VIDEO of “Bewitched” – Behind the Scenes
|Created by||Sol Saks|
|Written by||Various[nb 1]|
|Directed by||William Asher (most episodes)[nb 1]|
Dick York (1964–1969)
Dick Sargent (1969–1972)
|Theme music composer||Howard Greenfield
|Composer(s)||Warren Barker (most episodes)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||254 (list of episodes)|
|Producer(s)||Danny Arnold (17 episodes, first season)
Jerry Davis (most episodes, first and second seasons)
William Froug (third season)
William Asher (remainder of show)
|Running time||25 mins.|
Ashmont Productions (1971–1972)
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television(2002–present)|
|Picture format||Black-and-white (1964–1966)
|Original release||September 17, 1964 – March 25, 1972|
Bewitched is an American television sitcom fantasy series, originally broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from September 17, 1964 to March 25, 1972. It was created by Sol Saks under executive director Harry Ackerman, and starredElizabeth Montgomery, Dick York (1964–1969), Agnes Moorehead, and David White. Dick Sargent replaced an ill York for the final three seasons (1969–1972). The show is about a witch who marries an ordinary mortal man, and vows to lead the life of a typical suburban housewife. Bewitched enjoyed great popularity, finishing as the number two show in America during its debut season, and becoming the longest-running supernatural-themed sitcom of the 1960s–1970s. The show continues to be seen throughout the world in syndication and on recorded media.
In 2002, Bewitched was ranked #50 on “TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time“. In 1997, the same magazine ranked the season 2 episode “Divided He Falls” #48 on their list of the “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time“.
A young-looking witch named Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) meets and marries a mortal named Darrin Stephens (originally Dick York, later Dick Sargent). While Samantha pledges to forsake her powers and become a typical suburban housewife, her magical family disapproves of the mixed marriage and frequently interferes in the couple’s lives. Episodes often begin with Darrin becoming the victim of a spell, the effects of which wreak havoc with mortals such as his boss, clients, parents, and neighbors. By the epilogue, however, Darrin and Samantha most often embrace, having overcome the devious elements that failed to separate them.
The witches and their male counterparts, warlocks, are very long-lived; while Samantha appears to be a young woman, many episodes suggest she is actually hundreds of years old. To keep their society secret, witches avoid showing their powers in front of mortals other than Darrin. Nevertheless, the effects of their spells – and Samantha’s attempts to hide their supernatural origin from mortals – drive the plot of most episodes. Witches and warlocks usually use physical gestures along with their incantations. To perform magic, Samantha often twitches her nose to create a spell. Effective special visual effects are accompanied by music to highlight such an action.
The main setting for most episodes is the Stephens’ house at 1164 Morning Glory Circle. Many scenes also take place at the Madison Avenue advertising agency “McMann and Tate” for which Darrin works. The Stephens’ home is located in a nearby upper-middle-class suburban neighborhood, either in Westport, Connecticut or Patterson, New York as indicated by conflicting information presented throughout the series. One episode contained the Mills Garage in Patterson, as a neighbor’s son’s soap box derby car sponsor. Elizabeth Montgomery owned a second home in Patterson.
|Character||Actor(s)||No. of episodes|
|Samantha Stephens||Elizabeth Montgomery||254|
|Darrin Stephens||Dick York (1964–1969)
Dick Sargent (1969–1972)
|Larry Tate||David White||166|
|Tabitha Stephens||Cynthia Black (1966)
Heidi and Laura Gentry (1966)
Tamar and Julie Young (1966)
Diane Murphy (1966–1968)
Erin Murphy (1966–1972)
|Gladys Kravitz||Alice Pearce (1964–1966)
Sandra Gould (1966–1971)
|Abner Kravitz||George Tobias (1964–1971)||55|
|Louise Tate||Irene Vernon (1964–1966)
Kasey Rogers (1966–1972)
|Aunt Clara||Marion Lorne (1964–1968)||28|
|Serena||Elizabeth Montgomery (1966–1972)
(credited as “Pandora Spocks”)
|Adam Stephens||unknown (1969–1970)
Greg and David Lawrence (1970–1972)
|Phyllis Stephens||Mabel Albertson (1964–1971)||19|
|Dr. Bombay||Bernard Fox (1967–1972)||18|
|Esmeralda||Alice Ghostley (1969–1972)||15|
|Frank Stephens||Robert F. Simon (1964–67, 1971)
Roy Roberts (1967–1970)
|Uncle Arthur||Paul Lynde (1965–1971)||10|
During its run, the series had a number of major cast changes, often because of illness or death of the actors. In particular, the performer playing Darrin was replaced mid-season.
