Recently, my gal-pal "Thelma" lent me Seasons One and Two of the 8 year series that ran from 1964 to 1972 on ABC.
I loved the idea of a beautiful, kind witch and strove to twitch my nose and pretend I could do magic. Pardoning the pun, it was a magical show. Between that and I Dream of Jeanie, I was in magic heaven.
If you never saw this show, what planet have you been living on? If you're too young to remember it, you own it to yourself to see it. Sure it's dated, and it's sexist, and it's corny, but many of these old shows give you a glimpse into the time period in which they were most popular.
The basic premise is Samantha marries Darrin. He's a mortal ad executive and she's a housewife witch. He wants her to give up use of magic. She tries her hardest, but in every episode, something always seems to happen that necessitates it. Darin can also be quite hypocritical, turning a blind eye or even asking for the use of magic if it suits him. Samantha's relatives "pop in" and they aren't too happy about her being married to a mortal, much less one who demands she give up witchcraft. Giving birth to a little witch and warlock only intensify the shenanigans.
I hope to get to watch seasons 3-8 as well. I'm sure there were episodes I missed. There are some background extras on some of the DVD's which are fun, and I looked up some of the characters to get a bit more info. Very few, of the original cast are still living.
- Originally, there was some concern among conservatives that the show would "promote Satanism". I guess some things never change.
- Agnes Moorehead was a fundamentalist Christian and the daughter of a pastor (she played Samantha's mother, Endora).
- All of the female witches in the series had names that ended in "A" (Samantha, Tabitha, Endora, Clara, Bertha, Serena...)
- For a time, Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha) was married to Bill ("William") Asher, the program's director.
- Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) really did collect door knobs in real life. She died of a heart attack during season 5
- Darrin and Samantha were the first EVER TV couple to appear sleeping in the same bed (all others before are shown only in twin beds.
- Samantha's parents "Endora" and "Maurice" were the first separated couple on TV.
- If you watch closely, you can detect mishaps, scene bloopers etc. Pay attention to the extras, as many of them appear over and over in different "roles".
- Oddly disturbing, in Episode 31 of Season 1, Darin's boss thinks Darin is having an affair, even though he's been married to Samantha for less than a year. Larry treats his suspicions like Darin is a lucky guy and to be admired. Eww.
- Mrs. Gladys Kravitz, the nosey next door neighbor was portrayed first (and best) by Alice Pearce. Alice took the job knowing she had been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. She died during season two. If you notice, she looks skeletally thin in season two. Her absence for the remainder of the season was explained that she was away visiting family and Abner's sister Harriet Kravitz fills in as the nosy neighbor for the remainder of the season. In the following season, Gladys is played by Sandra Gould.
Alice Pearce as Gladys Kravitz
(The photo above is of Marion Lorne as Aunt Clara)
Sandra Gould as the second Gladys Kravitz. She remained with the show for the duration. She died following heart surgery in 1999.
Mary Grace Canfield as Harriet Kravitz filling in between the first and second Gladys'. Low and behold, she might still be alive. Age 87
Samantha, the leading role, was played by Elizabeth Montgomery. She died of colorectal cancer in 1995. She tired of her role as Samantha and declined to continue for a 9th season (it's all HER fault!). After Bewitched, she wanted to get away from the squeaky clean image and tended to play some dark characters, like Lizzy Borden (remember the rhyme: "Lizzy Borden got an ax and gave her father 40 whacks and when she saw what she had done, she gave her mother 41"). Elizabeth was married 4 times.
- The role of Tabitha (daughter of Darrin and Samantha) was played by twins, Erin and Diane Murphy. Diane played Tabitha from 1966-1968 and Erin played Tabitha from 1966-1972. Erin is now 47.
- Samantha wore a heart shaped necklace in many episodes. It was a gift from her director husband Bill Asher. Two of Elizabeth Montgomery's pregnancies were worked into the script.
- The role of Tabitha was played by 5 children all told.
Tabitha(s) then and now.
David White as Larry Tate, Darrin's boss. David died of a heart attack in 1990.
Abner Kravitz was played by George Tobias. George never married in real life, retired from acting in 1977 and died of bladder cancer in 1980.
Agnes Moorehead played Endora, Samantha's caustic mother. Interestingly, despite being best known for this role, she appeared to be least proud, and a bit snobby about it, touting her earlier work most often, and insulting the writing of the series. She endured rumors of being a lesbian which she never confirmed or denied. She died of uterine cancer in 1974. She and Darrin #2 (Dick Sergeant) apparently had a contentious relationship, and comedienne Paul Lynde , who layed Sam's Uncle Arthur, reportedly "outed" Agnes and was gay himself.
- In season 2, you'll see a young Richard Dryfuss (around age 18) as a youth Samantha once babysat for who has carried an obsessive torch for her.
Ahhh, and how can we forget Darrin Stephens played by Dick York from 1964-1969. I never really recovered when he was replaced by Dick Sergeant.
Dick York suffered a severe and debilitating back injury while filming a movie in 1959. He suffered lifelong pain, and an addiction to pain killers. In some episodes of Bewitched, entire episodes were filmed/written with him in bed or on a couch because he couldn't move. The pain/addiction eventually drove him to quit the show.
Dick eventually developed emphysema from a lifetime of cigarette smoking and died in 1992. At the time of his death he was basically financially destitute. He actively gave to charity, appeared to need or want nothing, and kept a positive outlook.
Dick Sergeant replaced Dick York in the role of Darrin for the duration of the series run. In 1991, Dick came out as gay, and in 1994 he died from prostate cancer at the age of 64.
There was no press announcing a "new Darrin". When the 1970 season began, they simply carried on as if nothing was unusual. Apparently the public adjusted and the series continued for another two seasons (until Elizabeth Montgomery called it quits...darn her!).
There are still many trivia pages and Bewitched sites for fans and you can read more about other characters that appeared in the show.
- This is the very first episode that aired.
- Here is a list of episodes.
- This is the final scene of the final episode from 1972
- In 1977 a television series called "Tabitha" aired. It was said that it was less about a continuation of Bewitched than to compete with the Mary Tyler Moore show. It only lasted a season.
- In 2005 there was a movie adaptation of Bewitched starring Will Farrell and Nichole Kidman. It received an underwhelming response.