Most everyone remembers Bewitched fondly for it's light hearted comedy, charismatic cast and colorful guest stars. What many of us don't realize is how close the series came to never happening at all ! Neither Elizabeth Montgomery or Dick York were the networks first pick to star as the main characters. The ABC network really wanted stage actress Tammy Grimes and TV fans favorite Richard Crenna. (SEE PICS) However, both stars found the two roles offered less than appealing than other projects they were considering and respectively declined. 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 and her husband, the show’s producer, Bill Asher. Both were good friends of JFK and the First Family. In fact, Bill Asher produced Kennedy’s birthday bash in 1962 where Marilyn Monroe sang famously ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President' at a star studded salute at Madison Square Garden. However, any delays in rehearsals subject to grief might have delayed the series premier in 1964 or the series being made at all. Consequently, the rehearsals went on as scheduled. (SEE PIC) Controversy also surrounded the series premiere. Bewitched was protested by extreme religious groups and overprotective parents throughout the country who chose to boycott Bewitched before it even aired. Why? They believed it would promote Devil worship, black magic and the practice of witchcraft. (SEE PIC) This concern focused primarily around the series viewer base which would likely comprise a younger audience. That cloud of suspicion remained around the series and its timeslot throughout it's eight year run. However, anyone who ever saw the series knows it's the farthest thing from the truth. The series ended it's first year run ranking number 2 in the AC Nielsen's ratings. Only Bonanza was ranked higher at number 1. Surprisingly Bewitched received no Emmy Award nominations for it's first season. However, the accolades to follow would later make up for the obvious snub. When the series ended in 1972 Bewitched earned 32 Emmy Award nominations and 13 wins. Bewitched once held the record for the longest running fantasy genre show at eight years with two hundred fifty-four episodes. This wasn't broken, but tied by Charmed (1998) with eight years, but only one hundred eighty episodes, and Smallville (2001) with ten years and two hundred seventeen episodes.
However, still neither of those series broke the two hundred fifty-four episode record. Not bad for a series which some believe may never have happened. However, for the millions of fans out there I'm sure I speak for all of them . We're so happy that it did.