According to Harpie’s Bizarre, (a website based on the frequently-depicted “witch magazine” from the series) creator Sol Saks‘ inspirations for this series in which many similarities can be seen were the film I Married a Witch (1942) developed from Thorne Smith‘s unfinished novel The Passionate Witch, and the John Van Druten Broadway play Bell, Book and Candle, which was adapted into the 1958 movie.
In I Married a Witch, Wallace Wooley (Fredric March) is a descendant of people who executed witches at the Salem witch trials. As revenge, a witch (Veronica Lake) prepares a love potion for him. She ends up consuming her own potion and falling for her enemy. Her father is against this union. In the film of Bell, Book and Candle, modern witch Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) uses a love spell on Shep Henderson (James Stewart) to have a simple fling with him but genuinely falls for the man.
Both films were properties of Columbia Pictures, which also owned Screen Gems, the company that produced Bewitched.
Production and broadcasting
Sol Saks, who received credit as the creator of the show, wrote the pilot of Bewitched though he was not involved with the show after the pilot. Creator Saks, executive producer Harry Ackerman, and director William Asher started filming the pilot on November 22, 1963; it coincided with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Asher felt personally affected by the event as he knew Kennedy; he had produced the 1962 televised birthday party where Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President“. But the show had to go on. The pilot concerned “the occult destabilization of the conformist life of an upworldly mobile advertising man”.
First season producer and head writer Danny Arnold set the initial style and tone of the series, and also helped develop supporting characters such as Larry Tate and the Kravitzes. Arnold, who wrote on McHale’s Navy and other shows, thought of Bewitched essentially as a romantic comedy about a mixed marriage; his episodes kept the magic element to a minimum. One or two magical acts drove the plot, but Samantha often solved problems without magic. Many of the first season’s episodes were allegorical, using supernatural situations as metaphors for the problems any young couple would face. Arnold stated that the two main themes of the series were the conflict between a powerful woman and a husband who cannot deal with that power, and the anger of a bride’s mother at seeing her daughter marry beneath her. Though the show was a hit right from the beginning, finishing its first year as the number 2 show in the United States, ABC wanted more magic and more farcical plots, causing battles between Arnold and the network.
The show was the number one show of the American Broadcasting Company and the best rated sitcom among all three networks. It was second in ratings only to Bonanza, the Western family drama on NBC.Bewitched debuted on 9 p.m Thursday evenings. It was preceded on the air by another sitcom My Three Sons and followed by the soap opera Peyton Place. The sitcom finished 13th in the ratings and the soap 9th. Together the three shows formed a block, the strongest ratings grabbers of ABC in the 1964–65 United States network television schedule.
Arnold left the show after the first season, leaving producing duties to his friend Jerry Davis, who had already produced some of the first season’s episodes (though Arnold was still supervising the writing). The second season was produced by Davis and with Bernard Slade as head writer, with mistaken identity and farce becoming a more prevalent element, but still included a number of more low-key episodes in which the magic element was not front and center.
