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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.