I Dream of Jeannie was conjured up by network chiefs at NBC after they witnessed the meteoric rise of Bewitched. To their delight, the series took off and ran from 1965 to 1970 with rave reviews and a 100 percent devoted following. The series focused on NASA Astronaut Tony Nelson alongside his Jeannie in a bottle.
The cast all hated one episode in particular…did you hate it too? Stick around to see which episode was so bad that it appears to have led to the series being canceled!
Here’s What You Didn’t Know…
It was an endearing show that captured our imagination and still does so to this very day, even though it’s been more than 50 years since it first went on the air. In this article, we catch you up on the show’s characters, tell you where they are today, and share some interesting and shocking facts from the hit television series.
Even if you consider yourself a major fan of the classic show, you’re bound to learn a lot.
Barbara Eden’s Pregnancy
Jeannie was known for her skimpy harem costumes (skimpy by standards of the day), but aside from the 1965 pilot, Eden was covered up for the first 10 episodes of the new TV series. In this day and age, her costume would definitely be considered tame.
During those first ten episodes, Barbara Eden was actually pregnant! Producers agreed to hide her pregnant stomach and the show became an instant classic.
Larry Hagman Then
On the show, Hagman played the character of United States Air Force Captain Tony Nelson, who is a NASA astronaut. He spent his days working for the U.S. government and his nights with Jeannie.
His character started as a more uptight type of guy focused on his job, but as the show went on he warmed up to Jeannie before eventually wedding her. Remember that? We’ll get to that wedding in just a bit.
Larry Hagman In Later Years
Following I Dream of Jeannie, Hagman would go on to appear in various TV and film products throughout the 1970s. He eventually accepted perhaps his best-known role as J.R. Ewing in the 1980s primetime soap Dallas. He received two Emmy nominations and was the recipient of four Golden Globe nominations for his role as Ewing.
In more recent years he made appearances in both Nip/Tuck and The Simpsons. He was known for being a heavy drinker during his filming day on I Dream of Jeannie and was forced to undergo a liver transplant in 1995. He passed away in 2012.
Larry Hagman’s Drinking
While many famous people have been known to suffer from various drinking and drug problems, some are known for their infamous behavior as well. When Hagman drank, which occurred with more frequency as he became increasingly dissatisfied with the show, his champagne-fueled personality reared its ugly head.
He also exhibited some pretty strange behavior including coming to set for filming while wearing a gorilla suit. During a scary moment, he appeared up on set with an ax and started a profane tirade that scared a group of nuns.
Trouble In Nelson Paradise
In I Dream of Jeannie … Fifteen Years Later, the plotline centered on Major Nelson’s promotion causing a rift between him and Jeannie, just as evil Jeannie hatched a diabolical plan to destroy the pair’s marriage. As Tony becomes fatally endangered in space Jeannie is trapped her bottle, until their son, T.J. magically releases her, and the two make a deal for Tony’s life.
If you’d like to see the movie, it was released on DVD in 2013.
Awkward Cancellation News
Apparently, Larry Hagman wasn’t notified that the show he starred on was canceled. He didn’t find out until he showed up on the studio lot where the TV series was filmed and a guard working outside let him know. Yikes!
The story goes that Hagman had previously been on vacation in South America following the filming of the series’ fifth season. When he returned from his trip he wanted to grab something from his dressing room. The guard informed him that the show was no longer in production.
Bill Daily Then
Bill Daily was best known for his role as Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie. The character was a fellow astronaut and a good friend to Tony Nelson. He made regular appearances throughout the series.
His storylines on the show often focused on his friendship with Nelson and his attempts to keep Healey from finding out about Jeannie’s true nature and abilities, of course, this added a massive amount of comedy to the show.
Bill Daily In Later Years
Bill Daily would later go on to take a role on The Bob Newhart Show, as the Hartleys’ neighbor Howard Borden. He also played Larry the psychiatrist on the oddball sitcom “Alf,” which is a role many remain particularly fond of today.
He also returned to his Roger Healey role in both of the I Dream of Jeannie television movies. Unfortunately, Daily passed away in September of 2018. His family announced the news several days later.
Phil Spector, Before He Went To Prison
Phil Spector was an acclaimed music producer long before being convicted of murder. He appeared on an episode of the TV series in which Jeannie attempts to become a singer.
Adding to this unusual fact is a strange moment in the show’s credits in which he is listed as playing the character of “Steve Davis,” despite being referred to throughout the entire episode as “Phil Spector.” Spector has been incarcerated since his 2009 conviction.