With the third season and the switch to color, Davis left the show, and was replaced as producer by William Froug. Slade also left after the second season. According to William Froug’s autobiography, William Asher (who had directed many episodes) wanted to take over as producer when Jerry Davis left, but the production company was not yet ready to approve the idea. Froug, a former producer of Gilligan’s Island and the last season of The Twilight Zone, was brought in as a compromise. By his own admission, Froug was not very familiar with Bewitched and found himself in the uncomfortable position of being the official producer even though Asher was making most of the creative decisions. After a year, Froug left the show, and Asher took over as full-time producer of the series for the rest of its run.
The first two seasons had aired Thursdays at 9:00, and the time was moved to 8:30 shortly after the third year (1966–1967) had begun. Nevertheless, the ratings for Bewitched remained high and, for the next three years, it consistently placed among the top fifteen shows. It was the 7th highest-rated show in both the 1965–66 United States network television schedule and the 1966–67 United States network television schedule. It was the 11th-highest rated show in both the 1967–68 United States network television schedule and the 1968–69 United States network television schedule. At the time, the show had won 3 Emmy Awards. William Asher won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series in 1966; Alice Pearce won a posthumous Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Gladys Kravitz; and Marion Lorne won the same award posthumously in 1968 for her portrayal of Aunt Clara.
In dealing with the deaths of both Pearce and Lorne, the producers were faced with risky decisions. While both the characters of Gladys Kravitz and Aunt Clara were not the focal point of the series, they were extremely popular. When Pearce died in the spring of 1966, there were only a few more episodes to complete the second season of Bewitched. Actress Mary Grace Canfield was hired to replace Pearce as Gladys’s sister-in-law, Harriet Kravitz in four installments. It was then decided not to hire Canfield permanently for the series. (Canfield was already a semi-regular playing handywoman Ralph Monroe on the TV sitcom Green Acres.) Comedian Alice Ghostley was then approached to take over the role of Gladys, which she refused to do. So, in the fall of 1966, actress Sandra Gould was hired to replace Pearce as Gladys Kravitz. Over the next five years in which she played the role, Gould succeeded in making the part her own. At the end of the fourth season, the producers did not replace Marion Lorne with another actress. In the sixth year, the character of Esmeralda, a kind but shy and inept witch, played by Alice Ghostley, was added to the cast as a replacement for Lorne’s Aunt Clara. There was an additional cast change. For the first two seasons of Bewitched, the role of Louise Tate was played by Irene Vernon. In season 3, Vernon was replaced by Kasey Rogers, who remained with the show until its cancellation in 1972. In that third year, both Louise and Larry Tate became more prominent characters not only as Samantha and Darrin’s best friends, but also occasional co-conspirators in schemes as well.
During the fifth season (1968–1969), Elizabeth Montgomery’s other character of Serena (Samantha’s identical cousin) became more of a recurring character. Filming of scenes involving both Samantha and Serena was accomplished by using Melody McCord, Montgomery’s stand-in. In this same season in the show’s most notable cast change, Dick York became unable to continue his role as Darrin because of a severe back condition, the result of an accident during the filming of They Came To Cordura (1959). Starting with the third season, York’s disability had caused ongoing shooting delays and script rewrites resulting in a handful of “Darrin-less” episodes. After collapsing while filming the episode “Daddy Does His Thing” and being rushed to the hospital in January 1969, York left the show. Dick Sargent was cast for the role that same month. At the same time in early 1969, Montgomery and Asher announced that they were expecting another baby and it was decided that Samantha and Darrin would also have another child in the fall of 1969.
Beginning with the sixth season (1969–1970), during the opening credits, Elizabeth Montgomery was billed above the title and David White now received co-starring billing after Agnes Moorehead. During that year, the show saw a significant decline in ratings, falling from 11th to 24th place for the 1969–70 United States network television schedule. The ratings fall coincided with the replacement of Dick York by Dick Sargent, but two contributing factors may have been that the series was beginning to run out of fresh ideas as well as facing stronger competition from the other networks. Since 1967, the series was competing against the NBC crime drama Ironside that was steadily building an audience; it ranked at 16th in 1968 and 15th in 1969. In addition, CBS had its own top 25 shows for 1969. Family Affair came in 5th and The Jim Nabors Hour placed 12th.
