Classic Television Memories : Bewitched 1964-1972
Welcome to my Classic Television Time Capsule. If this is your first fime here, again I say welcome. Please don't let this odd-shaped metal structure or these TV screens along the wall scare you; They are my gateway to the classic TV shows of the decade of 1960-1969.
The destination for our trip this time, is the year 1964. Two events happened in this year; The Beatles' first US appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and the premier of my show of choice, Bewitched. This series holds a special place in my heart, because Samantha Stephens was my first crush (sigh!).
Enough of that. Go ahead and take your seat. While you're settling in, here's a clip from The Beatles' US debut. Enjoy.
That brought back memories, didn't it? Time waits for no man, as they say, so hit that recline button, and let's go!
Bewitched debuted on Thursday, September 17, 1964 at 9:00 p.m. on The ABC Television Network. It ran for eight years, and was produced by Columbia Screen Gems. The first shows were shot in black and white, and by 1966 was produced in color.
The sitcom centered on the meeting and subsequent marriage of Darrin Stephens (Dick York 1964-1969) and Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery). They were in essence, the ordinary, red-blooded, all-American couple, that is except for one thing; Samantha is a witch. She would be compared to a young Glenda, The Good Witch from The Wizard Of Oz.
Settling in 1960's suburbia, Darrin, the top advertising man at McMann and Tate, is determined to make an ordinary housewife out of Sam. He makes her promise to refrain from using her powers, and settle problems as a mortal. Needless to say, every episode finds her reneging on that promise.
The series' contribution to mother-in-law jokes comes in the form of Sam's mother, Endora, played by veteran actress Agnes Moorehead. She is against her daughter marrying a mortal, and manages to get her to use her powers, in spite of Darrin's wishes. They frequently lock horns, providing many hilarious moments.
Rounding out the ensemble cast are some of Hollywood's greatest character actors and comedians. First, the Stephens' nosey neighbor, Gladys Kravitz (Alice Pierce, Sandra Gould), her discontented husband, Abner (George Tobias).
Samantha has a colorful cast of relatives; Jokester Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde). The absent-minded Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne). There's the family physician, or witch doctor, Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox). Samantha's dad, Maurice (Maurice Evans). Ms. Montgomery played a dual role, donning a dark wig as Serena, her swinging cousin.
Darrin's side of the family included his inquisitive mother Phyllis (Mable Albertson, and his long suffering father Frank (Roy Roberts).
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At McMann and Tate, Darrin reports to his friend and boss, self-serving opportunist, Larry Tate (David White). Larry's wife is Louise (Kasey Rogers).
The Stephens had two blessed events; daughter Tabatha (Erin Murphy), who herself is a witch, and little brother Adam, (David Lawrence), a mortal just like dad.
In 1969, Dick York was replaced by Dick Sargent (1969-1972).
Bewitched was the predecessor to another supernatural TV show, I Dream Of Jeannie (1965), starring Barbara Eden, and Larry Hagman (later J.R. Ewing of Dallas).
Bewitched ended its eight year run on March 25, 1972.
The entire eight seasons is available on DVD, released by Sony Pictures.
That's it for this trip, see you next time.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha) 1933-1995
Dick York (Darrin) 1928-1992
Dick Sargent (Darrin) 1930-1994
Agnes Moorehead (Endora) 1900-1974
Marion Lorne (Aunt Clara) 1883-1968
David White (Larry Tate) 1916-1990
George Tobias (Abner Kravitz) 1901-1980
Alice Pierce (Gladys) 1917-1966
Sandra Gould (Gladys) 1916-1999
Kasey Rogers (Louise Tate) 1925-2006
Maurice Evans (Maurice) 1901-1999
Alice Ghostley (Esmeralda) 1924-2007
Paul Lynde (Uncle Arthur) 1926-1982
Mabel Albertson (Phyllis Stephens) 1901-1982
Roy Roberts (Frank Stephens) 1906-1975