The story of a NASA astronaut who falls for a genie in a bottle, I Dream of Jeannie became an iconic television sitcom that first aired in 1965. Barbara Eden entertained audiences as Jeannie for the five years that the series ran on NBC. Alongside Larry Hagman as her love interest, an astronaut named Tony, the casting was a huge part of what made the show successful. Yet after 139 episodes, the show came to a close in 1970.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at the cast, the costumes, and more, including how the show both butted heads and borrowed from Bewitched.
Eden’s Costumes Would Often Rip And Be Destroyed
Over the five years of filming I Dream of Jeannie, actress Barbara Eden went through a large wardrobe’s worth of genie costumes. She later explained that she would often trip on the flowing material of her costume, sometimes causing it to rip if she stepped on it with heels.
In each case, the sitcom’s wardrobe department worked to get Eden another outfit, replacing the ripped one. This went on for five seasons, accumulating a large collection of famous-yet-damaged genie costumes.
How Barbara Eden Saw Her Character
Lead actress Barbara Eden had some strong and heartfelt opinions about her character, Jeannie, although writers and producers of the show didn’t always agree. She questioned why a man’s man like Air Force Captain Tony Nelson would hesitate to be involved with a gorgeous female genie. Wouldn’t Jeannie need to be less-feminized and seductive?
Because of this theory, Eden believed that Jeannie should show characteristics of a “tomboy”. Larry Hagman also questioned how his character could be so strong-willed against the beautiful Jeannie.
Barbara Eden Wasn’t Frightened By The Lion On Set, But Hagman Was!
You may remember that a lion appeared on I Dream of Jeannie, and yes, it was real! The idea of having such a powerful animal in the studio would likely frighten the average actress, but not Barbara Eden!
Those on set recall Eden being calm and composed while interacting with the lion. She also attempted to ease Larry Hagman’s nerves, who was not as calm. Eden told him, “lean forward very, very gingerly and stroke him as gently as you can.” However, Hagman never felt the same way that Eden did about the lion.
How The Props Department Made The Genie Bottle Is Unexpected
As one of the most iconic television props of all time, many viewers would probably expect that Jeannie’s bottle was a one-of-a-kind creation from the NBC studio. It might be disappointing, or rather bizarre, that the bottle was in fact a 1964 repurposed bottle of Jim Beam.
Of course, they put the Hollywood magic on it, spending hundreds of dollars to have it hand-painted with ornamentation. Unlike Jeannie’s costumes, the original bottle remained intact throughout the filming of all five seasons.
Larry Hagman As Tony Nelson
Actor Larry Hagman played one of the lead characters, Tony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie. Tony was a United States Air Force Captain who was also a NASA astronaut. A hard-working man focused on his career, Jeannie brought out another side of him when he was off the clock.
Before Jeannie, Tony was engaged to his commanding general’s daughter, Melissa. But the colorful Jeannie would stir up all of his plans. Tony Nelson became one of Larry Hagman’s most recognizable roles of his career.
The Show Debuted In Black And White While Other Prime Time Turned To Color
The timing of the debut of I Dream of Jeannie was a bit awkward. Premiering on NBC at 8 pm on Saturday, September 18, 1965, the show debuted within the time frame that other programs were switching to color. While viewers were able to watch other primetime television in color, Jeannie remained one of two shows still shown in black-and-white.
One of the reasons the producers chose to film and air the show in black-and-white was to preserve the integrity of the show’s special effects. If they aired Jeannie’s magic in color, viewers would be able to pick up on the visual effects.
Barbara Eden Was Almost Passed Up For The Role
Can you imagine I Dream of Jeannie without Barbara Eden as Jeannie? The show just wouldn’t be the same. That was almost the case when casting directors were dead-set on finding an actress that wasn’t blonde for the lead role.
Although they preferred Eden for the role, the producers wanted to distinguish I Dream of Jeannie from the hit show Bewitched. They believed casting a brunette as Jeannie might help create some distance. In the end, they couldn’t deny that Eden was the right choice.
