Producer Sidney Sheldon set out to catch lightning in a bottle for the second time with another sitcom about a magical blonde after scoring a ratings smash with “Bewitched.” Sheldon imagined a TV comedy that matched an Average Guy in this case, NASA astronaut Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) with a gorgeous genie dedicated to fulfil his every whim, inspired in part by “The Brass Bottle,” a 1964 comedy about a man (Tony Randall) who obtains a genie (played by Burl Ives).
Sheldon returned to “The Brass Bottle” for the part of his genie, Jeannie, and cast actress Barbara Eden, who played the female lead in that picture.
“I Dream of Jeannie,” the resultant series, was a bubbly comedy and an audience favourite for five seasons, as well as a 1967 Emmy contender for writing, and Eden received two Golden Globe nominations for her role as Jeannie.
Since its cancellation in 1970, the program has remained popular, spawning two TV movies, a short-lived animated series, and one of the most memorable theme tunes in comedy history. Many of the show’s cast members went on to become famous as a result of its success; here’s a list of the show’s four main cast members, as well as a slew of recurring characters, and what they accomplished when Jeannie’s bottle was corked in 1970.
As Jeannie, Barbara Eden flashed into celebrity
Before being cast in “I Dream of Jeannie,” Barbara Eden, who was 34 at the time, had previously acted in a variety of feature films and television series. In George Pal’s “7 Faces of Dr. Lao” and as well as Elvis Presley’s 1960 Western “Flaming Star,” the Tucson, Arizona native had cameo appearances. But “Jeannie” was her big role, and she stayed on the show for the whole run (with cameos as Jeannie’s mother or wicked twin sister tossed in for good measure).
Eden remained active on television for decades after “Jeannie” concluded in 1970. Eden had her own primetime TV special (“Love is Barbara Eden”) in 1972, and she was a regular in TV movies throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including the frightening “The Stranger Within,” in which she played a woman who is pregnant by extraterrestrials. Eden also had her own primetime TV special (1972’s “Love is Barbara Eden”) and was a regular in 1970s and 1980s TV movies, notably the spooky “The Stranger Within.”
Although she reconnected with Larry Hagman on subsequent occasions, including a five-episode appearance on “Dallas,” he backed out of such continuations of the series. Eden also played Jeannie in three TV movies, including “I Dream of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later” in 1985. Eden, who is now in her nineties, still works as a voice actor on “Shimmer and Shine” and as a guest performer on “Long Island Medium” in 2018.
Larry Hagman is a pleasant individual – Tony transforms into J.R., the TV villain
Tony Nelson, while being virtually a straight guy to Jeannie, spent a lot of time on the verge of a mental breakdown. Most people would be exhausted by the effort required to both restrain and hide Jeannie’s abilities, but Tony also had to contend with NASA psychiatrist Dr. Bellows’ (Hayden Rorke) constant snooping, who suspected Tony of being responsible for the stream of strange events that seemed to occur whenever he was present.
It was difficult for some viewers to feel sorry for Tony — after all, he was the exclusive focus of a stunning lady in harem pants — yet Tony’s relationship with Jeannie needed more energy than most.
Larry Hagman played Tony Nelson on “Jeannie” for all five seasons and directed three episodes before the show ended in 1970. The programme gave him a break from the character roles that had characterised much of his previous film work, but he would have to wait until 1978 to land the role that would define his career: the deliciously wicked J.R. Ewing on “Dallas.”
He received two Emmy nods for the series, which essentially replaced Tony Nelson as Hagman’s on-screen persona. He would return to the role for a 2012 revival on TNT, but cancer would cut short his comeback on November 23, 2013, when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Jeannie’s father was Fred Flintstone.
Regardless of the fact that Jeannie and Tony married after five seasons, the idea had been on her mind since the show’s very first episode. In actuality, Jeannie announces her intention to marry her master in the second episode of Season 1, “My Hero?”
She makes the decision while visiting her parents in ancient Persia, when she’s whisked back with Tony to settle a score with Ali (Richard Kiel), a king-sized tyrant who slandered her reputation. This episode also reveals that Jeannie was originally a human who became enslaved by Michael Ansara’s Blue Djinn.
Henry Corden, a renowned voice actor for many animated TV programs and films from the 1960s to the late 1990s, plays Jeannie’s father in the episode. Corden is most remembered for taking over the role of Fred Flinstone after Alan Reed, the original voice actor, died in 1977.
Corden has also played roles in “The Jetsons,” “Josie and the Pussycats,” “The Banana Splits Adventures Hour,” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” among other Hanna-Barbera animations. Corden continued to work as a voice actress and live-action performer on series including “Garfield and Friends” and “The Berenstain Bears Show” after “Jeannie” ended. Corden passed away on May 19, 2005, at the age of 85, from emphysema.
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