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14 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Bewitched

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Sony Pictures TV recently green-lighted a pilot for a revamped version of the supernatural classic sitcom Bewitched. The new show will feature Samantha’s granddaughter, who is also a witch but who finds her magic useless when it comes to finding true love. For those who truly loved the original series, here are 14 fun facts about the show and the actors that might surprise you.

1. CREATOR SOL SAKS WAS INSPIRED BY TWO MOVIES.

Sol Saks, credited onscreen as the creator of Bewitched, has admitted in several interviews that his script for the pilot episode was inspired by the films I Married a Witch and Bell, Book and Candle. Saks wasn’t worried that some litigious types might find too many similarities between his TV show and those movies, though; both films were owned by Columbia Pictures, which in turn also owned Screen Gems, the company that produced Bewitched.

2. HE WANTED TAMMY GRIMES TO PLAY THE SHOW'S WITCH.

Tammy Grimes, who’d won a Best Actress Tony Award in 1961 for The Unsinkable Molly Brown, was under contract to Screen Gems in 1964 and was the studio’s first choice for the role of “Cassandra” (as the lead character was named at the time). Grimes was not a fan of the premise, asking why she wouldn’t use her powers to stop wars or deal with Los Angeles traffic. The producers didn’t agree, so she accepted a role in High Spirits on Broadway and the witch character, now named “Samantha,” had to be recast.

3. RICHARD CRENNA COULD HAVE BEEN DARRIN.

Elizabeth Montgomery and her then-husband, producer/director William Asher, were looking for a television project they could work on together, and Harry Ackerman encouraged them to look at Saks’ Bewitched pilot script. The Ashers thought the show had possibilities, and Liz signed on to be Samantha. While Grimes was still scheduled to play the lead, a young actor named Richard Sargent was close to being signed on to play Darrin Stephens. Sargent took another job while the pilot was in search of a new Samantha, and interestingly enough he would go on to play Tammy’s twin brother on her short-lived show. Richard Crenna was the next actor offered the part of Darrin, but he’d just spent several years on The Real McCoys, so he passed as well. Enter Dick York, who had an impressive list of acting credits in film, on Broadway and on TV. His 1959 role in They Came To Cordura changed his life forever.

4. DICK YORK HAD TO LEAVE THE SHOW BECAUSE OF PAIN CAUSED BY AN OLD INJURY.

During the second-to-last day of filming Cordura, York was operating a railroad handcar carrying wounded men. When the director yelled “Cut,” one of the “wounded” extras reached and pulled himself up on the opposite side of the handle that York was about to upswing. He unsuspectingly lifted the extra’s entire weight, and being unprepared for that additional 180 pounds, he tore most of the muscles on the right side of his back, and his spine never healed correctly. There was no type of surgery that would repair his injuries at that time; instead, the best the specialists could do was supply him with a steady supply of increasingly strong pain medications. York managed to work through his severe pain for the first four seasons. In the middle of Season Five, however, he was run-down and it showed on camera. On the day of filming the “Daddy Does His Thing” episode, he skipped lunch to see his doctor, who was out. The replacement doctor instead gave him B-12, and while filming a scene with Maurice Evans on a scaffold 15 feet in the air, the hot lights, exhaustion and medications combined to send York into a seizure. He was rushed to the hospital and never returned to the Bewitched set. Some Darrin-less episodes were filmed until Dick Sargent took over the role.

5. ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY WAS PREGNANT DURING EARLY FILMING ON THE FIRST SEASON.

Montgomery wore progressively looser clothing to disguise her expanding waistline. Her subsequent two pregnancies were written into the Bewitched script, adding Tabitha and Adam to the Stephens family.

6. IT WAS MONTGOMERY'S IDEA TO NAME HER CHARACTER'S DAUGHTER TABITHA.

"I loved it, because it was so old-fashioned," she said in 1967. "I got it from one of the daughters of Edward Andrews, the actor. The two Andrews girls are named Tabitha and Abigail. ... But, somehow or other, her name came out 'Tabatha' on the credit roll, and that's the way it's been ever since. Honestly, I shudder every time I see it. It's like a squeaky piece of chalk scratching on my nerves."