William (Hayden) Rorke Then
I Dream of Jeannie didn’t have a large cast. In fact, the only other semi-regular character (other than Tony, Roger, and Jeannie) was the NASA psychiatrist Dr. Bellows, who was brilliantly played by William Rorke.
William Rorke actually went by the name Hayden Rorke. Hayden was his mother’s surname which he adopted as a stage name. Prior to I Dream of Jeannie, he made his (uncredited) film debut in the This Is the Army, starring future president Ronald Reagan.
Hayden Rorke In Later Years
His final role was as Dr. Bellows in the TV series’ 1985 reunion movie. He also had various bit roles in dozens of other films throughout the years including a role in the hit Pillow Talk which starred Doris Day and Rock Hudson.
Unfortunately, William Rorke passed away in 1987 at the age of 76. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. Barbara Eden called him a “prince” in her autobiography.
Barbara Eden, The Lion Whisperer
The show had a real-life lion on set, Barbara was apparently extremely good with the massive animal. She reportedly told Hagman that he needed to “stand very still” and allow the lion to smell him. After that she told him to “lean forward very, very gingerly and stroke him as gently as you can.”
Hagman apparently proclaimed, “I’m not making friends with any [bleeping] lion!” The lion got along great with Eden but roared with the full muster of a mighty king of the jungle the moment Hagman stepped on the set to film.
No Theme Song?
When the second season of the show debuted, it was also the first time for the audience to hear the show’s (now) iconic theme song.
That wasn’t the only change: the new season was the first one shot in color. It was filmed in black and white, and the show’s producers played around with a few various options for a song but could never decide on one until the following season.
The Episode That Led To The Show’s Cancellation
NBC’s publicity department staged a fake wedding for Eden and Hagman exactly one week before the wedding episode was set to air. They invited TV writers from around the country to attend the wedding at the Officers’ Club at Patrick Air Force Base.
The wedding episode was hated by both of the actors and their fans. Ultimately, nobody felt the nuptials were sincere or practical and they turned away from the show which was canceled shortly after the wedding episode aired.
The Marriage Mistake
Barbara Eden was dead set against the wedding between Jeannie and Tony. She pointed out that Jeannie was first and foremost not a human. She also realized that it would break the show’s sexual tension and destroy its credibility. Regardless of how she felt, the couple looked lovely together.
Of course, Jeannie’s “genie” nature was addressed in the show and was a major conundrum of the episode because genies cannot be photographed.
Actors’ Opinions On Characters
Barbara Eden always viewed Jeannie was “a tomboy” although her fans seemed to think otherwise. During an interview with former co-star Larry Hagman, he spoke about his character Tony saying, “Here’s a guy who’s square and there’s this beautiful, gorgeous woman putting the make on him all the time and he says, ‘no, no, no I have my career…’”
This outlook would certainly explain why it took so long for the two characters to tie the knot. In real life, the actors thought the characters’ marriage shouldn’t have happened.
Last Network Show In Black And White
After the first season on air, all the other TV networks had transitioned into the new era of color television. The fact that a theme song was finally selected means it really was the song that ushered in color TV.
The intro also consisted of a now-iconic animation sequence which was created by Friz Freleng who was most known for his work on Looney Tunes, including creating characters like Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, and Yosemite Sam.
Behind Closed Doors?
Throughout the show, every time Jeannie and Tony are seen entering the bedroom together, even if she turned into wispy pink smoke, Jeannie had to be shown leaving the room. That was all because of strict censorship rules.
At the time, it was common for two twin beds to be shown in a bedroom and for a couple to never be seen sharing a bed, even if they were married.
Barbara’s Jeannie Pride
Some stars don’t like being recognized for one particular character, yet Barbara felt differently about playing Jeannie. “She’s not human; this is a fantasy,” she told The Chicago Tribune.
“She was a genie: It was her job, and she loved her job. The word ‘master’ — note the semantics — it may mean one thing to humans. But to a genie, that’s what (Maj. Nelson) was. And that’s all. He was the first to take the cap off the bottle. You can’t compare a career girl with a genie.”
Jeannie’s Evil Twin
Oddly enough, many fans of the show didn’t realize Barbara Eden was playing Jeannie’s evil sister and would often write to her asking who played the dark-haired actress. Her evil sister’s name was also Jeannie. How confusing must that have been at the genies’ family reunions!
Perhaps this was just a sign of the innocence of the era, as now it is quite common for an actor to play multiple roles.
