What Really Happened Behind The Scenes Of Bewitched

Witchy Inspiration

Bewitched was inspired by the films I Married a Witch and Bell, Book and Candle, according to creator Sol Saks.

Still image from I Married A Witch

Almost Bewitched

Surprisingly, Elizabeth Montgomery wasn’t the original choice for Samantha. Show creator Sol Saks’ choice was Tammy Grimes, who Saks believed had an “elfish” appearance.

Actress Tammy Grimes

Name Change

Furthermore, Samantha was originally to be named Cassandra. Ultimately, the character was renamed and Montgomery was chosen as the lead actress.

Samantha from Bewitched

Keeping Secrets

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.

Elizabeth Montgomery young and older

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?

Bewitched's Samantha sips tea

Replacing Darrin

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.

Dick York young and older

Pain in the Back

Why did Dick York leave the show? His chronic back pain made the show’s schedule too demanding to deal with.

Bewitched's Darrin on the phone

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.

Dick York as Darrin in Bewitched

Bad Lunch Break

During the show’s fifth season, York had a seizure while on lunch break and had to be taken to the hospital. He would never return to the show afterward.

Dick York as Darrin

Deja Vu

Darrin Syndrome reared its head more than once on Bewitched. Nosy neighbor Gladys was played originally by Alice Pearce, but Sandra Gould eventually replaced her.

Alice Pearce in 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.

Bewitched theme song video

Tragic Ending

Dick York wasn’t the only cast member whose health problems affected the show. Tragically, Alice Pearce died in 1966 due to ovarian cancer.

Alice Pearce smiling

Brave Fight

Pearce bravely fought against her cancer without ever revealing to her castmates that she had been diagnosed with it.

Alice Pearce from Bewitched

Emmy Winner

A bittersweet moment took place when, two months after her death, Pearce won an Emmy Award for her performance as Gladys.

Bewitched performers at the Emmy Awards

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.

Bewitched Babies

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.

Family from Bewitched

First Choice

Although Dick Sargent would take over the role of Darrin when Dick York left the show, Sargent was the first choice to play the character before he had scheduling conflicts.

Dick Sargent young and older

Almost Darrin

Before Dick York was given the role, Richard Crenna was offered the opportunity. That’s right, three Dicks!

Richard Crenna on screen

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!

Real McCoys stars

Special Gift

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.

Agnes Moorehead and Elizabeth 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.

Agnes Moorehead and Dick York

Rough Adjustment

It’s no surprise, then, that Moorehead wasn’t pleased when York was replaced with Dick Sargent after leaving the show.

Cast members of Bewitched

Versatile Actor

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.

Paul Lyndie on I Dream of Jeannie

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.

Aunt Clara in Bewitched

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.

Larry and Louise Tate from Bewitched

Unfortunate End

Not many people know that Jonathan was a passenger on Pan Am Flight 103, which tragically exploded in the air in 1988.

Jonathan White memorial

Share and Share Alike

Long before the Olsen twins on Full House, Erin and Diane Murphy shared the role of Tabitha on Bewitched.

Diane and Erin Murphy young and older

Double Duty

Elizabeth Montgomery was famous for playing the lead role in Bewitched, but did you know she also played Samantha’s cousin, Serena?

Serena from Bewitched

Sisters at Heart

Only the biggest Bewitched fans know that the episode “Sisters at Heart” was actually created by a class of black high school students from Los Angeles.

A scene from Bewitched

Good Intentions

In the episode, Samantha casts a spell on a racist to make him see everyone as having black skin. The episode has a good message, though it features many white actors in blackface, which wouldn’t go over well today.

Bewitched characters in blackface

Practical Effects

Special effects weren’t a real possibility on the show, so Montgomery would hold her hands in place to cast a spell while the director cut the scene. Then, stagehands would quickly rearrange objects before filming resumed, the “spell” has taken place.

Samantha all dressed up in Bewitched

Do It Yourself

Unlike in the television productions of today, the supporting actors and actresses in Bewitched supplied their wardrobes for the show!

Cast of Bewitched

Historical Significance

The first day of rehearsal for Bewitched was the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Years later, the show was interrupted to announce the tragic news of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. waves to crowd

Partying On Set

Many Bewitched fans have noted that characters often enjoyed alcoholic beverages during the show. Those weren’t fake drinks, either – cast members regularly drank on set!

Samantha and Darrin from Bewitched