7. ALICE PEARCE HAD TERMINAL CANCER WHEN SHE TOOK THE PART OF THE STEPHENS' NOSY NEIGHBOR.

Alice Pearce played the part of a nosy busybody so well that even today the local neighborhood buttinski is referred to as a “Gladys Kravitz.” When Pearce was 9, she fell from a playground swing and landed on her chin, stunting its growth. Her undershot jaw prevented her from landing any leading lady roles when she took up acting, but she could be counted on as a good comic foil. Four months prior to receiving a phone call from her agent telling her that William Asher wanted her for a role on his new TV show, Pearce was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She’d had surgery, but the doctors informed her that her case was terminal. She told none of her coworkers of her condition, and other than her being a little tired on the set now and then, no one suspected her of being ill. Pearce passed away in March 1966, and was awarded a posthumous Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy Award two months later. Sandra Gould took over the role of Gladys Kravitz for the remainder of the series.

8. MOST OF THE SUPPORTING ACTORS ON THE SHOW WORE THEIR OWN CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES ONSCREEN.

According to Kasey Rogers (“Louise Tate”), they’d bring their clothes in a week prior to filming and the wardrobe department would clean and press them. Agnes Moorehead was often pictured wearing a starburst brooch that was set with 8.5 carats of old-mine diamonds. Montgomery admired the pin, and when Moorehead passed away in 1974, she bequeathed it to her TV daughter. You can see Moorehead wearing the brooch on an episode of Password above.

9. YORK AND MOOREHEAD WERE CLOSE OFF-CAMERA.

Even though Endora barely tolerated Darrin on the show, off-camera Moorehead was closer to York than any other cast member. Moorehead was a very religious Fundamentalist, and she admired York’s New Age-type spirituality. She also admired his acting talent and was not at all pleased when he was replaced with Dick Sargent.

10. MARION LORNE, WHO PLAYED AUNT CLARA, COLLECTED DOORKNOBS.

Lorne turned bumbling into an art form with her portrayal of loveable Aunt Clara. The character’s unusual fascination with door knobs was based on Lorne’s real-life fetish; she had a collection of over 1000 antique door openers. Aunt Clara was so endearing that even Darrin (who despised most of Sam’s relatives) loved her, even when her spells went wonky and turned him into a chimpanzee or a seal.

11. LARRY TATE'S SON ON THE SHOW WAS NAMED AFTER ACTOR DAVID WHITE'S OWN SON.

David White, who played unctuous advertising exec Larry Tate, had a son named Jonathan whom he’d raised as a single father after his wife died due to complications during her second pregnancy. When Larry and Louise Tate were blessed with a son on Bewitched, the child was named Jonathan at White’s request. Tragically, Jonathan was a passenger on Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988, killing all 259 souls on board. David died two years later of a heart attack, and is inurned with his son in a niche at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

12. ONE CHRISTMAS EPISODE WAS WRITTEN BY AFRICAN-AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOLERS.

The Christmas episode entitled “Sisters at Heart” would be considered politically incorrect today, to say the least (Tabitha, her parents, and even Larry Tate all appear in blackface at one point). But the story idea and basic script was written by 22 African-American 10th graders in Marcella Saunders’ English class at Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles.

The plot involved unabashed racist Mr. Brockway, owner of a toy company whose million-dollar advertising account McMann and Tate was eager to land. However, Brockway refused to allow Darrin to handle his account, since he mistakenly believed that Darrin was married to a black woman (actually the wife of Darrin’s co-worker). Meanwhile, that co-worker’s daughter was Tabitha’s close friend and was spending the weekend with the Stephens. Tabitha liked to pretend that the two were sisters, and tried to make them both the same color so that they’d be twins. Her spell went haywire and Tabitha ended up with black polka dots on her face and pal Lisa with white spots. In the end, Samantha explained that all men and women are brothers and sisters despite the color of their skin, and then for good measure zapped everyone at their Christmas party into blackface when Mr. Brockway arrived. Of course mean ol’ Brockway immediately saw the error of his ways and not only asked Darrin to handle his account, he also shared Christmas dinner with an ethnically diverse group of guests.

13. SAMANTHA'S "MAGIC" WAS MADE BY STAGE HANDS.

There was no such thing as computer-generated hocus-pocus in the 1960s; all the “magic” on Bewitched was created by a team of hard-working stagehands. For example, if Samantha wanted to quickly tidy up the living room for a surprise visit from her in-laws, she’d raise her arms in the air and “zap” the room clean. In a case like that, Elizabeth Montgomery had to stand in place, arms upraised, while the director called “cut” and members of the crew then rushed around to remove the laundry, newspapers, and other clutter from the set. Once the living room was nice and neat, “action” was called and Montgomery could lower her arms and continue the scene.

Other effects included fast-motion film, backward-motion film, and “invisible” wires for levitation. When a character popped in and out and changed clothes in the interim, the director made sure that the actor’s shoes were firmly affixed in place on the stage while the actor dashed backstage to change costume. That way when he returned he’d be standing in exactly the same spot. Bernard Fox, who played Dr. Bombay, reported that he’d gotten some minor surface burns on occasion from the pyrotechnics that were used to pop him into various scenes.

