Saturday, January 04, 2014

Geek TV: I Dream of Jeannie!

i-dream-of-jeannie-tv-movie-poster-1020282988It's the return of Geek TV to the Random Acts of Geekery!

Concept: Astronaut finds gorgeous genie who wishes to serve his every whim, his whim is to keep her a secret, she's not good at restraint, hilarity ensues.

Total Episodes: 139

Original Air Dates: September 18, 1965 – May 26, 1970

Original Network: NBC

Jeannie (Barbara Eden): The title character, Jeannie has the ability to perform seemingly endless feats of magic by just folding her arms, nodding her head down, and blinking. She can teleport herself and others, make things appear and disappear, change one thing into another. Interestingly, when going into or out of her bottle, she has to turn to smoke instead of teleporting directly inside. She's totally devoted to Major Nelson, calling him “master” (at least for the first several seasons, until he falls in love with her and they get married), and tends to use her powers to try to help him, often with disastrous or complicated results. She can be temperamental at times, and playful at others.

Major Anthony “Tony” Nelson (Larry Hagman): US Air Force astronaut, Major Nelson starts the series as a Captain, promoted to Major late in the first season. He's constantly trying to keep Jeannie's existence a secret, or at least her magical abilities, as he fears he'd be dismissed from the space program if discovered. He doesn't like her using her powers, obviously (although he doesn't seem as uptight about it as his Bewitched counterpart, Darrin Stevens).

Major Roger Healey (Bill Daly): Tony's best friend, Major Healy is in the Army Corps of Engineers, and was promoted to Major the same time Tony was. He's the only one who knows about Jeannie (although it was a secret from him at the beginning), and he has a tendency to want Jeannie to use his powers for his benefit.

Colonel Dr. Alfred Bellows (Hayden Rorke): A psychologist for NASA, Dr. Bellows notices Tony's eccentric behavior (caused by his trying to hide Jeannie and her powers), and deduces that Tony is either crazy or hiding something, and tries to prove this to his superiors. However, he's never able to prove anything, and when foiled, he tends to say, “He's done it to me, again!”

Amanda Bellows (Emmaline Henry): Dr. Bellows' wife, Amanda seems to be on Tony's side most of the time, not really convinced that he's trying to hide anything.

Geek Guest-Stars:

While more of a recurring character than a guest star, Barton MacLane played General Peterson in 35 episodes of the show, in what was his final role. His earliest geek-related role was in the 1941 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in which he played Sam Higgins. Also of note (to me, anyway), was that he played Lt. Dundy in the 1941 version of The Maltese Falcon. In 1944, he played Inspector Walgreen in The Mummy's Ghost, as well as Lt. Barry Lane in Cry of the Werewolf. He played different parts in the 1945 Tarzan and the Amazons and the 1947 Tarzan and the Huntress. In 1948, he played Capt. Tarnowski in Unknown Island, and much later, in 1966, he played Big Roy in the Munsters episode “Herman Picks a Winner,” and then in 1967, he played Bart in The Monkees episode “Monkees in Texas.” This latter role was probably the most appropriate one, as most of his movie and TV appearances were in westerns! Barton MacLane died in 1969.

Vinton Hayworth played General Schaffer in 20 episodes of the show, and his geek credits aren't quite as lengthy... but if you look carefully, you can see him in The Mummy's Tomb (1942) playing Frank, a reporter, as well as a camera shop clerk in Chapter 6 of Spy Smasher (1942). He had single roles in the TV version of Lights Out, one for each season, and a role in an episode of the TV version of Inner Sanctum in 1954, and between 1956 and 1957 he appeared in four episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. His biggest geek role outside of Jeannie was probably in the 1958 TV series of Zorro, in which he played Magistrado Carlos Galindo for 13 episodes. He also appeared in an episode of Denis the Menace, playing Mr. Cramer in the episode “Out of Retirement,” had a small recurring role on Hazel as Mr. Sutherland, played the bank manager in the Munsters episode “Happy 100th Anniversary,” Marshall Roland in the Batman episode “Walk the Straight and Narrow,” and played Dr. Alexander in the 1967 unaired Dick Tracy pilot. He passed away in 1970, five days before Jeannie aired its last original episode.

