'Bewitched' First Episode: THR's 1964 Review
In fall 1964, ABC debuted a new half-hour comedy, Bewitched, on Sept. 17. The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below.
There are quite a few pluses in this new entry in primetime Thursday nights to win over the fans of other series against it. Primarily, this hocus-pocus has a magnetic trio in delightful Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York as newlyweds and the insatiable villain and irresponsible Agnes Moorehead — and a plethora of hanky-panky-tanky by two witches (mother Moorehead and daughter Montgomery) gesturing, twitching, staring and finger-flicking to make things and persons appear and disappear and do tricks. It’s all a lot of nonsense taken in stride, and when it’s all over, one is left with the feeling, “I wonder what they’ll be up to next week?”
For the opener, the guest cast embraced Nancy Kovack, Gene Blakely, C. Lindsay Workman and Paul Barselou, with Miss Kovack engaging as the villain out to upend the marriage of her ex-fiance (York) to E.M. She also has Miss Moorehead on her side, but they both wind up unhappy in defeat, more so Miss Kovack, who learns the hard way her charm is not a remote competitor to a witch’s magic.
The lightinglike romance between the two youngsters, the mother witch’s defeat in trying to break up the marriage and Dick’s ex-fiance’s unsuccessful last ditch try to win back her lost lover establish the basic foundation for greater expectations of more 30-minute fun-fests by producer Danny Arnold and his creative and technical associates.
William Asher piloted this one on its merry shenanigans, thanks to Sol Saks as creator-writer. Ross Bellah is art director for the series, while Michael Luciano and Gerard Wilson handled the film editing and Lloyd Ahern the camera at Screen Gems Studios.
Now, let’s get set for the next black box of tricks, and let’s be on the lookout for Samantha (Miss Montgomery), or should we say that wink, twitch and twinkle? — Bill Ornstein