Decades before the whole Harry Potter and the muggles business, America had already embraced the witchcraft. Instead of a tale about a normal boy realizing hes a powerful wizard, Bewitched had a normal guy discover his wife is a witch. Although what really frightens him is his mother-in-law being a supreme witch. What man needs the pressure of his mother-in-law turning him into a frog? Although for most husbands, thats a step up on the food chain in their mother-in-laws eyes. Bewitched: The Complete Seventh Season brings peeks into a magical marriage.
When a sitcom has been on for a few years, the producers have to figure out a way to jazz up the storyline. In the case of Bewitched, Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) and Darrin (Dick Sargent) had already popped out two kids. They even body swapped Darren. What could they do to make the 1970-71 season special? They decided to give the first eight episodes a massive story arc.
“To Go or Not to Go, That Is the Question” orders Samantha to appear at the Witches Convention in Salem, Massachusetts. Darrin resists having his wife vanish for such a long period of time. This leads to Hepzibah, the queen of the witches arriving in their house to decide if they deserve to remain married. “Salem, Here We Come” increases the scrutiny. Larry Tate (David White) needs to land an airplane account by wooing Ceasar Romero (Batmans The Joker). Is Darrin going to lose his job and his wife in the midst of this insanity? Well they both end up in Salem for “Salem Saga.” While you think they went to Salem, most of the location action is the actors standing in front of rear projection screens. Thats not really the House of the Seven Gables when they take the tour. The couple get in trouble when an enchanted bed warmer follows them back to the hotel. The cops make a visit on “Samanthas Hot Bed Warmer.” The mystery of this antique is discovered in a spell by the wicked Serena (also played by Montgomery).
After the disappointment of seeing them backlot and rear-projection fake the visit to the home of the witch trails, “Darrin on a Pedestal” is a shocker. The cast really does appear in Gloucester, Ma. They visit the Fishermans Memorial statue. You might recognize it on frozen seafood packages from Gortons of Gloucester. Serena takes a liking to the mighty man in bronze. She swaps Darrin for him. However the statue doesnt turn out to be as fearless as she imagines. The seaman is Robert Brown. He was Lazarus on Star Treks “The Alternate Factor.”
The location fun ends quickly with “Paul Revere Rides Again.” Its back to the backlot for the cast. This time Larry Tate has a new client to impress. We get another SciFi delight since its Jonathan Harris (Lost In Spaces Dr. Smith). In order to impress the potential client, Tate buys what appears to be a knock-off Paul Revere teapot. During a mix up, Samantha sends the teapot home. When she asks Esmerelda (Alice Ghostley) to return it, the scatterbrain witch casts the wrong spell and sends the real Paul Revere (Bert Convy) to modern day Salem. What happens when the host of Tattletales clashes with Dr. Smith? Well its not a Boston beatdown since its obvious the outdoor shots were taken back in Hollywood. “Samanthas Bad Day in Salem” put the marriage to a strange test. Turns out an old Warlock boyfriend of Samanatha has conjured up his own version of the woman minus the wedding ring. Larry Tate sees the twosome together and fears his best employee is heading to divorce court. Darrin and Samantha finally return home, but theres one last Salem adventure in the books with “Samanthas Old Salem Trip.” Esmerelda blinks her back to the time of the Witch Trials. Its up to Darrin to get back his wife before shes burned at the stake.
The other episodes of the season settle into the normal pattern of Darrin being upset that witchcraft is being practiced in his house. Gladys (Sandra Gould), the nosy neighbor, wanting to know too much. Larry Tate demanding Darrin come up with an ad campaign for a dumb product. The freaky magic lands the account. And the mother-in-law (Agnes Moorehead) hating on her human son-in-law. Its a fun formula. The best of the rest include “Mary the Good Fairy.” Imogene Coca plays the woman who leaves change for loose kids teeth. When visiting the family she turns into an alcoholic while warming up with a glass of brandy. She forces Samantha to take her fairy wings while she becomes a lush. “The House that Uncle Arthur Built” is side splitting since were supposed to believe that Paul Lynde is in love with a woman. In order to go straight for this knock out witch, he deposits all his funny tricks into the woodwork of Darrins house. Paul almost looks serious when he talks about marriage. What an underrated actor.
While many folks discount the final seasons of Bewitched, memories of the Salem adventures have stuck with me since childhood. This was a story arc that sets Bewitched: The Complete Seventh Season apart from just being another batch of 28 episodes. Its still rather strange how they came up with any excuse to force Larry Tate into the action. Doesnt this guy have any other employees to hassle? Only one more season to go before the complete series is out on DVD.
“To Go or Not to Go, That is the Question,” “Salem, Here We Come,” “The Salem Saga,” “Samantha’s Hot Bed Warmer,” Darrin on a Pedestal,” “Paul Revere Rides Again,” “Samantha’s Bad Day in Salem,” “Samantha’s Old Salem Trip,” “Samantha’s Pet Warlock,” “Samantha’s Old Man,” “The Corsican Cousins,” “Samantha’s Magic Potion,” “Sisters at Heart,” “Mother-in-Law of the Year,” “Mary the Good Fairy,” “The Good Fairy Strikes Again,” “The Return of Darrin the Bold,” “The House that Uncle Arthur Built,” “Samantha and the Troll,” “This Little Piggie,” “Mixed Doubles,” “Darrin Goes Ape,” “Money Happy Returns,” “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” “Sam’s Psychic Pslip,” “Samantha’s Magic Mirror,” “Laugh, Clown, Laugh” and “Samantha and the Antique Doll.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are a little soft in spots, but I think thats done to hide the special effects. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. You’ll feel the full effect when Samantha wiggles her nose. The subtitles are in Spanish and Portuguese. The episodes are Closed Captioned.
Bewitched: The Complete Seventh Season rejuvenates the series with the 8 episodes about Salem. The romance between Samantha and Darrin continues to be strong since she hasnt allowed her mother to turn him into a frog and leave him in a pond. Paul Lynde going straight is a sight to behold.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents Bewitched: The Complete Seventh Season. Starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick Sargent, David White and Agnes Moorehead. Boxset Contents: 28 Episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: February 3, 2009. Available at Amazon.