NBC Had Strict Rules About Bedroom Scenes
Airing on NBC from 1965 until 1970, there were many censorship rules that I Dream of Jeannie was required to follow. During this era of American television, it was too risque to show even a married couple sharing the same bed. Some shows avoided controversy by staging twin beds in the couple’s bedroom.
For I Dream of Jeannie, producers decided to show scenes of Tony and Jeannie entering a bedroom together, with the exception that Jeannie is always shown leaving the room after.
The Bottle Was Repainted In Season 2
Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that Jeannie’s bottle changed to a different color hue in Season 2 when the show moved to color. While the same bottle was used, the show’s prop department had the bottle repainted.
It changed from a smoke-green color to a purple and gold-leaf pattern that they thought better complimented the set and Jeannie’s costume. Many may have missed this transition, as it’s difficult to compare to black-and-white.
A Cold Day Filming In Malibu
The first episode of I Dream of Jeannie took the cast and crew out to Zuma Beach in Malibu, California. Except, of course, the show wasn’t set in Malibu, rather a hot, deserted island in the Pacific. This scene took quite a bit of acting skills from Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman, as the episode was filmed in the middle of winter.
Eden recalled, “I was freezing” as the two filmed their characters’ first meeting on the deserted island, where Tony found Jeannie’s bottle.
Larry Hagman Became Known As “The Mad Monk Of Malibu”
Actor Larry Hagman often displayed weird behavior not only around the set but around Malibu as well. He earned himself the nickname, “The Mad Monk of Malibu” for his antics in the late 60s and 70s.
He was once spotted transporting groceries on his Harley Davidson while wearing a chicken suit. Someone recalled seeing Hagman pour bourbon into his cereal and eat it, instead of milk. By the time he was cast in Dallas, Hagman had changed his ways a bit.
The Grueling Truth About What Happened To The Set
While many I Dream of Jeannie fans would have loved to take a tour of the set today, it sadly no longer exists. It’s common practice in Hollywood for a show to burn their set once it’s canceled, in order to save costs. And that’s what happened to the set of I Dream of Jeannie.
With the exception of some costumes and the iconic genie bottle, most of the set was burned to the ground.
Barbara Eden Was Pregnant During Filming
For the first ten episodes of filming I Dream of Jeannie, lead actress Barbara Eden was concealing her real-life pregnancy. Eden was pregnant with her one and only child, son Matthew Ansara at the time. The new show was just starting to be filmed, and producers agreed that the show must go on.
The show’s wardrobe department set out designing outfits for Eden that concealed her stomach. Looking back on the show, you can see that Jeannie’s stomach was covered in the first ten episodes.
One Episode Is Blamed For The Show’s Cancellation
I Dream of Jeannie is a hit series of its time, however, it only aired for five seasons. Compared to Bewitched’s eight seasons, I Dream of Jeannie seems to have hit its prime early. Many critics and fans place the blame on one episode in particular, which aired shortly before the hit sitcom was canceled.
So which episode was it? The much-despised wedding episode is blamed for the show’s cancelation. Viewers did not want to see Tony and Jeannie become married. After the episode aired, the show’s ratings took a deep dive. To make matters worse, NBC staged a wedding for the media prior to the episode’s airdate.
Barbara Eden Thought The Wedding Was A Terrible Idea
Barbara Eden rang the alarm on the wedding episode idea from the start. Reportedly, the actress was strongly against marriage between the characters of Tony Nelson and Jeannie. Her main point was that Jeannie wasn’t human.
Another strong argument was that solidifying the relationship as a marriage would remove the spontaneity and sexual tension that kept the show’s plot interesting and moving along. but the writers did not agree and moved forward with filming the episode.
One Thing About Jeannie’s Costume
Costume designers were sure to cover up Barbara Eden’s stomach in her Jeannie outfit for the filming of the first season of I Dream of Jeannie. But even after the actress gave birth, the wardrobe team made sure that Eden’s navel was covered.
Television in the 1960s banned showing a woman’s navel. It was only the year before the first episode of Jeannie aired, that a woman showed her navel on television for the first time. That was actress Yvette Mimieux in 1964, on the television show Dr. Kildare.
