Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Darrin: You're a witch!
Samantha: That's what I've been trying to tell you.

This long-running (1964-1972) Fantastic Comedy on ABC took a lighthearted look at the supernatural. The show, which could have been forgettable fluff in lighter hands, was buoyed by intelligent writing and sharp performances, and as a result, Bewitched became a favorite with critics and audiences and even won a few Emmys.

Elizabeth Montgomery starred as Samantha, the wife of ad executive Darrin Stephens. She was not the average Housewife. in fact, she was a witch. Darrin encouraged her to suppress her powers and try to live a normal life, but Samantha couldn't help using her powers when she or Darrin were in a jam. With a twitch of the nose, she would make something magical happen and throw Darrin and the rest of the mortal world into a tizzy.

A frequent unintentional witness to Samantha's magical antics was Larry Tate, Darrin's boss. Among the other inhabitants of this bewitched world were Larry's wife, Louise, and the Stephens' next-door neighbors, the Kravitzes, nosy Gladys and long-suffering Abner. Samantha and Darrin would later have two children, Tabitha and Adam. Tabitha had her mother's powers, but Adam only developed them near the very end of the series (much to Darrin's relief). A physician character, Dr. Bombay, was added to the show in 1967.

On the other side of the coin was Samantha's side of the family, all of whom wanted her to forsake the mortal life for full-time witchcraft. Endora was Samantha's mother and the ultimate vicious mother-in-law, not thinking much of mortals like Darrin. Maurice was Samantha's father, and the rest of the magical family included practical-joking Uncle Arthur and forgetful Aunt Clara. Esmeralda was added later in the show's run as a slightly inept witch housekeeper. She was a timid soul and would vanish into thin air if addressed in a harsh tone.

Over the years, many people have criticized Darrin's hatred of magic, but not all of it came from his reactionary fear of non-conformity; he also could never have survived in Samantha's world due to his lack of magical powers. The first time he met Samantha's mother, she threatened to kill him, and the first time he met Samantha's father, he did kill him -- but Samantha persuaded her father to bring Darrin back to life a few minutes later. It would only take a slight change in approach to make most of the Bewitched storylines into terrifying horror stories. Yet through all the hexes and curses and involuntary shapeshifts, Darrin remained loyal to Samantha.

The tension between the mortal and supernatural worlds, and Samantha's precarious balancing act between the two, formed the backbone of all the episodes. On any given episode, Samantha might try to keep the peace with her father when he discovered Darrin was a mortal, or Endora might decide Darrin needed a sense of humor and put a hex on him to make him crack jokes uncontrollably. These premises might have seemed simple on the surface, but they quickly achieved complexity when worked through the show's intricate web of character relationships.

The show's scripts were always solid and utilized a consistently high level of imagination when working the supernatural elements into the story. In one show, Esmerelda was asked to make a Caesar salad and accidentally conjured up Julius Caesar himself. The show's ensemble was tight and funny, and their across-the-board chemistry both brought the stories to life and made the material believable. The show also had a rare consistency of style and tone, thanks to the fact that the show had one regular producer and director, William Asher, to guide the actors through their paces. It is interesting to note that Mr. Asher was the real-life husband of Elizabeth Montgomery, Samantha Stephens herself.

Bewitched experienced many casting changes during its long run. Kasey Rogers replaced Irene Vernon as Louise Tate in 1966, and Sandra Gould replaced Alice Pearce as Gladys Kravitz the same year. Tabitha was played by no fewer than three sets of twins: Heidi and Laura Gentry and Tamar and Julie Young all played Tabitha throughout much of 1966, but were replaced permanently by the duo of Erin and Diane Murphy (eventually, Erin Murphy took over the role entirely). But the most noticeable replacement (and one of the most famous in TV history) occurred in 1969 when Dick Sargent replaced an ailing Dick York as Darrin. Usually having multiple changes like these are detrimental to a show's quality, but Bewitched had a consistency of tone and style that allowed the show to overcome the changes.

The show ended its run in July 1972 after eight seasons, having won Emmys for Asher's direction and Marion Lorne's performance as Aunt Clara. Montgomery was nominated five times for her work as Samantha, but never won. Just the same, she will always be remembered fondly by television viewers for the role of Samantha Stephens. Tabitha, a Spin-Off series built around the now-grown daughter character (played by Lisa Hartman Black), was aired on ABC during the 1977-78 season, bringing supernatural comedy back to the small screen, at least for a while.

In 2005 a movie adaptation hit the big screen, and approached the subject matter from a direction never before tried, as replicating the original would require either denying the existence of a seminal TV show or making Darrin an idiot. Instead, it was a comedy about a remake of the original series. Naturally, the twist was that a real witch of the Bewitched mold (Isabel, played by Nicole Kidman) was cast as Samantha ("We weren't allowed to watch Bewitched while growing up. Daddy said it was racist.").

