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Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie rewatch

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Dave Scarpa, May 29, 2019.

  1. Message #21 of 53 May 31, 2019
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
    ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    Well, I did. I have a later reissued decanter at home, along with a wonderfully accurate reproduction by Mario Della Casa.
     
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  2. Message #22 of 53 May 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
    JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    410C6650-EEB4-459F-BA10-A6583F48F39A. I have one of the original JB decanters as well as first season and color seasons reproduction bottles. Have always loved that bottle shape since I was a kid.
     
  3. sjbradford

    sjbradford Stunt Coordinator

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    It’s stated in one episode that Tony Nelson is from Bridgeport, Connecticut. I thought it was odd that he was named Tony when he didn’t seem to be of Italian descent. All the Tonys I know are.

    I like the first 3 seasons of “Bewitched”, but then it declines considerably. Losing Danny Arnold after season 1 didn’t help, but Jerry Davis (who produced part of season 1 and all of season 2) kept the same tone. Later on, it becomes very formulaic; most episodes seem to be about Samantha or her relatives getting “caught” in the magic act, and then passing it off as one of Darrin’s advertising campaigns.

    Even worse was when Dick Sargent replaced Dick York. Until then, Darrin was the funny one and Samantha was the straight man. When Sargent came on board, Darrin became the straight man, and they tried to make Samantha funnier. She wasn’t. The relationship between Darrin and Endora became extremely unpleasant.

    I prefer IDOJ, particularly the color episodes. They never hit the highs of the first two seasons of Bewitched, but they never hit the lows of the later seasons either. IDOJ benefits from a shorter run. Barbara Eden is a better comic actress than Elizabeth Montgomery. And Tony seems to genuinely enjoy her antics some of the time, whereas Darrin Stephens is ALWAYS trying to control his wife and stop her magic.
     
  4. Message #24 of 53 Jun 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
    BobO'Link

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    I grew up in the Mid-South. One of my best friends was named Tony. He was absolutely not of Italian descent - maybe Irish or English (he's a blonde and his last name originated in England with some family relocating to Ireland before discovery of The New World). Up through my college years I knew several other boys named "Tony," none of whom was of Italian descent. Without exception their legal name, like that of Major Nelson, was Anthony and they went by Tony. It was years after the show aired before I knew Tony was a common Italian boys name.
     
  5. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    I have a ceramic (I believe) reproduction of that bottle that I got in the 1990's. I took it to a theatre production that Barbara Eden was appearing in at the Long Beach Civic Center's theatre season and, though I don't usually do things like this, I waited outside the dressing room area, amongst many people, to see if I could get her to sign it. Barbara Eden did graciously sign it and gave her seal of approval to the bottle as well! (I put the theatre ticket for that performance inside the bottle.)

    All I can say about Barbara Eden that night is that she was very very nice and accommodating to everyone. (Co-incidentally, last night I happened to watch her in the I Love Lucy episode in which she guest starred, "Country Club Dance." She also does commentary for the episode.) Some years later when Hallmark put out their "Jeannie" Christmas ornament, I bought one and often put Jeannie in the top of the bottle peering out of it!

    In the spirit of fair play, I also talked to Elizabeth Montgomery on occasion at my employment where she was a customer. She was every bit as nice as Barbara Eden, often writing thank you cards to the people that assisted her.

    :cheers:
     
  6. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    By the way, if you don't know, SONY officially licensed the rights to an artist who makes Jeannie bottles and you can own one, if you're willing to pay the steep price. You can get them in glass or brass, in different colors if you wish, the first season bottle, too, the sofa bottle, and other variations. If you're an IDOJ fan, it's just an entertaining site to visit, as well.
    [​IMG]

    This is the Hallmark Ornament. It came with a teenie Jeannie bottle, too.
    [​IMG]

    There was one for Samantha, too:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Ron Lee Green

    Ron Lee Green Supporting Actor

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    I also saw her perform there, too! Was the name of the play, "Nightclub Confidential?" She's a good singer as well.
     