The very first episode of “I Dream Of Jeannie” was filmed on Zuma Beach in Malibu. The location was supposed to represent a deserted island in the South Pacific. Although you wouldn’t know it, those scenes were filmed in the middle of the winter and it was freezing on set.
Despite the cold weather, Eden said it was her favorite episode, even though she admits, “I was freezing” the entire time.
Jeannie’s Destroyed Costumes
Barbara Eden was so physical in her costumes that she was constantly catching them on her heels. This was probably not too difficult considering how billowy those pants were.
Every single time her costumes were ripped they would be replaced. That led to a lot of work for the show’s costume designers and it meant that very few outfits remained after the show stopped filming. Eden wore one of them to a charity gala in 2013.
The Very Protected Original Jeannie Bottle
For a long time after the show came to an end, Barbara Eden held onto the original bottle. Years later she ended up donating it to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where it is still one of the most popular TV props of all time.
Prior to donating it, she discussed the bottle in a 2011 interview. “I have the original bottle. It was in the office for a long time and then people said you know, ‘That shouldn’t be around, there’s only one,’” Eden said. “So I put it in the bank (in a vault) but it’s on its way to the Smithsonian.”
Jeannie’s Bottle Wasn’t Exactly A High-Tech Prop
Jeannie’s famous bottle was made out of an old Jim Beam decanter from 1964. It was a simple solution but the proper department still spent several hundred dollars to have it hand painted and decorated. Because of the cost, everyone was careful with the original Jeannie bottle, ensuring that it never broke and had to be replaced.
Supposedly, Jim Beam stopped making that style of bottle in the late 1990s.
Jeannie’s Scandalous Belly Button
We already told you about the show’s bedroom rules, but were you aware that Jeannie’s belly button wasn’t allowed to be shown? The TV network’s censors had very specific rules about that specific body part. Apparently, her various sexy outfits were just fine but a belly button was — gasp!!! — taboo.
Actress Yvette Mimieux was the first woman to show her navel on American television, on the show Dr. Kildare. That was in 1964.
The Entire Set Was Burned Down
After I Dream Of Jeannie was canceled the entire set was burned to the ground. The show’s producers realized that it was going to be very expensive to store the set’s props so they just destroyed whatever wasn’t taken from the set. This was a very common practice among many Hollywood studios back in the day.
Not all the props were destroyed in the fire, of course, since Barbara Eden held onto her genie lamp for years after the show ended.
No Fear Of Lions
There’s another funny anecdote about the episode in which a real lion was used on set. Apparently, at one point the lion let out a huge roar and every single guy on the set fled the scene. They were terrified that they were about to be killed by the mighty beast.
But Barbara Eden didn’t flinch a muscle. She calmly walked up to the lion and started to pet him. The lion soon regained its composure and filming resumed.
The TV Show Was Inspired By A Movie
I Dream of Jeannie producer Sidney Sheldon loved the movie The Brass Bottle and decided to base the TV show off that movie. It features Tony Randall, Barbara Eden, and Burl Ives.
He liked the idea of a beautiful female genie and started to create his show around that premise. So, despite some people’s claims, the show was not a direct rip-off of Bewitched as some people have thought for many years.
“The Monkees” Appearance
“The Monkees” were a fictitious band who had their own television show, similar to how The Beatles had the film Hard Day’s Night. The Monkees’ show aired on the same network as I Dream of Jeannie and they used that opportunity to make references about that show both in the script and with various prop references.
In one episode of The Monkees, the bandmates discovered a genie lamp and when Davy Jones sees it he responds: “Imagine that — wrong show.”
Black And White Magic
I Dream Of Jeannie was kept in black and white for its first season because the “magic” used to create smoke was hard to pull off in color. The special photographic effects were eventually tweaked and the show moved to color in 1966. It was the last TV show to broadcast a black and white episode.
It was rumored that the network also didn’t want to originally pay the extra $400 per episode it would cost to film in color.
The City Of Cocoa Beach Created A Day In Eden’s Honor
Twenty- seven years after the last episode ended, the show’s biggest star returned to speak at the Kennedy Space Center. During the 1996 event, which was called “Jeannie Day,” Cocoa Beach Mayor Joe Morgan gave her an “I Dream of Jeannie Lane” street sign.
Eden toured a space shuttle during her visit. “They allowed me to put on the boots and the coveralls and go right into the capsule itself, and that was awe-inspiring, just wonderful,” she told Senior Life.