In 2021, another film adaptation -- one less meta and more traditional -- entered its early development phase at Sony Pictures. It remains to be seen if it will actually be made.[1]

Bewitched has been dubbed into dozens of languages for distribution all around the world. In addition, the series has been remade many times in foreign markets, most notably on Japanese TV in 2004 as Oku-sama wa majo -- literally, My Wife Is A Witch but subtitled in English Bewitched in Tokyo. Furthermore, Bewitched is credited as a major influence on the very first Magical Girl Anime, Sally the Witch (Mahōtsukai Sally, broadcast 1966-1968), making it the ultimate ancestor of all Cute Witch characters in Japanese animation. More recently, explicit homage was paid to Bewitched by the 2005 anime Oku-sama wa Maho Shojo: Bewitched Agnes. Finally, the rights to Bewitched have been owned since 1989 by Sony, a Japanese company; this is coincidental (it was a side effect of their purchase of Columbia Pictures), but certainly fits, given the series' popularity in Japan.

Bewitched is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in Bewitched include:
  • Absentee Actor: Dick York missed several Season 5 episodes, due to the chronic back pain that would lead to his retirement from the series and replacement by Dick Sargent in Season 6.
  • Animated Credits Opening
  • Artistic Title
  • Backhanded Apology: Maurice and Endora pretty much every time they have to apologize to anyone.
    • Maurice: "I apologize that your abominable behavior had so exhausted my patience that I was goaded into a slight transgression."
  • Big Blackout: "The Short, Happy Circuit of Aunt Clara".
    • Was something of a Take That jab at the actual blackout of the entire East Coast of the United States in 1965 (apparently, that was Aunt Clara's fault).
  • Breather Episode
  • Can Not Tell a Lie
  • Characteristic Trope
  • Color Me Black: At the end of one episode, Samantha uses magic to cause a racist to see everyone around him as black. Including himself when he looks in a mirror.
  • Crossover:
    • The Soap Opera Passions (1999-2008) features Juliet Mills as Tabitha Lenox, a genuine witch whose daughter is named Endora and whose parents are a mortal named Darrin and a witch named Samantha. Furthermore, Bernard Fox has made two appearances on the show as his Bewitched character, Dr. Bombay.
    • Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York voiced Samantha and Darrin in an episode of The Flintstones.
  • Cute Witch: This show is the ultimate ancestor to all the cute witches in anime.
  • Dom Com
  • The Eeyore: Esmerelda, in spades.
  • Everybody Owns a Ford: A Chevrolet in this case. Not only did the car company sponsor the show, the theme show was the 1965-66 commercial theme song for Chevrolet cars.
  • Evil Twin: Averted with Samantha's identical cousin Serena. Yes, she's kooky and doesn't much like Darrin, but she's certainly not evil.
  • Expy: Of the 1958 movie and play Bell, Book and Candle, and to a certain extent, the Fredric March film I Married a Witch (1942) (but see below).
  • Fantastic Comedy
  • Fantastic Racism: Entirely one-sided. Darrin didn't really have problems with witches as such, just Samantha's family's constant interference in his life. Hard to fault him, considering his father-in-law once killed him. With the exception of Samantha and Clara, every witch or warlock we see holds mortals in contempt.
    • Serena went back and forth, as did Uncle Arthur. They looked down at mortals, but did not appear to be totally contemptuous of them, and sometimes sided with Sam and Darrin.
      • Uncle Arthur does admit in one episode that he does genuinely like Darrin, while Darrin considers him the "best friend he has in Sam's family".
  • The Film of the Series
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics

Bewitched, bewitched, you've got me in your spell
Bewitched, bewitched, you know your craft so well
Before I knew what you were doing, I looked in your eyes
That brand of woo that you've been brewin' took me by surprise
You witch, you witch! One thing that is for sure
That stuff you pitch just hasn't got a cure
My heart was under lock and key, but somehow it got unhitched
I never thought my heart could be had
But now I'm caught and I'm kind of glad
To be -- Bewitched!

