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INFO VINE * 50 Little-Known Facts About Bewitched *

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INFO VINE *  50 Little-Known Facts About Bewitched * Empty INFO VINE * 50 Little-Known Facts About Bewitched *

Post by Paul Wed 31 Jan 2024, 8:01 am

50 Little-Known Facts About Bewitched






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Photo Courtesy: [ABC/Twitter]
The sitcom Bewitched ran from 1964 until 1972 and starred Elizabeth Montgomery. Montgomery played Samantha, who's a witch that married a mortal man and vowed to live a normal life as a suburban housewife. However, her magical powers seem to always get in the way, causing hilarious situations. The show was extremely popular and continues to be watched through syndication and on the internet. Bewitched even inspired other sitcoms, including I Dream of Jeannie.





Elizabeth Montgomery Was Not The Sitcom's First Choice For The Lead Role


Originally, the creator of Bewitched, Sol Saks, wanted actress Tammy Grimes to play the lead role of the witch as Cassandra instead of Samantha. However, Grimes was still under contract to Screen Gems and was unavailable. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


So, they went to Elizabeth Montgomery to play the role of Samantha. She, of course, took the role and helped make the show a major hit. She also ended up marrying the director of the show.


Actual Alcoholic Drinks Were Used On The Show


The actors on the show actually drank real alcoholic drinks on set. It was very common during the 1960s for actors to drink alcohol onset and while filming. The actors would drink a good amount on the show and, for some reason, would still consume more than necessary during their drinking scenes. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images]


It even got to the point where the audience started to recognize how much they were drinking and would play games to keep track. Nowadays, the actors usually drink water or juice in place of alcohol.


The Reason Dick York Left The Show Was Due To Chronic Back Pain


Dick York played the role of Darrin Stephens in Bewitched but left after season five due to chronic back problems. "Gary Cooper and I were propelling a handcar carrying several wounded men down the railroad track. I was on the bottom stroke of this sort of teeter-totter mechanism that made the handcar run. I was just lifting the handle up as the director yelled cut, and one of the wounded cast members reached up and grabbed the handle."


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


"I was suddenly, jarringly, lifting his entire weight off the flatbed, 180 pounds or so. The muscles along the right of my back tore. They just snapped and let loose. And that was the start of it all: the pain, the painkillers, the addiction, and the lost career." ------ Dick York. He tried to work with it as long as he could, but one day he went in to work with a 105-degree fever. Because of the flickering of a light, it triggered him, and he ended up having a massive seizure and never returned to the show.


Dick Sargent As The New Darrin


After Dick York left due to health problems, Dick Sargent took over the role of Darrin. His name was a stage name that he had taken from an Evening Post illustrator of the same name. He was actually Richard Stanford Cox, and he played Darrin for the last three seasons of the show. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Agnes Moorehead played the role of Endora, Samantha's mother, and she didn't like the new Darrin, as she was close friends with Dick York. Also, Elizabeth Montgomery wanted to leave after York left the show.


The Sitcom Was Interrupted By Two Assassinations


Bewitched filming was interrupted by two different tragic events. First, in 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Montgomery had a hard time filming for the pilot episode. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


After the incident was announced, they had to call off filming because both Montgomery and Bill Asher were friends with JFK. Then in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and that also halted another episode.


Richard Crenna Was Almost Darrin


Richard Crenna was the producer's second choice to play Darrin Stephens. However, he was busy with another role on the show The Real McCoys. Richard Donald Crenna was an award-winning television, motion picture, and radio director. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Getty Images/Staff/Getty Images]


Dick York was then chosen to play the role of Darrin Stephens. York had an impressive list of acting credits in film, on TV, and on Broadway. His role in They Came To Cordura changed his life forever and made his role in Bewitched possible.


Samantha Didn't Actually Wiggle Her Nose


Elizabeth Montgomery played Samantha in Bewitched, but she never actually wiggled her nose. Instead, it was a camera trick that made her nose wiggle. Samantha would wiggle her nose when she was practicing magic. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


She would twitch her nose to let the audience know that she would be casting a spell, usually to help her husband. Montgomery couldn't wiggle her nose, so those scenes were done with a camera trick.


Dick Sargent Was The First Choice To Play Darrin


Dick Sargent was the producer's top choice to play Darrin, but he was under contract at that time and could not take the role. He was a regular on Broadside, which was the studio's spin-off of McHale's Navy


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


However, in 1969, Dick York left the show because of a debilitating back injury, and Sargent was hired to replace him as Darrin Stephens. He played the role for the remaining three seasons and then steadily worked in television and film during the '80s and '90s.