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  8. jim_falconer

    jim_falconer Supporting Actor

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    I agree with this analysis completely. The first two B&W seasons on Bewitched were the best. The shows started getting more kiddie centric towards season 4, and then especially when Dick York left after season 5. IDOJ was pretty funny the entire 5 seasons.
     
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  9. DaveHof3

    DaveHof3 Stunt Coordinator

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    As iconic as Barbara Eden's character (and costume) have become, what keeps IDOJ watchable for me is Larry Hagman, who by all accounts wasn't that crazy about the show to start with. But he had some serious physical comedy chops, comparable to John Ritter on Three's Company. That, and Hayden Roarke's constant befuddlement with Major Nelson; Dr. Bellows was basically Mrs. Kravits - he knew something was going on but never could find a witness when he needed one.

    But I'm another vote for Bewitched being the better show, though it got lazy and repetitive the last couple of seasons. Any time Maurice, Dr. Bombay, Uncle Arthur or Aunt Clara popped in, you knew it was going to be a good episode. And their first Christmas show with Billy Mumy is still my favorite classic TV episode.
     
  10. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    I've always thought the series seemed like two different series. The first seasons are best when it was more adult oriented, more sophisticated it you will. I wish they'd waited another season to have a child! In the later seasons, when the 70's hit, Samantha even seems younger and less sophisticated. (Maybe it's the outfits.)

    Some of the later more bizarre (and maybe better) episodes are when the adult themes mingle with the "kiddie centric" ideas...as when Tabitha is having a birthday party and Uncle Arthur conjures up a Playboy Bunny (instead of a real rabbit) that the elder males start drooling over. That one is just a hoot!

    IDOJ was one of those 60's shows, and the most successful, that always tried to pair a male and female living together in the same household without benefit of marriage. Like My Living Doll and Occasional Wife.
     
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  11. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    Yes, indeed! I couldn't think of the name of the show when I was writing the post! I enjoyed that production, although that theatre was way too large for that particular show, which was a much more intimate kind of vehicle. I used to enjoy going to those productions of The Long Beach Civic Light Opera. They were fine productions, always with well known celebrities and 1/2 or 1/3 the price you'd normally pay for things like that. I understand that when most of the Long Beach Naval facilities were closed in the 1990's, is when the Theatre lost half of its patrons and that was that for this wonderful theatre company.
     
  12. Ron Lee Green

    Ron Lee Green Supporting Actor

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    You're right about that theater! I remember that my friend and I were seated way in the back row because those were the cheapest tickets I could afford at the time. There was only one other couple seated next to us, and there were a sea of empty seats around us and in front of us. It was ridiculous for us to be way in the back when only half the theater was filled, so at some time between acts, we moved closer to the stage.
     
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  13. Message #33 of 53 Jun 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    Dave Lawrence

    Dave Lawrence Supporting Actor

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    For me, both I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched are great and incredibly rewatchable, but IDOJ will always be my favorite of the two.

    Barbara Eden is of course wonderful but for me the key to what makes IDOJ work is Larry Hagman. The man is simply hilarious. There's talk of him complaining about scripts early on, and I remember a Bill Daily interview in which he said he and Larry sometimes improvised during their scenes together. Especially starting in Season 3 once Sidney Sheldon was no longer writing most of the episodes, the stories got broader, the pacing seemed to amp up and Larry's Major Nelson became even more manic, and the show got even funnier. His reactions, explanations and general hysteria were perfect. The early years were certainly good, but of my top 10 episodes, 2 of them are from Season 2 and rest from Seasons 4 and 5.)

    I do disagree with the popular notion that having Tony and Jeannie get married in what ended up being the final season was a bad idea. I thought rather than limiting the show, it opened things up more. Now, Jeannie got to interact directly with the Bellows, the general, etc. Now, she had to start thinking on her feet to come up with explanations for all of the odd happenings, becoming an active participant rather than just watching on as Tony and Roger tried to come up with the logic-defying excuses. Jeannie finally got to have a friend of her own (Mrs. Bellows) but still had to be careful of her. I thought it was a fun new angle for the series.

