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'Bewitched' 50th anniversary

Antenna TV celebrates the 50th anniversary of "Bewitched" on Sept. 20.
Antenna TV celebrates the 50th anniversary of "Bewitched" on Sept. 20.
Getty Images/ABC photo archive

September 17 marks the 50th anniversary of “Bewitched.” The classic fairy tale sitcom about Samantha, a witch who marries a mortal named Darrin Stephens, enchanted fans for eight seasons on ABC. What some people might not realize is that “Bewitched” was actually a fairy tale.

The first three episodes of “Bewitched” even featured a fairy tale introduction, beginning with “Once upon a time.” In his book “Bewitched,” author Walter Metz (associate professor of film and theater at Montana State University) states that the opening lines “are spoken by a voice-over narrator (an uncredited José Ferrer) introducing us to the courtship of Samantha and Darrin as a fairy tale.” The show featured many fairies over its 254 episodes, such as elves, leprechauns, a wood nymph, and more. In the episodes “Mary, the Good Fairy” and “The Good Fairy Strikes Again,” Samantha becomes the Good Fairy.

Samantha and her magical relatives live in a magic realm that would be considered Faerie (Fairy Land) by many. At least one of her relatives really is a fairy in the classic sense; in the season 1 episode “Cousin Edgar,” Arte Johnson appears as Samantha’s cousin, who is an elf. As magical beings, the witches and warlocks themselves can also be considered as fairies. Like any fairy, they live in a magical realm; they have magical powers, and they live for hundreds, or even thousands of years, according to the show.

Fans of the show can celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Bewitched” with Antenna TV’s “Bewitched for 50 Years” marathon which airs beginning Sept. 20. The 50 episode marathon begins at 1 p.m. with the series’ first episode “I, Darrin, Take This Witch, Samantha.” The marathon concludes with the season eight episode “Tabitha’s First Day at School” at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 21. The marathon is hosted by Erin Murphy, who played Samantha’s magical daughter Tabitha. The marathon will feature several of Erin’s favorite episodes, including the fairy tale themed episodes “Sam and the Beanstalk” and “Hansel and Gretel in Samanthaland.”

For updates, like Antenna TV’s official Facebook page. “Bewitched” also airs on Antenna TV weekdays at 11:00 and 11:30 a.m., and again at 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. Check local listings for regional air times.