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All Things Bewitched!


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#1 Ameen

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 10:22 PM

These past few weeks I have been been rewatching a lot of episodes of Bewitched on DVD. My parents and sister are recovering from different ailments and need something to relax them and make them smile. I had always loved reruns of the show as a kid, and when I suggested watching Bewitched during my visits they all thought it a great idea.

Yes, more than half the episodes are badly dated or were never funny to begin with, but the good episodes remain spectacular even after forty years.

So many wonderful memories, too! As a kid, I wanted Endora and Aunt Clara to be my grandparents (along with Fred and Ethel Mertz from I Love Lucy). It never occurred to me that I should wish for two grandparents of each sex... I guess I was gay in training even when my age was a single digit! :lmao:

I think Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha, was one of the most talented women ever to grace the screen. She wasn't the first choice for the part, but when Tammy Grimes was unable to star in the show in 1964 since she was under contract elsewhere, Montgomery stepped in. I really cannot imagine anyone else in the roll, and I doubt that Grimes could have pulled it off as well.

She is sooooo beautiful, too.

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As for the Darrins... Which was your favorite? I prefer Dick York (below--'straight Darrin', seasons 1-5)...

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...over Dick Sargent (below--'gay Darrin', seasons 6-8).

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Yes, Sargent was gay in real life, and he and Montgomery were the Grand Marshals at the 1992 Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade. (Montgomery was an outspoken supporter of women's rights and gay rights. A staunch liberal, she was also a critic of the Vietnam War during Bewitched 's first run and was involved in a number of political documentaries in the late 80s and early 90s.)

Sadly, all three magical stars died within the same four year period: York in 1992, Sargent in 1994, and Mongomery in 1995.

There is a wonderful bronze statue of Mongomery as Samantha in Salem, a fitting (and controversial) tribute:

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Now here's a shocker... Agnes Moorehead, who played Samantha's semi-wicked witch mother Endora, was a staunch Christian in real life! (According to Wikipedia, she read Bible stories to the children in the cast, but I don't know if that is true.) When conservative Christians complained about the magic and witches on the show, the show's producers cited Moorehead's religion and said that she would not have accepted the role if it had been against her religion.

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Finally, I know that Aunt Clara is not one of the major characters, and I know that there are many recurring characters who are more important than she is... Buit I just love her. Marion Lorne was in her 80s when she played the role.

Aunt Clara does not appear in the series after season 4 because the actress died of a heart attack in her New York apartment in 1968. Although the roles of Darrin, Louise Tate, Darrin's father, and Mrs. Kravitz were each played by two different actors--and no fewer than five different actors played Aunt Hagatha--the producers and cast did not have the heart to recast the roll of Aunt Clara since they were so fond of Lorne.

Is there anyone who wouldn't want the wonderful Aunt Clara as a grandmother? Actually, I was predisposed to loving her, for as a kid aI had a 33 rpm (LP) record of The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck narrated and sung by Marion Lorne. I loved that voice! While I no longer have the record, at 43 years old I can still sing all the songs without missing a single lyric! (Don't know if that's something to be proud of...)

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So, what are your thoughts on Bewitched?

Edited by Ameen, 31 January 2009 - 11:13 PM.

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#2 nightflight

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 10:25 PM

Paul Lynde saying, "I'm Superman!"
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#3 florduh

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 10:36 PM

Oh gawd, I had it bad for Elizabeth Montgomery!

I saw every original airing of the show, and many reruns.

I liked both Darrins equally, adored Endora and Uncle Arthur.

The second Mrs. Kravitz sucked and Larry Tate should have been killed.

A friend of mine used to live near Elizabeth Montgomery when she was here in Florida. He first ran into her at the grocery store, and he hesitantly approached her only to find out she was the sweetest, most down to earth person you could imagine. They talked on several occasions after that, and he was quite impressed with her. I'm glad he didn't ruin my fantasy of her as the perfect woman!



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#4 Ameen

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:17 PM

@ nightflight: Ah, Paul Lynde... :)

His voice and Moorehead's, singing the song about the fair in the original cartoon Charlotte's Web... :) :) :)

@ florduh: I have heard more than one story about how down-to-earth and friendly Elizabeth Montgomery was. You have good taste!

