Sitcom

6 hidden secrets of 'Bewitched'

bewitched dvd1

 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Rehearsals for the pilot episode of “Bewitched” began on November 22, 1963 — just hours before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The tragedy was particularly difficult for the show’s star, Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha Stephens), and her husband, the show’s producer, Bill Asher.

“They were friends with JFK,” Herbie J Pilato, author of “Twitch Upon A Star” and other books about classic television told FOX411.

“Asher produced Kennedy’s birthday bash where Marilyn Monroe sang ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President.’ It was a very hard time for everybody.”

But the show eventually went on.

“Bewitched” aired for eight seasons and 254 episodes on ABC — often beating out the controversial CBS comedy, “All In The Family,” in head-to-head competition.

Montgomery starred as a friendly witch who marries a mortal man (Dick York, and later, Dick Sargeant) and attempts to live as a suburban housewife.

Pilato shares with us some secrets you probably don’t know about the spellbinding series:

  • 1. Samantha was originally named Cassandra

    Samantha was originally named Cassandra

    AP

    "Elizabeth didn’t like it because she thought it was too connected to the evil witches of Greek mythology," Pilato says.

  • 2. The role of Samantha was originally offered to Tammy Grimes

    The role of Samantha was originally offered to Tammy Grimes

    AP

    Grimes passed. “She felt like if the character had all this power, why doesn’t she cure all the ills of the world?” Plato says. “If Tammy had said yes, I don’t think the show would have been as successful.”

  • 3. Before 'Bewitched'

    Before 'Bewitched'

    AP

    Montgomery made over 200 guest appearances on TV before "Bewitched." Her resume includes: She made her TV debut on her dad’s show “Robert Montgomery Presents." She's pictured above with actor Darren McGavin in a scene from the television series "Riverboat."

  • 4. How Sargent really died

    How Sargent really died

    AP

    Dick Sergent died of prostate cancer, not AIDS. “Yes, he was a man who happened to be gay, but that has been a misconception all these years,” Pilato says.

  • 5. A tale of two Darrins

    A tale of two Darrins

    Mill Creek Entertainment

    Many episodes starring Dick Sergeant were remakes of episodes that originally starred Dick York. “Sometimes they took the concept, sometimes you would hear exact dialogue,” Pilato says. “I don’t know why. They didn’t think the show would still be on 50 years later and people would write books about it.”

  • 6. Montgomery wanted out

    Montgomery wanted out

    Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

    “It wasn’t canceled because of low ratings,” Pilato insists. "Bewitched" was actually renewed for seasons nine and 10, but [she] wanted out. It was at this same time that Montgomery’s marriage to Asher began to unravel. They divorced the following year.

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