Jeannie’s Bottle Changed Color
Jeannie’s bottle was changed to a different hue when the show made the move from black-and-white to color. The bottle was originally a smoke-green color with a painted gold-leaf pattern for an antique look. It was even described as a “green bottle” in the first season.
When the show went to color the bottle changed to purple. It remained the new color from the second to fifth seasons. It was a change most viewers didn’t recognize because of the transition from black-and-white.
Stretching The Truth About NASA Astronauts
Astronauts in Florida? While the show centered in Florida, which as allegedly where the astronauts went to work at the time, the claim was purely movie magic and not based in truth. NASA’s astronauts had moved on from Florida and were training at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas.
It is now called the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. It was a fictional series and they could play loose with those type of facts so we forgive them for this inaccuracy.
A ‘Charmed’ I Dream of Jeannie Reference
I Dream of Jeannie remains a popular TV show even though it ended so many years ago. The supernatural TV series Charmed filmed an episode called “I Dream of Phoebe” in which the character was turned into a genie.
She even wore a pale blue version of “Jeanie’s” costume. You can catch that segment in episode 15 of season 6. As we’ve seen, Jeannie continues to resonate with viewers years later.
‘The Mad Monk Of Malibu’
Larry Hagman was given the nickname “The Mad Monk of Malibu” for his eccentric behavior. One such instance took place when he drove his Harley-Davidson to shop for groceries while wearing a chicken suit. He also allegedly put bourbon on his cereal.
He disappeared from the spotlight for a while but returned in 1978 with Dallas. He was a little less “mad” by that time in his life. Maturity will do that to a person.
The TV series was supposed to take place in and around the Cape Kennedy, Florida area. Tony Nelson’s address was given as 1020 Palm Drive in Cocoa Beach. However, the exterior of the building where Roger Healey’s office was located was actually the main building at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, north of Los Angeles.
Early Cocoa Beach episodes were shot with mountains in the background or more specifically the Hollywood Hills.
An 1854 Parlor Ballad
“I Dream of Jeannie” isn’t just a clever play on words for “genie,” it is also the name of an 1854 parlor ballad. The original song is called, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” by singer Stephen Foster. The opening line for the song is, “I Dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair.”
The entire TV show was based on already existing movies and music. It’s pretty impressive that the show includes a reference all the way back to the 1800s. That’s a pretty broad time span of influences for a single show.
Barbara Eden’s Real-Life Husband
The Blue Djinn was played by Barbara’s real-life husband, Michael Ansara. Playing the bad guy to his wife’s genie must have made for some awkward moments. There were a lot of bit players and guest cameos on the show that would continue throughout its five-season run.
Watch the show again and you might notice how the interactions between Jeannie and the Blue Djinn seem different now that you know they were married.
Jeannie Was On The Brady Bunch
If you watched the TV movie special A Very Brady Sequel you probably noticed that Barbara Eden revived her role as Jeannie for it. She showed up at Mike and Carol Brady’s second wedding and introducing herself as Mike Brady’s wife. It was a fun and surprising twist for fans.
Surprisingly, Maureen McCormick (who played Marcia on The Brady Bunch) appeared in an early episode of I Dream of Jeannie. She was a young patient in a Season 1 episode called “My Master, the Doctor.”
Fact Checking Wasn’t A Priority
While in modern TV and movie making, you can catch continuity errors from time to time, there are still plenty of people on set to watch out for those mistakes. However, back in the 1960s and 1970s, it wasn’t such a big deal.
For instance, in one episode Tony goes to Rome, Italy, and tells Jeannie that she probably knew it as “Gaul.” There’s only one problem — Gaul was the name Romans used for the area that’s now France, and not Italy as he claimed.
A Loosely-Based Cartoon
A Hanna-Barbera cartoon would replace the show, airing under the name Jeannie. The animated show was loosely based on the original I Dream of Jeannie series. It aired from 1973 to 1975.
In the cartoon, a teenage surfer found Jeannie’s bottle. She soon starts protecting him from bullies at his high school. Mark Hamill did voices for the show as did Joe Besser, Julie McWhirter, and Bob Hastings, among others.
Jeannie And Tony Reunited
In 1990, the stars of I Dream of Jeannie reunited on the set of Dallas where Larry Hagman played the iconic role of J.R. Ewing. Barbara Eden appeared in a five-episode arc as the character Lee Ann De La Vega.
In her final episode, the character admits that her maiden name was “Lee Ann Nelson”. It was a funny moment and a jab at their much-hated marriage on I Dream Of Jeannie.
It Was Only A Top 30 Show On Two Occasions
Despite a great run in syndication the show only managed to crack the top 30 TV shows on two occasions during its first runs. The highest rating for the series was No. 26. During the rest of its run, the TV show couldn’t manage to get past the 30 most watch TV shows.
Even so, it has remained a popular series in syndication. It’s almost like it had magic on its side.
Barbara Eden did a great job as a blonde genie but her hair color nearly cost her the job. The show’s producers wanted to distance the series from “Bewitched” and were looking for a non-blonde actress to take the role. After many rounds of casting, they couldn’t find anyone better than Eden to play the role and they decided to cast her in the role.
It worked out and the show had five seasons before it was canceled. Producers ultimately said Eden’s sexiness, humor, and warmth, helped her land the role.
Barbara Eden Then
Barbara Eden was amazing as the funny and sensual Jeannie. She was loved by fans and critics alike and her leading role on the show earned her two Golden Globe nominations. Before she married Major Nelson in the final season, it was the sexual tension between the pair that really propelled this show forward.
To this day, there are websites dedicated to the show where fans talk about how many of them had crushes on Jeannie!
The Show Was Most Popular In Re-Runs
I Dream Of Jeannie wasn’t the top-rated show on TV when it debuted and it never claimed the top spot. However, after appearing as reruns on New York’s WPIX, the TV series won its time period with a 13 rating and a 23 share of the audience.
It continued to perform very well in other areas and became the first off-network series to best network competition in the ratings. It remained popular in re-runs for many years.
Barbara Eden, After The Show
The end of this amazing show didn’t mark the end of Eden’s time playing Jeannie. She would return for two TV movies: I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later which aired in 1985, and I Still Dream of Jeannie, which appeared in 1991. Other roles for Eden included the short-lived TV series Harper Valley, PTA.
She appeared with Hagman once again in 1990 while filming five episodes of Dallas. In 2006 she and Larry Hagman were back at it again, touring for the DVD release of the first season of I Dream of Jeannie.
Jeannie’s Origin Story Is A Muddled Mess
Jeannie wasn’t always a genie. Originally, the story was told that she was a young mortal woman who refused to marry the powerful Blue Djinn. For her disobedience he turned her into a genie and then forced her to live in a bottle.
Later, producers altered her story, claiming that Jeannie and her family were always genies, but her rejection of the Blue Djinn led to her banishment into her bottle.
Larry Hagman’s First Success
Many fans of Larry Hagman might not realize that his first success came on the New York stage. That success was followed up by various TV roles before he hit it big on I Dream of Jeannie. His mother was Broadway actress Mary Martin and his dad was lawyer Benjamin Hagman.
Hagman’s classical theater training definitely paid off during his time on the show and eventually on the hit series Dallas.”His mom starred in such Broadway productions as South Pacific, Peter Pan, and The Sound of Music.
No Female Competition
Barbara Eden didn’t have much female competition throughout the show’s five seasons. Emmaline Henry appeared in a recurring role as Amanda Bellows, otherwise, the list of female roles was reserved mostly for bit parts on the show.
Given that Eden wasn’t even supposed to have the role because she is a blonde, shows just how much value they put in keeping the focus on her character. Everybody loved Barbara Eden! And we still do now.
You may have noticed that one actor suddenly disappeared from the series. Barton MacLane was one of the few regulars on the show in addition to the main cast. Sadly, Barton MacLane was battling a nasty round of pneumonia when he suddenly passed away in 1969.
MacLane was best known as a character actor who made various TV and film appearances before his death. This was a tragic end for a great actor.
I Dream Of Jeannie And Bewitched Connection
Comedic actor Paul Lynde appeared as the practical joking Uncle Arthur on the hit series Bewitched. He would later make three appearances on I Dream of Jeannie. Along with his role as an IRS agent named Harry Huggins, he also showed up as a Hollywood director and a tough as nails physical fitness instructor who completely exhausts Nelson and Healy.
Sadly, Paul Lynde passed away in 1982. He is still beloved among fans today.
The Show’s Creator Had An Amazing Track Record
Sidney Sheldon knew what it took to create hit shows in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. He created The Patty Duke Show which ran from 1963-1966 and Hart to Hart (1979-1984). He also authored some best-selling novels including The Other Side of Midnight (1973) and Rage of Angels (1980).
In fact, he is considered one of the top ten best selling fiction writers of all time. Sadly, he died in 2007, but his legacy lives on in syndication and paperback.
