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I Dream of Jeannie

By Wikipedia

I Dream of Jeannie was a popular sitcom, filmed from 1965 to 1970 and produced by NBC.

It 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. William Asher, the producer of Bewitched was called upon unofficially to comment on the final script for the pilot episode which Sheldon was hoping would capture the essential elements of Bewitched.

The premise of the two programs was very similar. Both featured beautiful women who were possessed of magical powers, and who tried to integrate with the mortal world to please the men they loved. The comedy in both series was derived from her attempts at keeping her powers secret, while very often needing to use those powers to resolve situations. Both featured a rambunctious relative (Jeannie's sister, Samantha's cousin) played by the lead actress, with a black wig to mark her "black hat" status.

Jeannie was a genie awakened from her sleep when astronaut Anthony Nelson, who worked at Cape Kennedy (the present-day Cape Canaveral) in Florida, found a bottle washed up on a desert-island beach. As he had found her, it was both his right and his obligation to take future responsibility for her. Returning home to Cocoa Beach, Florida with him, Jeannie was initially little more than a servant, but as the series developed, so did their relationship, and eventually the couple was married.

In most episodes Barbara Eden wore little more than her revealing "Jeannie" costume. But despite the fact that she was allowed to be depicted living in a house with a man to whom she was not married, censors of the day would not allow Eden's navel to be seen. The makers of the series were also presented with the challenge of filming around Eden's real life pregnancy, without writing it into the Jeannie storyline.

The NASA shown in the series appears to be launching a few more flights than real-life NASA, since Tony makes it into space at least three times during the series, but it was rare for an astronaut to make even a second flight. The spacecraft shown in the opening titles appears to be a one-man Project Mercury spacecraft, but during the series' run, the two-man Project Gemini and three-man Project Apollo craft were flying, aside from the hiatus between Gemini 12 and Apollo 7.

I Dream of Jeannie was a moderate success on NBC but the show's popularity exploded when the series began playing in syndication. Reruns became one of the highest rated series during the 1970's (even more so following the success of Larry Hagman's role as J.R. Ewing on Dallas, and the show continues to have a cult following today. The cast reunited for several television features, with their most recent reunion taking place in I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991) and I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years After (1985). Columbia Pictures is currently developing a feature film version of I Dream of Jeannie (set for release in 2006) with Gurinder Chadha set to direct. Jessica Alba will portray Jeannie with Jimmy Fallon as Maj. Tony Nelson. Kate Hudson, Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Kristin Chenoweth, Parminder Nagra, Jenna Elfman, and Lisa Kudrow have been considered for the part of Jeannie. 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.

Main cast

  • Jeannie (and sister Jeannie) Barbara Eden
  • Tony Nelson Larry Hagman, who occasionally directed
  • Roger Healey Bill Daily, who occasionally wrote
  • Dr. Alfred Bellows Hayden Rorke
  • Amanda Bellows (Dr. Bellows' wife) Emmaline Henry
  • Gen. Martin Peterson (1965-1969) Barton MacLane
  • Gen. Winfield Schaeffer (1969-1970) Vinton Haworth

Series Outline

Captain Tony Nelson is on a space flight but his ship comes down far from the 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. "I must have gone further into space than I thought!" he says. Eventually, Jeannie, who was locked up in her bottle 2,000 years ago by the Blue Djinn, blinks a searching helicopter into the area to rescue Tony, who is so grateful he tells Jeannie that she's free. She reenters her bottle and moves it into Tony's duffel bag, and accompanies him back home.

Tony at first keeps Jeannie in her bottle most of the time, but finally lets up. Jeannie, however, manages to bust up Tony's engagement to the general's daughter.

Roger, his friend, doesn't know about Jeannie for several episodes, but when he finds out, he takes Jeannie and uses her to make him rich and living in luxury. This is not the first time Roger demonstrates that he wants Jeannie for himself, but except when such opportunity arises, after this, he usually respects Tony's status as Jeannie's master. Tony is, not long after, promoted to major, as is Roger.

Early in the fifth season, Jeannie is called upon by her Uncle Sully to be queen of Basenji, and she decides, for his birthday gift, to give Tony the country of Basenji, being its king. However, NASA has assigned Tony to deal with the ambassador from Kajsa, Basenji's neighbour 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 tell him he wouldn't marry Jeannie. Jeannie had gotten Sully to leave and she was waiting to talk to Tony, so now he's alienated himself from Jeannie, who 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 will try to reconcile with Jeannie. They arrive back at NASA where Tony introduces Jeannie as his fiancee.

There were inconsistencies through the series. Early on, Jeannie's budding movie career ended when she discovered that genies cannot be photographed, but in the middle of the series run, Jeannie was successfully photographed. The original premise is reasserted for the actual wedding episode.

In one episode, it is asserted that genies are forbidden to marry mortals, but when the actual event comes about, not only does Hajii not object, Jeannie's contrary cousins arrive to give Tony the once-over. A fortune machine 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 (a male genie).

Genies have both red and green blood corpuscles.

Jeannie's sister, mentioned in a first season episode, and also named Jeannie, turns a mean streak starting in the second season, repeatedly trying to have Tony for herself and be not a servant but a master! One of her final efforts comes right after Tony and Jeannie have been married.

In one two-part episode, it is established that Jeannie did not know her birthday, and her family members couldn't agree when it was, either. 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 telling it. Jeannie finally forces it out of Roger in the second subsequent episode: April 1, 46 B.C.

In a 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.


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Your Memories Shared!

"I Dream Of Jeannie" was a Fantasy Comedy that allowed its viewers to escape into a magical land of the beautiful Genie named Jeannie, her master and Astronaught (Tony Nelson), the funny sidekick (Roger) and the troubled base phsychiatrist (Dr Alfred Bellows). For five seasons this show ran on NBC.

Barbara Eden makes several dual appearences beginning in season three as Jeannie's wicked sister and as Jeannie's mother. The chemistry between Jeannie and her master (Larry Hagman) made viewers tune in weekly to see what mayham Jeannie would conjure up. The show had brilliant storylines (thanks to Sidney Sheldon) and the magic was almost believable, in the final season of IDOJ Major Nelson married his bottled treasure, many fans argue over whether this is what caused the show to end - many say that the IDOJ became "Bewitched" with Jeannie & Tony becoming a newer version of Sam and Darrin.

In 1985 a reunion movie was made starring :Barbarra Eden and Mackenzie Austin, Wayne Rogers was the new Anthony Nelson (a dissappointment to many - but by then we knew Hagman as Dallas' JR Ewing), in 1991 a sequal was done this time Anthony Nelson was not seen. I Dream Of Jeannie remains an important part of TV's history and Jeannie will live forever.


Note: This is just a random sample of the I Dream of Jeannie messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!



Aired: September 18, 1965 - September 1, 1970

Cast: Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, Bill Daily, Hayden Rorke, Farrah Fawcett ('69-'70 season)

Network: NBC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of NBC

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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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