  • George Jetson Job Security
  • Half-Hour Comedy
  • Halloween Episode: Appropriately enough, the show had five of them. There were also five Christmas Episodes, two St. Patrick's Day episodes, a Thanksgiving episode, a Valentine's Day episode, and even a Washington's Birthday episode. Apparently the producers really liked their holidays.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Elizabeth Montgomery was pregnant during the filming of the first few episodes of the first season; averted with her next two pregnancies, which were written into the show as children Tabitha and Adam.
  • Hot Witch: And later on Hot Mom.
  • Housewife
  • Inept Mage: Aunt Clara and Esmerelda.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting
  • Jail Bake: A case where the cake was magically conjured by accident.
  • Jerkass: Endora more than likely would already be insufferable to deal with as a mortal. But the fact that she was virtually omnipotent made dealing with her hell, as Darrin was fully aware.
    • On those occasions when she lost her powers, she would pitifully manipulate him into waiting on her hand and foot. You know, like an ordinary mother-in law.
  • Large Ham: Maurice. Dear Lord, Maurice. Also, Dr. Bombay and pretty much everyone in the supporting cast.
  • Laugh Track
  • Literal Genie: Many spells go off exactly as specified, not as desired.
  • Magical Gesture: Samantha's famous nose-wiggling. Other witches like Endora tended to have a different style however. A young Tabitha, unable to twitch her nose on her own, was seen forcing it to move with her finger, later switching to moving her crossed fingers up and down.
  • Match Cut
  • Meet Cute
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: The Trope Namer.
  • Nosy Neighbor: While not a Trope Namer, "Gladys Kravitz" is shorthand for a busy-body who gossips about their neighbors.
  • Not Me This Time: Happens in quite a few episodes, as Darrin usually assumes that his troubles are being caused by Endora. Endora claims to be innocent, or doesn't show up in the episode at all, and later it turns out to be someone else screwing with Darrin -- or the problem was completely mundane with no magic involved.
  • Not So Above It All: While often getting angry at her mother for using magic to torment Darrin, Samantha herself did it quite a bit to folks who annoyed her. She was just a lot more subtle.
  • One Scene, Two Monologues: A Running Gag with Darrin and his bar buddy Dave. Darrin always tells Dave everything about his life, including the fact that his wife is a witch, and Dave obliviously continues rambling on about something else.

Dave: The sea of matrimony is beset with hidden shoals and reefs.
Darrin: I just found out Samantha's a witch.
Dave: And it takes tolerance and understanding to find the channel of true love!
Darrin: I didn't believe it until she started moving things around.
Dave: Marriage is a partnership where two people, side by side, face life's obstacles together.

  • Painted Tunnel, Real Train
  • Power Incontinence: Aunt Clara, and later on, Esmeralda.
  • Pretty in Mink: A few episodes had furs, since for witches, it was just a matter of making one appear.
  • Reactionary Fantasy: Unfortunately, it couldn't work the other way around with Darrin accepting his wife's magic since that would mean he would logically be prone to ask her to solve all his problems with it, killing any real drama in the premise. It is occasionally subverted during the first two seasons, when Darrin would try to adapt to Samantha's world but simply lacked the magical powers needed to survive among witches.
    • Once or twice Darrin did manage to defeat or dodge a plot by Endora and Co. on his own, something that gave him considerable satisfaction for understandable reasons.
  • Reality Warper: Witch and warlock powers appear to be this, with a Magical Gesture and (rarely) an incantation needed to make, well, anything happen.
  • Recursive Canon: One of the more noteworthy elements of the film version.
  • Recycled in Space: Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family, a 1972 Saturday Morning Cartoon by Hanna-Barbera.
  • Satire: Although the series seldom questioned the sexism of its time, it continually satirized conformity through Darrin's desperation to appear identical to everyone else, snobbery through Darrin's parents, and racism both through Darrin's attitude about witches and Endora's prejudice against mortals. With mixed results, the series often satirized obsessive consumerism through Darrin, Larry Tate, and the advertising client of the week; Word of God is that the producers and writers wanted to satirize consumerism more intensely but were forbidden to do so by the network and the series' commercial sponsors. Corporate careerism is sent up by Darrin's near-slavish deference to his employer. And some people claim to find a subtle satire of homophobia, primarily through Uncle Arthur, as many of the people involved in the series are now known to have been gay and/or gay-friendly.
    • Plus the very idea of an "invisible" subculture of unusual people, existing alongside the everyday world, encouraged gays (and others) to identify.
  • Shout-Out: Endora's name is a reference to the Witch of Endor in the The Bible.
  • Spin-Off: Tabitha.
  • Standardized Sitcom Housing: Bewitched is one of the most famous aversions.
  • Stop Trick
  • Suburbia
  • Time Travel: Most notably to Salem, MA at the height of the witch trials.
  • Tomboyish Name: Darrin usually addressed Samantha with the nickname "Sam".
  • Trickster Archetype: Uncle Arthur.
  • Trope Maker
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Works with either Darrin (for that matter, Darrin's wealthy, catty ex-fiancee was played by Nancy Kovack, real-life winner of eight beauty titles).
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Samantha's cousin Serena, also played by Elizabeth Montgomery.
  • Useless Superpowers
  • Verbed Title
  • Witch Species: The witches were not mortals who learned to do magic, but rather a separate supernatural race with inherent magic powers.
  1. Nothing more has been heard about it since it was announced in March 2021, so signs are not good.