

Category: All ages

Category: Classic Television

This is a story about Samantha, who is a witch, marries a Darrin without telling him. He later finds out, flips out but comes to accept it. They both love each other and stick together. Darrin doesn't want Samantha to use her magic. She agrees but finds it hard to live without using her magic and each episode is about her using magic and getting caught by Darrin.

Darrin is an advertising executive and Samantha is a housewife. They have a child named Tabitha. She has magical powers too.

The show is created by Sol Saks.

The stars of the show are: Elizabeth Montgomery, (Dick York, Dick Sargent--the two Darrins), Agnes Moorehead, David White, and Erin Murphy.

There were 8 seasons of Bewitched with 254 episodes, 2 recut.

The show ran from September 17, 1964 to July 1, 1972.

Bewitched is still seen around the world in syndication and is the longest running supernatural themed sitcom of the 60s and 70s. In 2002, TV Guide named Bewtiched as the 50th Greatest Television Program of All Time.

The show is based on a short story in Harper's Weekly Magazine written by Norman Mailer. The title of the story was The Witch of Westport.The show is about a witch (Samantha Stevens -- Elizabeth Montgomery) who marries a mortal (Darrin Stevens --(originally Dick York, later Dick Sargeant)). The romantic comedy series shows how true love can conquer all, even between a witch and a human. Samantha's mother, Endora (Agnes Moorehead) hates mortals and especially hates Darrin. Most of Samantha's family hates Darrin. Many episodes of Bewitched are about how Endora casts a spell on Darrin to get him in trouble and how Samantha saves the day with help from her more sympathetic relatives and friends.

Many episodes begin with Darrin being put under a spell of some sort but other episodes deal with some of the issues of the day. In one episode, "The Witches Are Out", Darrin uses demeaning pictures of witches. They are shown as ugly and deformed. Samantha objects to this.




Another episode, "Sisters At Heart," involved Tabitha altering her and her black friend's skin tones with polka-dots, so people would treat them alike. The episode was written and submitted by a tenth-grade class.

Darrin works a Larry Tate (David White) at McMann and Tate, an advertising company. Larry will switch sides either for or against Darrin depending on the wishes of the client. He is a money first friends later kind of guy.

Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) is the only relative of Samantha that seems to like Darrin. She is clumsy with her magic and Darrin is sympathetic. She won a posthumous Emmy in 1968. She appeared in 27 episodes. When she dies during the fourth season of Bewitched her absence on the show was left unexplained. A replacement was not used because Lorne was so popular and loved by the cast. A similar character Esmerelda (Alice Ghostley) made appearance during the 1969 to 1970 season. Ghostley and Paul Lynde had guest roles as mortal characters before being cast as magical characters who showed up every so often.

Samantha had a look-alike cousin named Serena. She appeared in season two. Elizabeth Montgomery played this part also. Serena causes trouble for Darrin and Larry. Serena is the opposite of Samantha. Serena has a heart-shaped birth mark on her cheek, raven black hair, and wears mod mini-skirts. Serena is known to date mortals, including a character played by Jack Cassidy. Serena ends up supporting Samantha and Darrin, even though she finds them both to be a bit "square."

Click here for a great Bewitched video clip



Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde) is a practical joker and in one episode he teaches Darrin a phony ritual that can be used to get back at Endora. Part way through the ritual Arthur cracks up because he can't hold back his laughter. Darrin, Samantha, and Endora get him back with a practical joke of their own. Despite this joke Arthur plays he genuinely likes Darrin. In another episode Serena and Uncle Arthur go to the witches council to support the Stephen's (Darrin and Samantha) union. They end up having their powers suspended.

Mabel Albertson plays the part of Darrin's mother. She is very mannerly. She is always complaining of "a sick headache" when she sees magic happening. Tabitha (Erin Murphy) and her baby brother Adam add to the fun.

