TV Land on Trial

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Residents of Salem, Massachusetts–a town epitomized by neon broomsticks–are drawing the line at a proposed 9-foot bronze statue of Samantha Stephens:

Critics point out that the link between Salem and "Bewitched" is tenuous. The show was set in Westport, Conn., but a few 1970 episodes were filmed in Salem, where Samantha Stephens, played by the late Elizabeth Montgomery, attended a witch convention.

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  1. I’ve read elsewhere that Bewitched was set in Hartford not Westport. Does anyone have the definitive answer to this critical question?

  2. TV Tome says the original script name was “The Witch of Westport”…

  3. “Neon broomsticks” oversimplies a bit. The view that the witch trials were a historical tragedy, not a source of comedy, has become increasingly predominant in Salem in recent years, probably spurred on by Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and recent historical studies (as well as by the desire to avoid the property-value impact of living in a tourist trap). More recently, self-described witches — followers of the Wiccan religion — have become an important segment of the community. The latter two factions probably outnumber the selling-broomsticks-to-tourists crowd at this point, although they all seem to coexist peacefully enough.

  4. If TV Land wants to pay the city a bunch of money for product-placing that piece of shit, then go for it (as long as the city lowers taxes commensurate with the increase in its income — ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!)

    Otherwise, screw ’em. If they put up a shitty piece of corporate art like that, I’d say its time to get Project Mayhem back together.

  5. It’s not shitty corporate art, it’s Elizabeth Montgomery!

  6. Man, they’re milking that mass murder for all it’s worth.

  7. If TV Land wants to pay the city a bunch of money

    Now I wonder if it was a one time palm greasing or will they be paying rent? I suspect they managed to get someone to agree to accept the “donation” of the statue and call it even or worse yet compared it to a sports stadium and got taxpayer funding. Nope, no greased palms here, they won’t grow in this climate.

  8. Man, they’re milking that mass murder for all it’s worth.

    This is what Auschwitz will be like in 400 years.

  9. By the way, does anybody actually turn “TV Land” ON anywhere except inside old folks’ homes and mental institutions? I often wonder about that and the Game Show network.

    The only purpose for them I can figure is they give drooling vegetables a direction to point their heads.

  10. do you think withces upgraded to vacuums?

  11. Ten posts and still nobody’s breaking out the Python references. Not bad.

  12. Sir Nigel: How do you know she is a witch?

    Villager: She turned me into a newt!

    SN: A newt?

    V: Uh…I got better. But, she’s got a wart.

    Mob: A witch! Burn her!

  13. Honestly, I wasn’t even aware there was a controversy about this, and I live in Salem. Moreover, my wife is deeply involved in some community institutions and I swear, any controversy is being blown out of all proportion by the press. (Of course.) It don’t even rate in the Witch City.

    Salem has already done everything it can to commercialize its history; this Samantha statue, which will be outside the doors of a day care center and across the street from a comix shop – in a park where homeless guys sleep all day long and skate punks shear the edges off of anything skateable – really ain’t no big deal. More tourists, more tax money. More tax money, maybe they can fix the g-d d-mn roads.

  14. Naw, witches nowadays use the Swiffer.

  15. Johno: Is that Salem Village or Salem Towne? The statue belongs in Danvers.

  16. Down in Eureka Springs, Mo. they stage a Passion Play during the summer months. On the grounds is a 90-ft. crucified Jesus looming over the surrounding countryside. It’s kind of crude and creepy-looking – tacky, bad art, to be sure, reminds me of nothing more than the old giant fiberglass Happy Chef statues that loomed over those greasy spoons of old – but it apparently makes money for somebody, is a tourist attraction and a site, I suppose, of religious pilgrimage.

    Now, to me, it’s a lot less tacky to host a 9-foot bronze of a t.v. hottie than a badly-sculpted giant plastic Jesus to make some geld for the town.

  17. …90-ft. crucified Jesus…

    Maybe that’s the one Oral Roberts saw that time…

    I wonder if it has its hands in the invisible “rifle-holding” position like those giant theme-park lumberjacks (it was crucufied, probably not)…

    Do you suppose at Dachau they’ll put up a bronzed Colonel Klink…

    Ah, so many punchlines, so little time…

  18. crucified…yeah, I can spell…

  19. The only purpose for them [TV Land and GSN] I can figure is they give drooling vegetables a direction to point their heads.

    Both appear semi-regularly on my TV, and on the TV’s of serveral friends of mine, and I assure you we are no “drooling vegetables”. I would rather have old episodes of Bewitched or The Match Game running in the background while I’m doing housework or whatever than much of current television. And if you’ve never caught any hilarious old episodes of What’s My Line? or To Tell The Truth on GSN at around 4am on a Saturday then I feel sorry for you….