Montgomery Grew Tired Of The Show


After five seasons, Elizabeth Montgomery grew tired of the show and wanted to leave. She felt that she had done all that she possibly could do with her character Samantha and was tired of the same old thing. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


However, after many discussions and negotiations with the producers, Montgomery agreed to come back for the final three seasons with a hefty raise and part ownership. Sadly, her performances in the last three seasons were blah, and the spark was gone.


Montgomery Was Married To The Director, William Asher


Elizabeth Montgomery was married to William Asher, Bewitched director. They had children together and created a brilliant television show together. The couple met on the set of the 1963 film Johnny Cool, which she starred in and he directed. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Sadly, their marriage was eventually on the rocks, and they had separated by the end of the show's final season. Montgomery and Asher divorced in 1973 after being married for ten years.


Elizabeth Montgomery Played Multiple Roles


Elizabeth Montgomery actually played multiple roles on the sitcom Bewitched. She mainly plays the character Samantha, but she also played the witch's cousin, Serena. Serena had a more trendy fashion style and a strong passion for practicing witchcraft. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


She was more of a hippy and wore a black wig. In the show's end credits, she was listed as Pandora Spocks. Serena was not seen in season one, but she made appearances in all of the seven other seasons.


Endora Left The Show In An Act Of Solidarity


Endora was Samantha's mother in the television sitcom Bewitched. The character was quick-witted, sassy, and had bright red hair that usually clashed with her clothing choices. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Anges Moorehead played the role of Endora, and she developed a close friendship with Dick York. However, when York left the show, she decided that it was time for her to leave as well. She felt that she owed him the loyalty of leaving.


Episodes Weren't Filmed Chronologically


It is common for shows and even movies to be filmed in random order or out of order. Sometimes the fourth episode is filmed after the seventh episode, but there is usually a reason, and it makes sense to the director or producer. This frequently happened with the television sitcom Bewitched. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


The show's episodes weren't filmed chronologically. Some reasons why episodes are filmed out of order could be due to an actor's schedule or using a location for different episodes but not all of the episodes.


Elizabeth Montgomery's Pregnancies Got Written Into The Show


Elizabeth was pregnant while filming Bewitched several times, and the first pregnancy was hidden during season one. However, when she was pregnant with her second child, the writers decided to incorporate that into the show's story. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


When Montgomery had her baby, a son, in 1965, Samantha also gave birth on the show but she had a daughter named Tabatha. Her pregnancy with her third child was also in the script and culminated in Samantha having a son, Adam. She was pregnant a total of three times while filming Bewitched.


Several Different Children Played Tabitha


Several young children played the role of Tabitha. In season two, the role was played by five different babies, and by season five, the role was taken solely by Erin Murphy and occasionally her twin sister Diane. The first to play Tabitha was Cynthia Black when she was only two and a half weeks. She first appeared in the episode "And Then There Were Three." 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Then it was the twins, Heidi and Laura Gentry, who played Tabitha in the episode "My Baby the Tycoon." Finally, another set of twins, Tamar and Julie Young, played Tabitha for the rest of season two. Season three showed Tabitha growing up, and that is when Erin and Diane Murphy started to play the role.


Bewitched Was The Longest-Running Supernatural-Based Sitcom Show


There were several fantasy sitcoms in the 1960s, including I Dream of Jeannie, The Addams Family, and The Munsters. However, Bewitched lasted longer than all of them, lasting eight seasons and two hundred and fifty-four episodes. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Bewitched was the last of that genre to be still airing when its final episode was aired in 1972. Around that time, sitcoms that focused more on social realism became the new popular trend for television, such as All In the Family.


It Is Ranked 50 Out Of The 50 Most Popular TV Shows Of All Time


The fact that Bewitched only ran for eight seasons, had several recastings, endured tumultuous ups and downs, and the fact that it kept viewers for decades speaks to how much the show was really loved. It also shows how much love went into its production. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images]


There was great chemistry between the cast, fun and entertaining writing, and a unique premise. In 2002, the publication TV Guide ranked Bewitched fifty out of the fifty most popular TV shows of all time.


Samantha Is Seen As Pushing Boundaries For Women On Television


Women usually had very specific roles to play in the early days of television. They typically played housewives that were unhappy in their marriages and then criticized them as being stupid and unattractive. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


However, the character Samantha turned the stereotypes on their heads by helping businesses through her magical powers and taking an active role in her life. The show was groundbreaking at the time because it took a hard look at gender roles.


