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I Dream of Jeannie

I Dream of Jeannie is an American sitcom with a fantasy premise. The show starred Barbara Eden as a 2,000-year-old genie, and Larry Hagman as an astronaut who becomes her master, with whom she falls in love and eventually marries. Produced by Screen Gems, the show originally aired from September 1965 to May 1970 with new episodes, and through September 1970 with season repeats, on NBC. The show ran for five seasons and produced 139 episodes. The first season consisted of 30 episodes filmed in black and white.


Show historyEdit

Original runEdit

See also: List of I Dream of Jeannie episodes[1][2]Tony and Jeannie.The series was created and produced by Sidney Sheldon in response to the great success of rival network ABC's Bewitched series, which had debuted in 1964 as the second most watched program in the United States. Sheldon, inspired by the movie The Brass Bottle, which had starred Tony Randall, Barbara Eden, and Burl Ives as the genie Fakrash, came up with the idea for a beautiful female genie. Both I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched were Screen Gems productions. The show debuted at 8:00 pm (EDT), Saturday, September 18, 1965, on NBC.

When casting was opened for the role of Jeannie, Sidney Sheldon could not find an actress who could play the role the way that he had written it. He did have one specific rule: He did not want a blonde genie because there would be too much similarity with the blonde witch on Bewitched. However, after many unsuccessful auditions, he called Barbara Eden's agent.

In most episodes, Eden wears her revealing "Jeannie" costume (created by veteran Hollywood costume designer Gwen Wakeling). Censors allowed her to be depicted living in a house with an unmarried man (because early episodes made it plain that she slept in her bottle), but would not permit Eden's navel to be seen, although it was briefly shown in season four episodes "The Case of My Vanishing Master, Part 2" and "Around the Moon in 80 Blinks", third season episode "Meet My Master's Mother", and season five's "Mrs. Djinn-Djinn". The makers of the series were also presented with the problem of filming around Eden's real-life pregnancy during the first eleven episodes of season one, without writing it into the storyline. At first, she wore veils to hide her abdomen. As her pregnancy progressed, producers used body doubles and filmed Eden only above the waist, though her belly is visible in some profile shots.

When NBC began telecasting most of its prime time television programs in color in the fall of 1965, Jeannie was the one of two regular programs on NBC that remained in black and white, in this case because of the special photographic effects employed to achieve Jeannie's magic. By the second season, however, further work had been done on techniques to create the visual effects in color, necessary because by 1966 all US prime time series were being made in color.

According to the book Dreaming of Jeannie by Stephen Cox and Howard Frank, series producer Sidney Sheldon originally wanted to film season one in color but NBC did not want to pay for the extra expense because they (and Screen Gems) believed the series would not make it to a second season. According to 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, but Screen Gems executive Jerry Hyams advised him, "Sidney, don't throw your money away".

Nielsen ratingsEdit

  • Season 1 (1965–66): #27 (tie/21.8)[1]
  • Season 2 (1966–67): Not in the Top 30[2]
  • Season 3 (1967–68): Not in the Top 30[3]
  • Season 4 (1968–69): #26 (20.7)[4]
  • Season 5 (1969–70): Not in the Top 30[5]

SyndicationEdit

When reruns debuted on New York's WPIX, Jeannie won its time period with a 13 rating and a 23 share of the audience (Variety, October 6, 1971). The series averaged a 14 share and 32 share of the audience when WTTG in Washington, D.C. began airing the series (Variety, September 22, 1971). According to the October 6, 1971, edition of Variety, it was the first off-network series to best network competition in the ratings: "The big switch no doubt representing the first time in rating history that indies (local stations) have knocked over the network stations in a primetime slot was promoted by WPIX's premiere of the off-web Jeannie reruns back to back from 7 to 8 p.m."

Animated seriesEdit

Hanna-Barbera Productions produced an animated series Jeannie from September 1973 to 1975, which featured Jeannie (voiced by Julie McWhirter) and genie-in-training Babu (voiced by former Three Stooges star Joe Besser) as the servants of Corry Anders, a high-school student (voiced by Mark Hamill).

