I Dream of Jeannie

From Academic Kids

I Dream of Jeannie was a popular sitcom, filmed from 1965 to 1970 and produced by NBC.

It was created 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. William Asher, the producer of Bewitched was called upon unofficially to comment on the final script for the pilot episode which Sheldon was hoping would capture the essential elements of Bewitched.

The premise of the two programs was very similar. Both featured beautiful women who were possessed of magical powers, and who tried to integrate with the mortal world to please the men they loved. The comedy in both series was derived from her attempts at keeping her powers secret, while very often needing to use those powers to resolve situations. Both featured a rambunctious relative (Jeannie's sister, Samantha's cousin) played by the lead actress, with a black wig to mark her "black hat" status.

Jeannie was a genie woken from her sleep when astronaut Anthony Nelson, who worked at Cape Kennedy (the present-day Cape Canaveral) in Florida, found a bottle washed up on a desert-island beach. As he had found her, it was both his right and his obligation to take future responsibility for her. Returning home to Cocoa Beach, Florida with him, Jeannie was initially little more than a servant, but as the series developed, so did their relationship, and eventually the couple was married.

In most episodes Barbara Eden wore little more than her revealing "Jeannie" costume but despite the fact that she was allowed to be depicted living in a house with a man to whom she was not married, censors of the day would not allow Eden's navel to be seen. The makers of the series were also presented with the challenge of filming around Eden's real life pregnancy, without writing it into the Jeannie storyline.

I Dream of Jeannie was a moderate success on NBC but the show's popularity exploded when the series began playing in syndication. Reruns became one of the highest rated series during the 1970's (even moreso following the success of Larry Hagman's role as J.R. Ewing on Dallas, and the show continues to have a cult following today. The cast reunited for several television features, with their most recent reunion taking place in I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991) and I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years After (1985). Columbia Pictures is currently making a feature film version of I Dream of Jeannie (set for release in 2006) with Gurinder Chadha set to direct and Kate Hudson set to star. Over the past ten years, merchandise based on the series has been produced including numerous dolls, ceramic pieces, lunchboxes and a board game.

Main cast

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