    While IDOJ didn't have BW's great stable of recurring guest actors, the core cast of Hagman, Eden, Daily and Hayden Rorke, with recurring Barton MacLane and Emmaline Henry, was really all you needed. Still, there were some memorable guest appearances from Joe Flynn, Paul Lynde, Jim Backus, Don Rickles, Sammy Davis Jr., Groucho Marx, and, as Tony's mother, Spring Byington.

    And IDOJ had some wonderful background music along with a great theme (starting with Season 2; the original was okay but I prefer the more-remembered classic).

    With both shows, it was years before I finally saw the B/W episodes (except for the pilots)*. When I finally saw the B/W IDOJs, it was fun to now have some more episodes which were new-to-me. I felt that they were good, but clearly the show was finding its way and the best was yet to come. Conversely, BW, a show I had always liked but didn't love, became even better upon seeing the 2 B/W seasons. The chemistry between Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York was even better. The focus was more on character and relationships, with the magic as a part of it all but not the entire focus. (It was more the story of a newlywed couple learning to adjust to one another and each other's family and their new neighborhood, raised to a higher level due to the magic element.) Having Danny Arnold, whose Barney Miller is one of my all-time faves, involved in making Season 1 no doubt helped.

    Dick Sargent gets a lot of criticism but honestly I think he was victim to increasingly uninspired writing later on. There were too many remakes of earlier episodes (which only helped highlight the differences between his Darrin and York's), and I'm sure Montgomery's increased readiness to move on from the show didn't help in establishing chemistry. Plus, the focus of magic over character, and making Darrin more hostile and antagonistic with everyone started before Sargent got there. I recall an interview with York where he said that besides working while dealing with physical pain, the last year or so was also difficult because by this point, Darrin's role on the show had been reduced to coming home from work and yelling at Samantha in every show, and it became tough to find ways to make him likeable.

    But while York seemed to fight against that writing, I feel like Sargent seemed to just go with it, and his Darrin always came across as angry. While I missed Marion Lorne's loveably eccentric Aunt Clara, I'm kind of glad that Clara never had to interact with Sargent's Darrin. Clara was the one relative who Darrin always liked; and even when she caused problems, he was a lot more patient since she was well-meaning and was the one relative who liked and accepted him. I would not have wanted to watch Sargent's Darrin sniping and scowling at her the first time she stammers out a simple "Hello".

    BW definitely suffered by losing not only York but also Lorne and Alice Pearce. Still, the in-color seasons had many good episodes, especially those with appearances from Lorne, Paul Lynde, Alice Ghostley, Bernard Fox and Bernie Kopell. (And of course Agnes Moorehead and David White were always great, even when the writing wasn't.)

    Two funny 60s sitcoms with fantasy elements. Each great, neither perfect. I'm just glad both are available on disc, and that both are on my shelf. (But for me, I still give IDOJ the edge. :) )

    *Side-note:
    I think TBS or maybe WGN showed the B/W IDOJs in the early 80s (pre-Nick-at-Nite), but my family didn't yet have cable at that point, which meant I also missed out on the various B/W series that CBN aired, except when on vacation and a hotel had CBN as one of its channel options. We had cable by the time [email protected] started showing the B/W BWs in the late 80s. (I was in high school by that time.)

    Prior to that, I only got to see the in-color years of both shows via syndication. Except one Memorial Day Monday or Labor Day Monday in the mid-80s - I don't recall which holiday it was - the local channel that aired reruns of IDOJ, BW, Beverly Hillbillies and My Three Sons had a mini-marathon that afternoon. Instead of the usual episodes, they were going to air the "first episode" of each show. So for that one time, local viewers like me got to see the 1st episode of IDOJ (in B/W), the 1st episode of BW (in B/W), and the 1st episode of BH (in B/W). It was my 1st time getting to see those initial episodes, and it made me all the more frustrated that the syndication packages we got at the time didn't include the B/W years.

