Samantha, a powerful member of the society of witches that has lived apart from (and disdained) humanity for many centuries, falls in love with a mortal, Darrin Stephens. Much to the disgust of most of her family, she vows to give up witchcraft and become an ordinary suburban housewife, raising a family (bearing Tabitha and Adam). Never able to give up her heritage completely, the friction between the matriarchal, moneyless society of her birth and the patriarchal, capitalist society of modern advertising drives the comedy over eight seasons and 256 episodes, from 1964 to 1971.
In its penultimate season, Bewiched
showed little signs of the seven-year twitch. The season begins with an ambitious eight-episode arc, in which the fate of mortal Darrin (Dick Sargent) and witch Samantha's (Elizabeth Montgomery) mixed marriage is to be decided by the Witches Council. A trip to Salem, Mass., leads to a series of charmed misadventures, among them, encounters with a cursed antique colonial bedwarmer with the hots for Samantha and the real Paul Revere. In "Samantha's Old Salem Trip," spell-impaired Esmeralda (Alice Ghostley) accidentally sends Samantha back to 17th century Salem, but it is Darrin who is accused of witchcraft after he is dispatched to rescue her. Disc three of this four-disc set contains a string of inspired episodes that have all of Bewitched
's old magic. The delightful Imogene Coca appears in a two-parter as Mary, the dissatisfied Good Fairy, who switches places with Samantha. Dick Sargent, more settled in to his role as the replacement Darrin, gets a crack at one of Dick York's finest half hours in "The Return of Darrin the Bold," in which he appears in a dual role as Darrin's 14th century ancestor, a randy, "warm-blooded Irishman." "The House That Uncle Arthur Built" is "the last in a long line of funnies" featuring the indispensable Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur, who tries to hide his true practical joker nature from his snooty new girlfriend. This season also contains one of Bewitched
's most memorable episodes, "Sisters at Heart," a Christmas story about racism conceived by the 10th grade English class at Los Angeles' Thomas Jefferson High School in which Tabitha (adorable Erin Murphy), told that she and her best friend, a black girl, could never be sisters because they don't look the same, conjures up polka-E20dotted equality. As Endora, Agnes Morehead worked hard for her Emmy nomination this season, conjuring up spell after spiteful spell for the dread "Durwood," including giving him a pig's head, turning him into an insult comedian ("My mother-in-law has one terrible habit--breathing."), and changing him into an old man. And Montgomery doubles the toil and trouble in her dual role as swinging "quicksilver" Serena. From the dancing skeleton in the closet in "The House that Uncle Arthur Built" to Endora's commercial for Bobbins Bon Bons in "The Mother-In-Law of the Year," Bewitched
's seventh season will have you under its spell. --Donald Liebenson