For Bewitched’s seventh season premiere in the fall of 1970, in order to boost ratings, an eight-part story arc was launched in which Samantha, Darrin, and Endora travel to Salem, Massachusetts for the centennial Witches Convocation. There was a great deal of publicity when, in June 1970, the cast and crew actually traveled to Salem, Magnolia, and Gloucester, Massachusetts. These location shoots marked the only times the show would film away from its Hollywood studio sets and backlot, which was being rebuilt due to a fire, to shoot exteriors for these episodes. The eight so-called ‘Salem Saga’ episodes helped the show’s sagging ratings. (On June 15, 2005, TV Land unveiled a Samantha statue in Salem to mark the show’s 40th anniversary. On hand were three surviving actors from the show, Bernard Fox, Erin Murphy, and Kasey Rogers, as well as producer/director William Asher.) However, the renewed interest after the Salem installments dissipated, and viewership continued to dwindle in the seventh season. Scripts from old episodes were also recycled more frequently. By the end of the 1970–1971 season, NBC had built a viewing block out of The Flip Wilson Show, which came 2nd in the ratings and Ironside which placed 4th. As a result, the ratings for Bewitched had fallen and the show did not even rank in the list of the top thirty programs.
For the eighth season, ABC decided to move Bewitched‘s airtime from Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. to Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. The schedule change did not help ratings as the show was now pitted against CBS’s popular The Carol Burnett Show that ranked 25th in the 1971–72 United States network television schedule. Fellow competitor Adam-12 was in 8th place. The show used fewer recurring characters, with the Kravitzes, Darrin’s parents, and Uncle Arthur never appearing in the eighth season. Filming for the season ended in December 1971, and in January 1972, the show was finally moved to Saturday night at 8:00 P.M., opposite television’s number one show, All in the Family, where it fared even worse. Despite its poor showing in the ratings, the show was still contracted for a ninth season. However, Elizabeth Montgomery’s marriage to William Asher was in trouble and the couple had separated by the end of the eighth season. As a consolation to ABC, Montgomery and Asher (under their company name Ashmont, which produced Bewitched) offered a half-hour sitcom to the network starring Paul Lynde. As a result, after eight years, Bewitched was canceled and ABC picked up The Paul Lynde Show for the 1972–1973 season. Lynde’s series lasted only one year.
Storylines repeated from I Love Lucy
In the episode “Samantha’s Power Failure”, Serena’s and Uncle Arthur’s powers are removed by the Witches’ Council. The impotent duo get jobs in a confectionery factory, with both tossing and hiding an onslaught of bananas from a conveyor belt which are to be dipped in chocolate and nuts, then packaged. This episode mimics the famous chocolate assembly-line episode of I Love Lucy (“Job Switching”), which was directed by Bewitched producer/director William Asher. Serena’s and Arthur’s jokes and physical antics are taken from Lucy’s (Lucille Ball) and Ethel’s (Vivian Vance) playbook.
In the episode “Samantha’s Supermaid” Samantha interviews a maid, and the scene is almost identical to one in Lucy. Season 8 featured a European vacation, but was filmed in Hollywood using stock footage, like the “European” episodes of Lucy. Similar to Endora’s refusal to pronounce Darrin’s name correctly, Lucy’s mother always referred to son-in-law Ricky with incorrect names, including “Mickey”, and in a letter once, “what’s-his-name”.