Barbara Eden Also Played Jeannie’s Evil Twin By The Same Name
In the mid-to-late-60s, it wasn’t common for an actress to play multiple roles within the same series. So when Barbara Eden also appeared as an evil twin version of herself in I Dream of Jeannie, many fans didn’t pick up on the fact that it was also Eden!
Also named “Jeannie”, the lead character’s twin sister had darker hair and wore a green genie outfit. In the show, all genies had the same name.
Jeannie’s Bottle Is One Of The Most Famous TV Props Of All Time
After Jeannie appeared from the bottle Tony found on the beach, the genie bottle became an iconic prop on the show, appearing in all 139 episodes. Once the show ended, Barbara Eden held onto the bottle and displayed it in her office. In 2011, Eden said in an interview, “I have the original bottle. It was in the office for a long time and people said you know, ‘That shouldn’t be around, there’s only one.'”
Seeing their point, Eden brought the iconic genie bottle down to the bank for safekeeping. Soon after, she decided to hand it over to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. It remains to be one of the most famous props in TV history.
Larry Hagman’s Acting Career Continued To Climb Post-Jeannie
After I Dream of Jeannie stopped filming in 1970, Larry Hagman went on to be cast in other successful television shows. Beginning in 1978, he appeared in the hit television series Dallas. Hagman loved the script and felt that he could authentically play businessman J.R. Ewing. Producers agreed.
Among other awards and nominations, Hagman was notably nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and four Golden Globe Award nominations.
For The Most Part, Jeannie Was The Only Female on the Show
After selecting Barbara Eden for the starring role of Jeannie, writers made sure to keep the focus on her. Her character was flirty and female, and the show wanted to keep it that way. That’s why they rarely wrote other female roles into the script, leaving no distractions for Tony.
As it turned out, this was the right move to make. Audiences are drawn to Eden in the starring role as Jeannie and want to see as much of her as possible.
A Writer Was Fired After He Was Caught Writing For Both Shows
One writer on the I Dream of Jeannie staff was also writing for Bewitched at the same time. Once it was discovered that James Henerson was writing for both shows, and including overlapping themes between the two, he was fired from both shows.
However, there was no denying his talent for writing– Henerson went on to have a successful career in TV sitcom writing. He also wrote for Flying Nun and was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
Larry Hagman Had A Personal Battle
While Larry Hagman proved to be a successful and talented actor, he also had his own personal struggles that were apparent to the cast and crew on the set of I Dream of Jeannie. Hagman’s drinking while filming began causing problems.
After boozing on champagne throughout the day, Hagman’s behavior became reportedly unpredictable and strange at times. Those on the set recall Hagman showing up to filming wearing a gorilla suit once and bringing an ax to the studio another time.
Larry Hagman Was Too Busy Filming Dallas To Appear In The Reunion Films
Actor Larry Hagman was noticeably missing from both made-for-TV reunion films of I Dream of Jeannie. Wayne Rogers stepped in to play the role in I Still Dream Of Jeannie, while Tony was only briefly mentioned in the first film.
Hagman had been busy filming the hit TV show Dallas, which was into its 15th season of filming in 1991. When the cast reunited for the reunion film, Hagman was taking a much-needed vacation with his family.
The Way Larry Hagman Found Out About The Show’s Cancellation Was Poorly Planned
After five years of filming, it was decided by the network that I Dream of Jeannie wouldn’t see another season. While the network and producers knew that, they didn’t share the news with the cast as they should have. Not knowing that the series would no longer be filming, actor Larry Hagman showed up to the studio to pick up something from his dressing room.
That’s when he found out the show had been canceled… from the guard working the studio gate! Reportedly, Hagman was on vacation in South America when the decision was finalized, and no one got ahold of him.
Barbara Eden Argued That The Theme Wasn’t Anti-Feminist
Some critics and viewers have raised the question of whether Jeannie submitting to her “master” was anti-feminist. They perceive Jeannie’s relationship with Tony as one that includes obedience and inequality. However, actress Barbara Eden insists that this isn’t the case with the show, pointing out that Jeannie wasn’t human.
Eden told The Chicago Tribune, “She’s not human; this is fantasy. She was a genie: it was her job, and she loved her job… You can’t compare a career girl with a genie.”
