Posts Tagged ‘Larry Hagman’

Some T.V. just never gets old. Over 40 years ago, Barbara Eden materialized on the small screen, leading to a starring role in television as well as private fantasies for years to come.

Astronaut Major Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) returns from a one-man mission, only to find himself stranded on a deserted island. While searching for means to a rescue, he stumbles across an ornate bottle. Unexpectedly, uncorking it releases a beautiful female genie (Eden). Having been trapped for 2000 years, Jeannie is all too willing to repay her new master despite his attempts to rid himself of her. Hi-jinks ensue. Tony’s best friend Major Roger Healey (Bill Daily) eventually learns of Jeannie’s origins and has no qualms about trying to take advantage of his buddy’s awkward situation. Unfortunately for Jeannie, although her intentions are good, her lack of knowledge of the modern world tends to muddy her acts of kindness. Meanwhile, Dr. Alfred Bellows (Hayden Rorke) desperately tries to figure out if Nelson is sane, even though he often ends up having to put his own state of mind into question.

It was 1965 and surprisingly, the censors allowed a sitcom to air starring an unmarried, cohabitating man and woman – as long as they kept her navel concealed. Eden was just right as the naïve but clever fish out of water. Her stunning appearance only encouraged the unreal spirit of her character. Hagman was the ideal counter to her mischief, demanding responsible behaviour despite his own tendency to get swept up in her schemes. Daily is the archetypal best friend, providing both comic relief and the forbidden indulgence in Jeannie’s powers. But in the end, Rorke holds the show together. His Dr. Bellows could be counted on to provide the show’s conflict as well as some of its most hilarious moments.

The series ran for five seasons before ending in 1970 but its hilarity is timeless.

The series is released on 20-discs, containing all 139 episodes. The cover art on each disc is a frame of the opening credits animation that recreates Jeannie and Major Nelson’s first meeting. An aspect of note is, even though the first season was originally aired in black-and-white due to budgetary constraints, here the entire season is presented in full colour as it was meant to be.

The special features are very minimal. The first-disc contains audio commentary for the pilot episode, supplied by Eden, Hagman and Daily. It’s not very informative but it’s still fun to hear the trio reminisce and Daily gush over Eden’s good looks. On the fourth-disc is “I Dream of Jeannie: Out of the Bottle,” a discussion of the first season by Eden, Hagman, Daily and series creator Sidney Sheldon. This 14-minute conversation gives a little insight into the shows production. Disc 19 contains two minisodes, one from Fantasy Island and the other from Bewitched. In addition, various discs have previews to upcoming DVD releases from Sony.

The true bonus is the neat cardboard replica of Jeannie’s bottle that houses the series in its bottom (the discs themselves are in accordion style package). Finally, there is also a set of collector’s cards featuring images, facts and character descriptions on the front and an episode guide on the back. They come in a small box that matches the cute bottle.