Some episodes take a backdoor approach to such topics as racism, as seen in the first season episode, “The Witches Are Out”, in which Samantha objects to Darrin’s demeaning ad portrayal of witches as ugly and deformed. Such stereotypical imagery often causes Endora and other witches to flee the country until November. In the second season installment, “Trick Or Treat”, Endora, believing Darrin to be prejudiced against witches, turns him into a werewolf. It is only through Samantha convincing her that Darrin was the one mortal who refused to believe that witches were not ugly or evil does Endora relent and take the spell off him. In a similar episode during the sixth season (“To Trick-Or-Treat or not to Trick-Or-Treat”), feeling that by participating in Halloween customs that Darrin disrespects witches in general, Endora turns him into a stereotypical one. “Sisters at Heart” (season 7), whose story was submitted by a tenth-grade English class, involves Tabitha altering the skin tone of herself and a black friend with coordinating polka-dots so people would treat them equally. In the 1969 episode, “Tabitha’s Weekend”, when offered homemade cookies by Darrin’s mother, Endora asks, “They’re not by chance from an Alice B. Toklas recipe?” Phyllis replies, “They’re my recipe”, to which Endora retorts, “Then I’ll pass”. Toklas’s cookbook was infamous for having a dessert recipe which included hashish.
Sets and locations
The 1959 Columbia Pictures film Gidget was filmed on location at a real house in Santa Monica (at 267 18th Street). The blueprint design of this house was later reversed and replicated as a house facade attached to an existing garage on the backlot of Columbia’s Ranch. This was the house seen on Bewitched. The patio and living room sets seen in Columbia’s Gidget Goes to Rome (1963) were soon adapted for the permanent Bewitched set for 1964. The interior of the Stephens’ house can be seen, substantially unaltered, in the Jerry Lewis film Hook, Line & Sinker (1969). The set was also used several times in the television series Gidget and I Dream of Jeannie, as well as the made-for-television movie Brian’s Song (1971). It was also used, as a setting for an opening tag sequence, for the final episode of the first season of another Screen Gems property, The Monkees and in an episode of The Fantastic Journey.
The house served as Doctor Bellows’ house on I Dream of Jeannie, and was seen in an episode of Home Improvement when Tim Taylor took Tool Time on location to the house of Vinnie’s mother to repair a gas leak in the furnace in the basement, but unknown to Tim there was also a leak at the stove in the kitchen. A clap on-Clap off lamp turned on when Tim clapped and it blew up. The Stephens house was also featured in a Fruit of the Loom Christmas commercial.
On the Columbia studio backlot, the Kravitzes’ house was actually down the street from the Stephens’ house exterior. Both houses’ exterior doors opened to an unfinished eighteen-by-fifteen foot entry, as the interiors were shot on studio sound stages elsewhere. A “front porch” set, replicating the porch of the backlot house was created as well. From 1964 through 1966 the Kravitzes’ house was the same as used for The Donna Reed Show and was later used for the house sets from The Partridge Family.
Production and filming for Bewitched was based in Los Angeles and, although the setting is assumed to be New York, several episodes feature wide-angle exterior views of the Stephens’ neighborhood showing a California landscape with mountains in the distance. Another example of questionable continuity regarding the location can be seen in Season 6, Episode 6: Darrin’s parents drive home after visiting the new baby, passing several large palm trees lining the street.
- Season 1: 1964 – 1965: #2/31.0
- Season 2: 1965 – 1966: #7/25.9 (tied with The Beverly Hillbillies)
- Season 3: 1966 – 1967: #7/23.4 (tied with Daktari and The Beverly Hillbillies)
- Season 4: 1967 – 1968: #11/23.5
- Season 5: 1968 – 1969: #11/23.3 (tied with Mission: Impossible and The Red Skelton Hour)
- Season 6: 1969 – 1970: #24/20.6 (tied with The NBC Saturday Night Movie and The F.B.I.)
- Season 7: 1970 – 1971: Not in the Top 30
- Season 8: 1971 – 1972: #72/11.3
Feminist Betty Friedan wrote the essay “Television and the Feminine Mystique” (February, 1964) where she criticized the way women were portrayed in television. She summarized their depiction as stupid, unattractive, and insecure household drudges. Their time was divided between dreaming of love and plotting revenge on their husbands. Samantha was not depicted this way and Endora used Friedan-like words to criticize the boring drudgery of household life. Others have looked at the way that the series ‘play[ed] into and subvert[ed] a rich load of cultural stereotypes and allusions’ regarding witches, gender roles, advertising and consumerism.
