With any popular show, there are plenty of secrets that the producers would rather not have you know. Here are some Bewitched secrets that producers kept from fans for years.
Two of Montgomery’s pregnancies were acknowledged during the show, as the babies were simply written into the script, leading to the addition of Tabitha and Adam.
In fact, Dick York wasn’t even the producers’ second choice for the role of Darrin. That was Richard Crenna, who became busy with another role while producers rushed to find someone to play Samantha.
Elizabeth Montgomery had a hard time filming the show’s pilot because that was the day JFK was assassinated. Montgomery was a friend of the president’s, as was producer Bill Asher.
Montgomery Wasn’t the First Choice
Elizabeth Montgomery was iconic in the role of Samantha, but she wasn’t the producers’ first choice. One of the best kept Bewitched secrets is that Tammy Grimes was the first choice!
A Lot Changed Before Filming
Some major changes had taken place before the show debuted. Samantha was to be named Cassandra, for instance. Elizabeth Montgomery didn’t like the name, and it was changed.
Kind of a Ripoff
Although Bewitched was better than the movies that inspired it, the concept was taken by creator Sol Saks from I Married a Witch and Bell, Book and Candle.
The Stephens’ house interior will be instantly recognized by Bewitched fans in the 1969 film Hook, Line & Sinker.
Ever notice how often the show’s characters drink during episodes? Those aren’t fake drinks – the performers actually drank on set with regularity.
Dick York’s Poor Health
Most Bewitched fans know that Dick York was replaced as Darrin, but many didn’t know why. He sustained a back injury while filming a movie that never really healed.
Seizure on Set
York’s health got so bad that he had a seizure during lunch break during filming once and had to be rushed to the hospital. He never appeared on set again.
Agnes Moorehead was not a fan of Dick Sargent taking over for Dick York as Darrin. She was close personal friends with York.
Cause of Death
Of all the mysterious health ailments surrounding the show, most misconceptions swirl around Dick Sargent’s eventual death. He was gay and rumored to have died due to AIDS, but died due to prostate cancer.
The Original Plan
Dick Sargent’s assumption of the role of Darrin may have seemed like a hasty plan, but he was the producer’s first choice to play the role before settling for Dick York.
The Other Pregnancy
A show that lasts eight years is going to have some bumps, but Montgomery provided three very real bumps in the form of her real-life pregnancies. Two of the three were written into the show, but the third was hidden from audiences completely.
No Clothing Budget
Apparently, Bewitched didn’t have much of a wardrobe budget. Supporting actors had to supply their clothing for use on the show.
Not a Family Affair
You probably know that voice over narrator was used in the first few episodes, but most don’t know that Elizabeth Montgomery’s father was the first person considered for the task. He declined.
If you got the sense of deja vu later in the show’s run, you weren’t alone. Some of the shows starring Dick Sargent repeated entire plotlines of episodes that originally starred Dick York, with some lines of dialogue repeated word-for-word.
Tired of the Show
Bewitched didn’t end due to low ratings. Show star Elizabeth Montgomery simply didn’t want to continue in the role of Samantha. It turns out she was the one performer they wouldn’t try to replace.
Also making the show’s run difficult at the end were the marital problems between Montgomery and William Asher, who ran the show behind the scenes. Never mix business with pleasure!
Not Meant to Be
Bewitched was already renewed for a ninth and tenth season before Montgomery and Asher ended the show and their marriage. Imagine, we could have had two more seasons of Bewitched!
Where Are the Words?
The Bewitched theme originally had lyrics. Ultimately, the show’s producers decided just to use the instrumental, though.
The theme song’s original lyrics were written from the perspective of Samantha’s husband, Darrin.
Elizabeth Montgomery kept her personal life so secret that many of her obituaries didn’t mention her marriage to Robert Foxworth. They thought she was still single.
Get the Facts Right
Also, many obituaries reported Montgomery as 57 years old at her time of death, when she was 62. Who wouldn’t want people to think they were five years younger, though?
Most Bewitched fans know that Dick York, the first man to play Samantha’s husband Darrin, was replaced by Dick Sargent. You may not know that this led to similar acting replacements being referred to as “The Darrin Syndrome,” however.
The Painful Details
Dick York’s back troubles started when he was filming the movie Cordura. During filming, he tore many of the muscles in his back and never healed properly.
Pearce bravely fought against her cancer without ever revealing to her castmates that she had been diagnosed with it.
A bittersweet moment took place when, two months after her death, Pearce won an Emmy Award for her performance as Gladys.
