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The Scene That Ended I Dream of Jeannie

Sidney Sheldon created the supernatural sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. It was meant to mirror and compete with the similar show Bewitched.

The show ran from 1965-1970. It followed Barbara Eden as the 2,000-year-old genie named Jeannie and Larry Hagman as her master Tony Nelson.

At first, it seemed like NBC had their wish granted. The will-they-won’t-they romance and chemistry between the cast hooked viewers. It was the second most-watched show in the US in its first season.

Unfortunately, the magic died in one tragic moment. Keep watching to learn more about the scene that ended I Dream of Jeannie.

How It Started Out

Sidney Sheldon was first inspired to create I Dream of Jeannie after he watched the 1964 film The Brass Bottle. Tony Randall releases a magical male genie played by Burl Ives, and Barbara Eden played Tony’s girlfriend.

Her work in that film was also part of what got her the role. Sidney didn’t want a blonde as his star to avoid comparisons to Bewitched (which came up anyway), but she was the first yellow-haired beauty who auditioned. She was also the only one who matched his vision for the character.

NBC didn’t have faith in a show with such a bizarre premise. They didn’t think it would last and filmed the first season in black and white to avoid spending money on color film. That changed once it became popular.

The Doomed Episode

Part of what made I Dream of Jeannie successful was the chemistry between Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman. Everyone could tell they were attracted to each other.

Larry won’t deny that it was a major part of the show’s charm. A normal guy finds a bottle and out comes this beautiful, 2000-year-old girl that’s “always trying to get him in the sack” but he can’t give in because “I’m an astronaut and my career is at stake.” Then there was his colleague Roger, who also wants her but can’t have her. He loved the chemistry between the entire cast.

Their publicity department was famous for publicity stunts, and it was another major part of the show’s popularity. They once sent Tony to a secret location in the fourth season and held a contest to see who could guess where he was.

By the 11th episode of Season 5, NBC thought that playing off that chemistry with a flashy event would be the best way to increase ratings. During the fifth season, they set up a fake wedding between the actors a week before the show’s actual wedding episode was set to air. They invited TV writers and journalists from around the world and made it look like they had plenty of guests.

Barbara had been against the wedding episode from the beginning. Jeannie wasn’t human, the sexual tension that made the show interesting would be gone, and  there were photographers present even though the show said that genies can’t be photographed. Even Sidney Sheldon himself was against it, but executive Mort Wagner insisted.

It turned out that they all were right. The publicity stunt backfired, and the show was cancelled after the wedding episode. There were 14 more episodes before Season 5, and then the show ended forever.

The Other Episode That Could Have Ended It

I Dream of Jeannie was ironically known for “bottle episodes.” This is a term for new weekly episodes that occur in a single location as a way to save money. There’s nothing wrong with them by themselves. They can even be a simple, inexpensive way to end your show.

The 24th episode of the final season and called Hurricane Jeannie. It was intended to be the pseudo-finale even if it wasn’t the last one to air.

Dr. Bellows gets trapped in the Nelson’s home during a storm and see Jeannie perform magic. He begins to think about his history with the family, and the episode suddenly becomes a clip show. That waters down the tension when Jeanie’s bottle breaks and she leaves to move away with Tony.

The episode then relies on one of the oldest tropes in media: the “it was all a dream” ending. Tony starting up and realizing that being with Jeannie was fake could have allowed the series can continue as it was, even if it only went on for a few more episodes.

Hurricane Jeannie has been placed at the end of the fifth season during syndication. That may be part of why the show has had such a successful life in reruns. It may not have been well-made, but it’s a better way to end things with a look back on everything that happened.

Like and subscribe to learn more about the best classic sitcoms. Keep watching to learn more about the secrets behind I Dream of Jeannie.

The Actor Who Didn’t Know

Larry Hagman was on vacation in South America when I Dream of Jeannie ended. He returned from his trip and went into his dressing room until a guard gave him a bit of distressing news; the show was over.

