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I can honestly say watching BEWITCHED as a child sparked my imagination more than any other one thing. The color, the imagery, the hidden messages of acceptance and being who you are meant to be.....all had a very profound effect on who I decided I was meant to be. I always played BEWITCHED as a child, memorized incantations, mimicked Endoras caftans with our brightly patterned sofa throws in my basement family room. I totally escaped thru BEWITCHED and I DID learn not to question so much AND to always believe in the magic hidden beneath the surface. Samantha tried so hard to fit into a mold that couldnt hold her. She compromised sure, but never could truly commit to mortal life. I saw the suburbia that swelled around me as "Mortal Life" and I simply tried to always find a way of blending in AND keeping my magic powers. If my older brothers tried to pick on me, I would simply "POP" out, and disappear from the situation. The old you cant see me trick that children love to believe in. I longed to hang out on a cloud somewhere in the stratosphere and pop over to PAris for some afternoon shopping and still be home to meet my MORTAL family for dinner. My grandmother was very much ENDORA with her flair for extravagance and her very strong place in the family. She indulged my every whim, wrapping me in one of her big soft sweaters, hailing a taxi cab and whisking me off to some twinkling carnival on the seedy part of the city. She chased search lights you see. My mother would have died to know I was out in the heart of Detroit past midnite!!!. My Maw would stroll with me down the neon legnths of the carnival, eating candy apples and riding the Salt and Pepper Shaker. She would get her fortune told from a gypsy woman and flirt with the man at one of the many midway games. Every day I would hurry home from school at lunchtime to see what the Stevens family was up to on channel 7. It was perfect!!!. Tomato soup with a grilled cheese and Samantha to entertain me. although hidden behind the humor BEWITCHED taught very valuable lessons on race issues, and equality, and seeing the good in people. It also dispelled stereotypes. Witches could be pretty, and fashionable. How hot was Samantha in a Pucci shift with her LV roll bag?? Gorgeous. TV Land has affforded me the luxury of watching BEWITCHED at 2am!!!! Thats Sweetie Primetime! It's talented cast with Agnes Moorhead, Paul Lynde, Liz Montgomery, Dick York and Sargeant, and everyone from Mercedes McCambridge and Julie Newmar to Maurice Evans, to Isabell Sanford all made my childhood brighter. Without a show like BEWITCHED as a constant in my childhood, I would not have the fertile imagination I have been blessed with today.
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What a wonderful post! We need to get Michael Madison in on this topic.

I remember feeling annoyed when Nick at Nite ran a contest a few years back between I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched, as viewers to decide who was the more powerful - Jeannie or Samantha Stevens. Was there ever any contest? Samantha rules.

[This message was edited by Luxury Lex on 08-30-03 at 10:36 AM.]
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Although I did enjoy I DREAM OF JEANNIE, it really was a cheap rip off of BEWITCHED. It also worked the sexual angle, that I felt was maybe a little overt for a very small child. BUT IN ITS DEFENSE, it's heyday was very much in the "free love" time of our consciousness. I do feel though Samantha and Darrin had a sexy energy about them. Especially Darrin #1. He had that awkward geekiness that spelled a tiger in the bedroom. I also loved their affection towards each other. And when it was time to turn up the heat it was done in a way where we could use our imaginations. Samantha always wore the cuntiest biased cut Dior night clothes, that fit her like an evening gown. She was a verrrrry caucasion woman with a true flair about her. Perhaps thats what drew me in as well. I was surrounded by these dreary white women in my community. Very few of them posessed MAGIC!!! Barbara Eden was cute, but very DUMB as Jeannie. Samantha was a strong woman who CHOSE to curb her witchcraft in search of peacefulness with her man. Serena was brought in to really add the kick that Jeannie provided on a different network. Elizabeth Montgomery was a very fine actress and comedienne.
Dick York was a loveable flusterd Darrin. David White brilliant as Larry Tate. And who could forget Marion Lorne?? As Aunt Clara she was soooo loveable and precious. I lived for the Kravitz's across the street. Both actresses that played Gladys were fabulous, but I have to say the original who lost her fight with cancer during the show was my fave. I was more fond of the second Louise Tate (Casey Rogers). She was just more attractive to me. More believeable as a bored Connecticut housewife. I always LIVED to see Samantha in her flying dress. I got equally excited when she served as Queen of the Witches. The shots of The Cosmos Cotillion were fabulous. The lighting and the mossy trees with the groovy music. Just wonderful.

