Bewitched – Not So Secret Obsession

Trying to decide which photo to use for Bewitched was nearly impossible.  I decided going with the title shot was easiest and would not hurt any feelings.  My sister and I religiously watched Bewitched in reruns when we were kids, it was one of our favorites.  I think it was because of the imagination it took to create the show.  That, and we probably wanted to have magic powers.

Original channel: ABC
Original run: September 17, 1964 – July 1, 1972

Bewitched is an American situation comedy originally broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York (1964–69), Dick Sargent (1969–72), Agnes Moorehead, and David White. The show is about a witch who marries a mortal and tries to lead the life of a typical suburban housewife. Bewitched enjoyed great popularity, finishing as the number two show in America during its debut season. The show continues to be seen throughout the world in syndication and on DVD and was the longest-running supernatural-themed sitcom of the 1960s–1970s era.

In 2002, Bewitched was ranked #50 on “TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time“. In 1997, the same magazine ranked the season 2 episode “Divided He Falls” #48 on their list of the “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time”.

A young-looking witch named Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) meets and marries a mortal named Darrin Stephens (originally Dick York, later Dick Sargent). While Samantha pledges to forsake her powers and become a typical suburban housewife, her magical family disapproves of the mixed marriage and frequently interferes in the couple’s lives. Episodes often begin with Darrin becoming the victim of a spell, the effects of which wreak havoc with mortals such as his boss, clients, parents, and neighbors. By the epilogue, however, Darrin and Samantha most often embrace, having overcome the devious elements that failed to separate them.

The witches, most having names ending with the soft “-a” sound, and their male counterparts, known as “warlocks”, are very long-lived; while Samantha appears to be in her twenties, many episodes suggest she is actually hundreds of years old. To keep their society secret, witches avoid showing their powers in front of mortals other than Darrin. Nevertheless, the perplexing inexplicable effects of their spells and Samantha’s attempts to hide their supernatural origin from mortals drive the plot of most episodes. Witches and warlocks usually use physical gestures along with their magical spells, and sometimes spoken incantations. Most notably, Samantha often twitches her nose to perform a spell. Modest but effective special visual effects are accompanied by music to highlight the magic.

The main setting for most scenes is the Stephens’ house at 1164 Morning Glory Circle (Although the address changes in “How Green Was My Grass” to 192 Morning Glory Circle). Many scenes also take place at the Madison Avenue advertising agency “McMann and Tate” for which Darrin works. The Stephens’ home is located in a nearby upper-middle-class suburban neighborhood, either in Westport, Connecticut or within New York State, as indicated by conflicting information presented throughout the series.

In The Simpsons episode “Duffless”, the advertising agency the feminists are protesting is called “McMahon and Tate Advertising”. In a segment of the Halloween episode “Treehouse of Horror VIII“, Marge Simpson portrays a witch in old Salem who is living as a mortal with her husband, Homer. When she is discovered and returns to her sister witches, one states, “So, you finally left Durwood.”

In the Family Guy episode, “The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire“, Stewie puts on an episode of Bewitched that has Darrin throwing holy water on Endora as payback for all the spells she’s cast on him. Cleveland, angered at Quagmire for sleeping with Loretta, shouts “I hate Bewitched!” and flips the couch over with Stewie on it in a fit of rage.

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