As a young girl, every day after school I would go to the babysitter's house. What I remember most about those long afternoons waiting for my mother to pick me up are the TV shows that I would watch for hours on end, stretched out on the orange shag carpet. I was thoroughly enraptured by an endless loop of "Scooby Doo", "Gilligan's Island", "Fantasy Island", "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie" reruns.
I loved "Gilligan's Island". Every kid loves the idea of a deserted island where one can build forts and explore. The characters were so attractive. Ginger wore shiny gold skin tight dresses, Mary Ann was farm-girl sexy and the professor was handsome. Mr. and Mrs. Howell were your fantasy rich grandparents. Even Gilligan was strangely cute and super endearing in his floppy white hat.
"Fantasy Island" was a mysterious and surreal place, a sort-of love Purgatory where couples sought the spiritual guidance needed to return to reality from the amazing Mr. Roarke, played by Ricardo Montalban. As a child, while watching "Fantasy Island", I would at times wonder if Mr. Roarke was what God looked like. He wore perfect white suits and had a commanding demeanor. He had a French-Filipino manservant named Tattoo and an uncanny ability to make mystical things happen, like love. I was transfixed.
My absolute favorite shows were "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie". Samantha on "Bewitched" and Jeannie were my perfect female role models. They were stereotypically beautiful, bubbly, blonde and attached to handsome, dashing men who adored them. In the case of Samantha, she was a perfect mother too. Other than being naturally beautiful, Samantha and Jeannie wore fantastic clothes. Samantha wore cute dresses, often in psychedelic patterns. At times she wore fabulous gowns (depending on the time period she was time traveling in). The outfit she wore most often was fitted capri pants and a perfectly tailored button down shirt, an outfit she made look effortlessly chic.
Jeannie, of course, wore her genie outfit, which was hilariously campy and downright sexy. It's amazing what sheer pink tulle and metallic gold trimming can do for a girl, especially in a glittery genie bottle.
Both characters always looked perfectly put together and un-mussed, even in the midst of utter chaos, or, in the case of Samantha, while riding a broom or skipping through time.
Below is a favorite episode of "Bewitched".
The trait that both of these characters share that most impressed me as a young girl (other than their mysterious abilities of making things happen with one's magical nose, by blinking, snapping or vanishing into thin air) was their wherewithal. By the end of each episode, they had succeeded in making everything fall into place. Samantha and Jeannie were clever and used their smarts and feminine wiles to make things happen, all while navigating around endlessly annoying and manipulative snooping neighbors and family members out to steal husbands or to send Samantha and Jeannie literally back to the dark ages.
Below is a favorite episode of "I Dream of Jeannie".
At the end of every episode, there was always happy resolve. The family unit was intact, dinner was magically prepared and set out on a perfectly laid table and amorous looks were exchanged between Samantha and Darren and Jeannie and Major Tony Nelson. It was fantasy and romance at its best and most ridiculous.
Below is a picture of Barbara Eden (Jeannie) wearing a fabulous Emilio Pucci ensemble.
Below is a photo of Barbara Eden (Jeannie) wearing a gorgeous leopard print coat.