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I dream of Jeannie
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I Dream of Jeannie
I Dream Of Jeannie
Created by: Sidney Sheldon
Stars: Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, Bill Daily and Hayden Rorke
Number of Seasons: 5
Number of Episodes: 139
Original Run: September 18, 1965 to May 26, 1970
The show starred Barbara Eden as a female genie, and Larry Hagman as an astronaut who becomes her master, with whom she falls in love and eventually marries.
I Dream of Jeannie Show History
The series 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. Sheldon, inspired by the movie The Brass Bottle, starring Tony Randall, Barbara Eden, and Burl Ives as the genie Fakrash, came up with the idea for a beautiful female genie who wanted to grant her master's wishes, a stark contrast to the social ideas of what a genie was and what a genie looked like.
Many Bewitched fans continue to propagate the rumor that producer William Asher was called upon unofficially to comment on the final script for the pilot episode of Jeannie. NBC was hoping Jeannie would recreate the successful ratings Bewitched was pulling at that time. Coincidentally, both shows were produced by Screen Gems Television.
Interestingly, when casting was opened for the role of Jeannie, Sidney Sheldon could not find an actress who could play the role the way he wrote her. He did have one specific rule: Sheldon said that he didn't want a blonde genie because there would be too much similarity with the blonde witch on Bewitched. However, after many unsuccessful auditions he called the agent for Barbara Eden who had costarred in The Brass Bottle and then had tea with her at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
In most episodes, Barbara Eden wears little more than her revealing "Jeannie" costume. Strangely, the censors allowed her to be depicted living in a house with an unmarried man, but would not permit Eden's navel to be seen. The makers of the series were also presented with the situation of filming around Eden's real-life pregnancy during the pilot season, without writing it into the storyline. Instead she wore many veils to hide her stomach and as her pregnancy progressed they began to use body doubles and film Eden only above the waist though her baby bump is visible in some profile shots.
I Dream of Jeannie After the Original Run
I Dream of Jeannie was a moderate success on NBC, but the show's popularity exploded when the series began playing in syndication.
Over the past ten years, merchandise based on the series has been produced including numerous dolls, ceramic pieces, lunchboxes, a board game and a series of Instant Scratchit cards. There is even an officially licensed slot machine with Jeannie sound effects, new animations and voice samples recorded specifically for the machine by Eden herself.
I Dream of Jeannie Main Characters
Jeannie — Barbara Eden Tony Nelson — Larry Hagman, who occasionally directedRoger Healey — Bill Daily, who occasionally wroteDr. Alfred Bellows — Hayden Rorke Amanda Bellows (Dr. Bellows' wife) (1966-1970) — Emmaline Henry Gen. Wingard Stone (1965) - Philip Ober Melissa Stone (Nelson's fiancée) (1965) - Karen Sharpe Gen. Martin Peterson (1965–1969) — Barton MacLaneGen. Winfield Schaeffer (1969–1970) — Vinton Hayworth Jeannie's Sister (also named Jeannie and officially known to NBC as "Jeannie II"; in recent closed-captioning her name is spelled "Jeaney" to make it distinct) (1967-1969) — Barbara Eden Jeannie's Mother — Barbara Eden (Fourth season) (In the first season Jeannie's Mother was also played by Florence Sundstrom and Lurene Tuttle) Haji (the "chief of all the genies") (1966, mention, to 1967) - Abraham Sofaer
I Dream of Jeannie Additional Appearances
When NBC began telecasting most of its prime time television programs in color in the fall of 1965, Jeannie was the one regular program that remained in black and white because of the special photographic effects employed to achieve Jeannie's magic. By the second season, however, further work had been done on techniques to create the visual effects in color, necessary because by 1966 all U.S. prime time series were being made in color.
According to the book Dreaming of Jeannie by Stephen Cox and Howard Frank, series producers originally wanted to film season one in color but NBC did not want to pay for the extra expense because they believed the series would not make it to a second season.
The first season of I Dream of Jeannie was also characterized by the more romantic and relaxed nature of the pilot season, as compared to the faster-paced later seasons. Also, the jazzy title music of Season 1 is different from the perkier Emmy-Award winning introductory theme of later episodes.