    As for My Three Sons, I was all ready and eager that day to finally see the first B/W episode for the 1st time. What did I get? Disappointment. Unlike the other 3 series, for M3S they just ran the 1st episode of Season 6 (the 1st in-color episode), which they already showed in the syndication package anyway. Ugh. So it was still years before I would get to see the actual 1st episode of M3S.
     
  14. Albert71292

    Albert71292 Stunt Coordinator

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    I first saw the black and white "I Dream of Jeannie" episodes in old, worn syndicated film prints on the local CBS affiliate in the afternoons (5PM central, before a 5PM local newscast was a thing) in the late 1970's. I audiotaped a few of them. However, not sure if it was the TV my family had at the time, or something from that local station, but there were red lines flashing across the screen during every one of those black and white airings. The station also put up a disclaimer before the airings, stating "This is a black and white presentation".
     
  15. KPmusmag

    KPmusmag Supporting Actor
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    I recall seeing the B&W Bewitched episodes in the 70s; for years, Bewitched was on Channel 11 in L.A., and they were only the color episodes, but at one point Channel 5 took it and they showed the B&W episodes. I was stunned because I knew every episode by heart and here were new ones with an unfamiliar Mrs. Kravitz. It was awesome to see the first episode where Sam and Darrin meet. Then it went back to Channel 11 and again only the color episodes. I didn't see the B&W episodes again until the Columbia House VHS tapes came out, and then on Nick at Night (I loved Nick at Night in those days - so many shows I hadn't seen in years.)
     
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  16. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    This is the best post about these shows I've read. Mainly because I agree. :D

    I remember in the late 70's, a Connecticut station ran the very early IDOJ episodes, with warbly sound and tins of splices...but always uncut. Pretty sure it was WTNH, because I saw uncut Star Trek at the time as well - complete with previews for the next episode.

    I wish I still had my early 80's WTBS video tapes of Jeannie. If anything for the correct sound mix and credit music. This thread is bringing back so many memories. As a kid, I ate up IDOJ reruns and the Screen Gems logo will always be a favorite of mine. The Mill Creek DVDs put them back and I actually tolerate the heavy compression of those discs just for the logos.
     
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  17. MartinP.

    MartinP. Supporting Actor

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    Once a week this wasn't as noticeable, but if you watch the episodes close together it definitely comes across that way.

    To each his own, but I think Hagman is often very annoying in the series, especially coupled with Bill Daily.
     
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  18. ScottRE

    ScottRE Supporting Actor

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    So funny how tastes differ. I think they absolutely make the show as great as it is. They are the main reason I watch it. :D
     
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  19. sjbradford

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    The B&W episodes of Bewitched and IDOJ were originally available to local stations when they were first syndicated in the 70s (as opposed to My Three Sons, where only the color episodes were available in the original syndication package). When Columbia Pictures TV farmed out syndication of Bewitched and IDOJ to The Program Exchange in the early 80s, TPE removed the B&W episodes from the packages to make them seem less “dated”. Many stations in the late 70s had already started dropping the B&Ws, or ran them in the summers when viewership was lower.

    WTBS still had cycles left from the old IDOJ package through the mid-80s, so you could still occasionally catch a B&W Jeannie there. But eventually their cycle ran out and they took the color-only package. I don’t remember seeing the B&W Bewitched episodes on WTBS at that time; they seemed to be color-only by then.
     
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  20. Garysb

    Garysb Cinematographer

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    When Nick At Nite first broadcast "Bewitched" they only had the rights to the Black and White episodes and promoted them as " Not seen in 10 years". I couldn't find that promo but here a few compilations of Nik At Nite Promos posted to Youtube.



     
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