CastEdit

RegularsEdit

Recurring charactersEdit

  • Philip Ober as Brig. Gen. Wingard Stone (episodes 1 and 4)
  • Barton MacLane as Maj. Gen. Martin Peterson (first to fourth season)
  • Vinton Hayworth as Maj. Gen. Winfield Schaeffer (fourth and fifth season)
  • Barbara Eden as Jeannie's sister, Jeannie II (third to fifth season)
  • Barbara Eden as Jeannie's mother (fourth season)
    • Florence Sundstrom as Jeannie's mother (first season: "My Hero?")
    • Lurene Tuttle as Jeannie's mother (first season: "What House Across the Street?")
  • Abraham Sofaer as Haji, the "chief of all the genies" (second and third season)

StorylineEdit

Main article: List of I Dream of Jeannie episodes (including DVD and VHS release information).

[3][4]Jeannie, free from her bottle, is very happy to meet Tony.In the pilot episode, "The Lady in the Bottle", astronaut Captain Tony Nelson, US Air Force, is on a space flight when his one-man capsule Stardust One comes down far from the planned recovery area, near a deserted island in the South Pacific. On the beach, Tony notices a strange bottle that rolls by itself. When he rubs it after removing the stopper, smoke starts shooting out and a Persian-speaking female genie (wearing an enticing harem costume) materializes and kisses Tony on the lips with passion, shocking him. (In the second season's animated opening, it's a kiss on the cheek and Tony is happy to receive it.)

They cannot understand each other until Tony expresses his wish that Jeannie (a homophone of genie) could speak English, which she then does. Then, per his instructions, she "blinks" and causes a recovery helicopter to show up to rescue Tony, who is so grateful that he tells her she's free. But Jeannie, who has fallen in love with Tony at first sight after being trapped for 2000 years, re-enters her bottle and places it in Tony's duffel bag so she can accompany him back home. One of the first things Jeannie does, in a subsequent episode, is break up Tony's engagement to his commanding general's daughter, who, along with that particular general, is never seen again. (This event reflects producer Sidney Sheldon's decision that the engagement depicted in the pilot episode would not be part of the series continuity; he realized the romantic triangle he created between Jeannie, "Master" and Melissa Stone wouldn't pan out in the long run.)

Tony at first keeps Jeannie in her bottle most of the time, but finally relents and allows her to enjoy a life of her own. However, "her" life is devoted mostly to his, and most of their problems stem from her love and affection towards "Master", and her desire to "please" him and fulfill her ancient heritage as a genie – especially when he doesn't want her to do so. His efforts to cover up Jeannie's antics, because of his fear that he would be dismissed from the space program if her existence were known, brings him to the attention of NASA's resident psychiatrist, US Air Force Colonel Dr. Alfred Bellows. In a running gag, Dr. Bellows tries over and over to prove to his superiors that Tony is either crazy or hiding something, but he is always foiled ("He's done it to me, again") and Tony's job remains secure. A frequently used plot device is that Jeannie loses her powers when she is confined in a closed space. She is unable to leave her bottle when it is corked, and under certain circumstances the person who removed the cork would become her new master. A multi-episode story arc (see below) involves Jeannie (in miniature) becoming trapped in a safe when it is accidentally locked. [5][6]The Blue Djinn and Jeannie, 1966.Tony's best friend and fellow astronaut, US Army Corps of Engineers Captain Roger Healey, doesn't know about Jeannie for several episodes – when he finds out (in the episode "The Richest Astronaut In the Whole Wide World" [January 15, 1966]), he steals her so he can live in luxury. It's not long though before Tony reclaims his status as Jeannie's master. Roger continues to demonstrate his desire to use Jeannie's powers for his own "selfish" benefit, but for the most part he respects Tony's status as Jeannie's master. Both Tony and Roger are promoted to the rank of major late in the first season.