The Show Inspired I Dream Of Jeannie


The television sitcom Bewitched was very influential in many ways. Bewitched inspired I Dream of Jeannie, which came out a year after Bewitched. There were several similarities, such as the magical wife figure and the straight-laced husband who was devoted to his wife. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Brian Ach/Contributor/Getty Images]


However, even though it inspired I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched outlasted the show by a few years. I Dream of Jeannie aired from 1965 until 1970, running for five seasons and one hundred and thirty-nine episodes.


Where They Lived May Surprise You


When you think of the Stephens' lovely large home with the amazing lawn, you think of different places around the country that it could be located in. However, it's shocking to find out that the state that their home is located in is New York, which was shown in episode twenty-six. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC/Twitter]


It's probably not where most people thought it would be, but it does explain why the Mets are Samantha's favorite baseball team, but it must've meant that Darrin had a long commute.


There Is A Lot Of Green In The Show


Once the show was switched to color, it was easy to start noticing that there was a lot of green. There is a long association of the color green with witchcraft and magic, and the producers used it to their advantage by making much of the home's decor green. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Samantha's wardrobe was also usually green, while others on the show also wore green often. Several characters like the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz are associated with green as well.


Darrin And Samantha Had A Quick Wedding


For the characters Samantha and Darrin, their courtship was very quick. Within a few minutes of the show starting, the two met, fell in love, and were married. 


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Samantha also didn't mention during that time that she was a witch, and neither one of them met each other's parents until later in the show. Several episodes later, they meet Samantha's mom and dad and then Darrin's parents, but in three separate episodes.


The Theme Song Had Accompanying Lyrics


The Bewitched theme song had its own lyrics; they just never appeared on television. The producers wanted an original theme for the opening credits along with vocals, which were composed by Howard Greenfield. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Greenfield is known for writing songs such as "Calendar Girl" and "Is This the Way to Amarillo." The Bewitched theme song ended up being covered by a number of well-known recording artists such as Peggy Lee. However, in the end, they decided not to use the vocals in order to cut costs.


The Opening And Closing Credits Originally Contained Ads


When Bewitched first started to air, the opening and closing sequence of credits would contain a little advertisement, also known as a paid sponsorship. There was a voiceover at the end of the original animated opening that would read out the name of a brand. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Then, at the end of the show and after the credits, there was a small cartoon for their sponsor. The ads or paid sponsorships have been removed for syndication.


Chevrolet Cars Were Common On The Show


It was just as common in the 1960s for there to be sponsors or ads on television as it is today. Bewitched had a very visible association with car manufacturer Chevrolet. Several of the cars that appeared on the show were Chevrolets, including the Stephens' own Chevelle Malibu. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


As the seasons went on, the Chevrolet Malibu was replaced by the Chevrolet Corvair and the Chevrolet Camaro. The cast also appeared in commercials for Chevrolet, as Bewitched relied heavily on its sponsors.


There Were Issues With Syndication


In the 1980s, shows like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie were syndicated by the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample Program Exchange. However, when they started to replay episodes, it was noticed that the first few seasons were omitted from broadcast. 


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DFS passed over the first few seasons because they were in black and white. The fans launched a campaign in order to get the whole show aired, and they were successful in getting the black and white seasons syndicated as well.


Supporting Cast Had To Dress Themselves


In the 1960s, everyone except for the main cast had to dress themselves. The supporting cast would be informed, before shooting each day, what exactly they needed to be wearing and they would arrive dressed accordingly. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


A personal item that Agnes Moorehead, Endora, wore throughout her time on the show was a starburst brooch. Elizabeth Montgomery admired the brooch, and when Anges died in 1974, she left the diamond brooch to Elizabeth.


The House Still Stands On The Warner Brother's Ranch Lot


The Stephens' home in the show Bewitched was actually only a facade, but it is still in the Hollywood lot in Burbank. The lot has changed hands since the show was originally aired, and now the house can be seen in other shows and commercials. 


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Photo Courtesy: [warnerbros/Twitter]


The house is famous for being beautiful with pretty wooden paneling and a well-kept, lush green lawn. However, it's not really located in a neighborhood; it sits on the Warner Brother's Hollywood Lot.


Many Of The Witches And Warlocks Didn't Have Last Names


Bewitched had lots of spellbinding names for its characters, such as Enchantra and Grimalda. However, many of the warlocks and witches that appeared on Bewitched rarely ever had a last name. 


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Samantha's mother, Endora, did say that she had a last name but never revealed what it was. She just told Darrin that he wouldn't be able to pronounce it when he asked what her last name was. Other than Endora, the majority did not have a surname.


