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A classic, long-running US sitcom depicting the adventures of an ordinary guy, Darrin, and his wife, Samantha, who happens to be a witch. The comedy arose from the wife's attempts to refrain from using her magic powers and live life like a mortal to please her husband. In doing so, she perpetually disappointed her deeply embittered mother (Endora) who saw the marriage as a travesty, was forever trying to part the couple and never called Darrin by his true name, baiting him by referring to him as Darwin, Dobbin, Derwood, Dum-Dum and dozens of other corruptions.

Darrin Stephens worked for the New York advertising agency McMann and Tate, where his extraordinarily money-grabbing boss Larry Tate was oblivious to Samantha's background and just treated her as a normal, albeit somewhat eccentric, wife whose beauty made her a definite asset to her husband. Convinced that they presented a handsome front to the firm, Tate often insisted that the couple meet prospective clients, but Samantha's witchcraft - or, more often, her mother's - always made things very awkward. More complications arose through Gladys Kravitz, the Stephens' nosey neighbour from over the road, who often espied Samantha's supernatural prowess but was never able to convince her husband about the goings-on and often ended up even doubting the evidence of her own eyes.

Other members of Samantha's clan visited occasionally, including her father Maurice, her effete warlock Uncle Arthur and her wonderfully absent-minded eccentric Aunt Clara. They were a bizarre but harmless enough bunch, quite unlike Samantha's wacky identical cousin Serena (also played by Montgomery although she was credited in the cast as Pandora Spocks), a 1960s flower child who turned up occasionally to cause mayhem. The magical contingent were always funnier and more colourful than their human counterparts which must have made viewers wonder why Samantha would give up such a fantastic world for such a mundane one - especially as husband Darrin was somewhat dull.

Various cast changes occurred during the show's eight-year run, most of which were seamless, and even the major transition in the role of Darrin, from Dick York to Dick Sargent (necessary because York had a damaged spine) passed virtually unnoticed thanks to the similarity in looks and style between the two actors. Likewise, when Alice Pearce died in 1966, Sandra Gould stepped effortlessly into the shoes of Gladys Kravitz.

The show proved immensely popular and continued to deliver slick if innocuous entertainment during its long run. The glamorous Elizabeth Montgomery, daughter of veteran Hollywood actor Robert Montgomery and wife of the show's director/producer William Asher, was a major factor in the success of Bewitched - her nose-twitching and mouth-wrinkling spell-casting enchanted viewers around the world, and her beauty enchanted male viewers of all ages. Tabitha, a spin-off, charted the adventures of the Stephens' magical daughter.

Although Bewitched was an original idea, it is worth noting two earlier feature films based on a similar premise that may have influenced its creation: Bell, Book And Candle (1958) and I Married A Witch (1942) - this latter movie was based on the novel The Passionate Witch, by Thorne Smith, who also wrote Topper. A Bewitched movie, announced for a 1998 production start, never happened, though. littlewitches_1.jpg

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