According to Sidney Sheldon in his autobiography "The Other Side of Me," NBC wanted to film season 1 in black and white because they didn't believe the show would last more than 1 season. He offered to pay the extra $400 per episode needed for color filming. Screen Gems executive Jerry Hyams advised him, "Sidney, don't throw your money away." The first season was filmed in black and white, then colorized much later.
The fancy antique bottle which Jeannie called home was actually a decorative Jim Beam liquor decanter, which originally contained "Beam's Choice" Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The bottle had been decorated and painted with gold leaf by one of the show's art department employees.
The Nelson home still stands on the Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank, CA, where it has a new role as the Ranch Operations office. Aside from minor cosmetic changes, the house remains almost exactly the same after nearly 50 years.
Barbara Eden personally selected the pink/maroon color combination of Jeannie's harem outfit. Pink symbolizes the playful, girlish aspects of her personality, while maroon symbolizes the fiery, headstrong aspects of her personality. Eden also selected the purple trim of her bottle.
Larry Hagman could be so hard to work with that the producers seriously considered replacing him with another actor. Darren McGavin was at the top of the list for Hagman's replacement. They even wrote out a story with Tony losing Jeannie and McGavin finding her. However, studio executives liked Hagman much more than they did.
Jeannie's diabolical look-alike sister, "Jeannie II," a brunette with a green harem dress, was created by a former Bewitched (1964) writer, James S. Henerson. He was fired from Bewitched when a manager, producer or director discovered he was writing for both shows at the same time.
When asked why the show went off the air, Barbara Eden replied that producers felt they had enough episodes for a syndication sale, and the show lost viewers when Tony and Jeannie got married. Sidney Sheldon, Larry Hagman, and Bill Daily agreed with the latter.
In a few early color episodes, Jeannie wears a green harem outfit instead of her customary pink. In another episode she changes her hair color to black in an attempt to convince Tony to keep her. The green harem outfit and black hair color would later be trademarks of Jeannie's almost identical sister, who had a completely different personality.
According to Barbara Eden, network executives and censors were unconcerned about her navel being seen until someone casually mentioned during the third season that it was occasionally visible when the waistband of her costume shifted. After that her navel was required to be covered.
Sidney Sheldon didn't want a blonde to play Jeannie because he didn't want unfavorable comparisons to Bewitched (1964). However, none of the other actresses competing for the role was able to play the roles the way he wrote them. Barbara Eden impressed Sheldon in The Brass Bottle (1964), so she got the role.
I Dream of Jeannie (1965) was the last television series to be broadcast in black and white on NBC. At the beginning of a broadcast, the NBC peacock would fan its tail with a harp, flute and soft horns playing, as the announcer intoned; "The following program, (title, of show or movie, about to be televised) is brought to you in living color, on NBC."
Larry Hagman was a long-time alcoholic and has admitted that he was drunk in many of the episodes that aired on TV. Barbara Eden wrote in her 2011 autobiography, "Jeannie Out of the Bottle", "Larry himself has made no secret about the fact he was taking drugs and drinking too much through many of the 'I Dream of Jeannie' years and that he has regrets about how that impacted him."
Anthony Nelson was in the Air Force; Roger Healey was in the Army. This accurately reflected the experience of the actors, Larry Hagman having served in the United States Air Force and Bill Daily having served in the US Army as an artilleryman in the Korean War.
During several interviews, Sidney Sheldon admitted that he used the comedy movie, The Brass Bottle (1964), a film about a man, portrayed by Tony Randall, that unleashed a male genie, that was portrayed by Burl Ives, but causes more problems for its master than it solves - as a working model for the show. In the movie, Tony Randall's girlfriend was played by Barbara Eden.
Before taking the role of Amanda Bellows, Emmaline Henry appeared in an the episode "Is There an Extra Genie in the House" as a magician's assistant (the magician was played by Bernard Fox, "Dr. Bombay" from Bewitched (1964).)
In Season 2, sets from other famous shows are used as locations. The most recognizable locations are the house and office featured on ABC's Bewitched (1964) plus locations from The Partridge Family (1970) and The Monkees (1966).
Jeannie's harem shoes were made by Neiman Marcus. They were available in three colors: pink (Jeannie), green (Jeannie II), and white. Originally decorated with lace and beads, the insole read "Taj From India".
