Happy 84rd birthday, Barbara Eden.
No prettier genie ever popped out of a bottle found by an astronaut. There’s a backstory how she got there.
For the 1964-65 season, ABC brought out a fantasy sitcom, “Bewitched,” starring Elizabeth Montgomery as a witch and Dick York as the husband always begging her not to use her powers.
When pretty Liz twitched her nose, a spell was cast — on America.
Unexpectedly, the show roared into the Top 10, no small feat because of clearance issues ABC had at the time. Some markets did not have three stations, so often ABC had to accept a “secondary” affiliation, meaning its shows might run late at night, on weekend afternoons or not at all.
No matter. For the season, “Bewitched” finished No. 2 behind “Bonanza.”
Tired of watching “Dr. Kildare” busted down to resident, NBC schemed to get its own pretty witch for the fall season and told the good doctor he was cut back to 30 minutes.
Blonde with superpowers. Clashes with mortals. Animated opening sequence.
Got it, boss.
Out popped “I Dream of Jeannie” for 1965-66. Eden, then well into her 30s but looking great in that skimpy costume, was cast to play opposite Larry Hagman.
The show never cracked the Top 20, but it lasted five seasons and did well in reruns. Careers flourished. Bill Daily polished his persona as a ditz character and is still with us. He turns 88 in a week. Happy birthday, Maj. Roger Healey.