US tv series (1964-1972). ABC/Screen Gems. Pr William Asher (1921-2012). Exec pr Harry Ackerman. Dir Asher, Ida Lupino, William D Russell and others. Spfx Dick Albain. Writers Sol Saks and many others. Created by Saks. Starring Maurice Evans (Maurice), Alice Ghostley (Esmeralda), Marion Lorne (Aunt Clara), Paul Lynde (Uncle Arthur), Elizabeth Montgomery (Serena/Samantha Stephens), Agnes Moorehead (Endora), Dick Sargent (Darrin Stephens 1969-1972), David White (Larry Tate), Dick York (Darrin Stephens 1964-1969). 254 25min episodes. Colour.
Samantha marries ad-agency man Darrin, confessing she is a Witch only after the wedding; he entreats her never to use her Magic powers again, and she acquiesces. For almost all of an astonishing 254 episodes of this sitcom the same basic formula was repeated: early in the episode Samantha succumbs to temptation, often with the encouragement of her similarly talented relatives (see Talents), and for the remainder of the time she and Darrin attempt to cover up the truth behind the consequences. What made this immensely popular show so much better than it sounds was the inventiveness with which its huge array of screenwriters (upwards of 40, including the young Larry Cohen) manipulated the formula.
B was shamelessly imitated by NBC with I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970); a further offshoot was Tabitha (1977-1978), a short-lived series starring Lisa Hartman as the Stephens's daughter, now adult and working for a tv station. The movie Bewitched (1945) is quite unrelated. [JG]