Bill Daily As Roger Healey
Another character on I Dream of Jeannie was an astronaut and Captain Major Roger Healey, played by actor Bill Daily. Roger regularly appeared on the show as a close friend and colleague to Tony Nelson.
It was show creator Sidney Sheldon who recommended that the series cast actor Bill Daily for the role of Roger Healey. He praised the actor’s work after watching his acting in Bewitched, The Farmer’s Daughter, and My Mother the Car.
Larry Hagman’s Mother is a Broadway Actress
Before he appeared as Tony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie, Larry Hagman performed on the New York stage. His mother Mary Martin was a Broadway actress herself, starring in South Pacific, Peter Pan, and The Sound of Music.
However, she was largely absent from his life, as Hagman bounced around from school-to-school while being raised by his grandmother. In high school, Hagman took a liking to drama class, which led to taking parts working for a theater company in New York. Hagman’s Broadway debut was Comes a Day in 1958.
Hayden Rorke as Dr. Bellows
I Dream of Jeannie had a small but mighty cast. Another reoccurring character on the show was Dr. Bellows, a NASA medical officer played by actor Hayden Rorke. Dr. Bellows knew that there was something strange going on with one of the men he was supervising, astronaut Tony Nelson, but he couldn’t find the answer.
Whenever he spoke of his inkling, he only wound up embarrassing himself in front of his colleagues, making for great comedy in the hit sitcom. The casting turned out to be a perfect fit and it would become the most memorable role of Rorke’s career.
Hayden Rorke Went Back To The Theatre After Jeannie
After playing the role of Dr. Bellows on the hit sitcom, Hayden Rorke returned to the stage, where he got his start in theatre. In 1980 he performed in The Pleasure of His Company alongside actress Joan Caulfield. Rorke also had a role in Mr. Roberts in a theatre in St. Louis Missouri.
He got along famously with the cast of I Dream of Jeannie, and would often invite the other actors over to his home in Studio City, where he lived with his long-time partner, director Justus Addiss.
An Oversight In Military Rankings
A mistake that slipped by producers on I Dream of Jeannie was in the episode where Tony is promoted from Air Force Captain to Major. His uniform showed silver clusters, which represent a Lieutenant Colonel.
Another mistake was the show’s wardrobe department changing the rank clusters from silver to gold, which signals the rank of Major. Whether or not anyone on the set pointed out the mistake, it made it through the final cut.
They Weren’t Fooling Everyone
Although the sitcom is set in Cocoa Beach, Florida, I Dream of Jeannie was filmed in Los Angeles. Both locations have a warm climate, however, there are distinct geographical differences, like the hills!
Footage showing mountains in the background easily gave away the truth of where the TV series was being filmed. Another give away is when they show the exterior of Roger Healey’s office. Viewers can see that it’s in fact Edwards Air Force Base in the LA area.
Fans Adored Barbara Eden In Her Role
It’s hard to believe that the casting directors of I Dream of Jeannie ever considered going with anyone but Barbara Eden for the lead role. Cemented by her still-existing fanbase, Eden’s bubbly personality and the chemistry between Jeannie and Tony kept viewers tuning in to watch over the years.
Fans still recall Jeannie’s memorable outfits and many of the male viewers may admit to having a crush on the spunky actress.
The Sitcom Was More Popular In Syndication
Today, fans fondly remember Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman in I Dream Oo Jeannie and can enjoy watching reruns. However, during its five years airing on NBC, the show didn’t make it past No. 26 of the 30 most-watched TV shows.
During the late 60s, shows like Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Bonanza, and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. appeared ahead of I Dream of Jeannie in viewership. However, the sitcom was watched by 12,057,750 households in 1968-69.
The Show Appeared In Color In Season 2
Viewers may pick up on a few of the differences that producers made to I Dream of Jeannie in its second season. Most apparent was that the show went from black-and-white to color, changing with the times.
This meant that the behind-the-scenes visual effects needed to vastly improve, as viewers were able to distinguish more on-screen. By 1966, all primetime television series were being shown in color in the United States.