There is a retired couple living across the street. Abner Kravitz (George Tobias) and his nosy wife, Gladys (Alice Pearce and then Sandra Gould). Gladys was always trying to prove Samantha was a witch. Her husband would always treat her as if she were the boy who cried wolf. Alice Pearce won a posthumous 1966 Emmy. When Alice Pearce died in 1966 the Gladys character was played by Sandra Gould. The exterior of the Kravitzes's house later became the home of the Partridge Family.

During the spring of 1969 several episodes of Bewitched had to be rewritten because the series as between two Darrins. It was said that York had collapsed on the set and hospitalized. He was eventually fired from the cast. His absence was said to be due to business trips, sleeping late, or other similar situations. On one such episode Serena and Uncle Arthur (recently lost their powers) are seen working in a confectionary factory. They are seen in the same situation as Lucy of I Love Lucy was with Ethel on the chocolate assembly line. The scene with Serena and Uncle Arthur has only slight variations. The director of Bewitched, William Asher, had directed over a hundred I Love Lucy Episodes so that explains the similarities.

In I Love Lucy, Lucy's and Ethel's candy wrapping efforts start okay but quickly get out of hand, leading both to eat and/or hide all the leftover chocolates. In Bewitched, the banana dipping goes well early-on until the belt begins to speed up leading Serena and Arthur to panic and hide, toss, and devour the bananas to prevent being dismissed from their jobs.

 



Bewitched Main Characters

Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens

Dick York as Darrin Stephens (19641969)

Dick Sargent as Darrin Stephens (19691972)

Agnes Moorehead as Endora, Samantha's mother 

David White as Larry Tate, Darrin's boss at McMann and Tate 

Alice Pearce as Gladys Kravitz (19641966)

Sandra Gould as Gladys Kravitz (19661971)

George Tobias as Abner Kravitz (19641971)

Erin Murphy as Tabitha Stephens, Darrin and Samantha's daughter, "born" on January 13, 1966 (19661972)

Diane Murphy as Tabitha Stephens (19661968)

Greg and David Lawrence as Adam Stephens, son of Darrin and Samantha, "born" on October 16, 1969 (19701972)

Marion Lorne as Aunt Clara, Samantha's aunt (19641968)Irene Vernon as Louise Tate, Larry's wife (19641966)

Kasey Rogers as Louise Tate (19661972)

Tamar and Julie Young (1966) as infant Tabitha

Recurring Characters

Maurice Evans as Maurice (Samantha's father) 

Alice Ghostley as Esmeralda, Samantha's aunt (19691972)

Bernard Fox as Dr. Bombay, the warlock family doctor (19671972)

Elizabeth Montgomery, credited as "Pandora Spocks" (a takeoff on (Pandora's Box), as her identical cousin Serena (19661972)

Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur, Samantha's uncle and Endora's brother (19651971)

Mabel Albertson as Phyllis Stephens, Darrin's mother (19641971)

Robert F. Simon as Frank Stephens, Darrin's father (19641967 and 1971)

Roy Roberts as Frank Stephens (19671970)


Characters Seen Less Frequently

Aunt Enchantra and Aunt Hagatha, sisters and Samantha's aunts. The are known as the  "holy terrors" of the family.  They usually appear in an antique car called "Macbeth".  

Great-Great-Grandfather Adam, Maurice's great-grandfather. Cousin Edgar, Endora's nephew. He is an elf who is very protective of Samantha.

Great-Aunt Cornelia, Maurice's aunt. She is a muse who resembled Samantha and the Mona Lisa.

Cousin Henry, Samantha's cousin (and possibly Uncle Arthur's son; when Endora once calls Henry "the clown prince of the cosmos," she adds "Where's King Arthur?"). Whether Arthur's son or not, Henry shares his love of practical jokes. Cousin Panda, Endora's niece. (Elizabeth Montgomery actually had a cousin named Panda.)

The Witches Council, the ruling body of all witches and warlocks throughout the cosmos. Never actually seen but only heard as booming voices, they, like Endora, disapprove of Samantha's marriage to Darrin.

