January 14, 2017

BEWITCHED

BEWITCHED

(ABC, September 17, 1964-March 25, 1972)

Screen Gems, Ashmont Productions (season 8)

            Created by Sol Saks, Betwitched was the story of a mixed marriage. Deceptively young-looking witch Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) fell in love with and married mortal Darrin Stephens (Dick York & Dick Sargent). Darrin wasn’t comfortable with Samantha using magic, so she willingly refrained from using any (whenever possible, anyway). This didn’t sit well with her mother, Endora (Agnes Moorehead), who didn’t approve of the marriage and antagonized Darrin whenever possible. Adding to Darrin’s troubles was his constantly having to be on his toes to appease his fickle boss, Larry Tate (David White). Eventually, Samantha and Darrin had two children, Tabatha (Diane & Erin Murphy) and Adam (Greg & David Lawrence), who possessed their mother’s trait for magic.




            The series largely used the magic as an allegory for the troubles a young married couple would typically face in life as well as social issues such as racism. Despite the show’s instant success, ABC wanted a greater use of magic and farce. Producer Danny Arnold, who tried to keep the show grounded, left after the first season and ABC slowly got their wish. Halfway through production, a back injury sustained during the filming of a movie caused York to have to leave the show after season 6. Sargent replaced him for the remainder of the show’s run. The show’s ratings began to decline and ABC moved it around its schedule; putting it up against stiffer competition with each move. The show was finally cancelled after its 8th season, but continued on in daytime and Saturday mornings until 1973 when it entered syndication.

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