14. THE THEME SONG HAD LYRICS.

They were never actually sung over the opening credits, but the Bewitched theme song does have lyrics. Here’s Steve Lawrence swinging the tune in his trademark ring-a-ding style:

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9 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Hollywood Body Doubles
Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler
Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler
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When you see the back of an actor’s head in a movie, it may not be the actor you think it is. In addition to stunt performers, most movies employ body doubles (or photo doubles) with a passing resemblance to the principal actors. While some body doubles are brought on set for specific skills—like helping an actor pass as a professional athlete—the job can often involve just being a body, whether that means being nude on camera, having photogenic hands, or appearing in place of actors who can’t be on set for some reason. Here are nine secrets of the job:

1. THEY MIGHT ONLY BE MODELING ONE BODY PART.

Body double Danielle Sepulveres has played the hands of other actors in plenty of roles in her career, on TV and in beauty commercials featuring close-up shots of her holding moisturizer or makeup. She’s drizzled dressing on salad in place of Brooke Shields. She regularly slides files across tables, makes lists, and pours wine in the place of actresses on The Good Wife. (She has also played Jill Flint's butt on the show.) “I knew only glimpses of my hands might make it into a shot, or part of my shoulder along with a wisp of hair,” she wrote of one of her jobs in Good Housekeeping in 2016. But she overheard the director complaining that her wrists looked “vastly different” than those of the principal actress in the movie, 2015’s Mania Days. “Luckily, I didn't get fired in spite of my wrists, but I wouldn't have been surprised had it happened.”

2. THEY’RE NOT JUST THERE TO SHOW THEIR BUTTS.

Yes, body doubles are often brought in if an actor doesn’t want to bare it all on camera. But they are hired for other reasons, too. For one thing, union rules mandate the actors get 12 hours off between when they leave set for the day and their next call time, so if the shoots are running long, the crew might employ someone else to stand in. Other times, it's a matter of particular talents. Most actors may be able to sing, dance, and cry on camera, but few also have the athletic skills to allow them to pass as a sports legend. In Battle of the Sexes (2017), Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King, one of the best tennis players of all time. To realistically represent King’s skills on the court, the movie makers brought in tennis doubles to play in place of Stone and her co-star, Steve Carell. Stone’s double was chosen for her playing style, which resembled King’s, and worked with King on-set to perfect her imitation. The effort was, according to The Wall Street Journal, a huge success. “Not only is the tennis believable, it’s a meticulous representation of the type of tennis played in that era: serve and volley, chipping and charging to the net, touch volleys and soft hands.”

3. ACTORS CAN GET TOUCHY ABOUT WHO PLAYS THEM.

When you are tasked with choosing a celebrity doppelgänger, you’ve got to keep egos in mind. “The choice reflects on the principal actor,” DeeDee Ricketts, the casting director for Titanic, told Vanity Fair in 2016. “We have to take into consideration that they can’t be too thin, or more beautiful, or too heavy, or too old, or else the principal actor will think, That’s how they see me?” Actors often get to give input on who will be their double, and sometimes have final approval rights written into their contracts. When she was being considered for the job of Janet Leigh's body double in Psycho's iconic shower scene, model and Playboy covergirl Marli Renfro had to strip down for both Alfred Hitchcock and Leigh herself so that they could make sure her body looked enough like Leigh's, as Renfro recently revealed at a Brooklyn screening of the documentary 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene. In the case of nude scenes, actors might even have final approval on what physical moves their doubles are allowed to make.

4. THEY MIGHT NEVER MEET THEIR DOUBLE ...

If you’re working as an actor’s double, by definition, you’re not going to have scenes with them, and so some body doubles never meet the stars they’re pretending to be. Danish actor Elvira Friis, who worked as a body double for Charlotte Gainsbourg (and her character’s younger self, played by Stacy Martin) during the racier scenes of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013), never met the actor. “The closest I got to Charlotte Gainsbourg was that I was wearing her dress,” Friis told The Wall Street Journal.

5. OR THEY MIGHT SPEND A LOT OF TIME WITH THE PEOPLE THEY'RE PORTRAYING.

But how much time an actor spends with their doppelgänger really depends on the role. Some actors spend plenty of time with their doubles on set helping them get into the role. In What Happened to Monday (2017), Noomi Rapace plays the roles of seven identical sisters, making body doubles a necessity on set. Rapace helped direct her doubles during filming, “as they needed to know how the star would play the scene for each character so that it would sync up when she performed the part herself,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Game of Thrones star Lena Headey (who plays Cersei) worked closely with her double Rebecca Van Cleave for a nude scene in the show’s fifth season finale. Headey walked Van Cleave through her character’s thinking and movements for each shot. Then, Headey did the same performance herself, wearing a beige dress that could later be edited out. In the final product, Headey’s facial expressions were merged with Van Cleave’s nude body.

