Bewitched: The Beginning
Who was Bewitched? Producer Harry Ackerman and creator Sol Saks began the idea for the plot of Bewitched with the concept of a “mixed marriage”. A mere mortal “Darren” and a heavenly witch named “Samantha” showed just how “mixed” the marriage was…and hilarious!
The general idea for Bewitched was inspired by the 1942 film entitled “I Married a Witch”, starring Veronica Lake and also by the Broadway show “Bell, Book and Candle“
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The pilot show for Bewitched was called “I Darrin, Take This Witch, Samantha” and was narrated by none other than the esteemed actor Jose Ferrer. This pilot was a tremendous success and in it’s first season, Bewitched became ABC’s number one rated show and was surpassed only by the hit western “Bonanza” in overall television ratings. At the lead of this initial success was head writer Danny Arnold who not only developed the wonderful plot but also created such characters as Larry Tate and The Kravitzes. As a side note, Arnold was a writer on the hit show McHale’s Navy
Who was Bewitched? Undoubtedly, the show’s big star was the beautiful and talented Elizabeth Montgomery. She received 5 Emmy nominations and 4 Golden Globe nominations during Bewitched’s eight-year run.
Please click the wonderful photo below to read our in-depth article on Elizabeth Montgomery
The Two Dicks
The role of Darren Stevens was first portrayed by Dick York in seasons one through five. York suffered from a debilitating back injury, and as a result could no longer work on the show. Because many of the scenes were physical comedy, there was no way he could continue.
The second Darren was portrayed by Dick Sargent, who took over the role of Samantha’s husband in seasons six through eight
Endora and Larry Tate
Supporting characters Endora (portrayed by Agnes Morehead) and Larry Tate (portrayed by David White) were delightful additions to the cast. Although both actors had already been successful in their own rights, their characterizations in Bewitched were nothing short of genius!
More Fun Facts About Bewitched
- Bewitched, actor Dick York became enamored with Elizabeth to the point where he would sit off stage and make lovesick faces at her while she was filming. As a result, this caused Montgomery to become uncomfortable, and may have contributed to another Dick taking over (Dick Sargeant). It’s also worth noting that at the time Elizabeth was married to the show’s producer William Asher
- Actress Alice Pearce won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series posthumously for her characterization of Gladys Kravitz. Actress Marion Lorne won the very same award posthumously for her role as Aunt Clara
- Darren and Samantha Stevens lived at 1164 Morning Glory Circle. It is speculated that this stress address could be either in Connecticut or New York. We’ll never know!
- Darren Stevens worked at the fictitious advertising firm “McMann and Tate”, which was co-owned by cheapskate Larry Tate
- TV Land unveiled a Samantha Stevens statue in Salem, Massachusetts on 6/15/2005, in honor of Bewitched’s 40th anniversary
- Producer Bill Asher considered ending the show after it became clear that Dick York could no longer continue but the ratings were still high enough to continue
- When actor Dick York was replaced by Dick Sargent, the show’s ratings dropped 13 places
- Everyone with creative input on the show struggled to figure out a way to explain to the audience why there was a different actor playing Darren. After many ideas were tossed around, they decided that the best course of action was to say nothing. Let the audience figure it out.
- Samantha’s famous “nose twitch” was something that Elizabeth Montgomery had already been doing in real life whenever she became frustrated!
- Actor Dick York took copious amounts of painkillers on the set of Bewitched to help with his back injury. If you watch closely, you can see a glazed look in his eyes during some scenes
Even More Facts
- After the show’s 8th season, ratings had waned. Although the production company was obligated under contract to produce two more season’s, star Elizabeth Montgomery felt it was time to move on to other ventures and declined to re-sign. Problems within her marriage to Bill Asher (the producer/director of Bewitched) also contributed to this decision. Bill Asher famously worked on iconic shows such as I Love Lucy and The Danny Thomas Show
- The Bewitched TV Show inspired the 2005 film starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell entitled “Bewitched”. It received poor ratings from movie critics and was a financial bomb at the box office
- Actor Paul Lynde was brought in towards the end of the series to help boost Bewitched ratings and to also fulfill an acting contract obligation he had with ABC
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