The Myth Of The Lavendar Lady Is Likely Just A Myth


Samantha was always quite fashionable and was always wearing the latest designs, but her mother wore the same outfit over and over. She wore a green smock that clashed with her red hair and a mauve underdress under the smock. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Because of her outfit and the fact that it never changed, fans thought that she was known as the Lavender Lady on set because they thought her mauve smock was lavender. However, Agnes only wore it around set occasionally, and the nickname was unlikely.


Maureen McCormick Played Two Endoras


Maureen McCormick, also known as Marcia Brady, was in Bewitched and played two separate Endoras. First, young Maureen appeared in the show as Samantha and Darrin's daughter Endora during the fantasy sequence and was named after her maternal grandfather. 


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Then later in the show, she played the actual Endora that was transformed into a young child through magic. Her first character was a figment, and the second is a younger version of another actor.


Aunt Clara Collected Door Knobs 


In Bewitched, Marion Lorne played the bumbling and forgetful Aunt Clara, who is Samantha's favorite aunt. When she would visit, she would usually come down the chimney, and she was a little unusual because she collected doorknobs. 


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That storyline was actually based on Lorne's passion for collecting doorknobs. The actress had over a thousand antique doorknobs, and some were used as props on the set of Bewitched. Marion Lorne appeared as Aunt Clara in twenty-seven episodes but sadly died in 1968.


Four Countries Have Tried To Remake Bewitched


There have been four different countries that have tried to recreate Bewitched throughout the years, with India being the first in 2002. They attempted a remake, naming it Meri Biwi Wonderful, which means my wonderful wife. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Japan tried to do a remake in 2004 called Okusama Wa Majo, meaning my wife is a witch. Argentina made Hechizada, which meant haunted, in 2007. Lastly, in 2009, Russia made its version titled My Favorite Witch.


There Was A Crossover With The Flintstones


The cast and characters from Bewitched made an appearance on The Flintstones in 1965. The episode was titled "Samantha" and the story showed the Stephens moving to Bedrock and becoming friends with Fred, Wilma, Betty, and Barney. 


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The boys go on a camping trip just for boys, so Samantha sets up a camp with Betty and Wilma to prove that they can also do it. The two shows had a connection through Hanna-Barbera, who created The Flintstones and did Bewitched's opening credits.


Tabitha And Adam And The Clown Family


Bewitched was one of the most popular TV shows and continued to be a favorite even in later seasons. The show's success caused several spinoffs and crossovers. One of its spinoffs was the Hanna-Barbera production Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family


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Photo Courtesy: [cartoonnetwork/Twitter]


It was a cartoon and was based on Samantha and Darrin's children, Adam and Tabitha, traveling with their aunt, who lives in a circus. The cartoon premiered in 1972, but the series never materialized.


Bewitched: The Movie


Bewitched: The Movie was released in 2005 with Will Ferrell playing Darrin and Nicole Kidman playing Samantha. The film doesn't focus on the characters' lives; instead, it is about trying to create a reboot of the show. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Bewitched/IMDb]


The film was not a success with a 24% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and The New York Times called the film "an unmitigated disaster." However, Kidman and Ferrell did receive high praise for their performances even though the film itself didn't do well.


The Show Is Popular Within Media


Bewitched was a show that transcended time, with the show being just as enjoyable today as it was back in the 1960s and 1970s. Because of its popularity, Bewitched has worked its way into other popular forms of media such as movies. 


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For example, the witchy classic film The Craft. In the movie, the main characters, four teenage witches, spend time watching Bewitched. The show has also worked its way onto the internet.


Bewitched Inspired Japan In A Huge Way


One of the most popular, most enduring, and one of the biggest forms of media in Japan is anime. Anime is watched all over the world, and the first anime to really shape the genre was Astro Boy


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Photo Courtesy: [Chris McGrath/Staff/Getty Images]


It was with style inspired by the large-eyed cartoons of Disney, and one of the most widely consumed forms of anime is called magical girl anime. It houses titles like Sailor Moon, which started with the show Sally the Witch. Sally the Witch was inspired by the American sitcom Bewitched.


Creator Sol Saks Was Inspired By Stories Of Witches


Sol Saks was the creator of the sitcom Bewitched and the writer of the pilot episode. He was an experienced radio and television writer who also worked on My Favorite Husband, Ozzie and Harriet, and I Married Joan. 