6. THEY DON’T ALWAYS LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THEIR COUNTERPARTS.

Because body doubles are often only seen from the back or side, they may not look quite as much like their acting counterpart as you’d think. Brett Baker, who worked as Leonardo DiCaprio’s body double for Titanic, is several inches shorter than DiCaprio and seven years older. From the front, you wouldn’t peg him as a Jack Dawson lookalike. But with the same clothes and haircut, shot from above and behind, he passed easily as DiCaprio. Once Leo’s closeups were done, according to Vanity Fair, Baker was often brought in to stand opposite Kate Winslet as she played through her half of the scene. In some cases, he didn’t make it into the final shot at all, but still had to be on set for those 14-hour days.

7. THESE DAYS, THEY GET A BOOST FROM CGI.

With the help of technology, filmmakers can put their leading actor’s face on a body double’s torso, so they don’t have to limit their body doubles to just back-of-the-head or partial shots. This allows them to seamlessly meld both the main actor and the body double’s performances in post-production. That can allow directors to get exactly the scene they want in shows like Orphan Black, which features Tatiana Maslany playing multiple roles, or in cases where actors don't want to get totally naked on-camera. In rare cases, it can also be used to bring actors back from the dead. When Paul Walker died in a car crash midway through filming Furious 7 (2015), the filmmakers used his brothers and another actor as body doubles, superimposing computer-generated images of Walker’s face on their performances. Around 260 shots featuring Walker’s doubles appeared in the final cut.

8. IF AN ACTOR CAN’T ALTER THEIR WEIGHT FOR A ROLE, A BODY DOUBLE CAN FILL IN.

When Matt Damon was filming The Martian (2015), he wanted to lose 30 to 40 pounds to portray astronaut Mark Watney after he had been surviving on meager rations for years. But the filming schedule made that impossible, so a body double had to be brought in for some shots. “I was going to lose a bunch of weight in the third act of the movie, then put the weight back on,” Damon told Maclean’s. However, as the schedule shook out, they filmed the NASA interiors in Hungary, then immediately went to Jordan, which doubled as the Red Planet for the film’s purposes, and shot all the exterior shots from the beginning, middle, and end of the movie, with no time for Damon to lose a significant amount of weight. The skinny body double isn’t on screen for long. “It was, like, two shots,” Damon describes. (Still, fans noticed.)

9. SOMETIMES THEY NEVER MAKE IT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AT ALL.

When it comes to nude scenes, sometimes body doubles are hired but never used. Veteran body double Laura Grady was cast as Robin Wright’s lookalike for State of Play (2009), but didn’t shoot a single scene. “I just sat in my trailer, ready to go, and then at the end, [Wright] decided to do her own scenes,” Grady told Vulture in 2014. “That happens sometimes. Sometimes they just get a body double because they think they might need one, and then all of a sudden the actress is comfortable and she’s like, ‘No, I’ll just do it.’ Or they change a scene and they don’t make it as risqué.” Don’t worry, though—the double still gets paid.

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Bob Ross’s Happy Little Menagerie Is Getting the Funko Treatment, Too
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Back in August, the pop culture-loving toy fiends at Funko introduced a happy little Pop! Vinyl figurine of beloved painter/television icon Bob Ross, decked out in his trademark jeans and button-down shirt with a painter’s palette in his hand and his legendary perm (which he hated) atop his tiny little vinyl head. This Joy of Painting-themed addition to the Funko lineup proved to be an instant hit, so the company added a couple of additional toys to its roster—this time incorporating members of Ross’s happy little menagerie of pets, who were almost as integral to the long-running series as the painter himself.


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If you’re looking to score one of these toys before Christmas, it’s going to have to be a limited edition one—and it’s going to cost you. In collaboration with Target, Funko paired Ross with his favorite pocket squirrel, Pea Pod, which will set you back about $40. For just a few dollars more, you can opt to have the happy accident-prone painter come with Hoot the owl.


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On Friday, December 8, the company will release a Funko two-pack that includes Ross with a paintbrush and Ross with an adorable little raccoon.


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If you’d prefer to save a few dollars, and are willing to wait out the holiday season, you can pre-order Ross with just the raccoon for delivery around December 29.

So many happy little options, so little time.

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