In the episode “Eat at Mario’s” (May 27, 1965), Samantha and Endora co-operate in using their witchcraft to defend and promote a quality Italian restaurant. They take delight in an active, aggressive role in the public space, breaking new ground in the depiction of women in television.
Walter Metz attributes the success of the series to its snappy writing, the charm of Elizabeth Montgomery, and the talents of its large supporting cast. The show also made use of respected film techniques for its special effects. The soundtrack was unique, notably where it concerned the synthesized sound of nose twitching.
The first episodes feature a voice-over narrator “performing comic sociological analyses” of the role of a witch in middle class suburbia. The style was reminiscent of Hollywood films such as Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957). In a 1991 audio interview with film historianRonald Haver, Elizabeth Montgomery revealed that her father, Robert Montgomery was originally approached to narrate these episodes but he refused. Instead, the narration was done by Academy Award-winning actor Jose Ferrer, who did not receive credit.
In popular culture
The magical powers of the characters, and the sudden change of actors playing Darrin have been sources of many popular culture references to Bewitched.
- In an episode of the 1960s sitcom My Favorite Martian, Martin’s hands are tied so he is unable to utilize his martian powers with his finger. He instead tries twitching his nose, and when successful states that he had seen that technique on an Earth television program. In the French-dubbed version, he states that he “will send a kiss to Bewitched.”
- In the episode “Trouble with the Rubbles” of Roseanne, new neighbors move in and Jackie asks Roseanne if she knows anything about them. Roseanne jokingly replies, “Well, okay, the husband, Darrin, he’s in advertising, and they have this cute little daughter named Tabitha. But the wife, I don’t know, something’s wrong with her. I think she’s a witch.” In the episode “Homecoming”, daughter Becky returns home after an extended absence from the series, and has been recast with a new actress (Sarah Chalke). In the epilogue, the Connors are watching Bewitched on television, discussing Darrin being replaced, and Becky muses, “Well, I like the second Darrin much better”. In another episode, Roseanne states sarcastically that she tried “twitching [her] nose” to clean up the kitchen, but it didn’t work.
- The principal of the prep school in the supernatural sitcom Wizards of Waverly Place is named Mr. Laritate, an allusion to the Bewitched character Larry Tate.
- In the Charmed fourth season episode, “Lost and Bound”, Phoebe worries about her ability to be a good wife and notes the only married witch she can think of as a model is Samantha Stephens. Subsequently, Cole gives her a ring which causes Phoebe to start behaving like Samantha, wearing her hairdo, spending all her time in the kitchen, while alternating between color and black and white.
- In The Simpsons episode “Duffless“, the advertising agency the feminists are protesting is called “McMahon and Tate Advertising”. In a segment of the Halloween episode “Treehouse of Horror VIII“, Marge Simpson portrays a witch in old Salem who is living as a mortal with her husband, Homer. When she is discovered and returns to her sister witches, one states, “So, you finally left Derwood.” In episode “Mr. Plow“, the “McMahon and Tate Advertising Agency” produces a television commercial for “Homer Simpson“.
- In the Family Guy episode, “The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire“, Stewie puts on an episode of Bewitched that shows Darrin throwing holy water on Endora as payback for all the spells she’s cast on him.
- In an episode of “The King of Queens” in which Carrie goes back to school, she arrives home and complains to Doug about being expected to understand the Allegory of the Cave when she can’t even comprehend two Darrins on “Bewitched”.
- The episode “I Married an Alien” of Roswell begins with Isabel watching the Bewitched episode “Long Live the Queen” on TV. In several subsequent extended fantasy scenes, she imagines a 1960s sitcom version of her married life, complete with Bewitched style animated opening, visual and sound effects, plot, and laugh track.