Sidney Sheldon Had Strong Opinions About The Show’s Theme Song
Among other changes, the sitcom adopted a new theme song when it came back for Season 2. Reportedly, creator Sidney Sheldon (who was also a writer and producer of the show) wasn’t happy with the instrumental jazz music that played at the show’s start in the first season).
In Season 2, Sheldon selected the show’s new song, “Jeannie” performed by Buddy Kaye and composed by Hugo Montenegro. He even turned down a “Jeannie” theme song written by legendary composers Gerry Goffin and Carole King!
The Inspiration Behind I Dream of Jeannie
If the plot and cast of I Dream of Jeannie sounded familiar to you, you might have recognized it from the film, The Brass Bottle. Sidney Sheldon loved the film so much, that he decided to use the same storyline and turn it into a television sitcom. The film was released just a year before the TV series aired, and also starred Barbara Eden as the genie.
Sheldon did replace the other two film stars in the TV adaption, Tony Randall and Burl Ives. Looking back even further, the film was inspired by the 1900 novel of the same name, written by author Thomas Anstey Guthrie.
Bill Daily’s Acting Career After Jeannie Continued
After the television series stopped filming in 1970, actor Bill Daily continued to have a successful career. Daily appeared on The Bob Newhart Show, playing the role of Howard Borden, a neighbor of the Harleys’. Another memorable role of his was in Alf, playing a psychiatrist named Larry.
Daily made appearances on several other shows, and even hosted his own show, Small & Frye, however it was canceled after just three months.
The Monkees Cameo And The Easter Egg You Probably Missed
In one episode of I Dream of Jeannie, the band The Monkees made a cameo appearance. At the time, The Monkees had their own show airing on the same network, NBC, so it was an opportunity for the two shows to intersect.
Afterward, in an episode of The Monkees, Davy Jones finds a genie lamp and proclaims, “Imagine that– wrong show.” This is one easter egg that many viewers might have missed!
The Spinoff Film, I Dream of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later
There were multiple spinoffs from the original I Dream of Jeannie television series, which only last for five seasons. One of them was a film, I Dream of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later. The story includes Major Nelson receiving a promotion, that ends up causing Jeannie and Tony to grow apart.
Then, “evil Jeannie” attempts to harm Tony in space while Jeannie is trapped. Thankfully, Jeannie’s son T.J. rescues her and save Tony from evil Jeannie’s plan.
Hagman and Daily Served in the Military In Real Life
The casting of I Dream of Jeannie was a huge component in the show’s success as the actors were all well-suited to their roles. Larry Hagman and Bill Daily’s personal experiences in the military helped them step into character as Air Force Captains.
Larry Hagman served in the United States Air Force but was never deployed. Actor Bill Daily served in the U.S. Army and worked as an artilleryman during the Korean War.
The Series Was Set In Florida, But Filmed In California
Although it was filmed in Los Angeles, the I Dream of Jeannie storyline was set in Cocoa Beach, Florida. There, Tony and Captain Major Roger Healey reported to the NASA Space Exploration Station in nearby Cape Kennedy, Florida.
In reality, astronauts now train in Houston, Texas, but writers and producers chose to have the series set in Florida, instead. More than a few fans have traveled to the Cocoa Beach area, hoping to catch a glimpse of something familiar to the show, only to learn that it was actually filmed in California.
A Line From A Parlor Ballad, Another Connection
The further we look back, the more connections we’re able to find between I Dream of Jeannie and other work. Going all the way back to 1854, there’s a line in an old parlor ballad that provides another connection to the show.
Singer and songwriter Stephen Foster sang, “I Dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair…” Show creator Sidney Sheldon was inspired by many works that he paid tribute to during his Hollywood career. Maybe that’s another reason why he didn’t want a blonde to play the role of Jeannie!
Barbara Eden Makes An Appearance On Dallas
Another I Dream of Jeannie cameo to enjoy is when Barbara Eden appears with Larry Hagman in 1990. After I Dream of Jeannie ended, Hagman was cast as J.R. Ewing on the television series Dallas.