Sidney Sheldon and the cast fought against the planned fifth season wedding, feeling it would ruin the sexual tension between the two. Despite the series finishing its fourth season in 26th place, NBC was going to cancel the program if Jeannie and Tony did not wed. For the series' fifth season (1969–70), NBC moved the series to a weak time slot (Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. [Eastern/Pacific Time]) where it had done mediocre ratings during its third season (1967–68). Jeannie and Tony wed, NBC got lots of press and then canceled the series.Main Story
I Dream of Jeannie
Astronaut Captain Tony Nelson is on a space flight when his one-man capsule comes down far from the planned recovery area, near a deserted island. Tony notices a strange bottle that rolls by itself, and when he rubs it after removing the cork, smoke starts shooting out and Jeannie materializes. Eventually, Jeannie (a homonym of genie) "blinks" a recovery helicopter into the area to rescue Tony, who is so grateful for her help that he tells her she's free. But Jeannie, who falls in love with Tony at first sight, reenters her bottle and moves it into Tony's duffel bag so she can accompany him back home.
Tony at first keeps Jeannie in her bottle most of the time, but finally relents and allows her to develop a life of her own. The first thing Jeannie does is break up Tony's engagement to the general's daughter.
Tony's efforts to cover up Jeannie's antics brings him to the attention of NASA's resident psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Bellows. In a running gag, Dr. Bellows tries over and over to prove to his superiors that Tony's either crazy or hiding something, but he's always foiled and Tony's job remains secure. The closest Dr. Bellows ever comes to finding out the truth happens twice in the series:
In an episode in which Jeannie sees the future (if she marries Major Nelson), Dr. Bellows and his wife stop by the Nelson house and see Jeannie and Major Nelson's son "flying".
In one of the final episodes when he discovers, via a magical movie projector, that Jeannie is a genie; her bottle is broken; and Major Nelson resigns from the Air Force. However, this is a dream sequence.
Tony's best friend and fellow astronaut Capt. Roger Healey doesn't know about Jeannie for several episodes – when he finds out, he steals her so he can become rich and live in luxury. It's not long though before Tony reclaims his status as Jeannie's master. Roger continues to demonstrate his desire to use Jeannie's powers for his own benefit, but for the most part he respects Tony's status as Jeannie's master. Both Tony and Roger are promoted to the rank of Major early in the series.
Jeannie's sister, mentioned in a second season episode (and also named Jeannie), proves to have a mean streak starting in the third season, repeatedly trying to steal Tony for herself, with her as the master. One of her final efforts comes right after Tony and Jeannie get married.
Early in the fifth season, Jeannie is called upon by her Uncle Sully to become queen of Basenji, and she decides, for his birthday gift, to give Tony the country of Basenji and make him its king. However, NASA has assigned Tony to deal with the ambassador from Kajsa, Basenji's neighbor and enemy, to secure finkilium, a mineral needed for the space program. Sully causes Tony to unwittingly and repeatedly threaten Kajsa's ambassador, harming America's friendship with Kajsa. When Roger warns Tony about Sully, Tony tries to trap Sully and tells him he won't marry Jeannie. Jeannie had gotten Sully to leave and she was waiting to talk to Tony, so he alienated her. She leaves to become queen, while Tony and Roger are exiled to a remote post in Alaska. NASA finds another source of finkilium, and sends a dispatch that recalls Tony and Roger to Cocoa Beach. However, the newspaper came with the message, mentioning the new queen of Basenji. The boys fly to Basenji (somewhere near Russia) where Tony reconciles with Jeannie. They arrive back at NASA and Tony introduces Jeannie as his fiancée. The two were wed before the end of the season.
In a four-part episode, it is established that Jeannie did not know her birthday, and her family members couldn't agree when it was either (2,000 years being a long time to remember such a thing). Tony and Roger use NASA's powerful new computer, and horoscopic guidance based on Jeannie's traits, to calculate it, but Roger wants to make a game out of revealing it. Jeannie finally forces it out of him in the fourth episode: April 1, 64 B.C.
In another four-part episode, Jeannie is locked in a safe bound for the moon, and any attempt to force the safe or use the wrong combination will destroy the safe with an explosive. Jeannie is in there so long, four weeks, that whoever opens the safe will become her master. The episodes spread out over a month, during which a national contest was held to guess the safe's combination. This explains why Larry Hagman is never seen actually saying the combination out loud... his mouth is hidden behind the safe, or the shot is on Jeannie when he says it. The actual combination wasn't decided until right before airing, and Hagman's voice was dubbed in. Over the closing credits, Barbara Eden announced and congratulated the contest winner. The combination: 4-9-7.