Woodrow Parfrey appeared in four episodes playing four different parts, and like the two gentlemen above, he also guested in an episode of The Munsters, playing Mr. Petrie in “Country Club Munsters.” He also appeared in single episodes of My Favorite Martian and Honey West, as well as playing Rooper in the two-part Batman episode “Hizzoner the Penguin/Dizzoner the Penguin.” He appeared I five episodes of The Man From UNCLE, playing a different role each time. Other single-episode appearances included Get Smart, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Bewitched, and The Flying Nun. In the original Planet of the Apes he played Maximus, and returned to the Apes genre in 1974, playing Veska in “Escape from Tomorrow” episode of the TV series. Other post-Jeannie roles included an episode of Alias Smith and Jones, two episodes of Mission: Impossible, an episode of Kung Fu, The Girl With Something Extra, Mr. Merlin, The Fall Guy, and Remington Steele. He died in 1984.

Joseph V. Perry guest-starred in four episodes, only playing the same character in two of them. You ay have seen him in two episodes of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits or The Man From UNCLE. He also did single episode appearances on My Favorite Martian, My Living Doll, Honey West, It's About Time, Captain Nice, The Invaders, I Spy, Nanny and the Professor and The Wild Wild West. He also appeared in four episodes of Bewitched, all different roles. He played small parts in a number of other shows and movies, and you might recognize him mostly for playing Nemo in four episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond between 1996 and 1999. He died in 2000.

Benny Rubin appeared in four episodes, but he may be best known for his 52 appearances on The Jack Benny Show as part of an ensemble of actors. You may have heard him voicing Joe Jitsu and other characters on the animated Dick Tracy Show. Other parts included for episodes of Topper, the Three Stooges short Space Ship Sappy (among many others), and single episodes of The Wild Wild West, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He died in 1986.

Don Mitchell appeared in four episodes, three of them as “Sergeant.” He also appeared in single episodes of Bewitched and Wonder Woman, played Justin Carter in Scream Blacula Scream, but his best-known role was probably playing Mark Sanger in Ironside.

Abraham Sofaer played Haji in three episodes. You may have seen him in an episode of Twilight Zone, or two episodes of Thriller, two Alfred Hitchcock Hour episodes, single episodes each of The Man From UNCLE and The Girl From UNCLE, playing Arch in the classic Outer Limits episode “Demo with a Glass Hand,” an episode of Mission: Impossible, two Time Tunnel episodes, playing Dr. Gordon in Journey to the Center of Time, two episodes of Tarzan, an episode of Lost in Space, voicing the Melkotian in the Star Trek episode “Spectre of the Gun” and the Thasian in Charlie X, the swami in the Monkees movie Head, and single episodes of The Magician and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He passed away in 1988.

Paul Lynde may be far and away the biggest geek guest star on the show, playing different roles on all three of his appearances. He's done so many roles, and is so familiar to most of us, I'll just hit his major parts: Dr. Dudley in The Munsters, voicing the Hooded Claw/Sylvester Sneekly in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, and of course we can't forget Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, voicing Templeton in the animated Charlotte's Web, and Pumpkinhead in Journey Back to Oz. He died in 1982.

Michael Ansara actually has more geek cred than Paul Lynde, come to think of it! He appeared in three episodes, playing the Blue Djinn in a 1966 ep, then King Kamehameha in a 1968 episode, and finally Biff Jellico in a 1969 episode. Way before then, in 1952 he guested on an episode of the Terry and the Pirates TV series, three episodes of The Lone Ranger, he was Charlie in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, guested in episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (as well as appearing in the original movie), The Outer Limits, The Man From UNCLE, Lost in Space, The Girl From UNCLE, The Time Tunnel, Bewitched, Land of the Giants, Mission Impossible and Tarzan. Of course, we'll remember him as Kang in the Star Trek episode “Day of the Dove,” a role he'd later reprise on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as playing Jeyal in a different episode, and once again playing Kang in a Star Trek: Voyager episode. And he was Kane in the 1979-1980 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, but did you know he was the voice of Vashtar in an episode of Thundarr the Barbarian and the voice of Hiawatha Smith in the “Quest for the Red Skull” episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends? That wasn't his only animation work, as you may recall, voicing Mr. Freeze in various Batman animated series as well as the Sub-Zero direct-to-video movie and in Batman Beyond.

Booth Colman guested in two different episodes, but his geek credits go all the way back to 1954, when he played a reporter in Them! Other geek credits include episodes of Science Fiction Theatre, Zorro, Thriller, The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Wild Wild West, The Monkees (he played The Chief in “The Spy Who Came in from the Cool”), Tarzan, and Mission: Impossible, but I think that all pales compared to his role as Zaius in the 1974 Planet of the Apes TV series, unless you preferred his role of Dr. Amos Cummings in the TV movie Time Travelers. He later guested on Galactica 1980 and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

J. Pat O'Malley was in two episodes, and he's got some impressive geek credits, too, going back to the voice of Cyril Proudbottom in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and The Wind in the Willows, voicing the Walrus, the Carpenter, and Dee in Disney's Alice in Wonderland, playing the Gryphon in the 1955 TV movie of Alice in Wonderland, guesting in four episodes each of Thriller and Twilight Zone, playing Harry Burns in eight episodes of My Favorite Martian, voicing Snively in Hey There, It's Yogi Bear, voicing Chopper in the Jonny Quest episode “Attack of the Tree People,” two episodes of The Man From UNCLE, playing Pat Pending in the Batman episodes “That Darn Catwoman/Scat! Darn Catwoman,” voicing Col. Hathi the Elephant and Buzzie in the Jungle Book, and guesting on The Wild Wild West, The Flying Nun, It Takes a Thief, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Nanny and the Professor, and Alias Smith and Jones.

Jack Smith appeared in three episodes of Jeannie, but his biggest geek role outside of that was playing a reporter in the original King Kong! Jane Dulo played different roles in three episodes, but may be best known for playing 99's mother on Get Smart. Arthur Adams (not to be confused with the comic book artist of the same name) had three parts on Jeannie, and did the same on Bewitched, as well as managing a guest shot on The Wild Wild West and Get Smart. Frank De Vol appeared in three episodes of the show, and two episodes of Get Smart and an episode of My Favorite Martian, but he's better known for his songwriting and composing, which includes composing the theme music for Family Affair, My Three Sons, and The Brady Bunch! Dabney Coleman guested in two episodes, and had previously appeared in three episodes of The Outer Limits, and later guested on episodes of The Flying Nun, The Invaders, and Nanny and the Professor. While he's had more impressive credits since then, the ones I'm most interested in pointing out are his roles in The Muppets Take Manhattan and his voice work in animated series Jumanji, Recess, and The Zeta Project.

Jackie Coogan guested in two episodes, but of course is better known for playing Uncle Fester in The Addams Family, while his co-star Ted Cassidy also had two Jeannie appearances. Both of their careers were previously covered in my Geek TV feature on The Addams Family. Dick Wilson is best known for playing Mr. Whipple on the Charmin commercials, but he'd also played characters in two episodes of Jeannie, one of them named Mr. Wimple! He'd previously appeared in two episodes of Twilight Zone, three eps of My Favorite Martian, an episode of My Living Doll, The Munsters, Mr. Terrific, and Captain Nice, small parts in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and Our Man Flint, but he's most likely remembered by Geek TV watchers for playing the drunk in 18 episodes of Bewitched, whenever Darrin went to get a drink at a bar and commiserate over his lot in life. And did you know that future Charlies Angels star, Logan's Run star, and Lee Majors wife Farrah Fawcett guested in two 1969 episodes? Well, you do now!

Geek Pedigree:

James S. Henerson, who wrote 36 episodes of Jeannie, also wrote 12 episodes of Bewitched and two episodes of The Flying Nun. Barbara Eden previously appeared as Lt. Cathy Connors in the movie Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Angela Benedict in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. While Larry Hagman doesn't have any geek credits before or since that I can find, I'd be remiss in not mentioning that his mother was perennial Peter Pan star Mary Martin. Bill Daly had previously guested in single episodes of Bewitched and My Mother The Car. Hayden Rorke played Dr. Emery Bronson in When Worlds Collide, guested in two episodes each of The Lone Ranger, The Adventures of Superman and The Jack Benny Show, an episode of The Twilight Zone, Thriller, and Mister Ed; after Jeannie, he guested in an episode of Wonder Woman. Emmaline Henry guested in an episode of The Munsters, and later played Elise Dunstan in Rosemary's Baby.

DVD Release: Full seasons as well as complete series.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Jon,
    Re: "While Larry Hagman doesn't have any geek credits before or since "

    Hmm, how about directing "Beware! the Blob" in 1972?


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