Jeannie's sister, mentioned in a second-season episode (and also named Jeannie), proves to have a mean streak starting in the third season (demonstrated in her initial appearance in "Jeannie or the Tiger?" [September 19, 1967]), repeatedly trying to steal Tony for herself, with her as the real "master". Her final attempt in the series comes right after Tony and Jeannie get married, with a ploy involving a man played by Barbara Eden's real-life husband at the time, Michael Ansara (in a kind of in-joke, while Jeannie's sister pretends to be attracted to him, she privately scoffs at him).

Early in the fifth season [September 30, 1969], Jeannie is called upon by her Uncle Sully (Jackie Coogan) to become queen of their family's native country, Basenji. Tony inadvertently gives grave offense to Basenji national pride in their feud with neighboring Kasja. To regain favor, Tony is required by Sully to marry Jeannie and avenge Basenji's honor, by killing the ambassador from Kasja when he visits NASA. After Sully puts Tony through an ordeal of nearly killing the ambassador, Tony responds in a fit of anger that he is fed up with Sully and his cohorts and he wouldn't marry Jeannie if she were "the last genie on earth." Hearing this, Jeannie bitterly leaves Tony and returns to Basenji. With Jeannie gone, Tony realizes how deeply he loves her. That outweighs all concerns he has had about Jeannie's threat to his career. He flies to Basenji to win Jeannie back. Upon their return to NASA, Tony introduces Jeannie as his fiancée. The two get married several weeks later. The public introduction of Jeannie heralds a change in the series continuity: The secret is no longer Jeannie's existence, but merely that she possesses magical powers, contrary to the mythology created by Sidney Sheldon's own season two script for "The Birds and Bees Bit" in which it was claimed that upon marriage, a genie loses all of her magical powers.

Multi-part story arcsEdit

On several occasions, multi-part story arcs were created to serve as backgrounds for national contests. During the second season, in a story that is the focus of a two-part episode and a peripheral plot of two further episodes [the "Guess Jeannie's Birthday" contest began with the opening two-part episode on November 14, 1966, concluding with the name of the winner revealed after the end of the fourth episode, "My Master, the Great Caruso", on December 5], it was established that Jeannie did not know her birthday and her family members could not agree when it was either (2,000 years being a long time to remember such a thing). Tony and Roger use NASA's powerful new computer and horoscopic guidance based on Jeannie's traits to calculate it. The year is quickly established as 64 B.C., but only Roger is privy to the exact date and he decides to make a game out of revealing it. This date became the basis of the contest. Jeannie finally forces it out of him at the end of the fourth episode: April 1.

In a third-season four-part episode ("Genie, Genie, Who's Got the Genie?" [January 16 - February 6, 1968]), Jeannie is locked in a safe bound for the moon. Any attempt to force the safe or use the wrong combination will destroy it with an explosive. Jeannie is in there so long, that whoever opens the safe will become her master. The episodes spread out over four weeks, during which a contest was held to guess the safe's combination. This explains why Larry Hagman is never seen saying the combination out loud: His mouth is hidden behind the safe or the shot is on Jeannie when he says it. The combination was not decided until just before the episode aired, with Hagman's voice dubbed in. Over the closing credits, Barbara Eden announced and congratulated the contest winner. The combination: 4–9–7.

In the fourth season, a two-part episode, "The Case Of My Vanishing Master" [January 6–13, 1969], concerned Tony being taken to a secret location somewhere in the world, while a perfect double took his place at home (and was flabbergasted by the magical Jeannie he encountered there!). A contest was held to guess the location to which Tony had been taken. Unlike earlier contests, the answer was not revealed within the story. At the end of "Invisible House For Sale" [February 3, 1969], there was a special "contest epilogue" (never repeated in syndication) where Jeannie and Tony revealed to the audience the "secret location," Puerto Rico, followed by the name of the "Grand Prize Winner."

