How Bewitched Went Gay Without Ever Saying "Gay"

Comments

1

Bewitched was subversive AF. And Moorhead was the shit.

She was also one of the cancer casualties of shooting The Conqueror in the radioactive post bomb-test areas of Utah.

2

Matt dear, you are young. All of the shows you cite (Mash, etc) were all 70's shows. Bewitched ran from 1964 to 1972 - and the last few years is was basically just repeating old plots.

But it's a grand show. And yes, quite subversive for it's time. Or our time. A show about witchcraft these days, no matter how light-hearted, would be considered heresy today.

3

Plot: Woman conceals her true power to assuage her husband's frail ego.

4

... plus actor dick sargent who played samantha’s husband for almost half of tge series, posessor of the gayest name in 60’s television ( he was dick cox until he changed it , both actor husbands were played by men named ‘dick’ ) , came out and proud in ‘91. gay gay gay.

5

I'm old enough to have watched Bewitched during the sixties and early 70s. We thought of it as having a feminist message about a clever housewife that outsmarts her mainstream husband every day.

Bell Book and Candle is a comedy about another clever witch (played wonderfully by Kim Novak who was mesmerizing in Vertigo) with fun costars of the day including the great Jimmy Stewart. It includes an underground Beat generation night club which the subversives gathered with Beat Poet, Bongo drummers and a very gay atmosphere very undercover.

6

Elizabeth Montgomery was famously supportive of her gay friends. Dick Sargent was a poor replacement to Dick York: a charmless, perpetually cranky, one-note actor, destined to become one of those bitchy drama professors who inhabit the faculty at every state college; but instead benefited from Elizabeth's favoritism. Creator Danny Arnold and castmate Irene Taylor fell victims to the sharp end of this trait, bounced for falling out with Elizabeth and her older husband. Elizabeth had a self-destructive thing for mean older men, once literally dodging a bullet when abusive ex-husband Gig Young went on to shoot his new wife and then himself (perhaps after one too many disparaging remarks about his limp whiskey dick). Elizabeth's afflictive attractions stemmed from her relationship with her own father, Old Hollywood star Robert Montgomery. RM had helped Dwight Eisenhower polish his public image as the first president of the TV age; picking his wardrobe and coaching his demeanor. Was this an early queer eye for the straight guy? Had Robert Montgomery ventured into Scotty Bowers' trailer on occasion? And if so, was Elizabeth's gay-friendliness therefore the silver lining to her daddy issues?

7

@2: No. We haven't gone that deep into silly that annoying victimhood seekers would find a sitcom about witchcraft offensive.

If we do, then we really do have cancel culture going on.

8

How can you possibly suggest that Dr. Bombay was anything but 100% good 'Murrican straight?

9

It was an okay show until they got a new Darren.

10

Bewitched. Wow. Now there's a TV show going back to my childhood (agreed with Catalina Vel-DuRay: Matt, you really are a young 'un!). Erin Murphy (and her fraternal twin sister, Diane, for one season early in the series until their looks started to differ) portrayed Tabitha Stephens. Incidentally, in real life the sisters are one month and two weeks older than I am.
For me, Tabitha rocked, because she represented my generation. My favorite Tabitha featured episode was the one in which Grandmama Stephens (played by Mabel Albertson) insisted on arranging a play date for Tabitha and an obnoxiously undisciplined little boy named Michael Millhauser (played by Ted Quinn). When the children were left alone, unsupervised and out of adult hearing range and eyesight, they openly expressed their dislike for one another. Things really heated up when bratty little Michael made the mistake of saying he wished he "were a big mean doggie"---so Tabitha zapped him into one!

@6 KewGardenCorpseFlower: Agreed on the differences between Darrins. Dick York's portrayal (for me) was of a more amiable, likable --and easily more witchcraft humbled Darrin Stephens than that of Dick Sargent.
Another notable cast member replacement on Bewitched: Alice Pearce's original nosy neighbor, Gladys Kravitz was replaced by Sandra Gould later in the series.

11

Ahhh, the memories of the Screen Gems TV shows of the '60s and early '70s--Bewitched, The Monkees, I Dream of Jeannie, et al.
Those were the days.

12

You're very brave to comment on something older than you but not older than many of us. Ah, the boldness of youth! Bewitched wasn't the only "way-gay" show of the time, of course. It was hard to get campier than Batman, and there were game shows that had one (and exactly only one) extravagant gay man (Charles Nelson Reilly, Paul Linde, et al.). For science fiction, you had Star Trek pushing the racial envelope, and then there was whatever Lost in Space was trying to do. Modern "woke" folks would comment on tokenism or the lack of mainstream, positive gay characters, but as the saying goes, ya gotta start somewhere.

13

The only thing gay about it was Uncle Arthur and the first Darren. The rest was just normal 60's weirdness.

14

However clumsy on entries and exits (she kept crash landing into the Stephens living room through the fireplace), I loved Marion Lorne's delightfully addled portrayal of Samantha's adorable old Aunt Clara. Her heart was in the right place, even if she got mixed up on her incantations.
More Bewitched trivia:
Some notably strange Bewitched cast replacements and changes on the show were due to deaths of cast members (Alice Pearce tragically passed away suddenly in 1966; Sadly Marion Lorne died in 1968 of a heart attack at age 84, and her role of Aunt Clara was retired), Dick York ended up forced to leave the show due to back problems in 1969. Because of her close association with former producer Danny Arnold, with whom Elizabeth Montgomery and the show's director, William Asher did not get along, Irene Vernon, the first Mrs. Larry (Louise) Tate was fired from the show. She was replaced by Kasey Rogers as Louise Tate for the rest of the series.
One wild coincidence on Bewitched was birthdays. Fraternal twins Erin and Diane Murphy share the same birthday, June 17th, with Rebecca Asher, the daughter of Elizabeth Montgomery and William Asher. Rebecca was born on June 17, 1969 and is exactly 5 years younger than the Murphy twins (born in 1964, and who joined the cast in 1966 as Tabitha). The girls must have had fun birthday parties. Rebecca Asher's birth coincided with that of Tabitha's little brother, Adam (played by David Lawrence) during the 1969-70 season.