March 21, 2007 1:02 PM
There are few sitcoms as good as “Bewitched.” I mean, come on, Agnes Moorehead as imperious Endora? How great was she? And Marion Lorne as stuttering, bumbling Aunt Clara? You can’t even tell she’s acting.
“Bewitched” was a very funny single-camera comedy with a great cast of character actors, and it still holds up. It’s amazing the directors (primarily Bill Asher) could maintain the superb comic timing with all the starts and stops and set-ups the special effects called for—all while shooting on film with no audience reaction to go by. The only show to come along in recent times that even compares to it is “Malcolm in the Middle”; the recent movie starring Nicole Kidman and Will Farrell didn’t come anywhere near doing it justice.
The stars, Elizabeth Montgomery, as the beautiful witch Samantha, married to Dick York, as the insufferably mortal Darrin Stephens, played well off of each other. Both were originals and even though they were the leads, they were character actors of sorts; he was pretty much geeked-out while she was a little more goofily comical than your average blonde sitcom star.
Some other standouts: Mabel (“Sick Headache”) Albertson as Darrin’s meddlesome mother; Alice Pearce as the relentlessly nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz; Paul Lynde as the snide Uncle Arthur and Alice Ghostley as the tentative housekeeper Esmeralda—they just don’t make ’em like that anymore. (By the way, did Paul Lynde really steal Alice Ghostley’s act, as has been rumored? Does anybody know? It’s uncanny how similar their styles are, down to the head-waggling line delivery.)
Here’s a great clip -- the first time Darrin meets mother-in-law Endora: