Bewitched and Tabitha

Bewitched (1964-1972)
Tabitha (1977-1978)
Type: Spin Off
Group: 10

   Bewitched had been a huge hit sitcom for ABC. It was the story of a pretty young witch named Samantha who chose to marry a mortal man, Darrin Stephens, and live a "normal" life. Darrin was dead against Samantha using her magic. But every week something would go haywire in the Stephens' lives, usually caused by one of Samantha's magical relatives, and Samantha would have to use her powers. The most common troublemaker was Samantha's mother - the ultimate bad mother-in-law - who disapproved of her daughter marrying a mere mortal and forsaking her powers.

   In the course of the shows run, actor Dick York was forced to leave the show due to physical problems and was replaced by actor Dick Sargent. Even with one of the main roles on the show recast the show still remained popular. In fact when it went off the air in 1972 after eight years(!) on the air, it wasn't for lack of ratings but because the cast and crew were worn out and tired of doing the show.

   In 1977 ABC banked on there still being an audience for this sort of show. A lot of kids who had grown up with the show were now young adult viewers. So ABC created a sitcom showing what was happening with the Stephens children now that they had grown up called Tabitha.

   Sam and Darrin had had two children: a daughter named Tabitha who was a young witch and Adam who was just a regular powerless mortal. Now when the show ended in 1972, Tabitha should have been about six years old and Adam about one. So in 1977 they should have been eleven and six. But through the magic of TV they were now both in their early twenties and working at TV station KLXA. Tabitha, was now played by the very attractive Lisa Hartman (later to become Lisa Hartman-Black).

   Just like on Bewitched, trouble kept popping up and making Tabitha use her powers. The wacky family relatives would still pop up. Doctor Bombay was a fairly regular visitor as he had been on Bewitched. He was a witch doctor... I mean literally a doctor for witches. Whenever he was summoned it was always clear when he arrived that he had been interrupted from something else. He'd arrive wearing skis or diving equipment. That summoning spell was worse than just having a pager!

   Even the Stephen's neighbors from the old neighborhood showed up. The Kravitzes had lived next door to the Stephens and Gladys Kravitz was always spying on them and catching something odd happening. By the time she would get her husband Abner to the window, everything was always alright again and he would think she was going crazy. They showed up on Tabitha concerned about their niece who had run away to the big city. Tabitha assured them she would help make sure nothing bad happened to their bumbling niece. She then promptly ended up accidentally getting her hired as a prostitute and arrested. This ain't your parent's witch show buddy!

   In addition to imitating Bewitched, the show also bore a striking resemblance to the then still running and popular Mary Tyler Moore Show. Tabitha was a young professional woman working in television, she had a cranky but lovable boss named Marvin Decker similar to Lou Grant and Robert Urich played the station's dimwitted, Ted Baxter-ish on air talent Paul Thurston. Not a bad idea. Combine the formerly popular Bewitched with the currently popular Mary Tyler Moore. But maybe it was just too much imitation and not enough originality because after a single season it disappeared.

Other Bewitched Crossover Links
Bewitched and The Flintstones
Bewitched and Passions

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