ABC (ended 1972)
Bewitched is a fantasy sitcom chronicling what happens when a witch and a mortal fall in love and get married in 1960s and '70s suburban America. At the very center of the show is Elizabeth Montgomery's portrayal of a good-hearted witch named Samantha. A strong, independent woman with the world at her finger tips (or at the twitch of her nose), she gives up her witchly life to do things the "mortal way". Her mortal husband Darrin Stephens (played by Dick York, and later Dick Sargent) is a talented advertising executive with McMann & Tate. He obsesses with leading a "normal life" where one works hard to earn a good living for one's family. He constantly struggles against disapproving witches and warlocks, like Samantha's powerful mother, Endora (played by Agnes Moorehead).
Endora is determined to prove to Samantha that the mixed-marriage marriage is a tremendous mistake. Over the show's eight year run, Endora tries numerous spells, all creating humiliation and chaos in Darrin's mortal world. This often ends up affecting Darrin's money-obsessed boss and best friend, Larry Tate (played by David White). Larry's wife, Louise (played by Irene Vernon and Kasey Rogers), is Samantha's best friend, although she is unaware that Sam is a witch.
In season two, life changes dramatically when Samantha and Darin give birth to daughter Tabitha Stephens (played by five babies that season and by twins Erin and Diane Murphy starting in season three). Many early Tabitha episodes revolve around whether she is a witch or mortal until the big reveal in season three. Later in season six, the Stephenses give birth to a boy, Adam. Although less airtime is spent on his character, eventually audiences find out that he too has powers.
Recurring characters include Samantha's favorite aunt, Clara, who is a lovable, bumbling witch (played by Marion Lorne). Due to Aunt Clara's extended age, she is suffering the loss of her powers and inadvertently wreaks havoc at the Stephens home. Also often wreaking havoc are Samantha's practical joking Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde), her Shakespeare orating father, Maurice (Maurice Evans), a bad joke-telling witch doctor, Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox) and a shy witch-maid Esmeralda (Alice Ghostley). Elizabeth Montgomery also portrays Samantha's free-spirited, mischievous twin cousin, Serena.
On the mortal receiving end of the seemingly hallucinogenic world of witches are neighbors Gladys and Abner Kravitz. Gladys, first portrayed by Alice Pearce and later by Sandra Gould, was immediately aware that the Stephens household was positively strange, and was certain that something "beyond this world" was at work across the street. Abner (George Tobias) never believes it. Darrin's mother, Phyllis Stephens (Mabel Albertson), fairs no better, as she is forever witnessing zany antics only to have her husband, Frank Stephens (Robert F. Simon and later Roy Roberts) not believe it.
Bewitched earned nearly two dozen Emmy nominations during its run. Marion Lorne and Alice Pearce won well deserved awards, as did director and producer, William Asher (Elizabeth Montgomery's husband at the time). In 1970, Bewitched presented a Christmas episode regarding bigotry and racism, and received a special Emmy, the Governor's Award, for the landmark episode "Sisters at Heart". Beyond the theme of bigotry and "mixed-marriages", the series explored cultural issues of consumerism, materialism, human vanity, women's liberation, and mass hysteria. Season six of Bewitched brought about the biggest change to the series as Dick York was replaced by Dick Sargent in the role of Darrin. This element of the show has become a cultural touchstone, with many viewers debating their favorite Darrin.
First Telecast: September 17, 1964 Last Telecast: July 1, 1972 ABC Daytime: 1968 - 1973 ABC Saturday Morning: 1971 - 1973 Episodes: 254 Episodes (74 black and white, 180 color) Ratings Season 1: #2 Season 2: #7 Season 3: #8 Season 4: #11 Season 5: #12 Season 6: #25 Season 7: (above #25) Season 8: (above #25)moreless