  20. I often wonder about that and the Game Show network.

    Tread lightly buddy! GSN has the greatest game show of all time — CARD SHARKS!

    HIGHER!

    LOWER!

  21. Dynamist, that’s Salem Towne, thank you.

    Being a historian with friends working in public history (museums, etc.) in/around Salem, I agree that Danvers has a claim to the witchy stuff.

    (For all y’all who aren’t from the Bay State, Salem was a crown colony in its own right before it was part of Massachusetts, and it has been whittled down over the years as other towns were carved out of it. Danversport and Danvers are two of those towns, and the actual sites of most of the witch hysteria back when they were called Salem Village. However, Salem the city is where all the tourist and museum stuff is.)

    That being said, Gallows Hill where the suspects wuz hung and the old courthouse where they wuz tried are in Salem City, and the city has a lot more kewl stuff for the kiddies than does the rather dreary though pretty enough down of Danvers. It will bring some conceptual balance to the downtown: on one end of Essex Street’s pedestrian mall, you have statues of Salem founder Roger Conant and favorite son Nathaniel Hawthorne. At the other end, a statue of Elizabeth Montgomery. With boobies.

  22. That statue’d be a promotional twofer – it’d promote the TV show, and also the movie that’s coming out shortly.

    I don’t know if that’s the intention, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a connection.

  23. Hell, I’m gay and I still think Elizabeth Montgomery was hot. Plus, we had the same birthdate 🙂

  24. Rhywun wrote: And if you’ve never caught any hilarious old episodes of What’s My Line? or To Tell The Truth on GSN at around 4am on a Saturday then I feel sorry for you….

    Must confess that I have not. However, I cannot sit here and act as though i haven’t watched Beavis & Butt Head or South Park or Ren & Stimpy or even Win Ben Stein’s Money (which i once qualified to be on, after passing verbal and written tests and attending a live-game tryout, but never got the final call-back). Hell, my own user name comes from a Butthole Surfers album. Condescending cultre snob i am not (well sometimes i am, but i have no business doing it).

    In other words, i have no room to talk. What i meant was, in my own precognitive/aesthetic world, these places — old folks homes, loony bins — are what I associate with things like TV Land and Game Show Network.

    It all started when i was a kid. I’d go to my friend’s house 5 houses down. Her dad would always be sitting in the dining room, with Brylcream matting down his jet black hair, staring listlessly at another dreary old Western. Didn’t matter if it was January or July. Monsoon rains or perfect sunny day. Birds chirping or nuclear armageddon. Black and white westerns. Pow pow. Clip clop. Whoa pardnur. Howza mornin sherriff?

    To me it seemed that my friend and i, as well as most other people I’d ever met, were living, 3-dimensional, vibrant, and in color. He, on the other hand, seemed to me to have had something drained from him; he was colorless, 2-dimensional, and deadened. It felt to me in my tender age (this was all mostly before i was ten) that somehow, part of his brain or mind or soul was actually gone — it had been taken inside the TV!!. In order to get it back, or to reconnect with this lost part of him, he had to turn on the tv and watch whatever show or movie or whatever it was that took it away from him!!

    So, to this day, when i see people watching black and white westerns (or war movies) I have to leave the room. They are somehow to me, like the living dead. Something in my nature simply repels me from the area. And “watching” seems to active a term– “staring at” is more apt. I think more people “stare at” these things than “watch” them.

    In a similar vein, i associate Brylcreem, cigarettes, comb-overs, black horn rimmed glasses, and the year 1973 with cancer. But that’s all another thing altogether. It wasn’t till recently that I managed to separate the AFL-CIO from all of that.

    Anyway, to sum up: An intelligent person can turn anything into something more than it might otherwise be (eg — the MST3k guys with bad sci-fi movies). A drooling vegetable, on the other hand, won’t extract much of anything from anything — whether its a rerun of the Match Game, or the last act of King Lear.

    My point really was that for whatever aesthetic or precognitive “reason”, i expect if I ever go into an old folks’ home or a loony bin, that I will see TV Land or Game Show Network playing on the TV in the common area, with the sound off, while dozens of doped up lobotomites and Alzheimer’s patients stare at it. But that doesn’t mean that living, 3-dimensional intelligent people can’t find entertainment in it either.

    Who’s with me on this? Hmmm….

    I apologize to all the non-pre-cogs among you who have just read through all of this nonsense and didn’t care about any of it! 🙂 I will endeavor to write things of greater general interest and relevance in the future!

  25. So does this mean that we’ll be seeing a granite statue of Jed Clampett in the middle of Beverly Hills? Buddy Ebsen never was properly remembered…

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