During the first season, while in black and white, the smoke effect was usually a screen overlay of billowing smoke, sometimes combined with animation. Early color episodes used a purely animated smoke effect. Sometime later, a live smoke pack, lifted out of the bottle on a wire, was used.
In one episode, Tony and Roger are working on training a chimp, that was named "Sam". This was seen as a slap at the show Bewitched (1964), as if they were making fun of the name, Samantha, the producers accused "Jeannie" of stealing some of their ideas.
The famous theme music was actually not used during season one. That season was not syndicated with the rest of the series, so few people have seen it. The black and white episodes used jazz-influenced background music, while the color episodes used pop-influenced background music.
In season one, when Tony is promoted from captain to major, he is wearing the wrong rank. He has silver clusters which are for a Lieutenant Colonel. In season two, the clusters changed color, from silver to gold which is a Major.
Songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote a theme song titled "Jeannie", but they were rejected before the series debuted on NBC TV channels, on the early evening of Saturday, September 18th, 1965.
Many speculations have been made if Jeannies hair was real. The answer is - half of it. The show required lots of quick changes for Barbara Eden. In order to expedite the hair changes, many wiglets, hairpieces and hair falls were used. Ms Eden's real hair was actually styled in a French knot at the back of her head while her bangs were Brushed forward. The various hairpieces were then pinned over the French knot. Her famous Jeannie ponytail hairdo was actually 3 different hairpieces - a false ponytail, a braid wrapped around her cap, and two side swept pieces under the braid to mask pinning. The hairdos developed as the show progressed. As seasons changed the length of the hairpieces used became longer. In earlier seasons her flip hairdos were above her shoulders in later seasons below her shoulders, and in the final season was all the way down her back. These were all false hair "falls." According to Barbara Eden's interview on the Wendy Williams talk show, it took 3 hours to get her hair and body makeup done. In the first season her own hair was so short the Jeannie hairpieces were "practically nailed on."
Of the five seasons and 139 episodes, season one's 30 dates, all were Saturday evenings. Season two's 31 dates, all were Monday evenings. Season three's dates, all were 26 Tuesday evenings. Season four's 26 dates, all were Monday evenings. Season five's 26 dates, all were Tuesday evenings.
Ironically, despite Elizabeth Montgomery's feelings of being copied by "I Dream of Jeannie", Bewitched & "I Dream of Jeannie" ended up becoming sister sitcoms in syndication. Meaning the shows are usually played together in syndication, one after the other.
Major Healy, an Army aviator, correctly wears Engineer Corps insignia (a castle) on his lapels rather than the Aviation Corps insignia (propeller and wings). The Army Aviation branch was activated in 1983. Before then Army officers in combat branches could qualify as aviators. The Engineer Corps was a branch which had many aviators before 1983.
In the third season, if the viewer looks closely at the wall near the front door of the Nelson home, one can see a small sign which says "The Bell In Hand Tavern," which is a bar on Union St. in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bell In Hand opened for business in 1795.
The role of the commanding general in I Dream of Jeannie (1965), first Barton MacLane (who portrayed General Peterson over 35 episodes from 1965 to 1969), and second Vinton Hayworth (who portrayed General Schaeffer over 20 episodes from 1969 to 1970), was not only the last role that each of these actors portrayed during their careers, but it was also their dying role, as each of these actors died during the time that episodes were being filmed. In the case of Hayworth as General Schaeffer, the series had already been canceled, so the commanding general role did not need to be recast a second time.
"I Dream of Jeannie" and "Bewitched" were considered rival shows during the 1960's and 1970's. Oddly, Barbara Eden's real surname is 'Morehead' (though spelled with one "o") which is the same surname as "Bewitched" regular Agnes Moorehead.
The iconic façade of Major Anthony Nelson's house with its twin, vine-covered trellises had appeared in different forms on nearly every Columbia/Screen Gems sitcom up to that time. It had always been seen as a neighboring house on these occasions, finally taking center stage as the main house on I Dream of Jeannie.
At one point during the series, Tony and Jeannie go to an art gallery. Jeannie remarks that a particular painting is "an original Ansara". Barbara Eden was married to Michael Ansara during the run of the show.