The first season Jeannie theme was an instrumental jazz/waltz written by Richard Wess. From the second season on, however, a new theme, titled Jeannie, was written by Hugo Montenegro, with lyrics by Buddy Kaye. The lyrics were never used in the show, but read as follows:
Jeannie, fresh as a daisy Just love how she obeys me Does things that just amaze me so She smiles, presto, the rain goes She blinks, out pops a rainbow Cars stop, even the train goes slow When she goes by She paints sunshine on every rafter Sprinkles the air with laughter We're close as a quarter after three There's no one like Jeannie I'd introduce her to you But it's no use, sir Cause my Jeannie's in love with me She's in love with me! Songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote a spec theme, called Jeannie, for Sidney Sheldon before the series started, but it was rejected.
I Dream of Jeannie : The Bottle
Jeannie's famous bottle was not created for the show. It was actually a special Christmas 1964 Jim Beam liquor decanter containing 'Beam's Choice' bourbon whiskey.
The studio prop department painted the bottle to look like an antique. For years it was said that Sidney Sheldon received one as a gift and thought it would be a perfect design for the series. Several people in the Screen Gems art department also take credit for finding the bottle. There is strong evidence, however, that it was first season director, Gene Nelson who saw one in a liquor store and bought it, bringing it to Sidney Sheldon.
The first season bottle had a clear glass stopper that Tony took from a 1956 Old Grand Dad Bourbon bottle in his home, as the original stopper was left behind on the beach where Tony found Jeannie. The color seasons (and the movies) used the original bottle stopper, painted to match the bottle. (During some close-ups, you can still see the plastic rings that hold the cork part of the stopper in place!) Jeannie's bottle was painted mainly in pinks and purples, while the bottle for the Blue Djinn was a first season design with a heavy green wash and Jeannie's sister's bottle was simply a plain, unpainted Jim Beam bottle.
The movies again used Jim Beam bottles, but with a new, more dramatic paint job. The TV movie "I Still Dream of Jeannie" showed for the first time and for less than a minute what has come to be known as the sister's bottle in a two tone black and green bottle with gold and pink accents.
Jeannie's bottle was left its original dark, smoke-green color with a gold leaf pattern during the first season. Publicity for the series in the TV Guide 1965 Fall Preview issue referred to it as a "green bottle". In the first episode, it also looked quite rough and weathered. Since the show was originally filmed in black and white, a lot of colors and patterns were not necessary. When the show switched to color, the prop people came up with a brightly colored bottle to replace the original. On the last day of filming the final episode of the television series Barbara Eden got to keep the color 'stunt' bottle.
Several of each season bottles were made, as they did occasionally get broken during production. In the DVD release of the first season, during the first episode commentary, Bill Daily also claims to own an original bottle.
The bottle itself was designed in 1964 by Roy Kramer for the Wheaton Bottle Company.
No one knows exactly how many bottles were used during the show, but members of the production have estimated that from six to eight bottles were painted and used during the run of the series. The stunt bottle used mostly for the smoke effect was broken frequently due to the heat and chemicals used to produce Jeannie's smoke. In the pilot episode several bottles were used for the opening scene on the beach, one was drilled through the bottom for smoke and another was used to "walk" across the sand and slip into Tony's pack. Two bottles were used from promotional tours to kick off the first season and one bottle was used for the first season production.
Throughout the first season, it is made clear that Jeannie was originally a human who was turned into a genie by (as later revealed) the Blue Djinn, when she refused to marry him. We meet several members of her family, including her parents, and while some are rather eccentric, none are genies. Her mother describes the family as "just peasants from the old country". The topic of Jeannie originally being human is restated in season two during the episode "How to be a Genie in 10 Easy Lessons." Jeannie does mention that she has a sister who is a genie, but the phrasing - "she was a genie when I left Baghdad" - does bring up the question of whether or not she too was born a genie.
In the third season of I Dream of Jeannie, this back story was omitted and it is assumed that Jeannie has always been a genie. All her relatives are now genies, including, by the fourth season, her mother (now also played by Barbara Eden). This may have been done to increase the similarity with Bewitched, or simply to increase the number of possible plotlines. Whatever the reason, this new concept was retained for the rest of the series.
In the 1985 movie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later, Jeannie reverts to her first-season origin when she tells her son, Tony Jr., that she was turned into a genie "when she was a girl."
Early on, Jeannie's budding movie career ended when she discovered that genies cannot be photographed, but twice in the middle of the series run, Jeannie was successfully photographed.
The original premise is reasserted for the actual wedding episode, in which the fact that people would be trying to take pictures of her was part of the storyline.
