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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One of my favorite actresses (and her one-smacker)

I've been watching a lot of AntennaTV and MeTV lately; two cable stations that rerun classic television shows. Because I have older tube TVs, I can't stream Netflix, and I don't get premium cable channels, so when the networks are running repeats, I fall back on the oldies, some of which I never get tired of watching.

To most, the name "Elizabeth Montgomery" conjures up the 60s sitcom Bewitched, for which she was best known. But Ms. Montgomery was far more than Samantha Stephens, even though that character was indelible. She was also a brilliant dramatic actress.

Oh, and I thought she was absolutely stunning:

Her career began in the mid 1950s, and in the late 50s and early 60s, she appeared on many dramas, including Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wagon Train, and One Step Beyond. The other night, I caught her on an episode of The Untouchables, for which she'd been nominated for an Emmy. She played Southern spitfire Rusty Heller, a prostitute who got mixed up with some very bad men. I loved how sassy she was ("Now don't you go trying to appeal to my sense of decency, sugar, 'cause I ain't got one"), and it was quite surreal watching her make out with co-star David White, who later played Larry Tate (Samantha's husband's boss) on Bewitched.

He ended up shooting and killing her, the big meanie. Of course, that was after she ratted him out to the mob and watched one of the bigwigs cut out his tongue. (No, they didn't show it. In 1960s TV, things were strongly implied, but left to your imagination.) And as she died in Eliot Ness's arms, the last thing she asked was "Is my lipstick still on?"

It was an interesting twist for her, moving into a sitcom, but Bewitched ran from 1964-72 and became an iconic show. There were two Darrins, two Louise Tates, two Frank Stephenses, two Gladys Kravitzes, but only one Samantha, brilliantly played and much beloved.

So, since this was pre-PC TV and Samantha often got into mischief (as did her identical cousin, Serena, also played by Ms. Montgomery), was there any spanking? Sadly, no, not really. However, there were two shows with a single smack.

In the more popular of the two, from 1967, Serena pretends to be Samantha and torments Darrin all afternoon. He finally catches on and plots revenge, but doesn't realize that the real Samantha has come home. When she bends forward to pick up something she dropped, he gives her one good smack on her behind. I don't like this scene, because right after that, he hits her in the face with the pie she brought home, and it all devolves into a big pie fight. And since messy humor grosses me out, that wrecks the scene for me.

But a lesser-known scene is the one I find far more charming and sexy. It's from 1964, and (I think? not sure) it's the first appearance of the Serena character. She tries to fool Darrin into giving her a kiss, and his reaction is deliciously appropriate. I don't seem to be able to embed this, so you can watch the clip here (sorry about the German commercials!)

After Bewitched ended, Elizabeth went back to her roots, starring in dramas such as A Case of Rape and Lizzie Borden. She was nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes throughout her career, but never won. In 1995, she passed away from cancer at age 62.

In case you may be wondering -- no, I never met her, and as far as I know, my father never worked with her. Although I'm sure their paths crossed at some point, since she was married to TV writer/producer William Asher for 10 years.

Many of her dramatic appearances are available on YouTube. I love finding TV treasures on YouTube -- full uncut versions, no commercials! For example, her appearance on The Untouchables is here.

No stress release for me this week. :-( Hoping to get some work I can bury myself in.


  1. I saw the single Bewitched smack episode.
    And I KNOW how much you must have appreciated the ones where Samantha threated to spank Serena for her misbehavior! :)

  2. Kelly -- I remember it well. Samantha thought that Tabitha and Serena were up to something, and she threatened to take Tabitha across her knee. Then she called out, "That goes for you too, Serena -- and don't think I can't do it!" (Just saw that episode recently.) ;-)

  3. I do not remember that episode, I did see almost every show. I had a crush on Elizabeth Montgomery. She was cute and hot.


  4. joey -- wasn't she, though? And such a versatile actress. Did you ever see her in "The Legend of Lizzie Borden"? Brrrrrr!

  5. Erica, my most memorable actress was Elizabeth Taylor, who I had the good fortune to interview her, along with her husband Richard Burton, at that time. I asked her the question. "Would she like to be knighted by the Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, along with her husband. Her reply to me was "It will be the first time I'll be a lady". The interview many years ago, took place at the Plaza Hotel, here in New York.

  6. Six -- a treasured memory, I'm sure.

    1. Yes, her answer to me is my claim of 15 minutes of fame. She and her husband, was doing promotional work for her movie "Dr. Faustus". A dozen of us kids from various colleges here in New York were asked to interview her. Yes, she was a rare beauty in those days.

