Was "Darrin" Really a Doofus?
Dick "Darrin Stephens," on the right
More "Bewitching" characters . . .
There’s no real easy way to say this but, “Darrin Stephens was, by all estimations, an idiot.”
His co-star was the super-lovely, Elizabeth Montgomery who was cast as “Samantha,” a good-hearted witch and that is not slang for the “b” word low-life men called females in 2012.
Quite the contrary. “Samantha,” loved “Darrin,” completely. And for all intents and purposes, he loved her. All except one thing: her witchcraft. And “ol’ Darrin” really “hit the roof,” when she would whip-up a solution for a problem that “he” was having at work or to help a neighbor when they needed help.
And not anything of gratitude for “Samantha,” herself. What could be more-magical than this?
You see, of course this is all make-believe, “Darrin” was employed at a huge New York ad agency named, “McMann and Tate,” and the “Tate,” was his boss, “Larry,” played by David White. You seldom seen “Mr. McMann,” due to his reclusive, wealthy lifestyle.
“Tate,” on the other hand was a greed-driven, egomaniacal, butt-kisser who would stop at nothing and sacrifice his own soul to gain another multi-million-dollar ad account to “line his pockets,” while poor “Darrin,” would work long hours, and even from his home to create “just the right” ad campaign for their clients.
In all truthfulness, the only redeeming area about “Larry Tate,” was his very-beautiful wife, “Louise,” played by the now-late, Kasey Rogers, who appeared in 33 episodes of the sixth-season of “Bewitched.”
Okay. Let me be more than honest. Of the two female stars, Elizabeth Montgomery or Rogers, I always thought that Rogers with her always-perfect brunette hair was a tad more-attractive than Montgomery, but that’s just me.
In fact, Kasey Rogers was the “only” woman who I thought was more-attractive than my once-”dream girl,” Dawn “Mary Ann” Wells, of Gilligan’s Island.
Rogers was that attractive.
Incidentally, Irene Vernon was the first “Louise,” who appeared in 11 episodes of the first two years of this “monster” hit for ABC-TV.
To round-out the cast, Agnes Moorehead, a veteran actress, played as “Samantha’s” devious mother, “Endora,” while Maurice Evans, who had a deep background in Skakespearean acting, was cast as “Maurice,” “Samantha’s” dad.
As the series was drawing to an end, the now-late, Paul Lynde, played as “Samantha’s” practical-joking, “uncle Arthur,” who got-off pulling cheap jokes on the gullible “Darrin.”
And to make things interesting, Elizabeth Montgomery starred as her cousin, the swinging party-kitten, “Serena,” and that was pretty much as far as this seasoned cast could go.
Dick York, according to TV Guide, got fed-up with his role, as he put it, “playing second-fiddle to ‘Sam’s’ broomstick,” and left the show.
That move opened the door for Dick Sargent, who was brought in to be “Darrin.” I never saw Sargent’s humor as York was a much-funnier straight man on the sitcom. But like I said. That’s just me.
Okay. You get the picture.
ABC-TV was the first network to broadcast such a mixture of mortal and witch in a weekly-sitcom. NBC tried to match ABC’s success with “I Dream of Jeannie,” with Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden, who I always dreamed would be in the next odd-looking bottle that I found somewhere near my front yard.
No dice. No odd-looking bottle. Just an empty whiskey bottle. No genie. Rats. At this time, I almost grew bitter toward fictional television.
The plotlines for “Bewitched,” were somewhat stretched as the writers apparently ran dry of various ways for “Darrin,” to be duped by “Endora,” or by “uncle Arthur,” and sometimes by “Serenea.” Actually, I “can” relate to York’s disgust. If “I” were turned into a mule, pig, clown, a tree and on one episode, a statue, one of two things would have happened. One, my agent would have demanded a hefty raise. And second, “I” would be allowed to get the best of this cast of witches and warlocks from time to time.
That’s only fair, right?
Oh well. Enough digressing. But with your kind permission, would you allow me to play a game with you?
No, this is not an opening scene from the super-horror film series, “Saw.” I just want to lend some needed-reality to the premise of “Bewitched,” and share with you what “I” would have done if “I” had been blessed with a doll like “Samantha,” who had unlimited magical powers and loved me in spite of my stupid male pride.
That was “Darrin’s” main fault. Pride. That stupid, unwanted, misplaced male ego that caused him and “Samantha,” more friction than it did success.
I guess by now you are thinking that “I” was a “Bewitched,” pupil. Not hardly. Even at the tender age of 14, I was beginning to be a realist not only in my personal life, but in the television shows that I watched.
Nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned dose of reality when you “have your back to the wall.”
I mean, who really wants to depend on pure mortal wisdom when it doesn’t work? Only a fool like “Darrin Stephens.”
Let me set-up a typical scene for you in the show, “Bewitched,” with “me” cast as “Darrin.”
Darrin: Sam, I’m home.
Sam: Hi, honey. Fix you a drink?
Darrin: Yes, please. What a day!
Sam: What’s wrong, dear?
Darrin: Well, (sips martini), Larry fired me at 10 a.m. just because his idea was not good enough for our client, “Busby’s Tire and Rubber, Inc.”
Sam: Aww, there, there, dear. Something will turn up. Ready for dinner?
Darrin: Sure, but first, would you do me a huge favor, my sultry blonde-haired witch?
Sam: Ohh, I like that. Name it, dear.
Darrin: Would you twitch your pretty nose and set me up with a cushy job at McMann and Tate’s rival ad agency and make it so I can report to work as their new vice-president a week from tonight. I think you and me need some “alone time.”
Sam: Sure thing, my honey.
(“Sam” twitches her pretty nose and ends “Darrin’s” jobless dilemma).
Now what was so wrong with that?
Not a thing. “I” was encouraging my wife, “Samantha,” to be herself and not be forced into some stagnant social mold that I had set for her.
Ladies, do you agree with me?
And one more scene before I retire to my dressing room.
Darrin: Honey, I’m home.
Sam: Hi, Darrin. Mother’s here for dinner.
Darrin: Great! Hey, why don’t you two fly us to Paris so we can have some “real” food?
Endora: My son, you are a good man for my daughter.
(Kisses “Darrin” on the cheek. Smiles at “Samantha”).
(Smoke bellows into the kitchen).
Uncle Arthur: Hey, dipsy doodle. I got a brain like a noodle . . .care if I tag along with you to Paris?
Darrin: (laughs heartily) Wy’ no, my good man. The more witchcraft, the better.
Uncle Arthur: “Sammy,” you got yourself a real winner in this man.
Endora: I agree, Arthur.
Samantha: I know. And I love him more and more for not making me into what he wants me to be.
Now what could be better than this?
Nothing. What red-blooded male would dare turn-down a free, instant, high-paying job? A free trip to Paris? And not to mention, an always-bulging bank account?
You see, “I” would have made the “perfect” “Darrin.”
No troubles. No woe’s. Just fun, peace and harmony with my lovely wife and her family.
Come to think of it. That sounds a lot like a fantasy that “I” could live with.