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Saks stated that when he created Bewitched, he was inspired by two films with witch protagonists: Bell, Book, and Candle and I Married a Witch. Those films had more serious cinematic witches, as where Samantha was more of a comical witch.


The Special Effects Team Had To Get Very Creative


Bewitched was full of special effects, which were much harder in the 1960s with limited technology. Dick Albain ran the special effects team, and they came up with innovative tricks to make all of Samantha's magic look real. 


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An example of the teams' work was Samantha's vacuum that ran by itself; the vacuum had a reversible motor on the bottom instead of brushes, and technicians controlled it using switches offstage. When she would cast a spell to clean the house, the filming would stop so that the crew could come and clean the set, and then filming would begin again.


The Effects Were Hard Work For Montgomery 


Elizabeth Montgomery, at one point, had wires running up her sleeve to make it look like she turned on a lightbulb by herself, and she constantly had to do more strenuous work with special effects. When she would clean the house, she had to make it look like Samantha was cleaning without lifting a finger. 


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Photo Courtesy: [Bewitched/IMDb]


When the crew would come in and clean the kitchen for scenes, she would have to hold her arms up so long that they would ache. She was eventually given crutches so she could rest her arms a bit.


Samantha's Alter Ego Got Her Own Fan Mail


Montgomery played the role of Samantha, but she also played the role of Samantha's twin cousin, Serena. She fooled fans into thinking it was a different actress playing Serena because, in the credits, she had the producers list Pandoro Spocks for her Serena performance. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


As a result, the fans genuinely believed that Serena was played by someone else, and they would send fan mail addressed to Spocks. Montgomery was pushed to her limits playing both characters.


Dick York Required Special Furniture


Dick York suffered a spinal injury in 1959 on the set of the western They Came to Cordura. He continued to have severe back pain for the rest of his life. As a result, the set was supplied with special seating, and the cast and crew would help him move around from room to room. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Towards the end of York's time on the show, it was very common to see his character either sitting or lying down. Eventually, he had to quit working because the pain was just too much, and he wasn't able to do his job.


The Show's Ratings Plummeted With Darrin Number Two


Dick York left the show after the fifth season, and to make the change a little easier to adjust to, the network re-aired fourteen episodes that didn't have Darrin in them. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Dick Sargent took over the role of Darrin at the beginning of the sixth season, and sadly, the hit show plummeted thirteen notches in the rating rankings and never did fully recover. There was also backlash when switching the actors; for example, Agnes Moorhead made her feelings known at the cast's first table read.


Samantha And Endora's Names Come From The Bible


Samantha and Endora's names came from the bible, and the story about King Saul consulting the Witch of Endor to use her powers to connect him with the deceased Samuel. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Endor was a necromancer who was asked by King Saul of Israel to raise the prophet Samuel from the dead. So they changed Samuel to Samantha and Endor to Endora in Bewitched. The name Tabitha in the show was Montgomery's idea because she loved the old-fashioned name.


Samantha vs. Cassandra


Originally, the producers wanted to name the main witch Cassandra, but they later relented and changed the name of the main female character to Samantha. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Elizabeth Montgomery threatened the producers with leaving the show if the name wasn't changed to Samantha. However, they did end up using the name Cassandra later in the series; Cassandra was the name of an evil witch who wreaked havoc amongst the Stephens family.


The Last Black And White Episode Aired In 1966


Bewitched premiered in 1964, and the first few seasons were black and white. However, because of more modern film technology and the show's sky-high ratings, the network executives were convinced to transition to color. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


The show made huge profits from the commercial breaks and sponsors, so they were able to spend the extra money needed to film in color. The last black and white episode was titled "Prodigy," and it aired in 1966.


Several Actors Almost Played Tabitha


Tabitha Stephens, Darrin and Samantha's daughter, was a little witch in training, and the character was played by several different people. They added Tabitha because the producers felt the show would be more interesting having a little girl who could talk and interact with Darrin and Samantha. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


Several famous actresses were considered for the role at the time. Superstars Helen Hunt and Jodie Foster were both considered because both were child actresses. However, in the end, Erin Murphy played the role of Tabitha.


Bewitched Was An Award-Winning Show


Bewitched is known for being a silly, fantasy sitcom that reflected the optimistic era in which it was created. However, the sitcom had serious dramatic chops and was nominated for twenty-two Emmys and won three. 


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Photo Courtesy: [ABC Photo Archives/Contributor/Getty Images]


In addition, both Marion Lorne and Alice Pierce won the Emmy for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy. Sadly, both women won the Emmys after they had already passed away. Montgomery was also among the actresses that were nominated for an Emmy.
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