Eden joined Hagman for six episodes, as Lee Ann De La Vegas. On the show, she reveals that her maiden name is “Lee Ann Nelson” which is a reference to the marriage that ended I Dream of Jeannie for good.
Barbara Eden’s Real Life Husband Makes A Cameo
Did you realize that Barbara Eden’s husband made a cameo appearance in the show? Dressed up and painted head to toe in blue, Michael Ansara played the role of an evil genie named Blue Djinn, out to get Jeannie.
Ansara was also a famous actor, most recognized for his roles in the TV series Broken Arrow and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He also appeared in multiple episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and several other TV shows, including Star Trek.
Barbara Eden And Michael Ansara Were Married For 16 Years
Also an actor, Michael Ansara was just as famous as Barbara Eden herself. The couple was married from 1958 until 1974 and co-starred in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in 1961.
They had one son together, Matthew Ansara, who primarily lived with his dad after the couple divorced and Eden moved to Chicago. She reportedly flew into Los Angeles every three weeks to spend time with her son. While married, the couple had tried for a second child but resulted in a stillbirth.
The Nelson House Is Located on the WB Ranch
Formerly known as the Columbia Ranch, the Nelson house shown in I Dream of Jeannie is located on the Warner Bros. Ranch. Located in Burbank, California, the house where Tony Nelson lived in the show is still standing.
Other than some cosmetic changes to the exterior of the house, it’s the same as it was in the show, nearly unchanged 50 years later. It’s nice knowing the house is still standing, even though the set of the show was burned.
There Were A Few Factual Inaccuracies On The Show
There were a few inaccuracies that made it into the script and subsequently, on film throughout the five seasons of I Dream of Jeannie. Running from 1965 through 1970, the show can be granted some leeway, as Hollywood errors weren’t as closely watched as they are today.
One example is when Tony travels to Rome and exclaims that Italy used to be known as “Gaul”. But Romans used to refer to what is now France territory as “Gaul”, not the region that is now Italy.
I Dream of Jeannie Lane in Cocoa Beach
When Barbara Eden traveled to speak at the Kennedy Space Center in 1996, the town’s mayor, of Cocoa Beach, Florida had a surprise up his sleeve for the actress. He presented her with a Florida street sign that read, “I Dream of Jeannie LN”.
The actress also took a tour of the space shuttle at the center and even tried on the spacesuit. Eden always proves how adventurous she is!
There Were Two Made-For-TV Spinoff Films
Although Jeannie and Tony’s marriage storyline appeared to throw a wrench in the show’s success, fans wanted to see more of Jeannie. In 1985, a made-for-tv reunion film aired on NBC, I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later.
Then again in 1991, Columbia Pictures released I Still Dream of Jeannie on NBC. Although Larry Hagman did not return to play Tony (he was replaced by actor Wayne Rogers) former cast members Barbara Eden, Bill Daily, and Hayden Rorke all returned to reprise their roles. Bewitched director William Asher stepped in to direct the reunion film.
Barbara Eden Will Be Best-Known For Jeannie, But She’s Had Other Roles
Although actress Barbara Eden will forever be dearly remembered as Jeannie, she’s appeared in other roles as well. Aside from the reunion films, Eden appeared on Dallas, and Harper Valley, PTA.
Although she’s best known for comedy, Eden dipped her toe into drama, appearing in the film The Feminist and the Fuzz and reuniting with Larry Hagman in A Howling in the Woods. Eden also acted in The Stranger Within, The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick and Opposites Attract, proving her acting range.
Barbara Eden Started Her Own Production Company
After I Dream of Jeannie ended, Barbara Eden cast a larger net in Hollywood and began stepping into the role as a producer. Released in 1988, Eden both starred in and co-produced The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick, a made-for-TV romantic comedy film. Then, Eden started her own production company, called MI-Bar Productions.
If that wasn’t enough, Eden starred in several musical comedies and appeared as a musical guest on variety shows including The Carol Burnett Show, The Jerry Lewis Show, and Donny and Marie.
The Blue Djinn Storyline Switch
You might remember that the original I Dream of Jeannie storyline included that Jeannie was once a mortal woman. As the story went, Jeannie refused to marry Blue Djinn. Filled with anger, he used his powers to turn her into a genie, banishing her to a life trapped inside her bottle.