SettingEdit

Although the series was set in and around Cape Kennedy, Florida and Nelson lived at 1020 Palm Drive[6][7] in nearby Cocoa Beach, California locales were used in place of Florida ones. The exterior of the building where he and Healey had offices was actually the main building at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, north of Los Angeles.[8] "If you look at some of those old [episodes], it's supposed to be shot in Cocoa Beach but in the background you have mountains — the Hollywood Hills," Bill Daily said.[9]

The cast and crew only made two visits to Florida's Space Coast, both in 1969. On June 27, a parade in Cocoa Beach escorted Eden and the rest of the cast to Cocoa Beach City Hall, where she was greeted by fans and city officials. They were then taken to LC-43 at Cape Canaveral where she pressed a button to launch a Loki-Dart weather rocket. They had dinner at Bernard's Surf, where Eden was given the state of Florida's Commodore Award for outstanding acting. Later the entourage went to Lee Caron's Carnival Club where Eden was showered with gifts and kissed astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the cheek, just two weeks before the Apollo 11 launch.[10] [7][8]I Dream of Jeannie Lane sign in Cocoa Beach, Fla.The cast and crew returned on November 25, 1969 for three days for a mock wedding of Eden and Hagman staged for television writers from around the nation (timed to the airing of the nuptials episode on December 2) at the Patrick Air Force Base Officers Club.[9] Florida Governor Claude Kirk attended and cut the cake for the couple.[10]

Eden returned 27 years later, in July 1996, as a featured speaker for Space Days at the Kennedy Space Center. Cocoa Beach Mayor Joe Morgan presented her an "I Dream of Jeannie Lane" street sign, later installed on a short street off A1A near Lori Wilson Park.[10]

More recently, Cocoa Beach has been embracing the fame it garnered from Jeannie. On September 15, 2005, the area held a "We Dream of Jeannie" festival, including a Jeannie lookalike contest. There had been plans for one in 2004, but it was interrupted by Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne. However, a Jeannie lookalike contest was held in 2004, with Bill Daily attending.

Theme musicEdit

The first season theme music was an instrumental jazz waltz written by Richard Wess. Eventually, Sidney Sheldon became dissatisfied with Wess' theme and musical score.[citation needed] From the second season on, it was replaced by a new theme entitled "Jeannie", composed by Hugo Montenegro with lyrics by Buddy Kaye. Episode 20 and 25 used a re-recorded ending of "Jeannie" for the closing credits with new, longer drum breaks and a different closing riff. The lyrics were never used in the show.

Songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote a theme, called "Jeannie," for Sidney Sheldon before the series started, but it was not used.[11]

In the third and fourth season of the show another instrumental theme by Hugo Montenegro was introduced that was played during the show's campy scenes. Simply titled "Mischief", the theme would be heard mainly on outdoor locations, showing the characters attempting to do something such as Jeannie learning to drive, Major Nelson arriving up the driveway, a monkey walking around, or reactions to Doctor Bellows. This theme featured the accompaniment of a sideshow organ, a trombone, and electric bass. It was introduced in the first episode of season 3, "Fly Me to the Moon."[citation needed]

Opening sequenceEdit

The first few episodes after the pilot (episodes two through eight) used a non-animated, expository opening narrated by Paul Frees; the narration mentions that Nelson lived in "a mythical town" named Cocoa Beach in "a mythical place called Florida". For the first color season, it was expanded to include footage of Captain Nelson's space capsule splashing down on the beach, and Jeannie dancing out of her bottle and kissing Nelson. In addition, the image of the bottle itself was modified to reflect its new decoration.

