It’s easy to like Bewitched. The show’s great appeal was driven by its star, Elizabeth Montgomery, and bolstered by its excellent cast of quirky supporting characters.
But you knew that already. The show has endured in reruns for 46 years; unless you’ve lived under a rock, you’ve seen it. (If you’ve just come out from under that rock, go watch some episodes here.) Tons has been written about this show. What new insight could I possibly give?
And besides, when I write about TV, I like to dig up the obscure, the unusual, and the forgotten. When I do write about a well-known, well-loved program, I like to show you something about it that you can’t see in reruns. I am so motivated today.
Like so many shows from television’s first two decades, the sponsors of Bewitched were featured prominently as the show opened and closed. The reruns we’ve all seen a thousand times use special opens and closes that remove the sponsor info! Check out how this first-season episode actually began when it aired on ABC on January 14, 1965:
The sponsor even got into the act as the show ended and the closing credits rolled:
Sometimes, the cast even created commercials for the sponsor. Kodak sponsored the program in seasons four and five; here, Samantha and Endora sell the Kodak Instamatic camera. ($19 for that Instamatic may seem inexpensive, but $19 then is like $117 today!)
More than just the sponsor mentions were cut from the syndicated episodes. Most seasons included some sort of “stay tuned, we’re coming up next” bit. In the last few seasons, they featured Elizabeth Montgomery:
Also, short bumpers featuring the cartoon Samantha preceded commercials. This one aired before the final commercial break during the black-and-white years:
Don’t you feel a little bit robbed when you watch the syndicated reruns now?