50 years since Bewitched premiered

It's 50 years since the wonderful Elizabeth Montgomery starred as suburban witch, Samantha Stevens.

2014-09-20_0011This week also marks 50 years since Bewitched premiered on US television.

The magical series starring the wonderful Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York (or Dick Sargent) ran for eight seasons.

Erin Murphy, who played Tabitha, now lives on a ranch where she raises horses and alpacas. She has six sons, and according to an interview she gave this week, is often surrounded by a large group of friends, many of whom are former child actor friends from shows such as The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, My Three Sons, Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons (although she doesn’t say whom).

Over the years Erin kept in touch with her Bewitched co-stars, but is now essentially the only principal cast member still alive. She also attended the premiere of the 2005 movie remake starring Nicole Kidman.

Here are some excerpts from her interview with HGNTV.com:

What are your fondest memories from the making of the show?

Erin Murphy: It’s a really great place to grow up. I started out on the show on the very first color episode, so the first episode of the third season and then I was on for the rest of the eight seasons. I had a lot of fun, I worked with wonderful people…it was a really, really fun place to grow up. I have memories of working with everybody; I was 8 when the show went off the air so I remember a lot of it.

Do you remember how they performed the special effects on the show?

EM: When Elizabeth Montgomery wiggled her nose it was filmed at a slow speed and then played back at a fast speed. But for me they figured a baby witch couldn’t twitch her nose like that so they had me do it with my finger.

Do you know what inspired the idea for “Bewitched” in the first place?

EM: They were going to do a show called “The Rich Girl” or something like that, and the premise was that there was a really, really rich girl (who would have been Elizabeth Montgomery) who fell in love with a really poor boy. So she marries him, she could have had anything that she wanted in the world but she chose this poor guy and gave up her money. It’s sort of the same thing as a witch who gives up her powers to marry a mortal, so it was a takeoff of that. I don’t think most people know that, but that is the true story.

Do you remember when they switched Darrens?

EM: I do. I worked with each of them for three seasons each. Dick York was in so much pain in the end that he had this board on the set he had to lean against because he had a bad back; so he had to lean against that or sit down or lay down. They wrote seven episodes that season without the Darren character altogether. One time he had a seizure on set and after that they decided they had to replace him.

Was it strange to have Dick Sargent on set as a replacement?

EM: It wasn’t; he was really good friends with Elizabeth Montgomery. They had actually offered him the role of Darren first and another actress the role of Samantha so I think he was the only choice when they brought him on set. He was a really great guy. It wasn’t like they replaced a nice guy with a bad guy, they were both really great.

What was your relationship like with Agnes Moorehead (Endora)?

EM: I loved her, she was probably my favorite. It’s funny because people ask me more than the other characters if she was scary, but she was the least scary person in the world. She was like my Grandma, I loved her like a Grandma. I thought she was so pretty because she was so colorful with her red hair and purple eyeshadow.

You can read more here.

9 Responses

  1. I always enjoy the episodes when Paul Lynne as Uncle Arthur arrive at the set, he made me laugh.
    Those were days of good American comdies that seems the last long, unlike today, I really think, most will forget, because they really don’t when it time to end, like Friends & two half-men.

  2. Loved Bewitched, I remember watching it as a child and enjoying it; then later as an adult watching and still enjoying it. Especially because as an adult I was picking up more on the social commentary of the time that was in the show. From when Benjamin Franklin came into it via Aunt Clara to the episode where a client thought Darrin had both a Caucasian and an African American child plus other instances in between.

    Great cast and a great show.

  3. Nice tribute to an iconic sitcom. As a child I was more drawn to I dream of Jeanie, but as an adult, Bewitched has delighted me more. Great supporting characters and that beautiful leading lady.

  4. What a week that was 50 years ago, the Munsters, The Addams Family, Bewitched & I Dream of Jeannie all premiered.
    That is a pretty good track record esp when you add in Gilligan’s Island a week later.
    What a golden age.

Leave a Reply