• History

5 Things Producers Didn’t Want You To Know About Bewitched

3 minute read

There was a time when a twitching nose only indicated that allergy season was starting. That changed 50 years ago Wednesday, on September 17, 1964, when ABC aired its first episode of Bewitched. The classic television show focused on Samantha Stephens (played by Elizabeth Montgomery), a witch-turned-housewife who prompted magical acts with a signature wiggle of her nose.

But she wasn’t the only one with a secret to keep. Here are 5 times the producers used a little TV magic to hide things from viewers:

Samantha spent much of the show trying to hide her true, witchy identity from her husband Darrin. Producers, on the other hand, hoped that the audience wouldn’t notice when they changed Darrin’s identity. Without warning or explanation, Dick Sargent replaced Dick York as Sam’s TV husband. The act of nonchalantly switching out actors has become playfully known as “The Darrin Syndrome” — evidence that they didn’t exactly get away with the switcheroo.

Darrin wasn’t the only character who got replaces sans explanation. Nosey Gladys Kravitz was first played by Alice Pearce and then Sandra Gould.

Elizabeth Montgomery, on the other hand, was the exception to that rule: the actress got to play two different characters. Sometimes she would play Samantha’s cousin Serena, a character flaunting short skirts and short black hair. While it wasn’t exactly a secret that Montgomery was playing Serena, the credit was given to a made up actress named “Pandora Spocks.”

People weren’t the only elements of the show that might have looked a little too familiar. It turns out that Samantha and Darrin weren’t the happy TV couple living in their house. The facade appeared in shows including Dennis the Menace and I Dream of Jeanie.

But perhaps the best bit of TV magic was related to the famous nose twitch. Erin Murphy, the actress who played Samantha and Darrin’s daughter Tabitha, told Parade that “I’ve never tried [twitching my nose]! The producer didn’t think a baby witch should be able to.” Murphy added that Montgomery’s wiggle “was a camera trick.” Look closely and you’ll see that her nose isn’t really moving at all — it’s her mouth.

Need a drink after all of that? You wouldn’t be alone. Characters on Bewitched drank so much, fans created a drinking guide for the show.

In the words of Darrin Stephens, “Make it a double, Sam.”

Read a 1964 profile of Elizabeth Montgomery, the star of the new show Bewitched, here in TIME’s archives: The Girl with the Necromantic Nose

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