When it became clear that Dick York could not continue with the series, William Asher considered canceling it, not only because of York's departure, but because he and Elizabeth Montgomery wanted to move on. However, the ratings were still high enough that the network wanted the show to go on. Dick Sargent was brought in to replace York, but there was still one problem: how to explain why Darrin looked and sounded different. Many people working on the show came up with ideas, but Asher thought the viewers understood this was an actor playing a role, so he decided that the best explanation was no explanation.
Agnes Moorehead had a strong working relationship with Dick York, and when he was replaced with Dick Sargent she did not take the decision well. On Sargent's first day on the set (for a script reading), and in front of the entire cast (including Sargent), Moorehead very slowly but firmly stated, 'I don't like change.'
After her initial five-year contract was up, Elizabeth Montgomery announced she would move on to other things. Desperate to keep the show going, the network gave her part ownership as part of her new contract.
Elizabeth Montgomery played the roles of Samantha Stephens and her more free-spirited cousin Serena. However in the cast listing, the role of Serena was listed as being played by Pandora Spocks. Many viewers didn't realize this, and wrote "Pandora" fan mail. (Montgomery and William Asher - her husband at the time - once left the set together, with Montgomery still wearing her Serena costume and makeup, and checked into a motel instead of going home.)
Elizabeth Montgomery became pregnant on two occasions (her second and third pregnancies) during the show's run and both were written into the show. Her first pregnancy, which occurred at the beginning of the series, wasn't used as part of the storyline, and was covered up by using a lot of close-ups of Montgomery's face.
Special furniture was used on the set for Dick York due to his back problems. Other cast and crew members also helped him get around on the set. He had to leave the show in 1969 when he suddenly collapsed to the floor on-set. In interviews years later York had always said he felt horrible because he never finished the show.
Although Gladys Kravitz was relatively minor character on the show, the role was memorable enough that the term "Gladys Kravitz" entered the American lexicon, and is commonly used as a synonym for a nosy neighbor or colleague.
Maureen McCormick played two versions of a young Endora in the series. First, in a fantasy sequence, she is Samantha and Darrin's witch daughter who they named after her maternal grandmother. And second, she is the real Endora transformed into a little girl through witchcraft.
The show's theme song was composed by Jack Keller, and had lyrics written by Howard Greenfield that were never used on the show. Several artists recorded versions of the song, including Steve Lawrence and Peggy Lee. The lyrics are: Bewitched, bewitched, you've got me in your spell. Bewitched, bewitched, you know your craft so well. Before I knew what you were doing, I looked in your eyes. That brand of woo that you've been brewin' Took me by surprise. You witch, you witch! One thing that's for sure, that stuff you pitch, just hasn't got a cure. My heart was under lock and key, but somehow it got unhitched. I never thought my heart could be had. But now I'm caught and I'm kind of glad To be bewitched. Bewitched.
In the episode "Hippie, Hippie, Hooray", we see Larry and Louise Tate in their kitchen. It's the same set used as Tony Nelson's kitchen from I Dream of Jeannie (1965). The Bewitched house can be seen down the street from Jeannie's house in many outdoor scenes and that house (exteroir and interior) doubles as the residence of fellow NASA coworker Doctor Bellows.
Darrin and Samantha Stephens lived at 1164 Morning Glory Circle, Westport, Connecticut. The Stephens' house still stands on the Warner Bros. Ranch lot in Burbank, California, at Hollywood Way. Originally the Columbia Ranch that was owned by Columbia Studios, which produced Bewitched (1964), the lot was re-named The Burbank Studios Ranch in 1972, when Columbia Studios moved onto the Warner Bros. lot. By 1990, Columbia had moved to the former MGM Studio lot in Culver City. The ranch lot was acquired by Warner Bros. Studios, thereby necessitating another change of name to the Warner Bros. Ranch. The house still looks very much like it did when 'Bewitched (1964)' ended production and is often seen in other television series and movies, as well as commercials.
After the third season, it was often not known if Dick York would be well enough to work any given week, because of his back pain issues. "Darrin-less" scripts were therefore on hand, or scripts were made Darrin-less (often by giving his lines to Larry Tate). Most sources tend to assume York missed thirteen episodes from his back pain issues, when in reality, most of the episodes York "missed" were actually filmed after he had already left the show (in season five). They were then aired mixed with episodes he had completed. At least one of the two episodes he missed in season three had nothing to do with his back pain issues, but was because his father had died.
From January 1984 until January 1991, the DFS Program Exchange (a division of the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency) syndicated "Bewitched," as well as such other classic Columbia Pictures Television shows as "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Partridge Family." Many fans wondered why DFS omitted syndicating the first two black-and-white seasons of "Bewitched" (and the early black-and-white episodes of "I Dream of Jeannie"); DFS claimed this was "basically because studies show that the majority of viewers would rather watch color programming" (this was during the height of the colorization craze in the mid-1980s). This obviously perturbed said fans of "Bewitched," rightfully citing unbridled, out-and-out *censorship,* and eventually Columbia Pictures Entertainment got word of how DFS was treating the distribution of Columbia's best-known TV property. As the result of that outcry, DFS - which by this time officially changed its name to simply The Program Exchange after DFS was purchased by rival advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi North America, Inc. - re-released the black-and-white episodes of "Bewitched" from September 1989 until January 1991, at which time Sony Pictures Entertainment - which owned Columbia Pictures for a little over a year - re-assumed syndication of "Bewitched," "I Dream of Jeannie," etc. Sony Pictures Television *still* syndicates *every single* episode of "Bewitched" - both black-and-white *and* color - to this day.
Alice Ghostley originally did not appear as Esmeralda but as maid Naomi who caused havoc at the Stephens'. In the same episode ("Maid To Order"), she is asked to help with a client dinner at the Tate's home because their own maid was ill that night. The name of the Tate's usual maid was Esmeralda!
Almost all of the female witches' character names end with the letter "a", including Samantha, Endora, Esmeralda, Clara, Hagatha, Enchantra and Tabitha. Some exceptions include Abigail Beechum (Maurice's private secretary) and Mary (friend of Bertha, Endora and Clara).
When the show originally aired, the animated opening credits were changed each season to include the current sponsor. The credits shown on the currently syndicated version of the show eliminate these sequences. Originally the sequence began with a cartoon of the sponsor's logo and a voice over saying "Chevrolet (or Quaker Oats or Aunt Jemima or Oscar Mayer...) presents." Ending the credits, after the cartoon smoke with Agnes Moorehead's credit (where the credits in the syndicated version stop), was a brief cartoon ad for the sponsor.
Running for eight seasons, this was the longest-running of the so-called "fantasy sitcoms" that dominated the airwaves in the mid-1960s (i.e. The Addams Family (1964), I Dream of Jeannie (1965), The Munsters (1964), etc.), as well as the last surviving example of the genre when it went off the air in 1972 (a year after All in the Family (1971) ushered in a new era of reality sitcoms).
Rehearsals for the pilot were set to begin on November 22, 1963. However, they were postponed because of the assassination earlier that day of President John Kennedy, who was a good friend of William Asher.
During the second season, five babies played Tabitha Stephens. Cynthia Black in the episode where Tabitha is born. then it went to twins Heidi Gentry and Laura Gentry. The final set of babies in season where Julie Young and Tamar Young. In season three the Young Twins had been replaced by fraternal twins Erin Murphy and Diane Murphy. By season five the role was solely played to Erin Murphy although Diane did appear in a number of episodes afterwards - always wearing a wig.
The show had an unusual amount of roles played by more than one person: two Darrins, two Gladys Kravitzes, two Louise Tates, two of Darrin's father. Dick York left the show in 1969 due to health problems; his role of Darrin was taken over by Dick Sargent. When Alice Pearce died, her role of Mrs. Kravitz was taken over by Sandra Gould.
The home that Darrin and Samantha rent for the first two episodes before buying the home they would live in for the rest of the series features the exterior and the foyer/living room of the Baxter's home for Hazel (1961).
Elizabeth Montgomery and William Asher were married during the run of the series. In one episode in 1969, a valentine with the pair's initials is seen on the wall of a baseball stadium. The last season was produced by "Ashmont", the company owned by the couple.
The names of Samantha and Endora parallel the Biblical story of the Witch of Endor (I Samuel 28). In the passage, Saul consults a medium (traditionally referred to as a witch) at a place called Endor to bring up the spirit of Samuel. Thus the parallel: witch, Endor, Samuel...witch, Endora, Samantha.
Creator Sol Saks wrote in his memoirs that the reason both Elizabeth Montgomery and William Asher were hired is because the two of them were looking for a project to do together and their agents sent them out as a team.
The Stephens' house was built sometime around the early 1960s but their garage with the gable roof stood by itself at the back of the driveway long before that. It appears in many older movies. In one Blondie movie of the 1940s, Dagwood Bumstead (played by Arthur Lake) is changing a tire on a car in the driveway, in front of that garage - with no house attached to it.
The series had four different time periods during its eight-year run. It was seen from Sept. 17, 1964 to Jan. 5, 1967 on ABC Thursdays 9:00-9:30 p.m. Then ABC moved it back 30 minutes (Thursday 8:30-9:00 p.m.) where it remained from Jan. 12, 1967 to Sept. 9, 1971. Between Sept. 15, 1971 and Jan. 5, 1972, it was seen over ABC Wednesdays 8:00-8:30 p.m.; after which, it switched time slots for the last time: Saturday 8:00-8:30 p.m., where it remained from Jan. 15 to July 1, 1972.
Although fraternal twins Erin Murphy and Diane Murphy shared the role of Tabitha Stephens up until the middle of the fifth season, Diane only played Tabitha on her own in one episode - Samantha Fights City Hall.
The show aired from 17 September 1964 to 1 July 1972 on ABC for 254 episodes: 74 in black and white (1964-1966) and 180 in color (1966-1972). ABC broadcast reruns of the series weekday afternoons from 1 January 1968 to September 1973. Simultaneously, Saturday morning repeats were transmitted over ABC starting in September 1971.
The house used for the Sally Field show Gidget (1965) was located right next door to the Stephens house, and was used in the season 1 episode "Pleasure O'Reilly" which featured a new neighbor by the same name moving in next door.
There is an actual house which is identical in appearance (from front and sides) to the Stephens' house, and another which is identical but mirror-image (reversed). The interiors of those homes reportedly do not share the same layout as the Stephens' house.
Mercedes McCambridge who played Carlotta in episode #144 "Darrin, Gone and Forgotten" was in fact born "Carlotta" Mercedes Agnes McCambridge. So her first name was used as the character she played in that episode during the fifth season.
The final first-run episode telecast was "The Truth, Nothing But The Truth, So Help Me, Sam" (3/25/1972); its final ABC primetime telecast of all was the 7/1/1972 repeat of "Adam, Warlock Or Washout" from 12/29/1971.