Later, the writers decided that wasn’t the background story that they wanted for the show. They later revised it, explaining that The Blue Djinn did banish her to the bottle once she rejected him, but that Jeannie and her family were always genies.
What Happened to Barton MacLane
Actor Barton MacLane played the role of General Martin Peterson on I Dream of Jeannie. MacLane appeared in 35 episodes from 1965 through 1968. The actor quickly passed away on New Year’s Day, 1969, suffering from double pneumonia. He was 67-years-old.
MacLane will always be remembered for his acting roles in Hollywood. Outside of acting, MacLane owned a cattle ranch in Madera County, California. He played several instruments and adopted a daughter.
The Brady Brunch Connection
Barbara Eden made an appearance in the Brady Bunch movie special, A Very Brady Sequel in 1996. She appeared at Carol and Mike’s wedding vow renewal ceremony at their home. Eden appears as Jeannie and claims to be Mike Brady’s wife.
Actress Maureen McCormick, who plays Marcia Brady, also made an appearance in I Dream of Jeannie when she was a young girl. You can see her in an episode from Season 1, where she plays a patient in “My Master, The Doctor.”
I Dream Of Jeannie Meets Bewitched
Sidney Sheldon drew on several inspirations when creating I Dream of Jeannie. Because of this, the TV sitcom shares a connection with films and ballads. But the people who made the show are also what connects I Dream of Jeannie to other shows.
Not only did William Asher, former director of Bewitched lead the I Dream of Jeannie reunion film, but comedic actor Paul Lynde crossed over from both shows as well. Writer James S. Henderson was even caught writing for both shows at the same time!
Show Creator Sidney Sheldon was a Hitmaker
Sidney Sheldon was the creator, writer, and producer of I Dream of Jeannie for the five seasons it aired. But that wasn’t his only success. Sheldon was also behind TV shows The Patty Duke Show and Hart to Hart. His writing captivated audiences for TV and novels. Sheldon is one of the top ten best-selling fiction writers of all time.
Growing up during the depression, Sheldon’s talent was evident from an early age but he dropped out of college to work and help support his family. In 1937 he started his career in Hollywood, and eventually retired in Palm Springs.
Barbara Eden Has Married Three Times
Barbara Eden married three times and is still married to her third husband today. Her first marriage was to actor Michael Ansara, who was also the father of her only son, Matthew Ansara. The couple married in 1958 and divorced in 1974.
Eden then married Charles Fegert in 1977. Fegert worked in advertising for the Chicago Sun-Times. Eden moved to Chicago to be with him until their marriage dissolved five years later. She was married for the third time in 1991, to husband Jon Eicholtz, an architect.
Both Jeannie and Samantha Had Their Signature Magic Move
Another reason I Dream of Jeannie was often compared to Bewitched was the similarities in how Jeannie and Samantha summoned their magic powers. Originally, Jeannie was going to fold her arms and flutter her eyes to do her magic. Believing it would be too similar to Bewitched‘s character Samantha and her nose wiggle, writers changed it.
They ended up having Jeannie nod her head and blink once to activate her powers.
A Cartoon That Resembles Jeannie
A few years after I Dream of Jeannie went off the air, a familiar-looking animated cartoon titled Jeannie began in 1973. The storyline follows a teenage surfer who finds Jeannie’s bottle. She then helps defend him from the school bullies.
The animated series produced by Columbia Pictures and Hanna-Barbera Productions lasted for two years and included voices by Joe Besser, Mark Hamill, and Julie McWhirter. None of the original actors from I Dream of Jeannie voiced their part, however.
Charmed Referenced The Show
I Dream Of Jeannie may have ended in 1970, but the show’s fandom lives on. First airing in the late 90s, the TV series Charmed referenced Jeannie in an episode.
Titled, “I Dream Of Phoebe”, the episode featured Phoebe being transformed into a genie. Her blue genie outfit resembled Barbara Eden’s Jeannie costumes. This and other nods to the show in today’s entertainment prove the impact Jeannie had on fans, although it only lasted for five seasons.