I also hated Larry Tate and the second Mrs. Kravitz. The first one was so much funnier.
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#5 Fuego

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:22 PM

Sarena! The "bad" sister of Samantha. Mrrrow! I knew as a child that I preferred her, even though I thought I was supposed to prefer blonds.

Uncle Arthur "Excuse me for not getting up, but my feet are killing me" (camera cuts to his feet that have revolvers pointing up at him, blazing away)

I also preferred the first Durwood, er Darren, Dick York. He seemed more likable, and tweaked-out better over magic. He and Jim Carey share a strong resemblance.
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#6 pitchu

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 05:02 AM

And guess in whose kitchen this amazing stove first appeared?

And, know what?

We have one!!!!

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#7 ShackledNoMore

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 05:31 AM

When conservative Christians complained about the magic and witches on the show, the show's producers cited Moorehead's religion and said that she would not have

Exploring this aspect of Bewitched just a tad, unless there was a bigger backlash than I was aware of (was there?) I've always marvelled with amusement how generally OK the conservative xians seemed to be with Bewitched (and also I Dream of Jeannie), yet how thoroughly evil and satanic they labelled Harry Potter. Perhaps you're on to something, Ameen, about Agnes Moorhead having ameliorated xian perception of the show, or perhaps it was somewhat a matter of being another time, with slightly different "values" (for lack of a better word) in vogue, or perhaps it's just me, having been young and unaware of any controversy among xians brewing over the show when it first aired. Bewitched may remain free from attack by fundies by having been grandfathered in from what is perceived as a more innocent, virtuous time, i.e., "the good old days," or maybe it never became a hot issue for evangelicals because of the passage of time, or some combination of both.

I TRIED but I just never could figure out a favorite between Sargent and York.
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#8 I Broke Free

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 11:23 AM

Ameen, I think you if you came over to my home for evening of old television programs you would be right at home. I have DVD's of just about every program you find enjoyable. I am a huge I Love Lucy fan and have just about every episode. I qote her character all of the time.

Bewitched? I am differnent than most in that I actually prefer Dick Sargent over Dick York. I don't think it has anything to do with his acting skills, it is just that I prefer the later episodes so much more than the early black and white ones. In the last three years you see more of uncle Arthur and Tabatha with powers, I liked those. :shrug:
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#9 par4dcourse

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:10 PM

Adored the show as a kid, had a thing for Samantha too.
I now find that I'm slowly but surely turning into a male Aunt Clara. :Old:
Got any Beverly Hillbillies in your collection? Elly May filled my dreams and ......

Edited by par4dcourse, 01 February 2009 - 12:12 PM.

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#10 Fuego

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:15 PM

When conservative Christians complained about the magic and witches on the show, the show's producers cited Moorehead's religion and said that she would not have

Exploring this aspect of Bewitched just a tad, unless there was a bigger backlash than I was aware of (was there?) I've always marvelled with amusement how generally OK the conservative xians seemed to be with Bewitched (and also I Dream of Jeannie), yet how thoroughly evil and satanic they labelled Harry Potter. Perhaps you're on to something, Ameen, about Agnes Moorhead having ameliorated xian perception of the show, or perhaps it was somewhat a matter of being another time, with slightly different "values" (for lack of a better word) in vogue, or perhaps it's just me, having been young and unaware of any controversy among xians brewing over the show when it first aired. Bewitched may remain free from attack by fundies by having been grandfathered in from what is perceived as a more innocent, virtuous time, i.e., "the good old days," or maybe it never became a hot issue for evangelicals because of the passage of time, or some combination of both.