In a four-part episode, it was determined that Jeannie's birthday was April 1, 64 BC (which was a Thursday, according to the proleptic Gregorian calendar). However, in the fifth episode of the first season, "G.I. Jeannie", she stated that her birthday was July 1, 21 BC (a Tuesday). This is somewhat resolved by the understanding that she did not know her birthday until it was calculated in that later episode (Many people who do not know their birthdays choose one for ceremonial or social purposes, which Jeannie could have done in choosing, or assuming, that date). In the same episode, she gives her place of birth as Pompeii. In the end, 64 B.C. is a more plausible year assuming she had been imprisoned in her bottle a full 2,000 years.
The end credits of the pilot episode list of I Dream of Jeannie Larry Hagman as Capt. Anthony Wilson. (This error was corrected on the DVD release.)
In fact, in the entire pilot episode of I Dream of Jeannie there is no specific mention of Anthony's last name except when seen in a newspaper headline that reads "Nelson safe!"
In the pilot of I Dream of Jeannie, when rescued Jeannie speaks Persian (not Arabic as is often stated), and can only speak English after Tony wishes her to. (And even then, she inexplicably speaks archaic English until she learns the modern form.) Yet, whenever anyone from Jeannie's family show up, or she visits them, etc., they speak perfect contemporary English.
Jeannie claims to come from Baghdad, and to be around 2000 years old. Yet Baghdad was not founded until AD 762. In an earlier episode she claimed to be from Babylon.
In one early episode of I Dream of Jeannie, before Roger knew about Jeannie, he was simply made to forget something "impossible" that he'd seen. In a different episode, after Roger has gotten himself into serious trouble while having control of Jeannie, she eventually resolves it by just rewinding time. Yet in later episodes, both of these "easy escapes" seem to be beyond her capabilities.
In one episode, Jeannie replicates a Rembrandt painting from the Louvre, so that the replicant also appears to be 300 years old. In another episode she takes back her 2000 year old Bukistan slippers from an international exhibition causing a diplomatic emergency. However no one suggests she replicates the slippers. Jeannie was supposedly held captive in her bottle for two thousand years, yet has had relationships with famous people throughout the ages.
One episode I Dream of Jeannie asserts that genies are forbidden to marry mortals, while another claims that genies who marry mortals will lose their powers. However, when Tony and Jeannie's marriage actually takes place there are no objections amongst her kind nor any loss of her powers afterwards.
In early episodes the street address of Anthony Nelson's house was given as 1137 Oak Grove, but in the fourth season the address of the same house was stated as 1020 Palm Drive.
A crystal ball also shows a possible future: of the two children they have, the boy is mortal but the girl is a genie. In the movie made in 1985, they have one child, Tony Jr., who turns out to be a djinn. However, in the 1991 movie, Tony Jr.'s powers are inexplicably absent.
The bottle's interior design changed from the first season's Old World look of hanging lanterns and drapery to the color episode's pillow-strewn pink decor.
I Dream of Jeannie Miscellaneous
Actor Larry Hagman was notoriously difficult to work with, to the point where the producers seriously considered getting rid of him and replacing him with another actor. Darren McGavin was at the top of the list for Hagman's replacement. They even worked out a story where Tony lost Jeannie and McGavin found her, but the studio execs loved Hagman and wouldn't consider a change.
Gene Nelson, the first director for I Dream of Jeannie, was originally an actor, singer and dancer. He appeared as Will in the motion picture version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!.
I Dream of Jeannie
The idea that a genie is female and Djinn is male is mistaken. In Arabic, Djinn (or jinn) is the collective name for the whole group, Djinni (or jinn) is singular and masculine. A female genie is called a jinnîyah. The word "genie" is just an alteration of the Arabic word jinnî that was adopted into English, via a mistaken association with the Roman mythological genii.According to the show, genies have both red and green blood corpuscles.
While not apparent in the first season (due to the black & white film), Tony Nelson was a Captain in the Air Force, while Roger Healey was a Captain in the Army. This is clearly shown when, in color, Nelson wears the blue uniform and Healey wears the green.
These ranks, while in two different branches of the military, are equal in seniority. Healey is in the Army Corps of Engineers, according to his lapel insignia, and wears Army pilot wings which are distinct from Nelson's Air Force pilot wings.
There were no real Army astronauts until the Space Shuttle program. Both Healey and Nelson were promoted to the grade of Major in the latter episodes of the first season.
Due to network censorship Barbara Eden was forbidden to bare her navel for the entire series run, although it does slip out in several instances in the series. It would not be established that Jeannie actually had a navel until Eden wore a redesigned costume in the movies.
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