"We live in music, in a flash of color, we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star."
Endora describing the life of a witch
The sexual edge sums up the major difference between Jeannie and Bewitched. I Dream of Jeannie had the psychedlic/free love 60s feel running through everything with Jeannie and Major Nelson basically living in sin (that is, until they got married later in the series) and Jeannie playing a thinly veiled sex slave with her cleavage and bimbo persona. She called her man "master", wore more provacative outfits and obediently retreated to her bottle when Major Nelson had had enough. Their relationship was more former frat boy and kept woman rather than mates, and even the men came off as more archetypal masculine in their uniforms.

Bewitched on the other hand had a more buttoned-up mid-60s vibe, with those traces of formalism leftover from the 1950s and Camelot era societies. Samantha was decidedly more independent, with her own ideas on how to raise little Tabitha. And her witchcraft was the great equalizer to Darin's breadwinner status, putting a big twist on their traditional suburban trappings. Samantha would never be like other homemakers. Samantha had beauty, brains and style.

One thing about both shows that alternately fascinated and annoyed me as a child was the trend of putting the lead actress in a black wig to play the mischievous evil sister/cousin. I loved the dual role thing and the sexy and wonton playfulness of the dark-haired dopplegangers, but as a high yella dark-haired daughter I sometimes was a little miffed that the blondes were always the "good" girls -- what message was being sent, if any? In retrospect I choose to see it as harmless.

And though Major Nelson and his buddy Major Healy did look fetching in their uniforms, I preferred Darin #1 in his suit. Geeky, slender .... a tiger in bed indeed. I could totally understand why Samantha liked him.
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Sweetie-- So thrilled that you started this topic. Now where's Randella?

I, too, absolutely lived for Bewitched growing up. When I was 6, I named my first cat after Samantha. And about eight years ago, i adopted another cat -- all black -- so what else could I call her besides Serena?

Gosh, there's just so much to say. Where to start? Well, here's a bit of news: Elizabeth will be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year. I found out through my friend Jennifer, who grew up with Elizabeth Montgomery's neice, Megan. I was so thrilled when several months ago Jennifer and I were out and Megan called on her cell...and I got to talk to her. The first thing I asked is what the family thinks about Nicole Kidman as the front-runner to play her aunt in the Bewitched movie, if it ever happens... Megan said they were all flabbergasted when Nicole's name came up, because Megan has a sister who has been told for years that she looks like Nicole Kidman. And if you caught the Entertainment Weekly cover of Nicole this past January, you can really see her resemblance to Elizabeth. I have had it sitting on my desk at work, and someone actually thought it was Elizabeth, at first glance...

When I was about 11, my dad got a video camera, and it brought a whole new dimension to "playing Bewitched." I figured out that if i put it on a tripod and started it recording, i could hit pause, move things around in the room, and start recording again, and when the video was played back, it would appear as if things had magically moved around. So, I cast my sister as Samantha and dressed her up in some of my mom's old outfits from the 60s, and I enlisted some other neighborhood kids to play the other characters. My little Bewitched shows were always just silly snippets like my sister walking through the backyard, complaining about how hot it was, and that she'd rather be someplace else. She'd snap her fingers, i'd stop recording, she'd run out of the scene, and I'd start recording again, very careful not to move the camera at all. On TV, she would appear to have vanished... In other scenarios, she would complain to "Darren" how messy the house sis and i would throw clothes and toys all over my room, then as Samantha, she'd cite an incantation to clean things up, I'd stop recording, fix everything, and voila! Like magic -- a clean house. How gay!