They did have a Queen of the Witches, who made one appearance to pass the mantle of Queen to Samantha in season 4. Queen Tituba (named for the original "witch" of the Salem trials) was played by Ruth McDevitt.

 

 

 

Uncle Albert, the uncle of Darrin Stephens, only shown briefly in episode number 69, "'A Bum Raps". Cousin Helen, the cousin of Darrin, appearing in episode 129, "A Prince of a Guy". She and Uncle Albert are Darrin's only relatives shown, other than his parents. Betty, the secretary at McMann and Tate, played by various actresses.

Mr. McMann, the boss of Larry and Darrin, seen in episode 139, "Man of the Year" and again in episode 191, "What Makes Darrin Run".

Harriet Kravitz, Abner's sister (Mary Grace Canfield), who takes care of the house for Abner and Gladys while they are out of town in season 2. This was after Alice Pearce had passed away and before the show had recast her role in season 3. Ms. Peabody, Tabitha's 2nd grade teacher (Maudie Prickett), appeared in two episodes of Season 8, "Tabitha's First Day of School" (248) and "School Days, School Daze" (251).

A number of historical and fictional characters also made appearances, among them: Santa Claus Jack and the Beanstalk Benjamin Franklin Franklin Pierce George and Martha Washington Sigmund Freud Julius Caesar Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Leonardo da Vinci Mother Goose Hansel and Gretel The Tooth Fairy Napoleon Loch Ness Monster King Henry VIII Cleopatra Paul Revere Prince Charming Sleeping Beauty Willie Mays Boyce & Hart Changes

Bewitched was a great success during its first five seasons, it lost viewers when Dick York couldn't continue as Darrin Stephens. He continued to suffer from a severe back condition and was becoming more dependent on pain medication. He left the cast in 1969. The role of Darrin went to Dick Sargent. Dick Sargent's version of Darrin was a more acidic, swarmy character. York played the character as nervous and frantic. On E! Entertainment Television, Erin Murphy (Tabitha) stated that Elizabeth Montgomery "probably preferred Dick Sargent's Darrin."

In 1966 Tabitha was born on the show, played by fraternal twins Diane and Erin Murphy. Tabitha enjoyed her magical abilities like her mother. Darrin didn't like this. By 1968, the Murphy twins began looking less alike, so Diane was dropped. The Tates's son Jonathan, who was 1 1/2 years older than Tabitha, was seldom seen or referenced after 1966, but made a final appearance in season 7. The character had been named Jonathan after David White's real-life son (whose death made headlines in 1988, when Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down over Lockerbie, Scotland). In 1969, the show introduced Tabitha's brother Adam, played by Greg and David. At the beginning Adam didn't show his use of powers but showed use of magic in the last few episodes of the series.


End of the Series

Montgomery wanted to end the series at the conclusion of the fifth season because both she and her husband, the show's producer William Asher, were getting tired of it and wanted to move on to other projects. ABC wouldn't hear of it. The network offered Montgomery and Asher significant pay raises plus part ownership of the series.  The show was running out of ideas by season 8. During the last season, (19711972) Abner and Gladys Kravitz were only referenced, and Uncle Arthur and Darrin's parents also did not appear. The series was moved to Saturday nights in January 1972 and was put against the hit show All in the Family, which proved to spell the end of the show.  Bewitched finished the 1972 season at no. 46 in the ratings. ABC had planned a ninth season, according to the network's contract with Montgomery and Asher.

Production Sol Saks, who received credit as the creator of the show, wrote the pilot of Bewitched, although he was not involved with the show after the pilot.

Danny Arnold, who wrote McHale's Navy produced and headed writing of the series. He thought of Bewitched as being essentially a romantic comedy about a mixed marriage; his episodes kept the magic element to a minimum, with one or two magical acts to drive the plot but Samantha usually solving problems without using magic. Arnold stated that the two main themes of the series were the conflict between a powerful woman (Samantha) and a husband who can't deal with that power (Darrin), and the anger of the bride's mother (Endora) at seeing her daughter marry beneath her. Though the show was a hit right from the beginning, Arnold battled with ABC, which wanted more magic and more farcical plots.

