Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You know the voice: Shape of.......a witch! (1976)

I think you know what the title of this post means, pilgrims.

Before she auditioned to be the voice of a certain shape-shifting Super Friend, Louise "Liberty" Williams almost scored her first leading role in a sitcom.

Tabatha (note the spelling) was meant to be a belated spin-off from Bewitched, which ended its run just four years earlier. Since Bewitched ended, producer William Asher had tried a couple of other projects, including a solo series for Paul Lynde, who won acclaim as Uncle Arthur, but when that failed, Lynde was moved over to Temperatures Rising to replace James Whitmore. Now, it was time to focus on Samantha & Darrin's oldest child, Tabitha (the spelling change might've been an error), now all grown up and working as a secretary (read: editorial assistant) for a magazine. Sadly, the pilot failed to sell, and Asher went back to the drawing board, with Lisa Hartman in the lead role for a second pilot, which finally worked.



Rating: B.

7 comments:

R.A.M.'67 said...

On Bewitched, her name was initially spelled "Tabatha."

Compared to Lisa's sexiness, Liberty was merely cute as the lead, but she was the better actress.

Bruce Kimmel as Adam (in pilot #1) was OK, and it's interesting to note that the character was originally to be gay until ABC objected.

This "sequel" series was ill-advised, or (at the very least) a missed opportunity squandered by uneven writing.

magicdog said...

Not bad, but part of the problem with it (and the revamped version) was how it retread on the old gags fromt he parent series.

This pilot is essentially a redo of Bewitched's pilot (witch explaining to mortal significant other that she's magical), playing little witchy tricks on people, mortal drowning his troubles at a bar, and even an "Uncle Arthur" in the form of Adam.

At least they didn't reuse the original sound effects used for the magic sequences.

hobbyfan said...

RAM '67: Bruce Kimmel wouldn't happen to be related to current talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, would he? Just asking.

Magicdog: Not sure about Adam being an analogue for Uncle Arthur (like, they could've called Paul Lynde in to reprise Arthur), but he was more like Endora, showing up uninvited and unwanted, kind of like the devilish half of your conscience.

I agree Liberty is as cute as a button. It's just too bad that the series gigs she did land (13 Queens Boulevard, Baby Makes Five) didn't stick.

R.A.M.'67 said...

To my knowledge, Bruce and Jimmy aren't related. (Jimmy's on the tall side, compared to Bruce.)

I think Adam wasn't a substitute for Uncle Arthur, too. Doing Tabatha/Tabitha without him would've made it harder for viewers to connect with the (now grown) Bewitched character.

hobbyfan said...

Thanks for answering the question I had.

I think what ultimately hurt the series was that they never thought of bringing Elizabeth Montgomery back as Samantha for a little "passing of the torch", if you will, to link the two shows together. That and "Tabitha" airing on Saturday nights, as I recall, proved to be detrimental.

R.A.M.'67 said...

Elizabeth's ex-husband, William Asher, was involved with the show, so he may have thought he could get her to do an encore as Samantha in the pilot (they were on friendly terms), but she politely declined to do so.

hobbyfan said...

Their shared production company, Ashmont, was still active at that time, wasn't it? (Temperatures Rising & the Paul Lynde Show were Ashmont entries) I wasn't sure when they'd split and when she'd starting seeing Robert Foxworth, so thanks for helping out there, RAM.