And you mentioned the themes of tolerance. The show really tackled many social topics so smartly... One of my fave episodes is when Tabitha brings home a friend, a little black girl. Tabitha wants to be black like her friend, I think so they can be "sisters." But instead, she comes up with a fabulous idea: she puts big white spots all over her friend's body, and puts big brown spots all over her own. I thought that was just marvelous.
I loved Bewitched as a child as well. My first time seeing the show was going down the street to Maria Falvey's house and watching it at noon with her mother on the tv in the kitchen, so that must have when I was 5 or 6. She too would make us soup and sandwiches and we would watch. Alas, my flamboyant nature even at that age eventually fried Mrs Falvey's Catholic nerves and I wasn't allowed to play with her anymore (though not understanding this at all at the time, I just thought she was a mean old witch then), but in retrospect maybe it was when she caught me putting on Maria's coronation or convocation dress (whatever that catholic ceremony is for kids) that was the proverbial last straw.

My old fat black cat, who used to be so sleek and pretty, is named Serena too, after Samantha's cousin, and she is who I really loved. She was smart, sassy, naughty, and unlike Samantha, reveled in her powers. She would go to mod parties, sing crazy kooky songs (Ifin'!), and wear vulgarly chic outfits. And she would read Derwood all the time, and to me funnier than Endora would. She is who I lived for on the show. Paul Lynde too had me in stitches, and of course I had a natural affinity to his colloquial shenanigans because he was just so gay (and I always loved him in center square on the original Hollywood Squares too).

Though I loved both shows as a child, and probably for different reasons, but I Dream of Jeannie was my favorite (heresy in this topic I fear). I think the suburban household of Bewitched was so much like my own (minus witchcraft and kooky relatives), and Darren was my so much like my father (dull, dreary, pragmatic, and always with a cocktail or two after work), that I yearned for something more enticing or at least didn't resemble the world I was in back then. And the Jeannie premise appealed in that aspect- she had her powers, her bottle, and her master. Who wouldn't have wanted a dominant Larry Hagman in his Captain (then later Major) uniform to come home and just give it to you? And she lived in Florida in Cocoa Beach which was near Daytona where my grandmother lived, who always let me do what I wanted in play and fantasy games (I was her fave admittedly) and she never chastized me for being effete, thus another positive association. Larry Hagman was so cute then (but not so in his Dallas years, by then I had lost all attraction to him), and the perfect foil for a pretty blonde in harem pants and ponytail fall! I literally creamed when they got married, and I so wanted to be her. One of my many games with the neighborhood boys was to play Jeannie and Major Nelson and re-create their wedding (other games included Mata Hari, Batgirl, and Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, with each of these games always ending up with me wanting the boys to kiss me in whatever characters I had assigned them, which didn't go over so well sometimes).

I had all kinds of bottles, and to this day am still fascinated with vases that resemble Jeannie's bottles, which I would pretend was my home, and my closet was the inside of the bottle. I would sashay about, blink, and go into my bottle, and well you could imagine the games I played. By the age of 8 or so, this had plucked my parents nerves to the point where they sent me to a child psychologist (who turned out to be the father of one of my classmates in 3rd grade, but I was oblivious to what the implications of what this meant at that tender age). I guess there was no chapter in Dr Spock's book (any 60's mother bible on childrearing) on boys who act like girls. The shrink was supposed to fix me or figure why I acted that way. It didn't last long in my recollection, and I don't think it did much. What's wrong with a child who wants to wear lipstick (garish orange I remember my mother wore) and wanted harem pants for his birthday? I never got the point really. My mother would castigate me for playing Jeannie, which drove me to do it in secret, which led to other behaviors (like putting on her clothes, heels, and wig when she was out). I will state that lasted until I went to college and then started doing it very publicly.

