Bewitched was one of the biggest shows of the 1960s and ran into the 1970s. The series was so popular that it was used for many different spinoffs, including a television show called Tabitha (1977), a movie in 2005 starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, and more recently as a major reference in Marvel’s television series WandaVision. However, for those who love the original Bewitched, we have found 11 magical facts about the show and its amazing actors.
1. Inspiration was taken from two different movies
Before Bewitched aired, there were a number of different movies about pretty witches falling in love and marrying regular, everyday (non-magical) men. In fact, Bewitched creator Sol Saks, in his book The Craft of Comedy Writing, stated that “the idea of a witch living as a mortal has been used in Greek mythology, fairy tales, in novels, on stage, and in motion pictures. The only real originality, I’m quite willing to confess, was that Bewitched was the first to adapt the concept successfully to the television screen.”
Saks has admitted in many interviews that the script for the pilot episode of Bewitched was inspired by the films I Married A Witch (1942) and Bell, Book and Candle (1958). However, Saks was never concerned over copyright issues because both films were owned by Columbia Pictures, which also owned Screen Gems. Screen Gems was the company that produced Bewitched.
2. Alice Pearce was awarded a posthumous Emmy for her role as Gladys Kravitz
Actress Alice Pearce played the part of Samantha’s nosy neighbor, Gladys Kravitz, from 1964 to 1966. However, before Bewitched began, Alice had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Although she underwent surgery, her doctors found that the cancer was terminal.
Pearce decided not to tell her coworkers about her condition, and no one suspected her of being ill while on set. She passed away in March of 1966, and was awarded a posthumous Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy Award two months after her death.
3. Most supporting actors wore their own clothes and accessories
Today, most television series have a big wardrobe budget, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, it was common during the 1960s for newer television shows to find different ways to cut down on costs. Such was the case with Bewitched, in which most of the supporting actresses and actors provided their own wardrobes for the show.
One week before filming, they would bring their clothes into the studio and the wardrobe department would clean and press them. One positive aspect of this practice was that it allowed supporting cast members to have pieces of their own personalities shine through in their characters.
4. Speaking of costumes…
One personal item that Agnes Moorehead (who played Endora) wore throughout her time on Bewitched was a starburst brooch that was set with 8.5 carats of old-mine diamonds. Her television daughter, Elizabeth Montgomery, often admired this brooch while the two women were on set together.
When Moorehead passed away in 1974, she left this diamond brooch to Montgomery.
5. Why did Dick York leave?
Dick York was the first actor cast as Samantha’s husband, the mortal-man Darrin Stephens. However, when he left the show in season six and was replaced by actor Dick Sargent, it was seemingly without any explanation. Naturally, this led to much speculation surrounding his sudden departure.
The real reason behind York leaving Bewitched was actually due to an old back injury. During the filming of the movie They Came to Cordura (1959), York sustained a very severe injury in which he tore the muscles along the right side of his back. At the time, there was no surgery that could repair his injuries, and he was prescribed strong painkillers. In the middle of filming season five, he had a seizure on set that was the result of the painkillers, hot lights, and exhaustion. After this event, he never returned to the set of Bewitched.
6. Endora gave Darrin the cold shoulder in real life
Agnes Moorehead and Dick York were very close in real life before York had to leave the show because of his injuries. Moorehead was religious and she admired York’s New-Age-type spirituality as well as his acting ability. She was not super pleased when York was replaced Dick Sargent (pictured above) as Darrin.
In the show, Endora and Darrin get into many arguments, and when Sargent came on board, this relationship translated over to real life. Allegedly, Moorehead often squabbled with Sargent and supposedly brought him to tears on several different occasions.
7. Aunt Clara loved doorknobs in real life
The beloved character, Aunt Clara, had a strange fascination with doorknobs when she appeared in different Bewitched episodes. Interestingly enough, this character trait was actually based on the real-life doorknob collection that belonged to Marion Lorne, the actress who played Aunt Clara.
Lorne had a collection of over 1,000 antique doorknobs, and she was able to bring that fascination to people all over America.
8. The tragic tale behind David White’s son
Louise and Larry Tate were friends of Samantha and Darrin Stephens in Bewitched. In the show, Louise and Larry Tate have a son named Jonathan. David White, the actor who played Larry, requested that his son on the show be named Jonathan, after his son in real life. White had raised his son Jonathan as a single father after his wife had died of complications during her second pregnancy. The show’s creators were touched by this and agreed to name the character after Jonathan.
However, tragedy struck the White family in 1988, as Jonathan (David’s real-life son) was on board Pan Am flight 103 and was killed when a bomb went off mid-flight over Lockerbie, Scotland. Two years later, David died of a heart attack, and both father and son are buried together at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
9. How was all that magic created without CGI?
When Bewitched was on air in the 1960s and into the 1970s there was no such thing as CGI, meaning that all the magic that viewers saw during each episode was created by stagehands. If Samantha was going to use magic to tidy up her living room, actress Elizabeth Montgomery would stand in place with her arms raised while the director yelled “cut!”
After the cameras had stopped rolling, the stagehands would quickly remove all the clutter, and once the living room was neat and tidy, “action” would be called, Montgomery could lower her arms, and the scene would continue.
10. It was Elizabeth Montgomery’s idea to name her character’s daughter Tabitha
During the entirety of Bewitched, actress Elizabeth Montgomery was pregnant three times. Producers were able to write two of Montgomery’s pregnancies into the script, adding daughter Tabitha and Adam to the Stephens family.
Interestingly enough, it was actress Elizabeth Montgomery’s idea to name her on-screen daughter Tabitha. In a 1967 interview, she said that she “loved [the name] because it was so old fashioned. I got it from one of the daughters of Edward Andrews, the actor.” However, somehow on the credit roll, the name came out “Tabatha” with an a instead of an i. This mistake made Montgomery cringe, as she recalled “shuddering every time I see it. It’s like a squeaky piece of chalk scratching on my nerves.”
11. He’s coming out
More from us: Magical Facts About I Dream Of Jeannie That Changed How We Think Of The Show
Dick Sargent, who replaced Dick York as Darrin Stephens on Bewitched, officially came out as gay on National Coming Out Day in 1991. The following year, in 1992, Sargent and Elizabeth Montgomery were grand marshals of the Los Angeles Pride Parade.