Arnold left the show after the first season. He later co-created Barney Miller with Theodore J. Flicker. Jerry Davis took over the Bewitched work. He had already produced some of the first season's episodes with Arnold's supervision. Samantha and Darrin Stephens were the first live-action TV couple, with the actors not married to each other in real life, to sleep in a double bed (A married couple, Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns, first shared a bed in the 1940s sitcom Mary Kay and Johnny).

In June 1970, Bewitched filmed on location in Salem, Magnolia and Gloucester, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts locations shoots marked the only time the show would film away from their Hollywood studio set, which had burned down. The eight "Salem Saga" episodes, as they became known, helped improve the show's ratings. Season 8 featured a European vacation for the characters, but the episodes were filmed in Hollywood using stock footage.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the first two seasons of Bewitched on DVD in 2005, with the third and fourth seasons released in 2006, and the fifth season in 2007. Due to the fact the first two seasons were produced in black and white, Sony released two versions of the sets in region 1: one with the episodes as originally broadcast and a second with the episodes colorized. The color sets outsold the black and white sets by a substantial margin. The colorized editions were the only ones released in regions 2, 3 and 4.


Comic Book

Dell Comics published a short-lived comic book for 14 issues starting in 1965. Most issues had photo covers. Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family An animated cartoon made in 1972 by Hanna-Barbera Productions for The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie, this featured teenage versions of Tabitha and Adam visiting their aunt and her family who travel with a circus. Tabitha

In 1977, a spin-off show entitled Tabitha aired on the ABC network. The show, which ran for less than a season, starred Lisa Hartman as an adult Tabitha working, along with Adam, at television station KXLA. The show had several continuity issues, most notably the ages of Tabitha and Adam (who should have been 11 and 8 years of age in 1977). The Samantha and Darrin characters never appeared in the spin-off series, though Bernard Fox, Sandra Gould, and George Tobias made separate guest appearances as Dr. Bombay, Gladys Kravitz, and Abner Kravitz, respectively.

The Bewitched Movie Bewitched inspired a 2005 movie re-imagining starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. When Jack Wyatt (Ferrell), a failing Hollywood actor, is offered the chance of a career comeback playing Darrin in a remake of Bewitched; all he has to do is find the perfect girl to play Samantha. He finds that perfect girl in Isabel Bigelow (Kidman), who, it turns out, really IS a witch. It is set in Los Angeles rather than New York. The storyline bears some similarities to that of the movie Bell, Book and Candle, which had often been cited as one of the primary inspirations for the original series. The film also stars Shirley MacLaine as an actress playing Endora, and Michael Caine as Isabel's father. But the film was not well received, and was rated poorly by many critics and did weak box-office business.

Other Supernatural Television Series of the Same Era I Dream of Jeannie My Favorite Martian The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Nanny and the Professor "The Girl With Something Extra"



Bewitched (The Movie)

Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell

A producer remaking the classic sitcom "Bewitched" unknowingly casts an actual witch for the lead role.

Out in California's San Fernando Valley, Isabel is trying to reinvent herself. A naive, good-natured witch, she is determined to disavow her supernatural powers and lead a normal life. At the same time, across town, Jack Wyatt a tall, charming actor is trying to get his career back on track. He sets his sights on an updated version of the beloved 1960s situation comedy Bewitched, re-conceived as a starring vehicle for himself in the role of the mere-mortal Darrin. Fate steps in when Jack accidentally runs into Isabel. He is immediately attracted to her and her nose, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the nose of Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha in the original TV version of Bewitched. He becomes convinced she could play the witch Samantha in his new series. Isabel is also taken with Jack, seeing him as the quintessential mortal man with whom she can settle down and lead the normal life she so desires. It turns out they're both right--but in ways neither of them ever imagined. .

Actors: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman

Directors: Nora Ephron

DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005 102 min Rated PG-13

 

 


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