My sense is that regardless of whether we are Bewitched or Jeannie fans, and that debate could rage on endlessly without any final dramatic conclusion (despite TV Land's pronouncement that Samantha was more powerful), the magic is what appealed to those of us who were on the fringes of what was considered "normal." Or at least it was for me. Having a magical power that could fix things (or take the pain away) seemed like a fantasy solution to all my problems, and perhaps that was the appeal. I think Sweetie's statement that the show taught her to look for the magic in everything is more the message that both these shows, unwittingly or perhaps very knowingly, promulgated to the masses of 60s television viewing public, and later in the 70s & 80s in reruns, which thankfully are still shown today. The quest for magic lives on in the world of cable television, hopefully inspiring new youngsters today to look for that magic as well.

I did finally get those harem pants which were snatched from my sister (who got them as a gift from one of my father's business associates from India), but I was 18 at the time, right before I went to college. They were a cranberry mauve color, and I wore them with a ripped white sweatshirt, white capezios, and a hoop earring with a key dangling from it, and of course I had on eyeliner. As I left the house for DC's main gay bar at the time- the Lost & Found, my parents didn't comment nor even blink really. But I knew what they were thinking, and I didn't care. The pants were 10 years late and not a birthday present, but I finally had them.

[This message was edited by randella on 08-31-03 at 12:19 PM.]
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Not to stray too far from the BEWITCHED topic here but I actually got teary reading your post Randella. I am glad you got you harem pants. God I love reading these stories that validate so much of my early years, and tell me there were so many others like myself. Maybe if you had been put in a play group of little sissies, you could have found identification and commeraderie with little boys like yourself. Too progreesive for the early 70's I suppose. I remember wandering the aisles endlessly every Halloween season at the D&C Dime Store and repeatedly passing the Jeannie and Samantha costumes that came pre-boxed with cheesy acetate tie back step ins and a plastic masks. I longed to be Samamntha soooooo bad. To wear that BEWTICHED logo emblazoned across my chest in silver glitter and don the face that appeared in the cartoon beginning. I would rummage EVERY year for what seemed several, for a Serena or a Jeannies Bad Sister costume. NEVER found one. I use to have vivid dreams that I would sit on a cloud above the heads and attention of my family in our family room. I also used to have almost out of body like dreams of me flying thru the night skies over brightly lit cities. I was always in what I now recognize as a "flying" dress. The thrill of those big booming, lightning splatterd and whirling wind entrances of the more powerful or sinister characters always took my breath away. To this day, the feel of a wild wind is very sensual to me. I use to try every so often to test my "witchcraft". As if by some mistake I had overlooked it previously. I would concentrate hard on an object in the livingroom. Mostly big crystal ashtrays or cumbersome table lamps and WILL them to move for me. NEVER ONCE!!! Playing Samantha AND Jeannie (only after we got our round playpen sectional couches in the early 70's) would take up endless hours with my friends Cindy and Billy and Scooby. Billy and Scooby were always Darrin and Larry or Tony and Roger. Of course I always starred and Cindy could be anyone from Aunt Clara to Tabitha to Amanda Bellows. A burgeoning dyke, Cindy and I would also play Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors. Cindy made a great Lee Majors. She had a big haired babydoll who was little FAWN our child, and I always insisted in putting blue pool cue chalk on her eyelids because she was a young fashion model ala Brooke Shields. I remember Billy and I walking up to my mother one afternoon as she chatted with my Grandmother on the phone, and I had to break the news that I was pregnant. My mother almost dropped her teeth as I was about 7 at the time. I told her I would be expecting and she should be prepared if it was born a witch and she would have to love it all the same. She came unglued. After 3 butch little rough housing boys, here I was her baby boy and pregnant at 7!!
Oh GOD!!!!! Well my being "different" only stregnthend my bond with my mother as she fought very hard to understand who I was and to nurture WHOMEVER I was going to be. My mom until she passed would share BEWITCHED tidbits with me from time to time as she would come across them in articles or whatever. She knew how much Samantha meant to me, and would tease me about "popping" out when I got angry as a child. God Bless Elizabeth Montgomery!!!!!!!!!
God rest Elizabeth Montgomery since she died of rectal cancer in 1995, but Barbara Eden is still around.

