Logo is bringing you Bewitched, lots and lots of Bewitched, On New Year’s Day.
From 10 am to 10 pm you can combat your holiday hangover with your pals Samantha, Darrin and, of course. Endora. And, to get you all in the mood, we asked the master of all things Bewitched, Herbie J Pilato, to share his five favorite episodes.
Check them out below, and go grab Herbie’s amazing new book, Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery.
#17: “A is for Aardvark” (1-14-65): Darrin sprains his ankle, and is confined to bed. But when Samantha tires of the running the stairs to serve his every whim, she decides to bewitch him with the gift of supernatural powers. In time, he realizes that having things without working for them lessons their meaning. And when he gifts Samantha with a new watch (inscribed with “I Love you every second”); one who purchased with his hard-earned cash (and not zapped up by magic), she cries tears of joy that the mortal she fell in love with has come to his senses.
This episode, considered the definitive Bewitched segment by producer/director William Asher (then-married to Elizabeth Montgomery), is special for several reasons: First, Darrin breaks his own rule and goes hog-wild in using magic. Samantha, meanwhile, cries real tears, thus humanizing her character, and ultimately allowing the audience to identify with her. Such a development was a constant on the show, brought about by Elizabeth Montgomery’s realistic portrayal of a supernatural character. She made witches likable and believable because she was so likable and believable in the role.
#99: “Charlie Harper, Winner” (3-2-67): Darrin and Samantha entertain his old college chum, the very successful Charlie Harper, and his wife Daphne, the latter of whom proves to be somewhat of a snob. To impress Daphne, Samantha conjures up a fur coat, which infuriates and hurts Darrin. Upon realizing her childish mistake and falsely competitive spirit, Samantha gives the coat to Daphne, who initially wanted to purchase it. “You can’t give anything away this valuable,” Daphne says to Samantha. “Oh, yes you can, Daphne…when you value something else a great deal more.” At that moment, Daphne observes the true love shared between Sam and Darrin by way of forgiveness, and walks away with a new set of priorities.
Like “A is for Aardvark,” this episode goes to the core of what Bewitched was about: Samantha loved Darrin for who he was, and not for what he could buy her. Because whatever he could purchase for her, she could twitch up something better; which is why he became so upset when she zapped up that fur coat to impress the Harpers. Then, in the final scene between Samantha and Darrin, they share such a tender moment, that it soon becomes clear that Bewitched was more than just a silly fantasy sitcom: it was a love story, in the finest definition. Into this mix, there’s also a poignant and yet funny scene between Samantha and her mother, who is stunned that her daughter would misuse magic to conjure up what she considered a less-than-elegant fur.
#118: “Allergic to Ancient Macedonian DoDo Birds” (11-16-67): By some twist of magic fate, Aunt Clara has somehow gained the powers of Endora, who becomes ill by lack of her supernatural abilities. As a result, she stays with Samantha and Darrin, who becomes increasingly annoyed with his mother-in-law’s new neediness and caregiving demands. Meanwhile, Samantha has summoned Dr. Bombay who discovers the cause of the Clara/Endora power switch: Tabitha has somehow zapped up a Macedonian dodo bird, to which Endora is allergic. The creature and subsequent antidote is found, and Bombay returns both Clara and Endora to their former selves.
This episode is appealing for several reasons: First, we get to see Aunt Clara interplay with most probably the confidence of her younger self, the result of her newly-“restored” powers. At the same time, we also see Endora like we’ve never seen her before: weak, needy and literally powerless. And Agnes Moorehead plays it all to the hilt, especially in her scenes with Dick York as Darrin, to whom Endora whines, day in, day out for comfort. The Endora/Darrin dynamic that runs Bewitched throughout its entire eight seasons is turned on its magical head in this episode.
#157: “In One Touch of Midas” (1-23-69): Endora creates chaos by bewitching a toy doll that makes Darrin a wealthy man. Unaware of his mother-in-law’s scheme, Darrin tells Samantha that he’ll now be able to give her all the material things he always wanted to but could never afford. At which point, Samantha tells him, “Darrin, all the money in the world couldn’t buy what we already have.”
Again, like “A is for Aaardvark” and “Charlie Harper, Winner,” “One Touch of Midas” hits it out of the park as an ultimate episode of Bewitched, focusing on true love, sound values and a strong work-ethic.
#213: “Sisters at Heart” (12-24-70): It’s Christmas, Samantha and Darrin’s supernatural daughter Tabitha befriends Lisa, a young African-American girl). The two children get along so well, they want to be sisters. But after a bully in the park tells them that’s impossible because of their disparate physical appearances, Tabitha employs “wishcraft” (whatever she wishes comes true), and seeks to make both she and Lisa the same color. But the magic goes awry: white polka dots appear on Lisa, and black polka dots appear on Tabitha. Samantha of course is confounded and once more calls upon witch-doctor Bombay for a remedy, though not before espousing to Tabitha and Lisa that, “All men are brothers, even if they’re girls.”
This episode features a touching message that Elizabeth Montgomery believed represented the number one core message of Bewitched: the message of prejudice; how other-worldly Samantha loved her mortal husband Darrin despite their “differences,” which they ignored to concentrate on what made them the same: their humanity. No episode of the show more clearly brought this message home than this episode, which was co-written by Barbara Avedon (The Donna Reed Show, Cagney & Lacey), and the 1971 multi-cultural graduating class of Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. It won the Governor’s Award that year at the Emmys.