The fantasy sitcom Bewitched enchanted television viewers from 1964 to 1972. It stars the late Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha, the witch who marries a mortal man and vows herself to the normal life of a typical suburban housewife. But her magical powers get in the way, and this is often the main source of the sitcom’s hilarious situations.
Bewitched was so popular during the time of its original broadcast, and this classic television show continues to be watched through syndication and on the Internet as well. It also inspired subsequent sitcoms that combined magical fantasy and comedy such as I Dream of Jeannie, as well as a 2005 cinematic rehash starring Nicole Kidman.
Here are some of the Bewitched facts that only a few people have heard:
1. Elizabeth Montgomery was not the sitcom’s first choice for the lead role
Bewitched’s creator, Sol Saks, originally wanted actress Tammy Grimes to play the lead role of the witch as Cassandra (instead of Samantha). But Grimes was still under contract to Screen Gems at the time, which made her unavailable to take the role. Instead, Saks and director Bill Asher went with Elizabeth Montgomery instead, and the rest is history.
2. Actual alcoholic drinks were used on the show
If you have noticed and assumed that the show’s characters were imbibing iced tea that looked like whiskey, you’re quite mistaken. These are real alcoholic drinks, which the sitcom’s adult cast members drank often on the set (and within the context of the show).
3. Dick York’s chronic back pain was the real reason for his exit
Actor Dick York originally played as Samantha’s husband, Darrin Stephens. While most Bewitched fans were aware that York was replaced as Darrin, they didn’t know the reason behind it. It later turned out that he actually suffered a severe back injury which forced him to quit the show.
4. Dick Sargent as the new Darrin
Actor Dick Sargent went to replace Dick York as Darrin. Agnes Moorehead, who played as Samantha’s mother Endora, didn’t like the new Darrin. Moorehead was close friends with York before his exit.
5. The sitcom was interrupted by two assassinations
In 1963, Montgomery had a difficult time filming for the pilot episode because it was the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. They had to call off the work following the announcement of this tragic incident. Montgomery and director Bill Asher were friends of the president’s. (Find out more about Montgomery and Asher on fact #10)
In 1968, another assassination – this time of Martin Luther King Jr. – also halted another episode as well.
6. Richard Crenna was almost Darrin
During the early stages of the Bewitched‘s casting, Richard Crenna was actually the producer’s second choice to play Darrin Stephens – nope, not even Dick York. Crenna was almost cast as Darrin, but he was busy with another role while the producers were searching for the ideal actress to play Samantha.
7. Samantha didn’t wiggle her nose, ever
Elizabeth Montgomery, who played as the witch Samantha, never actually wiggled her nose. A camera trick did it.
8. Dick Sargent was actually the first choice to play Darrin
Everybody thought that Sargent’s assumption of the role as Darrin (after York’s departure) was based on the show’s impulsive decision. But the producers had actually considered Sargent as their original top choice to play Darrin.
9. Tired of the show
Montgomery soon grew tired of the show and wanted to leave after the fifth season. She later changed her mind after producers offered her so much money. However, her performances in the sitcom’s last three seasons were noticeably humdrum as she became increasingly bored with it.
10. Montgomery was married to the sitcom’s director
In real life, Montgomery was married to Bewitched director William Asher during much of the sitcom’s heyday. However, their marriage was eventually on the rocks and the couple had separated by the end of the show’s eighth season. The couple divorced in 1973, after a 10-year marriage.