I think both of these shows caught the zeitgiest of the time in different ways and this accounts for their success and longer life in rerun and cableland. But clearly, their hold of millions of people's interest into the 21st century is a credit to our fascination with the convergence of mortal meeting magic.

Though Bewitched was first on television, it was based on the two movies Bell, Book and Candle and I Married a Witch. Jeannie premiered shortly thereafter, but Sidney Sheldon based the show on the movie The Brass Bottle starring Barbara Eden, Burl Ives, and Tony Randall. So they were not carbons of each other, nor a rip-off, just a capturing of the public's conciousness. Both were filmed on the same lot, but Bewitched was the bigger show which lasted longer (7 seasons vs Jeannie's 5), and Elizabeth Montgomery the bigger star.

But more fascinating is that across the nation, little girly boys (like those of us posting here in this topic) were literally enchanted by these shows, so much so that it persisted into our adult lives with strong and entrenched memories. My stars, these shows were part of our lives 30 years ago! My Jeannie Mod Party doll is one of my prized possessions (thank you Sweetie).

I wish there had been playgroups for us sissyboys when we were growing up, as it would have made things so much easier. But then would not have been enough parts to go around! It could have been quite dicey AND catty- who gets to play Samanatha and who Jeannie? And then not enough innocent straight boys to play the roles of the men in these shows. I don't know if that would have been the answer (much like I don't think the segregation induced by the Harvey Milk High School is the answer either). I would rather have seen acceptance and tolerance to our fantasy games- from parents, teachers, neighbors, not raised eyebrows and isolationism ("you can't play with shim anymore"). Alas, we can't change the past. Later on in childhood around 11 and 12, when my fascination moved to the Bionic Woman, and I had found 3 other like minded individuals (meaning they were gay but we didn't know nor understand that term yet), we played being bionic, but all 4 of us were Jaime Sommers running and jumping in slow motion, but we had no one who wanted to play Steve Austin. The straight boys had moved on to football, soccer, basketball, and whatever other competitive sport I just couldn't bare to play, because I sucked, which brought on ridicule blah blah blah. Ironically, later on in life, I learned to suck in other ways that brought the boys back to play with me. Interesting how that dynamic continues on into my adult life to this day (the straight boys want nothing to do with me in public, but they will play with me in secret).

These posts are testament to our fascination with magic, and I think we all want magic so we can fantasize about fixing the things in our society that have traumatized us (or at least me)- intolerance and ridicule. Whether it be with the blink of the eyes, the twinkle of the nose, or recitation of an incantation- that is the fascination with both I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched.

If only Samantha could have cast this spell:

Sun, stars, wind and tide
In the heavens where you abide,
Before your powers, we do bow
Bring peace, tolerance & acceptance here and now
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Of the two shows, Bewitched was definitely my favorite. Though I watched (and enjoyed) Jeannie too, of course.
One reason, I think, was its setting. Bewitched was so real to me because it could have happened anywhere. Even in suburbia. Although few of us actually grew up in such well-manicured surroundings, even fewer lived in Florida like Major Nelson, worked for NASA, and flew in space. Which seemed to make Jeannie more of a fantasy.
My fave cast member on Jeannie? Amanda Bellows. I guess I was born to love the character roles!
Funny, in retrospect, that Jeannie made those frequent trips to Baghdad to consult with "Hadji" though...
Bewitched had this definite gay subtext, which is why it struck a chord with all of us young homos. Acceptance, living in the closet, getting outed-- it's all in there. Aunt Clara even frequently entered through a closet!
Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't 90% of the Bewitched cast Gay and Lesbian? One or both of the Darrens, Agnes Moorehead, Paul Lynde, Maurice Evans (known for a bit of buggery himself.) And I am sure that the writers were too. They had to be. Seems the only straight cast member was Liz. And she was very gay friendly; you might even have said she was a fag hag, if you knew waht that was back then.
And the acting! A larger ensemble of dyed-in-the-wool hams has never been seen outside of the Novellas on Telemundo. The shameless mugging and scene stealing was non-stop. Loved it, of course!