The bottleEdit

  • Jeannie's famous bottle was not created for the show. The actual bottle was a special Christmas 1964 Jim Beam liquor decanter containing "Beam's Choice" bourbon whiskey. It was designed by Roy Kramer for the Wheaton Bottle Company.
  • For years, it was said that Sidney Sheldon received one as a gift and thought it would be a perfect design for the series. Several people in the Screen Gems art department also take credit for finding the bottle. There is strong evidence, however, that it was first season director Gene Nelson who saw one in a liquor store and bought it, bringing it to Sidney Sheldon.[citation needed]
  • Jeannie's bottle was left its original dark, smoke-green color, with a painted gold leaf pattern (to make it look like an antique), during the first season. The plot description of the pilot episode in TV Guide in September 1965 referred to it as a "green bottle". In that first episode, it also looked quite rough and weathered. Since the show was originally filmed in black and white, a lot of colors and patterns were not necessary. When the show switched to color, the prop people came up with a brightly colored bottle to replace the original.
  • The first season bottle had a clear glass stopper that Tony took from a 1956 Old Grand-Dad Bourbon bottle in his home, as the original stopper was left behind on the beach where Tony found Jeannie. In the first color episode, Jeannie returns to the beach, and her bottle is seen to have its original stopper (painted to match the bottle), presumably retrieved by her upon her return there. The rest of the TV series (and the movies) used the original bottle stopper. (During some close-ups, you can still see the plastic rings that hold the cork part of the stopper in place.)
  • During the first season, in black and white, the smoke effect was usually a screen overlay of billowing smoke, sometimes combined with animation. Early color episodes used a purely animated smoke effect. Sometime later a live smoke pack, lifted out of the bottle on a wire, was used.
  • Jeannie's color-episodes bottle was painted mainly in pinks and purples, while the bottle for the Blue Djinn was a first-season design with a heavy green wash; and Jeannie's sister's bottle was simply a plain, unpainted Jim Beam bottle.
  • No one knows exactly how many bottles were used during the show, but members of the production have estimated that twelve bottles were painted and used during the run of the series. The stunt bottle used mostly for the smoke effect was broken frequently by the heat and chemicals used to produce Jeannie's smoke. In the pilot episode, several bottles were used for the opening scene on the beach; one was drilled through the bottom for smoke, and another was used to walk across the sand and slip into Tony's pack. Two bottles were used from promotional tours to kick off the first season, and one bottle was used for the first-season production.
  • Barbara Eden got to keep the color stunt bottle used on the last day of filming the final episode of the television series. It was given to her by her make-up woman after the show was canceled while the show was on hiatus. As per the DVD release of the first season, Bill Daily owns an original bottle, and as per the Donny & Marie talk show, Larry Hagman also owns an original bottle.
  • In the next-to-last aired episode, "Hurricane Jeannie," Nelson dreams that Dr. Bellows discovers Jeannie's secret, and that Jeannie's bottle is broken when dropped. A broken bottle is shown on camera.

Jeannie's originEdit

In the first season, it is made clear that Jeannie was originally a human who was turned into a genie by (as later revealed) the Blue Djinn when she refused to marry him. Several members of her family, including her parents, are rather eccentric, but none are genies. Her mother describes the family as "just peasants from the old country". (Note that the term "Djinn" is synonymous with "genie".)

The topic of Jeannie originally being human is restated in season two during the episode, "How to be a Genie in 10 Easy Lessons". Jeannie mentions that she has a sister who is a genie, but the phrasing – "she was a genie when I left Baghdad" – does bring up the question of whether she too was born a genie.

In the third season, this continuity was changed retroactively and it was assumed that Jeannie has always been a genie. All her relatives are then also genies, including, by the fourth season, her mother (also played by Barbara Eden). This may have been done to increase the similarity with Bewitched, or simply to increase the number of possible plotlines. Whatever the reason, this new concept was retained for the rest of the series.

The 1985 TV movie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later reiterates most of Jeannie's first-season origin when she tells her son, Tony Jr., that she was trapped in her bottle by an evil djinn after she refused to marry him. (There is no specific statement, however, about whether he turned her into a genie at that time or if she had been born one.)

In a 1966 paperback novel published by Pocket Books, very loosely based on the series, it was established in the story that Jeannie (in the book, her real name is revealed as "Fawzia") and her immediate family were genies living in Tehran hundreds of years before Tony found her bottle on an island in the Persian Gulf (instead of the South Pacific, as depicted on TV).

