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Bewitched

From Academic Kids

For the Irish girl band see B*witched.

Template:Infobox television Bewitched was an American sitcom starring actress Elizabeth Montgomery.

Bewitched was broadcast on ABC from 1964 to 1972. The show's focus was the mixed marriage of a nose-twitching witch, Samantha Stephens, and her mortal husband, Darrin. Samantha's mother, Endora, (played by Agnes Moorehead, who won an Emmy for her work in the role) disapproves of Darrin, and many episodes revolve around her using magic to make life difficult for her non-magical son-in-law, whose name she invariably mispronounces as "Durwood," "Darwin," and other variations even less complimentary.

The only member of Samantha's family that Darrin really likes is the lovable and forgetful Aunt Clara (played by Marion Lorne), an old witch whose powers have begun to wane. All her spells end in disasters. She was in 27 episodes and was not replaced when Marion Lorne died during the fourth season.

Darrin works for an advertising company and his boss, Larry Tate, never learns that Samantha is a witch, despite strange events taking place on a weekly basis. Across the road lives nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz (played first by Alice Pearce, who won an Emmy for this role; following the death of Miss Pearce in 1966 the role was played by Sandra Gould). Adding to the fun was the Stephens' witch daughter Tabitha, and the later-added baby boy Adam, and various witches, warlocks, and mere mortals. The program made use of clever-for-the-time special effects to work its magic, and the storylines were imaginative and good-natured. Most episodes ended with Darrin, having been the victim of witchcraft throughout the episode (often with a spell put upon him by Endora), affirming his love for Samantha and acknowledging that, like it or not, he would have to accept witchcraft in his life.

Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick Sargent as Samantha and Darrin Stevens
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Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick Sargent as Samantha and Darrin Stevens

The show was an immediate hit and was second only to Bonanza in its first season. It continued to rate well for another six years, but it lost some popularity when Dick York (who played Darrin) left the series in 1969, owing to health problems, and was replaced by Dick Sargent. The drop in popularity is ironic in light of the fact that Sargent had been the original choice to play Darrin but had been unavailable in 1964.

In 1966 the show saw Samantha give birth to daughter Tabitha, played by fraternal twins Erin and Diane Murphy. Tabitha took after her mother with her witch abilities, adding to Darrin's worries. In 1968 Diane Murphy was fired as the sisters began looking less and less alike.

1969 saw the birth of Adam, played by Greg and David Lawrence. Many see this family addition as the other reason for the continued drop in popularity.

In 1977, a spin-off show entitled Tabitha aired on the ABC network. The show, which ran for less than a season, starred Lisa Hartman as an adult Tabitha.

Contents

Characters

Agnes Moorehead as Endora
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Agnes Moorehead as Endora

Bewitched today

Bewitched continues to be seen throughout the world in syndication. It should be noted that Elizabeth Montgomery wanted to end the series at the conclusion of the show's fifth season, but ABC did not want to drop one of its top-grossers. Since the series was one of the network's few hits, they offered Elizabeth and William Asher significant pay rises for another four seasons. By the series' seventh season, many felt the story ideas had started to run dry with many older episodes being remade. By the last season (1971-1972), episodes were being remade almost word for word. Elizabeth Montgomery looked very tired in these episodes, and with ratings low, the decision was made to end the program.

A movie re-imagining is planned for release in 2005 starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. When Jack Wyatt (Ferrell), a failing Hollywood actor, is offered the chance of a career comeback playing Darrin in a remake of Bewitched all he has to do is find the perfect girl to play Samantha. He finds Isabel Bigelow (Kidman), who really is a witch.

The screenplay has been written by Nora and Delia Ephron, with Nora also directing the film. Other members of the cast include Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine. Early media reports about the film have remarked upon Kidman's uncanny resemblance to Elizabeth Montgomery. It is rated PG-13 (for American audiences) and 12A (for British audiences).

TV Guide recently listed Bewitched as the 50th Greatest Television Program of All Time.

Controversy

Premering during the height of the conformity era of American culture, the show's witchcraft-related subject matter initially infuriated right-wing Christian organizations, claiming that the show displayed the playful use of ungodly powers in a context that characterized them as good rather than the evil some Christians believed them to be.

The show was featured in a recent Jack Chick tract as Satan's favorite television program. http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0045/0045_01.asp

Japanese remake

The Japanese TBS network, in collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment, produced a remake called Oku-sama wa majō - Bewitched in Tokyo (http://www.tbs.co.jp/okumajo/) ("My wife is a witch") . Eleven episodes were broadcasted on Friday nights at 22:00, from January 16 to March 26, 2004, with a special extra episode broadcasted on December 21, 2004. The main character, Arisa Matsui, was performed by Ryōko Yonekura. Oku-sama wa majō is also the title for the original Japanese broadcasting of the American series.

See also

ja:奥さまは魔女 (テレビドラマ) es:Hechizada

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