“Bewitched,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” and transformations

I’ve done my best to add as many images from the mentioned episodes as I could, but there were plenty that I could not add. Also, this entire posting is done from memory, which doesn’t serve me as well as it used to. But I hope everyone enjoys this post just the same.

As a lifelong transformation fan, you’d imagine I was a follower of the sitcoms Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. And I was, but I was also often greatly disappointed much of the time by both series.

I started watching Bewitched with the very first episode, because I wanted to see transformations. But my preference was to see women transformed. But most of the transformations were of men. In fact, the first transformation in the series was in the third or fourth episode, when a client of Darrin’s got too frisky with Samantha, and she turned him into a poodle. He was taken to a vet and got a poodle do (he made a comment that his chest hair was “ruffled”), and finally, as a human, was punched by Darrin for trying to take liberties with Samantha.

A quick hint for those watching Bewitched for the first time, to let them know how to tell if an episode is worth watching:

Black-and-white: Very good, among other things Darrin and Endora could be civil to each other. (Look for the episode in which Tabitha is born.) It’s close in quality to the 40s movie I Married a Witch, which inspired the series. As this season progressed, Alice Pearce, the original Gladys Kravitz, passed away. She was awarded a posthumous Emmy for her work.

Color with Dick York as Darrin: Most of them are good. Especially look for the two-parter in which Aunt Clara accidentally bring Benjamin Franklin to the present day. During the fourth season, Marion Lorne, who played Aunt Clara, passed away, and SHE was awarded a posthumous Emmy.

Dick Sargent: Pass. Too many off them are remakes of earlier episodes, and the only female TF I can recall was when Mother Goose was accidentally brought to the Stephen’s house and accidentally turned into a real goose. And there’s the one you mentioned where Serena,Samantha’s lookalike cousin, was turned into a mermaid. But Bewitched was a kid’s show by then, and not a very good one.

As for female TFs in the rest of the series, there aren’t many. In the second season episode where Tabitha is born, there is a nurse played by Eve Arden whom Serena (her first appearance) turns into a frog. You don’t see the change into the frog, but you see the change back. 

Later in the season, a female client of Darrin’s is turned unto a cat by Endora. This is an exception to my dislike of woman-to-cat transformations. I found the client, played by an actress named Marion Thompson, to be very hot. Furthermore, when she is changed back, she is sitting on Darrin’s lap, her head against his chest, her hands held like paws, and there’s a shaking of the head afterwards. https://ko-kr.facebook.com/BewitchedFanFare/photos/thursday-may-19-1966-episode-71-the-catnapperendora-is-upset-when-darrin-enterta/10154130682233972/

I have been tempted sometimes to commission a comics page or two where this woman returns to her hotel room and exhibits feline behavior, starting with stripping off her clothes, ordering milk from room service which she then pours into a bowl and laps up, and finally curling up naked on top of the bed.

In the third season episode “The Crone of Cawdor,” there’s another client who finds herself body-swapped with an old woman.

In the fifth season, there’s one of the greatest disappointments for me in the series. In a two-part episode, “Cousin Serena Strikes Again,” Serena turns an Italian woman into a chimpanzee. They went so far as to dye the poor chimp blonde. The client was played by Nancy Kovack who was something of a TV sexpot in the Sixties.

If you know her from anything, it would be a “Star Trek” episode called “The Apple,” in which she played a chieftain’s wife who gets fatally phased.

What, you ask, is my problem with these episodes? They don’t show the transformations! The character was making a very obvious play for Darrin, and Serena freezes her and said “No one is making a monkey out of my cousin! In fact, my cousin’s cousin is going to make a monkey out of you!” There’s a scene between Darrin and his boss, then we see Samantha coming out to see Serena, and we see the chimpanzee stretched across the top of the roof of the house, already changed. Then, in the second episode, when the chimpanzee has ended up with an organ grinder, Samantha takes her into a ladie’s restroom. We then see Serena come out of the restroom, followed by the Italian woman, restored to humanity.

A later episode that season had Tabitha turning a little girl into a butterfly. And another had Endora turning her husband’s secretary into an old woman.

There were several episodes in which animals were turned into women. In the first season, Darrin is trying to find an Asian model for some advertisements. Samantha finds a siamese cat and turns it into a sexy Asian woman. For me, the payoff comes at the end when the woman is on all fours drinking from a saucer of milk that was set out for her cat self. Gladys Kravitz sees this and yells to her husband. But, of course, Samantha remembers to turn the woman back into a cat before Abner sees it.

In the second season, a horse wanders into the Stephens back yard and Samantha makes it a woman to find out where it came from. When it becomes human, we see her whinnying for a moment.

In the third season, there’s a frog turned into a man who’s trying to ge Samantha to change him back. We learn he’s been carrying around his frog girlfriend in his pocket and Samantha turns her into a woman. And in that season’s Halloween show, a warlock’s date is a cat who can become a woman, but changes back into a cat at midnight.

In Dick Sargent’s first season, there’s an episode where Tabitha gets a pet rabbit, which is accidentally turned into a woman (Carol Wayne, for year’s Johnny Carson’s Tea Time Lady) — in a Playboy Bunny outfit, of course.

And, in the last season, Julie Newmar (the first and best Catwoman on the 60s Batman) is a familiar who can change back and forth from a cat.

Oh, and there’s an episode in the fourth season where Endora looses her powers while Aunt Clara’s get a boost, and Clara turns Endora into a goose. And a fifth season episode where Serena turns Darrin’s mother into a cat.

I Dream of Jeannie wasn’t much better, though it ran only five seasons. Like Bewitched, the problem was that the main character was a man, astronaut Tony Nelson, who many men today think must’ve been the stupidest or the gayest man on television in the 60s.

There are a few females turned into things in the show. In a first season episode, “Jeannie and the Kidnap Caper,” Tony is kidnapped by Red Chinese agents planning to take him back to China with them. One of them is a beautiful woman who calls herself Princess. Near the end of the show, Jeannie turns her into a cockatoo and one of her male partners into a sheep.

In the second season, Roger sets himself and Tony up for a date with two beauty queens. Jeannie turns them both into dogs, but we don’t actually see the change!

In a later episode in that season, Tony has a date with a high school girlfriend. Jeannie turns her into a chimpanzee. It’s a point-and-poof change, but it’s a good one. The woman starts to sip champagne, then changes and is slurping it from the glass. They don’t show her changing back.

Jeannie turned herself into some things. In one episode, she made herself a bear operated by Janos Prohaska, who specialized in creature costumes. And there was, I thought, a missed chance for a transformation in an episode where Jeannie’s sister wants to replace a nightclub singer, who tells the sister that she, the singer, is going to sing. Jeannie’s sister just puts her to sleep. She could’ve let her sing by turning her into a caged canary.

And in the last season, when Jeannie is engaged to Tony, she gives Dr. Bellows’ wife a facial cream which makes Mrs. Bellows younger.

I’m sure there are other transformations that my followers will remember that I don’t. And, as I said, I’ve always been more interested in female than male transformations. And there just weren’t that many in these series.

But then, Bewitched went off the air in 1972. And there would be a with of 24 years before we got the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV movie and series.

But that’s a future posting.

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