References in popular cultureEdit

  • In an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, "I Dream of Beavis," Beavis finds a bottle with a dead mouse inside and believes it will grant his wishes.
  • The soap opera As the World Turns did a mini-spoof of I Dream of Jeannie called "I Dream of Carly" as a part of their 50th anniversary celebration on March 30, 2006.
  • Several episodes of Weird Science reference I Dream of Jeannie (the show is also deliberately similar, not only in the story of a beautiful female genie but in the way it characterizes the male leads).
  • One episode of The Monkees ("Spy Who Came In From the Cool") features a Jeannie look-alike, who appears after Davy Jones rubs a lamp. "Jeannie" says "Do not worry, Master. Your Jeannie will help you." Davy reacts by saying "Imagine that. Wrong show," and walks away. Both shows ran concurrently on NBC.
  • During The Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary, Bill Daily's character Howard Borden said he once dreamed he was an astronaut in Florida for five years, a reference to Jeannie and the series finale of Newhart.
  • I Dream of Jenna (starring porn-queen Jenna Jameson) is the title of a pornographic film based on a lurid premise of the series.
  • Barbara Eden appears as Jeannie at the end of A Very Brady Sequel, saying she is Mike Brady's first wife.
  • British trance/progressive/chill act Salt Tank released "I Dream of Jeanie" in 1998 as part of a double A 10" limited edition vinyl.
  • Philadelphia punk rock band Dead Milkmen have a song called "I Dream of Jesus", in which the singer's mother finds Jesus who is trapped inside a bottle. The song appears on the 1993 album Not Richard, but Dick.
  • I Dream of Jeannie was also referenced in a 2006 TV Land Awards commercial in which a teenage girl is seen taking off her green jacket, earrings, a circle-buckled belt, green holed shoes, Levi's jeans, and a brown/white tee to put on her "Jeannie" costume in a laundromat.
  • The song "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble" by Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff released in 1986 samples the I Dream of Jeannie theme song.
  • Timbaland sampled the theme song on "Wit' Yo' Bad Self" from his 1998 album Tim's Bio: Life from da Bassment.
  • The song "Jeannie's Diner" By Mark Davis and Marilyn E Whitelaw, a parody of Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" released in 1991, recounts the tale of Barbara Eden's Jeannie, and includes a sample of the theme song. Vega would include the song on a compilation album known as Tom's Album, and Nick-at-Nite used the song to promote its airing the show during the 1990s.
  • In the season 6 episode of Supernatural "Frontierland" the character Dean Winchester calls on the angel Castiel saying "C’mon Cas, I Dream of Jeannie your ass down here pronto".

NotesEdit

  1. ^ ClassicTVHits.com: TV Ratings > 1965-1966
  2. ^ ClassicTCHits.com: TV Ratings > 1966-1967
  3. ^ ClassicTVHits.com: TV Ratings > 1967-1968
  4. ^ ClassicTVHits.com: TV Ratings > 1968-1969
  5. ^ ClassicTVHits.com: TV Ratings > 1969-1970
  6. ^ James Henerson (writer) & Claudio Guzman (director) (January 27, 1969). "Ride 'Em Astronaut". I Dream of Jeannie. episode 15. season 4. NBC.
  7. ^ James Henerson (writer) & Hal Cooper (director) (February 3, 1969). "Invisible House For Sale". I Dream of Jeannie. episode 16. season 4. NBC.
  8. ^ Creech, Gray "NASA on Classic TV" (November 3, 2005) http://www.nasa.gov/missions/research/classic_tv_prt.htm
  9. ^ a b "Cocoa Beach celebrates 40 years of 'I Dream of Jeannie'" The Associated Press (2006) http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2005-09-15-cocoa-beach_x.htm
  10. ^ a b c Osborne, Ray I Dream of Jeannie Days
  11. ^ Cox, Stephen; Howard Frank (2000-03-18). Dreaming of Jeannie: TV's Prime Time in a Bottle. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-20417-5.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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