“I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say.” ( Ingrid Bergman )
Bewitched was one of televisions most beloved sitcoms. Since it’s debut on September 17th, 1964 to it’s final episode on March 25th, 1972, several notable guest stars were hired to join the colorful array of cast members on a magical journey into the world of witches and warlocks, who led us to Morning Glory Circle, an eventful destination where a beautiful young witch is happily married to a common ordinary mortal, who happens to work as an advertising executive.
In almost every episode of Bewitched, audiences were introduced to a new character. Whether it was one of Darrin and Larry’s clients from McMann and Tate or an eccentric relative from Samantha’s family who possessed witchcraft, they were all portrayed by film and television personalities who had an exalted status in the entertainment industry.
Week after week, millions worldwide were tuned into their daily viewings of Bewitched on the ABC. Many were excited to see which stars were making guest appearances on each episode, while others watched it to elude the corruption and depravity that was largely dominant in the outside world at the time.
While each member of the cast were impressive and delivered something special to the show, I come to question if any fan was disappointed that a certain actor or actress wasn’t cast in a main role or as a guest star on Bewitched? Supposedly this would be true in a myriad of instances. A plethora of people worldwide express admiration for a particular film or television personality, so its only natural that they would inhabit the notion that their idol would be ideal for a role as a principal player or a guest star on Bewitched or any other series in general.
On many occasions the dreams of fans seeing their idols make an appearance on television has come true. In Hollywood, a place that seems to develop the notion that film personalities are only considered a valuable asset to motion pictures when their young and at the peek of their beauty, but once they reach a certain age, they are tossed aside so the studios can focus on new upcoming talent, making it harder and less feasible for them to attain quality roles while trying to maintain a steady career.
Once they were passed that age barrier, and after discovering their career was in wane, an innumerable amount of classic film stars transitioned to the television medium in the hopes of boosting their salary and to also resurrect their fading image and popularity. In most cases this worked and imminent success was on the horizon.
Agnes Moorehead enthralled audiences with her portrayal of Endora, the meddling mother of Samantha on Bewitched, Barbara Stanwyck captivated millions worldwide with her portrayal of Victoria Barkley, the matriarch of the family in The Big Valley, and James Garner transformed success into eternal popularity after starring in The Rockford Files and Maverick.
The above is a brief listing of a few stars who proved that television was a great way to retain a reputable status, but this is in no means a complete list. During the annals of cinematic history, a plethora of motion picture cast players turned to the television medium. Some had their own weekly series, while others were assigned roles in other popular television shows, but a few stars however were reluctant to make the transition, fearing that it would ruin their career.
Take for instance, Ingrid Bergman, the three time Oscar winner who is best remembered today for her role as Ilsa in Casablanca. Born in Sweden in 1915, Bergman developed a passion for drama when she was a child, and underwent training, which soon led to her starring in movies in her native country of Sweden, but it wasn’t until she moved to the United States that her career would really begin to take off.
Apart from a few appearances in made for TV movies, Ingrid Bergman has never been cast in a television series in a guest role nor as a principal player. She has however been considered a suitable actress for television, but her chances of attaining a lead role in a long running series never came to fruition. Of course a lot of this may have to do with the fact that she was denounced by the United States Senate due to having an affair with director, Roberto Rossellini, and falling pregnant with his son, but still the fact that her personal life fueled condemnation and scandal shouldn’t have affected her work possibilities.
It is interesting to note how Ingrid’s career would have turned out if she did star in a long running series. Would she have starred in a sitcom? Or would she have had her own weekly television series? There are endless avenues in the world of television that Ingrid Bergman could have explored, and it is without a doubt that she would have succeeded.
With this in mind, it forces me to spring the question on to you readers? If Ingrid Bergman was to be cast in a continual role on Bewitched, which role do you think she would be most suited to? Could she have played Samantha? She certainly embodied the compassion, the amiability and the trail of sweetness like Samantha, but she would have been too old to portray a beautiful young witch. Could she have played Endora? While Ingrid would have been capable of playing the role of Samantha’s meddling mother who despises the fact that her daughter is married to a mortal and wants to abandon her magic powers for her husbands sake, the part of Endora was tailor made for Agnes Moorehead. Could she have played Aunt Clara? Ingrid certainly personified the qualities, but she would have been too young to portray Samantha’s lovable and bumbling aunt whose witchcraft is out of whack. That leaves us with Larry’s wife, Louise Tate or Gladys Kravitz, the nosy neighbor who suspects that there are strange oddities going on at the Stephens house, but is never able to prove her assertions regarding the ruses she witnesses to her husband, Abner.
Both the roles of Louise and Gladys would have been an easy feat for someone like Ingrid who possessed extreme versatility which was clearly evident in a diverse range of films, but Ingrid Bergman represented a unique brand of artistry that would of been put to better use in her own special write in role on Bewitched.
This is where the fun begins. What type of character would you have Ingrid Bergman play? For a show that revolves around witches and warlocks in a world dominated by mortals, there are many endless possibilities. She could be a witch or a mortal, it is totally your decision. As what is depicted in the series, Endora has many friends in all different continents of the world that she visits frequently, and considering that Ingrid hails from Sweden, it would have been fantastic to have a write in role for Ingrid where she plays a character that is based in her own native country.
Below is a make believe episode plot for Bewitched, which features Ingrid Bergman in a pivotal write in role that is specifically tailor made to suit her acting prowess. Remember this is just fictional. As far as I know, Ingrid was never considered for a part on Bewitched, but its still fun to pretend she was.
At the commencement of the episode, Samantha ( Elizabeth Montgomery ) is shown preparing breakfast for Darrin ( Dick York ) at their Morning Glory Circle residence. Minutes later Darrin enters the kitchen, and is confronted by Endora ( Agnes Moorehead ) who has come to deliver the latest news to Samantha about her long lost aunty ( Ingrid Bergman ) from Sweden, who along with Endora is coming to stay at the Stephens household for the weekend. Fueled with anger towards Endora for granting the aunt permission to stay, Darrin utters a few distasteful words to her before leaving for work.
Problems arise when Darrin returns home that afternoon to find Samantha’s long lost aunt practicing witchcraft with Tabitha in the living room. Darrin has never tolerated Endora showing Tabitha magic tricks, and he definitely is not about to have another of Samantha’s bizarre relatives trying to brainwash his own daughter. Samantha’s aunt however is like Endora and does not take notice of Darrin, who she views as a dull feeble-minded mortal, who has his wife locked away in what she calls a prison cell.
For Darrin, this is going to be a long weekend full of cat fights with Endora and Samantha’s long lost aunt, who not only despises Darrin for his mortal heritage, but tries her hardest to dissolve the marriage between Samantha and Darrin.
In my opinion, that plot and that sort of role would have definitely been suited to Ingrid. After-all, she loved a challenge, and if given the chance, she probably would have relished playing a witch whose acidic dialogue and witticisms keeps the laughter going.
This post is part of the Second Annual Ingrid Bergman Blogathon, hosted by my good friend, Virginie from The Wonderful World Of Cinema. To view the other entries being exhibited in the event, please click here.