Bewitched was an American fantasy sitcom series, created by Sol Saks, which ran for 8 seasons between 1964 and 1972.
The show starred Elizabeth Montgomery as a witch called Samantha who promises to stop using her powers when she marries mortal Darrin Stephens, played firstly by Dick York and then Dick Sargent.
Unfortunately her magical family disapproves of the marriage and constantly interfere in their lives. In most episodes Darrin would become the victim of one of their spells with the effects causing havoc with other mortals such as his boss, parents and neighbours.
Samantha’s attempts to hide the supernatural origin of these spells from mortals led to many of the shows funniest moments.
In the very first episode we are introduced to what would become Samantha’s signature move, the twitching of her nose when casting a spell. During rehearsals director William Asher, who was Montgomery’s husband, was looking for a move to be incorporated when Samantha was working her magic which was different to just a wave of the hand or arm. He asked Montgomery to do what she did with her face when she was nervous. Whilst she was trying to figure out what it was that she did she got nervous and wriggled her upper lip with Asher exclaiming that was it!
In the show the twitch was enhanced by a sound effect (xylophone) and the film was sped up slightly.
During its run the series had a number of cast changes, the most notable being the re-casting of Darrin Stephens in 1969.
Actor Dick York had suffered a permanently disabling back injury whilst filming a movie in 1959. During the first two seasons of Bewitched York suffered little to no pain but by the third season the pain had worsened, frequently causing shooting delays with York requiring assistance to walk around. Later episodes were written around his character being in bed or on the couch for the entire episode. Whilst filming the fifth season episode “Daddy Does His Thing” York fell ill resulting in him collapsing on set. After discussions with the director York decided to quit and was replaced by Dick Sargent.
This change coincided with a significant fall in ratings though this could also be attributed to the stronger competition it now faced from other networks.
Despite its fall in popularity Bewitched continued to be renewed for further seasons eventually being cancelled when Montgomery and Asher’s marriage ended resulting in them being unable to continue working together.
The show became the longest-running supernatural-themed sitcom of the 1960s-1970s with Elizabeth Montgomery receiving five Primetime Emmy Award nominations and four Golden Globe nominations.