- In the “Hands and Knees” episode of Mad Men, which takes place in a Madison Avenue advertising agency in the 1960s, Roger Sterling is told by someone named “Louise” on the phone that “Larry” has died.
- In an episode of American Dad, Stan wishes life was more like the ’60s after watching an episode of Bewitched. The episode also features the animated intro except Samantha flies her broom into a nearby building, followed by the appearance of an internet address “www.itwaswitches.com”, making a joke about conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was done by witches.
- In the episode “Siege Perilous” of Once Upon a Time, Emma says, “You guys sure you don’t want me to just wiggle my nose, and get him out of that tree?” in reference to Merlin who was trapped inside an enchanted tree.
Spin-offs, crossovers, and remakes
The 1965 episode of The Flintstones titled “Samantha” (1965), features Dick York and Elizabeth Montgomery as Darrin and Samantha Stephens, who have just moved into the neighborhood. This crossover was facilitated because both series were broadcast on ABC.
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.
In 1977, a short-lived spin-off entitled Tabitha aired on ABC. Lisa Hartman plays Tabitha, now an adult working with her brother Adam at television station KXLA. There were several continuity differences with the original series. Adam and Tabitha had both aged far more than the intervening five years between the two series would have allowed. Adam also had become Tabitha’s older mortal brother, rather than her younger warlock brother, as he was in Bewitched. Supporting character Aunt Minerva (Karen Morrow) says she has been close to Tabitha since childhood, though she had never been mentioned once in the original series. Tabitha’s parents are mentioned but never appear. However Bernard Fox, Sandra Gould, George Tobias and Dick Wilson reprised their roles as Dr. Bombay, Gladys Kravitz, Abner Kravitz, and the “drunk guy”, respectively.
Bernard Fox appeared as Dr. Bombay in two episodes of the supernatural-themed daytime soap opera Passions. This show also featured a character named Tabitha, a middle-aged witch whose parents were Samantha and a mortal, Darrin, and who names her own child “Endora.”
Bewitched inspired a 2005 film starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. The film, departing from the show’s family-oriented tone, is not a remake but a re-imagining of the sitcom, with the action focused on arrogant, failing Hollywood actor Jack Wyatt (Ferrell) who is offered a career comeback playing Darrin in a remake of Bewitched. The role is contingent upon him finding the perfect woman to play Samantha. He chooses an unknown named Isabel Bigelow (Kidman), who is an actual witch. The film was written, directed, and produced by Nora Ephron, and was poorly received by most critics and was a financial disappointment. It earned $22 million less than the production cost domestically. However it earned an additional $68 million internationally. The New York Times called the film “an unmitigated disaster.”
- Argentina: A remake called Hechizada, produced by Telefé, aired in early 2007. It starred Florencia Peña as Samantha, Gustavo Garzón as her husband, Eduardo, and Georgina Barbarrosa as Endora. This show adapted original scripts to an Argentinian context, with local humor and a contemporary setting. The show was cancelled due to low ratings after a few weeks.
- Japan: TBS, a flagship station of Japan News Network, produced a remake called Okusama wa majo (奥さまは魔女, meaning “(My) Wife is a Witch”), also known as Bewitched in Tokyo. Eleven episodes were broadcast on JNN stations Fridays at 10 p.m., from January 16 to March 26, 2004, and a special on December 21, 2004. The main character, Arisa Matsui, was portrayed by Ryōko Yonekura. Okusama wa majo is also the Japanese title for the original American series.
- India: In 2002, Sony Entertainment Television began airing Meri Biwi Wonderful a local adaptation of Bewitched.
- Russia: In 2009, TV3 broadcast a remake entitled “Моя любимая ведьма” (“My Favorite Witch”), starring Anna Zdor as Nadia (Samantha), Ivan Grishanov, as Ivan (Darrin) and Marina Esepenko as Nadia’s mother. The series is very similar to the original, with most episodes based on those from the original series. American comedy writer/producer Norm Gunzenhauser oversaw the writing and directing of the series.