I think it had to do with the kind of Christianity that was around at that time. I don't think that many churches talked about "spiritual warfare" until about the 1980s, when it seemed to take off as a concept. Certainly they talked about the devil and the dangers of dancing and card playing, but not so much about demons and spirits as actual things to fear. That sort of thing was "ghosts and goblins" and was considered primitive and uneducated in many churches in that era. But in the 1980s, when all the horror of music "backmasking" was revealed to the world by fundamentalists, it was clear things had taken a turn. Congress got involved by investigating the alleged plot by musicians to plant rebellious messages in the minds of children. Churches were talking much more openly about possession and witchcraft and such. So when Harry Potter came along, it was obviously a plot by the devil to get kids interested in witchcraft and sorcery ("Think of the children!!!"). The movie version of the first book even changed the name from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" to "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" to avoid picketing by fundies.

So back in the 1960-70s the Bewitched TV show was rather benign, and movies which presented magical happenings as good, like "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" and "Mary Poppins", were seen as fun and generally entertaining rather than a plot by the forces of Satan to lure young minds into spiritual slavery and damnation. But then Christianity reverted back to fearing witches and spirits as some kind of return to the truth, seeing satanic plots around every corner, and whipped up fear of satanic cults and ritual sexual abuse and anything else they could think of to sensationalize their beliefs, and galvanize their faith as super important life-and-death stuff. Lots of books were sold, lots of books and movies were burned, lots of people needlessly in fear.

I'm so glad to be out of that whole sheepish mindset. What a colossal waste of time, money, and effort.
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#11 mahjong

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 04:00 PM

When I was a kid I wanted to have magical powers so badly! I LOVED bewitched, and of course Endora was my very favorite, though I loved them all.

I still have a marionette that I picked out for my 10th birthday, a witch that I named Hazel. (Witch Hazel, get it?).

Ok, an inappropriate joke: Why do witches always wear panties?
So they won't stick to their broom.
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#12 Ameen

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 10:30 PM

@ Fuego: Your comments on 'spiritual warfare' are a very interesting read!

There's just something about Dick York, methinks, that keeps you in his court even when he is tweaking out over magic and being xenophobic by not 'letting' Samantha practice the culture into which she was born. I want to let his character have it--but kindly. While I object to his character's stance on feminist grounds, I just can't hate him.

Dick Sargent, on the other hand, is so smug and smarmy as Darrin that I find it easy to dislike the character and hope that Endora will turn him into something slimy.

Back to Dick York... Two years ago I came across his posthumous memoir, The Seesaw Girl and Me, by chance. I devoured it, for the way he writes about his love for Joan, his wife in real life, really moves me. Some people have called the book a love letter to her. Granted, it was taken nearly verbatim from the oral memoirs he left on a series of cassette tapes and is thus an odd stream of consciousness that goes back and forth in time. And, there is only a little about Bewitched and Elizabeth Montgomery in it (although that section is quite interesting). But if you can put all that aside, it's just plain delicious. He is so painfully, refreshingly honest about himself, and he spares no details in spelling out his mistakes. At times I had tears in my eyes, and at other times I found his humor delightful. There is so much about York as a kid, a teen, and a man that you feel you have seen into his heart once you finish reading.

York left Bewitched and acting because of a debilitating back injury and, shortly after, gained over 100 pounds and became addicted to painkillers. Yet, while nearly penniless, in physical pain, struggling to overcome his addiction, struggling to lose the weight, and working hard to raise his children properly, he remained with (and in love with) Joan, and he also engaged in a lot of successful charitable work for the homeless and other groups.

The book is out of print, but there are still some used and new copies from pivate sellers on Amazon and other sites.

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I don't respect many famous people at all, not today's and not yesteryear's. In the case of Liz (Elizabeth Montgomery) and Dick, however, I keep coming across so much information that points to them as down-to-earth people who really worked to leave the world a better place. Maybe that's why there is still so much magic on screen when I watch them; there must have been a lot of themselves in their characters.

@ pitchu: I love the picture you posted. Until her death (age 87 in 2002), my maternal grandmother continued to say "frigidaire" instead of "refrigerator."

@ ShackledNoMore: I don't know how much of a backlash there was about the magic and witches on Bewitched, but apparently there was one. Some of the surviving cast members and crew (There aren't many!) were interviewed for the first few seasons' DVD extras (before the powers that be stopped putting extras on the later season DVD sets), and the issue I mentioned with Moorehead's being a stauch Christian O.K. with playing a witch who casts spells was part of it. One of the writers or producers being interviewed said something like 'It wasn't black magic. We told them that if what we were writing had been against Christian beliefs, Agnes would not have done it'. (I'm writing that from memory, as I don't remember the exact quote and the DVDs are at my parents' house.)

