Salem, Mass. – Welcomed by many — including the mayor and some city councilors — but reviled by others, a statue of 1960s TV icon Samantha Stephens of "Bewitched" (search) was unveiled amid a puff of smoke in Salem on Wednesday.
The statue depicts the late actress Elizabeth Montgomery (search), who played the nose-wiggling Stephens in the 1960s sitcom, sitting sidesaddle on a broomstick, her skirt flying behind her in the breeze, in front of a crescent moon.
Even though hundreds turned out to welcome the statue at Lappin Park (search), including some people who call themselves witches, others continued to protest.
"I think it's the best thing to happen to Salem in a long time," self-described witch Linda Monroe told WHDH-TV. "It's a long time coming for something so fun and cheery. She's awesome. She's everybody's idol."
While some Salem officials said the bronze statue, sponsored by the TV Land cable network, is just a bit of fun and will hopefully draw more tourists to the city, others have criticized it, saying it trivializes the real and tragic events that occurred in Salem in 1692, when 20 people were put to death after being accused of witchcraft.
Those people carried signs at Wednesday's event that said "Tragedy [does not equal] Whimsy" and "Is there no limit to the schlock and hype?" They say the statue is nothing but an ad for the "Bewitched" movie, starring Nicole Kidman (search) and Will Ferrell (search), scheduled for release June 24.
The ceremony was attended by show director William Asher, who was married to Montgomery, as well as a number of actors who appeared in the original series, including Bernard Fox (Dr. Bombay), Kasey Rogers (Louise Tate) and Erin Murphy (Tabitha Stephens).
The network has placed similar statues of famous sitcom characters around the country, including Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden of "The Honeymooners" at the Port Authority in New York and Mary Richards in Minneapolis, where "The Mary Tyler Moore" show was set.