- United Kingdom: In 2008, the BBC made a pilot episode of a British version, with Sheridan Smith as Samantha, Tom Price as Darrin, and veteran actress Frances de la Tour as Endora.
- United States: In August 2011 it was reported that CBS ordered a script to be written by Marc Lawrence for a rebooted series of Bewitched.
On October 22, 2014, Sony Pictures Television announced that it has sold a pilot of Bewitched to NBC as a possible entry for the 2015—2016 US television season. However, this version will focus on Tabitha’s daughter Daphne, a single woman who despite having magical powers as her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, is determined not to use it to find a soul mate. The new version of the proposed series, which is being written by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, had been on the radar of several major networks, including ABC, after Sony began shopping the project to interested parties.
After completing its original run, ABC Daytime and ABC Saturday Morning continued to show the series until 1973. Bewitched has since been syndicated on many local US broadcast stations, including Columbia TriStar Television as part of the Screen Gems Network syndication package from 1973–82 and then since 1993, which featured by 1999 bonus wraparound content during episode airings.
From 1973 to 1982, the entire series was syndicated by Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures. By the late ’70s, many local stations skipped the black and white episodes or only ran those in the summer due to a perception that black-and-white shows usually had less appeal than shows filmed in color. From 1981 to about 1991, only the color episodes were syndicated in barter syndication by DFS Program Exchange. The first two seasons, which were in black and white were not included and Columbia retained the rights to those. Beginning in 1989, Nick at Nitebegan airing only the black-and-white episodes, which were originally unedited back then. The edited ones continued in barter syndication until 1992. Columbia syndicated the entire series beginning in 1991. The remaining six color seasons were added to Nick at Nite’s lineup in March 1998 in a week-long Dueling Darrins Marathon. Seasons 1–2 were later colorized and made available for syndication and eventually DVD sales. Cable television channel WTBS carried seasons 3–8 throughout the 1980s and 1990s from DFS on a barter basis like most local stations that carried the show did.
The Hallmark Channel aired the show from 2001 to 2003; TV Land then aired the show from 2003 to 2006, and it returned in March 2010, but left the schedule in 2012. In October 2008, the show began to air on WGN America, and in October 2012 on Logo, limited to the middle seasons only. Channel 9 Australia airs the series on its digital channel GO! Russia-based channel Domashny aired the show from 2008 to 2010. MeTV aired the show in conjunction with I Dream of Jeannie from December 31, 2012 to September 1, 2013. The show now airs onAntenna TV.
The show has been distributed by Columbia Pictures Television (1974–1982, 1988 (black and white ones only until 1990)-1996), DFS/The Program Exchange (1980–1991, 2010–present), Columbia TriStar Television (1996–2002), and Sony Pictures Television (2002–present).
Beginning in 2005, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released all eight seasons of Bewitched. In regions 1 and 4, seasons 1 and 2 were each released in two versions—one as originally broadcast in black-and-white, and one colorized. The complete series set only contains the colorized versions of Seasons 1–2. Only the colorized editions were released in regions 2 and 4.
On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including Bewitched. They have subsequently re-released the first six seasons, with seasons 1 & 2 available only in their black and white versions.
On October 6, 2015, Mill Creek Entertainment will re-release Bewitched- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.
- A full list of directors and writers can be seen at this link.
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- Meyers, Gina (June 20, 2004). The Magic of Bewitched Trivia and More. iUniverse, Inc. ISBN 978-0-595-31557-4.
- Pilato, Herbie (October 2004). Bewitched Forever: 40th Anniversary Edition (2nd ed.). Tapestry Press. ISBN 978-1-930819-40-5.
- Piro, Rita (March 24, 2006). Elizabeth Montgomery: A Bewitching Life (5th ed.). Great Feats Press. ISBN 978-0-9706261-2-7.
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