Roll With It
Long-running TV shows like Bewitched often has to adjust to the changes their actors go through. This was the case when Elizabeth Montgomery got pregnant three times during the show’s run.
Not the Real McCoy
Crenna passed up on the role because he was burned out on TV roles after spending several seasons on the successful show The Real McCoys. What a mistake!
Agnes Moorehead, who played Endora, often wore a starburst brooch on the show, which Montgomery always remarked about. When she passed away in 1974, Moorehead left the brooch for Montgomery.
Stranger Than Fiction
Reality and fiction are often very different. Although Darrin and Endora didn’t get along, Dick York and Agnes Moorehead were great friends.
There was always a little rivalry between Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie, which debuted a year after Bewitched. Paul Lynde played roles on both shows, appearing as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and as an IRS agent, film director, and NASA commander in three separate I Dream of Jeannie appearances.
Just Like on TV
Sometimes, the characters were inspired by the real lives of the performers. For instance, Marion Lorne’s antique doorknob collection inspired her character, Aunt Clara’s similar obsession.
What’s in a Name
Larry and Louise Tate’s son on the show was named Jonathan at the request of actor David White, who had a real-life son with the same name.
You’re Overthinking It
Grimes’ reason for turning down the role was a little silly. She thought if someone had the powers of the witch, she’d go around curing the world’s problems instead of tending to her house.
Not Pleased At All
Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery was not happy when I Dream of Jeannie debuted years later with a very similar plot revolving around a homemaker with magical abilities.
That’s Just Too Much
While the casts of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie may have felt like rivals, the two shows used the same set very often!
I’ve Seen This Before
The basic plot wasn’t the only thing Bewitched borrowed from other productions. The house’s often-seen living room and patio sets were duplicates from the film Gidget Goes to Rome.
Opening Pandora’s Box
The producers of Bewitched went to rather extreme lengths to hide the obvious fact that Elizabeth Montgomery played Samantha’s cousin, Serena. Whenever Serena was featured on the show, her role was credited to a fictional actress by the name of Pandora Spocks.
No Twitch For You
Erin Murphy, who played Samantha’s daughter Tabitha on the show, was never asked to twitch her nose like her TV mother often did. Murphy says that the producers thought there was no need for a baby witch to wiggle her nose, and she’s never even tried to do it in real life.
Walk on the Wild Side
Although star Elizabeth Montgomery was known for her role on the rather wholesome sitcom, in real life she showed a preference for bad boys, according to Herbie Pilato, who wrote a biography of the Bewitched star.
Feud With Elvis
Elvis Presley was the subject of some flirtation from Montgomery, which would cause him to get some criticism from her then-husband, Bewitched producer Bill Asher. Elvis responded to Asher with some unkind words, calling him a name that we won’t repeat here.
Later in her life, Montgomery was involved with Alexander Godunov, a ballet star and actor. However, Montgomery would cast him aside later on, which led to Godunov falling into an alcoholic haze that would eventually lead to his tragic demise, according to insiders.
Bewitched Almost Didn’t Happen
Bewitched as we know it could have never happened at all. That’s because Montgomery’s first husband, Fred Cammann, wanted her to quit acting altogether and focus on raising a family, especially since he was rich. Fortunately for us, she didn’t take his advice and they ultimately split.
The ending of Bewitched would ultimately coincide with the failure of Montgomery’s marriage to producer Bill Asher. Many don’t know, however, that Asher frequently had affairs throughout the filming of the show.
No Perfect Angel
Of course, Elizabeth Montgomery was no angel herself, and had an affair with Richard Michaels, who had directed some episodes of the show. The affair was the last straw in a marriage that had been doomed for some time.
Elizabeth Montgomery had a lot of issues with her father, which manifested once again during the casting of Bewitched. Elizabeth wanted her father to play her on-screen dad in the show, but he refused, with those close to the family feeling that he was resenting her success.
While her first husband wanted her to quit acting and become a stay-at-home mother and housewife, later husband Bill Asher was a positive influence, encouraging her to keep acting as the show was getting ready to start filming. She had wanted to quit, but decided to stick with it and the rest is history.
The Darrin Role
There have been a lot of controversies about the role of Darrin. However, many did not really know that such role was actually offered to other two actors before it was being offered to Dick York. We all know that it was Dick Sargent who was the producer’s first choice for the role.
Montgomery Taking the Real Mother Role
Montgomery took the role of a real mother in the show. Many did not know that it was actually her idea to name the daughter of her character Tabitha. She even said in 1967 that she loved that name because it was really old-fashioned. She revealed that she got the name from one of the daughters of the actor Edward Andrews.