He had a reputation for strange and obnoxious behavior on set, which may be why they never told him. He allegedly hated that his character wasn’t the star, and his pay also frustrated him to no end.

Barbara spoke openly about it in her 2012 memoir, Jeannie Out of the Bottle. She emphasised that she thought highly of him and that he was a “warm and kind human being.”

It was drugs and drinking that instigated his behavior. One of the most volatile instances was when they were filming next to the set of The Flying Nun. 10 nuns came over to visit, and he began swinging an axe at them and swearing until he was taken away.

That wasn’t the end of his antics, which Barabra said could be the basis of a great comedy show of their own. He’d even go so far as to throw up or urinate on set when he was displeased with a script.

Sidney Sheldon urged him to get help. There was a therapist around on set most days. He, unfortunately, encouraged the actor’s drug and alcohol habits. Barbara continued to feel close to him until his death on November 23, 2012, from throat cancer.

Other Secrets

Even fans who’ve watched every episode of I Dream of Jeannie a thousand times and understand why it ended may still have questions. What happened to the set and props? Where is everyone today? There are plenty of easy-to-miss details, from censorship to a furry friend.

What Happened to the Set

I Dream of Jeannie took place in Florida but was filmed in California. The Hollywood Hills sat in the background of many episodes. Exterior shots were filmed in Los Angeles, the Warner Bros, Rang, and Hollywood.

The full set was set on fire after it was cancelled. The producers thought it would be too expensive to store it, so they torched anything the cast didn’t want to take for themselves. Barbara wasn’t able to save much more than a hat by the time everyone else had picked it over.

There is one location left. The Nelson Home still stands on the Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank, California. It’s now the Ranch Operation office and has remained almost exactly as it was except for a few minor renovations for 50 years.

Genie’s Bottle

A genie’s bottle is their most important accessory, and the showrunners had a difficult time choosing the right one for their show. They settled on a revamped Jim Bean bottle.

This one was fancier than anything you’d drink at your normal Christmas party. It was a decanter made of fine, smoked Chrstial filled with premium whiskey. It sold at an auction in 2017 for over $34,000.

Getting into it required climbing up an eight-foot ladder. Barbara almost got stuck in it during one episode. The crew was on their lunch break, leaving her alone. She called for help, and they eventually returned to get her out but recorded her cries to use in the show.

Barbara was still attached to the piece when filming wrapped. She wanted to lock it in a bank vault to keep it safe but then decided it was an important piece of history. She donated it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C, and it’s one of the most popular exhibits to this day.


I Dream of Jeannie was considered a scandalous show in the 60s. Even the fact that her navel was exposed was considered improper. Producer George Schallter said he’d never seen so many suits discussing a human’s anatomy before.

The NBC censors did everything they could to remove anything else that could be considered improper. They never let viewers see Jeannie in Major Nelson’s bedroom without the door open. They made it clear she left the room every time, even if she was going as a pink puff of smoke. They also avoided showing her legs despite her see-through harem pants and made sure that a thick fabric lining was always covering them.

Jeannie Can Befriend Anyone

Believe it or not, Barbara Eden had experience working with lions before joining the show. She’d seen them in more than one film she made with Fox.

One episode of I Dream of Jeannie featured a 900-pound lion. Barbara decided to befriend it and had it purring in her lap.

She also used her skills to advise Larry on how to approach it. She said you had to be still and let the big cat smell you first, then lean forward and stroke him gently.

The Show’s Legacy

I Dream of Jeannie was the last in a long stream of black-and-white sitcoms. Once its popular opening theme and animation came to be, it was dubbed “the theme that ushered in color television.”

Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie now live together as sister shows in syndication. They’re usually played together and are both the property of Sony Pictures.

Jeanie has also lived on in several remakes. There were two film sequels; I Dream of Jeannie. Fifteen Years Later in 1985 and I Still Dream of Jeannie in 1991.

Barbara is the only surviving cast member. She’s donned her iconic costume in charity appearances and other events.

What’s your favorite moment from I Dream of Jeannie? Let us know in the comments below.

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