Sunday, November 25, 2012

Classic TV: I Dream of Jeannie (1965)

One year after Bewitched became a hit for ABC, NBC wanted a piece of the supernatural sitcom action. The end result was I Dream of Jeannie, which didn't last quite as long (5 seasons as opposed to 8 for Bewitched), but was just as popular, thanks to the chemistry of its stars, Barbara Eden & Larry Hagman.

Series creator Sidney Sheldon is better known now as an acclaimed author (i.e. The Other Side of Midnight), but Jeannie actually put him on the map in the first place. His concept was rather simple. Astronaut Anthony Nelson (Hagman) finds a bottle washed up on a beach, cleans it up, and out pops Jeannie (Eden), who instantly develops an attraction to Nelson, such that she becomes jealous of any other woman that crosses his path. This same concept was revisited in Hanna-Barbera's animated reboot, Jeannie, which lasted just one season in 1973 for CBS, but with a teenager as the male protagonist.

In the course of the series' 5 seasons, Nelson, along with best buddy and sidekick Roger Healey (Bill Daily) is promoted to Major, and he & Jeannie eventually wed, which would actually mark the beginning of the end for the series. Eden, like Elizabeth Montgomery over on Bewitched, would don a black wig and play Jeannie's twin sister (as opposed to Serena being Samantha's cousin) in a few episodes to create more chaos.

Here's the season one open & close.:

And, from the first season, the initial segment from the opener, narrated by the inestimable Paul Frees (ex-The Millionaire):

And, finally, the color theme that everyone knows:

Rating: B+.


magicdog said...

RIP Mr. Hagman.

I haven't seen the show since I was a kid, but it used to be good clean syndicated fun.

My mom used to say she loved it (and Bewitched) due to the thought of doing all your housework with a twitch of your nose or the blink of a genie's eyes! At least Tony never stopped Jeannie from using her powers around the house.

Who'd have thought the future author of potboilers would be behind such a frothy show! Of course, I also remember Sheldon from "It's a Wonderful Life"

hobbyfan said...

Yeah, but as with most sitcoms of this nature, things got somewhat cliched after a while, and they ran out of ideas.