It was 50 years ago this week that Barbara Eden said “Yes, Master” to Larry Hagman’s Major Nelson in the classic sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.
The series, created by Sidney Sheldon, appeared in September 1965 and ran for 5 years and 139 episodes. It was inspired by the 1964 film, The Brass Bottle, featuring Tony Randall -but Sheldon replaced the male djinn with the ravishing blonde, Eden, who had also appeared in the film. The first season consisted of 30 episodes filmed in black and white.
It also starred Bill Daily as Captain/Major Roger Healey and Hayden Rorke as Colonel Dr. Alfred Bellows.
During television’s conservative ’60s, Jeannie and Major Nelson lived under the same roof, but slept in separate quarters -with Jeannie confined to her bottle, usually at the behest of her Master trying to keep her identity a secret. However the sexual tension was resolved by the fifth season when the pair wed -much to the dismay of Barbara Eden. It was enough to kill off the series.
US censors were also determined that Eden’s belly-button never be portrayed on screen, carefully concealed with her harem costuming.
The show’s memorable theme music, composed by Hugo Montenegro, was introduced in the second season after Sheldon was unhappy with the first. It was later sampled in “Sucker DJ (A Witch for Love)” (Ben Liebrand remix) which reached #1 in Australia in 1990.