At some point during the 1960s, TV audiences decided that they wanted networks to add a little more whimsy to their traditional sitcom plots.
Sure, they still loved Ricky and Lucy and checking in with the Cleavers, but shows like I Dream of Jeannie, The Munsters, and, of course, Bewitched set the tone for fantasy-based entertainment, while still remaining good, clean fun for the whole family.
I still love watching reruns of the witchy comedy every time I see one while I’m channel surfing. Likewise, I bet more than a few of you have taken a stab at doing Samantha’s iconic nose twitch yourself! And we all have our opinions on which Darrin filled the Stephens family patriarch’s shoes best, but I had no idea what actually caused the original actor, Dick York, to leave the beloved series.
Take a look below to find out what forced him to make his exit as well as even more fascinating facts from the show.
Did we miss your favorite little-known tidbit? Let us know in the comments and be sure to Rasplove with your friends!
1. Elizabeth Montgomery Was Married To The Producer
In fact, she and husband William Asher, who also directed 131 episodes, purposely went looking for a project the pair could tackle together as a family when their agent sent them to meet with studio heads pitching the spooky show.
2. Elizabeth Hid Her First Pregnancy
While her second and third pregnancies were used to introduce the Stephens’ children, Tabitha and Adam, Montgomery’s growing belly in the early days of the series was kept hidden with strategic angles and close-ups.
3. Dick York Required Special Furniture
After suffering a spinal injury on the set of the 1959 western They Came To Cordura, which also starred Gary Cooper, York continued to endure severe pain the rest of his life. The set was supplied with special seating, and the cast would often help him get around from room to room.
Ultimately, he was unable to continue working, and his role was recast.
4. Ratings Plummeted With Darrin #2
Over the summer between the fifth and sixth seasons, the network re-aired 14 “non-Darrin” episodes in the hopes that it would help their audience adjust to the change. Some thought they should attempt to write in an explanation for Darrin’s new look, but Asher felt the viewers would understand on their own.
Instead, the hit show sank 13 notches in the ratings rankings and never fully recovered throughout the last three seasons.
5. Agnes Moorhead Didn’t Like The New Darrin Either
On top of the backlash from the audience when introducing Dick Sargent as the new Mr. Stephens in the sixth season, Moorhead, who was close with York before his exit, let her own feelings be known at the cast’s first table read by simply saying, “I don’t like change.”
6. The Show Was Interrupted Twice By Assassinations
First, in 1963 while rehearsing for the pilot episode, they postponed all work following the announcement that President John F. Kennedy, a good friend of William Asher, had been killed.
Later again in 1968, an episode was interrupted by reports of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death as well.
7. Elizabeth Wasn’t A Fan Of The Opening Credits
Animated by the legendary folks at Hanna-Barbera, famous for creating The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, and The Jetsons among several other classic cartoons, Montgomery was apparently less impressed by their work for Bewitched and felt they could have done better.
8. ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ Was Their Neighbor
You can spot the Stephens’ house down the street in scenes filmed in the front yard of Jeannie and her astronaut beau Tony Nelson’s home, even though the shows were supposed to be set across the country from each other in New York and Florida, respectively.
Sally Field’s house from Gidget was also located right next door to the Stephens’.
9. Samantha And Endora’s Names Come From The Bible
Perhaps done to appease folks who were worried about potential “satanic” messages being spread from the quirky show even before it aired, the two leading ladies were named after a story in I Samuel 28 about Saul consulting the “Witch of Endor” to bring back the spirit of Samuel.
10. Five Different Babies Played Tabitha In Season Two
Infant Cynthia Black was used for the first episode when the Stephens welcomed their baby girl to the family, then the role was taken over by twins Heidi and Laura Gentry before being replaced again by another set of twins, Julie and Tamar Young.
Starting with season three, Erin and Diane Murphy were given the role, with Erin eventually taking over full time.
11. Only Two Magical Characters Ever Got Darrin’s Name Right
As the meddling mother-in-law, Endora delighted in calling Darrin by countless wrong names like Durwood, Dobbin, and Darwin. However, two of Samantha’s magical relatives were able to consistently refer to him by the correct moniker: Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur.
Did we miss your favorite little known fact from the fantasy series? Let us know in the comments and be sure to Rasplove with your friends!