Me-TV 50.2 Spotlight: "I Dream of Jeannie" Trivia
Sidney Sheldon didn't originally want a blonde actress to play Jeannie (lest the show draw unfavorable comparisons to Bewitched.) However, none of the other actresses competing for the part were able to play the role the way he had written her. Blonde Barbara Eden impressed Sheldon though in The Brass Bottle, so she was hired.
During the first season, Jeannie's mother is portrayed by Florence Sundstrom and Lurene Tuttle; in later episodes "Jeannie and the Wild Pipchicks" and "Is There a Doctor in the House?" Barbara Eden assumes the role.
In a couple of early color episodes, Jeannie is wearing a green harem outfit instead of her customary pink one and in another episode she changes her hair color to black in an attempt to convince Tony to keep her. The green harem outfit as well as the black hair color would later be trademarks of Jeannie's wicked look-alike sister.
Jeannie's evil sister was officially known to NBC as "Jeannie II."
Jeannie was born on 1 April 64 B.C.
The fancy antique bottle in which Jeannie called home was actually a decorative Jim Beam liquor decanter, which originally contained "Beam's Choice" Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. The bottle had been decorated and painted with gold leaf by the show's art department.
Anthony Nelson was in the Air Force; Roger Healey was in the Army.
Barbara Eden was pregnant during the filming of season one. This was disguised by shooting her in close-up or with a copious veil covering her front.
According to Barbara Eden, network executives and censors were unconcerned about her navel being seen until someone casually mentioned during the third season that it was occasionally visible when the waistband of her costume shifted. After that her navel was required to be covered.
Jeannie's '60s-era harem costume is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C..
The famous theme music was actually not used during season one, but since the first season was black and white, it was generally not syndicated with the rest of the series, so few people have seen it. The black and white episodes used jazz influenced background music while the color episodes used pop influenced background music.
When asked why did the show go off the air, Barbara Eden replied that producers felt they have enough episodes (over 100) for a syndication sale. She also attributed the end of the show to the fact that Tony and Jeannie got married, so the show lost viewers.
In the episode "How to Marry an Astronaut", Barbara Eden's cries for help from inside the champagne bottle were real. As a prank, director Claudio Guzmán called "lunch!" and had everyone leave the set, leaving Eden trapped in the bottle. While everyone waited in a nearby hallway, the cameras kept rolling, and the resulting footage was used in the episode shown on TV.
Jeannie's harem shoes were made by Neiman Marcus. They were available in three colors: pink (Jeannie), green (Jeannie II), and white. Originally decorated with lace and beads, the insole read "Taj From India".
In the middle of the first season, Tony and Roger were both promoted from the rank of captain to major.
Season one was filmed in black-and-white because NBC did not want to pay for the extra expense of filming it in color (The network did not believe the series would last beyond one season. According to Sidney Sheldon in his autobiography "The Other Side Of Me", he offered to pay the extra $400 an episode needed for color filming at the beginning of the series. Screen Gems executive Jerry Hyams advised him, "Sidney, don't throw your money away.")
Actor Larry Hagman was apparently notoriously difficult to work with, to the point where the producers seriously considered getting rid of him and replacing him with another actor. Darren McGavin was at the top of the list for Hagman's replacement. They even worked out a story where Tony lost Jeannie and McGavin found her, but the studio execs loved Hagman and wouldn't consider a change.
"I Dream of Jeannie" was the last television series to be broadcast in black and white. It began broadcasting "in living color" beginning with Season 2.
In Season 2, sets from other famous shows are used as locations. The most recognizable locations are the house and office featured on ABC's Bewitched plus locations from The Partridge Family and The Monkees.
Major Nelson's three wishes were 1) For Jeannie to speak English, 2) for a ship off the island he was stranded on and 3) For Jeannie to be free.
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