@ I Broke Free: The more I read from you, the cooler you sound! :)

I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove Lucy!!!!!!!!!!! (William Frawley in drag will forever remain one of the funniest things I have ever seen.) O.K., time for you to start a Lucy thread... :) :) :)

@ par4dcourse: No Hillbillies, I am afraid, but anyone who sees my precious Aunt Clara in himself is O.K. in my book!

@ mahjong: I still want magical powers so badly...

Edited by Ameen, 02 February 2009 - 11:57 PM.

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#13 xandermac

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 10:58 PM

This is such a great topic! I have to go with Dick York as my favorite. Yagazoozie Yagazoozie Zim! I also loved the episode where Serena and Uncle Arthur get jobs rolling the banana's in nuts. Loved when Samantha could do that speed up thing and clean her house, always wanted to do that!

I also Love Lucy, and The Beverly Hillbillies and Andy Griffith. I still quote lines from these shows all the time. :grin:
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#14 pitchu

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 11:41 PM

Glad you like the pic, Ameen, and glad it reminded you of your grandmother.

I found this one of Samantha discovering Uncle Arthur in the oven of her Frigidaire Flair. Evidently, the company paid big bucks to have one featured on Bewitched, and it's still a coveted retro kitchen appliance, almost always mentioned in association with the sit-com.

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#15 I Broke Free

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 06:33 PM

@ I Broke Free: The more I read from you, the cooler you sound! :)

I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove Lucy!!!!!!!!!!! (William Frawley in drag will forever remain one of the funniest things I have ever seen.) O.K., time for you to start a Lucy thread... :) :) :)


My partner created a few DVDs of Carol Burnett playing Eunice too. I can never get enough of that, especially the Gong Show episode.

Lucy has been a part of my life for nearly half a century and I never tire of her. For some reason my favorite line is not one that most people remember. It was during the "Hollywood" season and Lucy and Ethel went off to Palm Springs on their own. Lucy became tounge tied by the pool when she was introducing Ethel to Rock Hudson and she could not remember Ethel's name. Ethel spoke up for herself and introduced herself as Ethel Mertz. That was when Lucy said introduced Ethel again and then turned to Ethel with most wonderfully bemused looked and said ---Mertz?--like it was something she had never heard before. Don't aske me why, but that scene always makes me laugh.

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#16 Ameen

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 04:40 PM

@ xandermac: Oh, could I use that speed up thing to get my lessons written and papers marked...! :)

@ pitchu: :)

@ I Broke Free: I remember that very Lucy moment. She delivers the word "Mertz" hilariously.

My sister and I have always loved the first season Lucy episode in which Ricky is fired and Lucy, Fred, and Ethel pose as various eccentric customers at the Tropicana. Again, William Frawley in drag is just priceless, especially if you watch his face. The three of them create so many wonderful one-shot characters in only a few minutes--a real tribute to their talent.

William Frawley also mugs wonderfully in the episode in which the foursome is taking English pronunciation lessons.

How I wish The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour would come out on DVD! I remember so many of those episodes well, and the out of print VHS tapes are going for astronomical rates. (Not that they would help me since I have no TV and no VCR. If I can't put it in my laptop, I can't watch it.)

My favorite is the one where Lucy takes a job as an early-morning TV personality and screws up every broadcast as only Lucy can. "That's right: Go to the market, cook the meals, do the dishes, make the bed, dust the house..." (I typed that from memory even though I haven't seen it in about 15 years.)

Do you remember the song Lucy sings with Van Johnson in one of the Hollywood episodes of I love Lucy? I recently bought a CD with some of (my scrumptious) Tony Perkins' lesser known songs, and that one is on it! He sings it much faster than Lucy and Van did, though. "I love New York in June. How about you? I love a Gershwin tune. How about you..."
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