"Calling Dr. Bombay! Calling Dr. Bombay!
Emergency! Come right away!"
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I can see Jim Carrey mugging like Dick York, and I imagine Nicole could be a good Samantha (after seing her in "The Hours" I believe she could be a good anything). Sweetie or Miss Understood could be good Endoras.

TV Land has been showing the old black & white Bewitched epsiodes and some of them were so funny! I think they were better directed and it was probably fresher for the actors then too. A particularly funny episode I recently saw: "Two Larry Tates." I loved the show all the way to its end though, and I think that Elizabeth Montgomery was largely responsible for its successs.
Bunny is a shoe in for the role. Her ass is so rotten, no prosthesis would be necessary.
I hear QueerDonna had a kai kai lover, who loved to be a rim piggy. Some East Village queen who does a fierce "JAZZ BABY" and a rousing rendition of "BOOBS". I wonder if anyone knows those songs well enough to get the role?? Hmmmmmm.
Helen Mirren would make a great Endora. Or Angelica Houston with a little make-up. I do hope Serena makes an appearance in the script someplace. A trip to the Witches council would be wonderful!! I personally would love to see the guy who won the Oscar last year be Darren(cannot remember his name) Tall, thin, huge nose, smooched Halle Berry really good? Even Eric McCormack from will and Grace would be an interesting choice. I have even ponderd Crispin Glover as a wonderfully odd Darren. Wheres this info coming from btw? Would love to be kept abreast.
hmm. From TV Guide:

BEWITCHING DUO: It's official: Nicole Kidman has signed on to star opposite Will Ferrell in Columbia Pictures' big-screen adaptation of Bewitched. But before you get too excited about this magical pairing, keep in mind that Nora Ephron "” who hasn't made a decent film since Sleepless in Seattle in 1993 "” is on board to direct.

oh, and Sweetie, info from my last post was from Internet Movie Database IMDB
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"Caine and MacLaine Hope To Be 'Bewitched'"

My stars! Shirley MacLaine as Endora?? Let's hope!

From WENN:

Veteran screen stars Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine are in talks to star alongside Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell in the big screen version of '60s classic TV comedy Bewitched. MacLaine is in negotiations to take on the role of Endora, the meddling mother of Kidman's loveable witch character Samantha, while Caine is hoping to play Samantha's father. If their negotiations are successful, Caine and MacLaine will appear onscreen together for the first time since they both starred in the 1966 film Gambit.
Now really, I think they are only going about a third of the way with this concept of reviving a classic 60's comedy. They should do it as one of those 'road episodes' where the regular weekly cast goes to, like, Miami Beach, or Disneyland. Except this movie should be done like a freakin convention. It should be Bewitched, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, All in the Family, Adam 12, Leave it to Beaver, I Dream of Jeannie, Beverly Hillbillies, The Munsters, and My Favorite Martian All Go to, like, Atlantic City! Directed by Woody Allen or at least Moe, Curly and Larry. Theme song by Elvis Costello. Costumed by Walmart. I see Anna Nicole Smith doing Zsa Zsa's part; Snoop Dog as Arnold the Pig; Governor Ahhnold as Herman Munster; Ozzy as Cousin It; Flava Flav as Jethro Bodeen; Dan Rather as Granny; Sarah Nicole Geller as both Jeannie and Elie Mae; Destiny's Child as the Petticoat sisters; and Pee Wee Herman as the Martian. Sponsored by Hoffman La-Roche, Squibb, Glaxo Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, Red Bull and Clap On.

I'm sorry. Ask me to take my good old fashioned Thorazine.
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