Many knew the role of Darrin played by two actors, but it wasn’t the only case in the show. Among others was Gladys Kravitz who, at first, was portrayed by Alice Pearce and then by Sandra Gould. It seemed that the show love having a couple of actors playing one role.
The Drinking Incidents Fan base
Many of the Bewitched characters drank alcohol so much that many of the episodes with drank characters were not faking it. But the fun fact is that they drank so much that a fan website even created a database of drinking incidents with episode numbers and locations.
Cursed with its Terrible Time Slots
In the series’ final year, Bewitched was cursed due to its terrible time slots. The ratings of the series fell more drastically then ever in 1971 to 1972 when it’s scheduled against the famous “Carol Burnett Show” and later moved opposite the remarkable series “All in the Family.”
It’s Tabatha, Not Tabitha
Samantha did not actually pronounce the name of her on-screen daughter correctly. In fact, it was just more a slip of the tongue than anything else but there is no one who actually knows about that.
It was quite difficult for many to have a different Darrin in the show but it wasn’t only the fans who were affected by the change. Agnes Moorehead, who played the role of Samantha’s mother just could not accept the new character, Dick Sargent playing Darrin. It actually led to some awkward moments on set.
A more Creative Option will Do
Bewitched have some iconic animated intro sequences that made long-lasting influence and appeal to many. However, it was not that appealing to Elizabeth Montgomery. According to reports, she believed that the production team of the show could’ve come up with something more exciting and creative.
Very Friendly Competition
The mix of comedy and fantasy of the show inspired a lot of imitators, especially the “I Dream of Jeannie” by the NBC. In addition to the obvious similarities in characterization and plot of the sitcoms, they were actually able to swap props and sets.
A Witch Should Make A Change
Like many television shows, casting is a long process. Initially, the name of the lead character in the show was Cassandra and Tammy Grimes was considered to take the role. However, she didn’t get the show and actually thought that she should be able to stop the traffic in LA and wars as a witch. The role was then taken by Elizabeth Montgomery with a screen name Samantha.
In 1988, the son of actor David White died in a plane explosion. Such tragedy happened just before the actor died due to a heart attack two years later.
The Real Closeness
Endora took it hard to have a different Darrin in the show. Although the character Endora barely tolerated the role Darrin on the show, Moorehead was, in fact, closer to York than any other members of the cast, admiring his acting talent and new age-type spirituality.
Episode Written by Some African-American High Schoolers
The “Sisters at Heart” Christmas episode’s basic script and story idea was written by twenty-two African American tenth graders in the English class of Marcella Saunders at Jefferson High School in South Center L.A.
Stage Hands Magic
In the 1960s, there was no such thing as technology or computer-generated magic. All magic tricks in the show were created by a team of talented stagehands. Other significant effects included ‘invisible’ wires, backward-motion and fast-motion film.
The Awkward Positions
We’ve mentioned about the non-existence of innovative technologies at that time, so many actors often stood in some awkward poses until everything was ready for the scene. For instance, in a house-cleaning spell, the producer literally has to stop taping while the crew were cleaning the set and then began rolling again when everything was clear.
There were a lot of significant events that happened during the 8-year run of the show. Its run even coincided with Martin Luther King’s murder which caused some episodes to be paused to run the news of his death.
A Tempting Offer
Although Elizabeth Montgomery earned great amounts of money from the show, she soon fell out of love with the role that made her want to leave Bewitched shortly after its 5th season. However, the studio heads offered a huge amount of money for her stay, which she did for 3 more seasons.
The Notable Changes
Elizabeth Montgomery did not only play the role of Samantha but many other characters that even belonged to her family. This include her cousin Serena. Even though the fans recognized this, they just chose to go with flow and enjoyed the show.
Not Only the Clothing but also Accessories
Not only did the characters wore their own clothing in the show but also their entire wardrobe, including their accessories. The main characters also had their own stylists and on-set wardrobes for them.
The Parting Gift
Although Montgomery might not have great love for the show by the time Bewitched ended in 1972, she was still able to reap great benefits long after the show’s cancellation. As a matter of fact, she earned millions because she owned a twenty percent stake in the production.
Cancer Strikes Bewitched
Alice Pearce, who played nosy neighbor Gladys, died while the show was still on the air. Like Dick York, she was replaced with a new performer and the show went on.
That’s a Relief
Saks said the resemblance to the films was so blatant that if the films hadn’t been owned by the same production company as the show, he would have feared a lawsuit.