  7. i don't think many people are aware that she also narrated the audio version of Anne Rice's Beauty Trilogy ....i still own a version on a cassette tape....the only place i can listen to it is in my old car that's equipped with a cassette player!...she narrates it absolutely beautiful by the way...

  8. Henk -- yes! She had such a lovely voice. I wonder what it's like, recording such hard-core kinky stuff, if you're not kinked? (Who knows, maybe she was.)

    1. you kinda have to be...don't you think? don't really have an atheist narrate the bible either least...not without keeping a straight face throughout the reading....she really sounds genuine....either way....she was amazing!

    2. True -- but then again, she *was* an actress. I guess we'll never know...

  9. I did see the movie "Lizzy Borden" with Elizabeth Montgomery playing Lizzy. Brrr is right! She did an excellent job portraying the drama of that murder. That murder is still a mystery, though the movie put it on Lizzy, which is probably true. We really don't know for sure, though.

  10. There was one "Bewitched" episode where Endora put a spell on Samantha so she would feel everything Serena felt ( OK, it did not have to make sense). Scene switched to Serena getting a slap across the rump from one of her boyfriends & back to the Stevens house where Sam jumps three feet into the air & says "OK, who's the wise witch?"


  11. Bobbie Jo -- yes, the movie took a bit of license. I'm thinking it was probably true, but it was never solved. Where did they get that "40 whacks" business, I wonder. She didn't hit either of them even half that many times.

    John -- yes! I remember that too!

  12. I think the 40 whacks came from a children's rhyme of the event. Who knows who started it. Just a macabre ditty of the murder. Kind of like the one about Ring Around the Rosy. That one is about the plague that killed so many in Europe. It would leave a ring around the rash that was red. "Ashes, ashes, all fall down" was a reference of burning things in an attempt to stop the disease and the falling down of people dying. We used to do that one and we had no idea of the real meaning of it. Georgie Porgie Puddin' Pie, kissed the girls and made them cry" is about King George III. He was a lady's man of a sort.

    A lot of the older rhymes were about actual occurrences.

  13. Over the knee is always a good thing! Yes, Elizabeth was a very versatile and talented actress. I've actually had her over my my dreams, of course. However, I have an even more gorgeous and lovely bottom in real life whom. I just miss her and hope this staph stuff on my face clears up soooooon. I miss you Erica. Steve

  14. Steve -- I miss you too, so much. Staph infections suck. :-( But I will see you soon.

  15. The first erotic dream I remember, at age nine or ten, was Samantha getting spanked!

    I thought someone had put a compilation of every "Bewitched" smack and spanking reference on YooHooTube once; there were quite a few over its run! By the way, thanks for that one-smacker link, I hadn't seen it for a long time!

    As I recall, Erica, Serena's first appearance was the episode in which Tabitha was born; Darrin thought Serena was Tabitha magically all-grown up and upset they'd made him miss everything and chased her around the hospital trying to get her to change back.

    I've caught quite a few of the Antenna TV reruns, too; this time around I paid particular attention to "background" stuff, like costuming and makeup. Very nicely done!

    Barbara Eden told the story of how she used to irritate Liz by arriving at the Screen Gems/ Columbia make-up room singing in the mornings. Liz was evidently not a morning person and would mutter, "Oh, God, here she comes again."

    By the way, they used the "Stephens house" sets-- inside and outside-- for Dr. and Mrs. Bellows' house in a "Jeannie" episode! And Sally Field had some "Gidget" parties there, too! I suppose it had been around for a long time, and using it in multiple projects saved dough, but every TV viewer must've recognized it, and it kinda blows the suspension of disbelief.

    I've heard about, but never yet heard, the reading Henk was talking about. One never knows with actors; people who worked with them said Boris Karloff and Vincnet Price were generous pussycats, and Danny Kaye was a putz. But it's fun to think Ms Montgomery might have had a kinkily playful side after all.

    By the way, Endart had done a couple of "Bewitched" cartoons; my favorite is called "Sam's Spanking," with Samantha glaring and pouting over Darrin's lap and Larry Tate agog in the background.

  16. Wolfie -- I love how you know all the TV trivia stuff like I do! Most people think I'm nuts, remembering such minutiae.

    My former stepmother (the nice one) worked on the film "Hans Christian Andersen" and absolutely crushed me when she told me what a mean prick Danny Kaye was. I loved him so as a kid!

  17. My god, great post, I was and am now still totally over the top about Elizabeth Montgomery, she is and in my mind still is a wonderful sexy lady, classy and beautiful........I too saw the one smackers but how about her threatening to spank others? Very sexy and she is one amazing lady, I always was tuned in to her.
    Wonderful post about my favorite actress ever!!!

  18. Ron -- glad you enjoyed it! I was hoping people would. :-)