Wednesday, October 28, 2015

COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN (Day 28): Domesticated Sorceress

Essentially, it’s a romantic comedy about a mixed marriage.  And the rules of the show are as simple as the conflict between a woman of power and a husband who cannot deal with that power.  Add to that the anger of a bride’s mother seeing her daughter marry beneath her and you’ve got the perfect brew for a successful situation comedy.

Sol Saks, inspired by both “I Married a Witch” and “Bell, Book and Candle”, wrote only the pilot of the show and had nothing more to do with it after that.  Production began on the pilot on November 22, 1963, coinciding with the assassination of President Kennedy.  The show was a hit out of the gate, finishing season one as the number two show in the U.S.  The only show with better ratings was BONANZA.

As the seasons went by and the series went on, the network demanded more farcical supernatural elements be added.  And the cast changed more than most shows due to two untimely deaths (Alice Pierce who played Gladys Kravitz and Marion Lorne who portrayed Aunt Clara) and Dick York, the first Darren, had to quit due to health reasons (he had severely injured his back shooting a film).  

But what truly kept audiences coming back for more was Elizabeth Montgomery’s down to Earth, woman next door Samantha Stephens.  A woman sacrificing much for the man she loves, a daughter who fights against old tradition while trying to be respectful of her parents and a mother trying to give her family the best of both worlds.

Sure, that’s all in-between the snarky puns,  jokes, and witchy sfx but it’s in there.  And all the while, she played it as funny as could be—willing to go as far as need be for the laugh.  Witches had been brought to the mainstream before, but never had one been so embraced.

Here are a few interviews with Elizabeth one during and one after the show's run and the last reel is simply many, if not all, of the sight and sound gags that were the result of the use of "magic" on the show...

And now here's early rockabilly great Kip Tyler with...
"She's My Witch"

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