Barbara Eden’s Tragic Loss
Michael Ansara and Barbara Eden were married from 1958-1974. During their marriage, she gave birth to a son named Matthew. In 2001, they announced that their son had tragically passed away from a drug overdose. The couple didn’t go into much detail about the passing of their child, only to announce their loss.
Eden opened up about it later, saying that Matthew had struggled with drugs for a long time and had died from an overdose.
One of the most iconic gestures in TV history is how Jeannie summoned her magical powers. We all know that she would nod her head and blink once. Originally, she would fold her arms and make a series of eye flutters. The show definitely wouldn’t have been the same without this famous magical movement.
It was also another reason the show was compared to Bewitched, in which Samantha would wriggle her nose to make magic happen.
A Fired Bewitched Writer
Jeannie’s look-a-like but evil sister ‘Jeannie II’ was created by former Bewitched writer James S. Henerson. He was removed from the Bewitched writing team after another staffer, either a writer, director or producer, found out that he was writing for both shows at the same time. If you notice any early similarities you might have an understanding why.
Henerson’s career must not have been hurt too badly, as he wrote for many shows after being axed from Jeannie.
The Nelson Home
While it is no longer used for filming a TV series, the Nelson home is still standing and in use on the Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank, California. The home is now used as the Ranch Operations office.
There have been some minor cosmetic changes to the home but for the most part, it remains largely unchanged after 50 years. Dedicated fans enjoy drawing up floor plans of the home based on the few interior shots used on the show.
Real Life Military Service
The TV show remained very close to real life in one specific way. Anthony Nelson was in the Air Force and Roger Healey served in the Army. In real life, actor Larry Hagman served in the United States Air Force.
Co-star Bill Daily spent his service years in the U.S. Army where he was an artilleryman in the Korean War. They definitely had the experience needed to play their roles.
Larry Hagman Discussed His Drug And Alcohol Issues
Larry Hagman, as we previously discussed, was prone to drinking a lot throughout filming. What many fans may not realize, is that he also admitted to being high on drugs during the filming of many scenes. Barbara Eden wrote in her 2011 autobiography Jeannie Out of the Bottle that he never regretted his drinking and drug use during filming, but worried about how it impacted his health.
In 2016, Hagman’s daughter wrote an autobiography, in which she discussed her dad’s partying ways. “He so completely embraced the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll ethos of the era that he lived it to the end of his days,” she said.
A Messed Up Ranking
In the episode where Tony is promoted from Captain to Major, he can be seen wearing the wrong rank. His uniform showcases silver clusters which are for a Lieutenant Colonel. During season 2 his rank clusters changed color, from silver to gold which is the rank of Major.
Now that you’re aware, it’s a mistake you’ll never fail to notice again although it’s not really a detail that is going to ruin the show for many people.
Two Reunion Movies Were Filmed
Fifteen years after the beloved sitcom had ended, NBC premiered I Dream Of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later. Six years later in 1991, I Still Dream Of Jeannie was the second reunion film to be premiered.
The made-for-TV movies chronicled the life of the happy, magical housewife and both her marriage to Tony Nelson, as well as their teenage son. Barbara Eden had once again put on her crop top and reunited with the character once again.
“I Dream Of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later”
In 1985, the comedy, made-for-TV film, I Dream Of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later, premiered on National Television. Returning to the cast alongside Barbara Eden was Bill Daly as Roger Healy (Tony’s best friend), and Hayden Rorke as Dr. Alfred Bellows, NASA psychiatrist.
Wayne Rogers had stepped in to play the role of Tony Nelson, while Larry Hagman was filming on the set of CBS series Dallas at the time, not being able to compromise his work schedule.
In the rest of the film I Dream of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later, the characters work to stop an incoming meteoroid. Jeannie must leave Tony, and it’ll be as if she never existed. However, she finds a loophole and enchants a “new beginning” with her once-husband, using her powers to lure him into her presence on a street corner.
She turns to the camera and says, “Haji made me agree to an ending. He never said there couldn’t be a new beginning.”
Taking A Stroll Down Memory Lane
There was a small piece of nostalgia resurrected during the production for I Dream Of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later. The film’s beach scene was shot at the same location where the pilot episode was first shot in 1964.
Fifteen years later, Tony Nelson and Jeannie were reunited at the same place where their story originally began… even if it was with a different actor. Fans can visit the site, which is Zuma Beach in Malibu, California.
“I Still Dream Of Jeannie”
For the second reunion film, I Still Dream Of Jeannie, only two cast members reprised their roles; Barbara Eden and Bill Daily. The 1991 movie was filmed in British Columbia, Canada and is the final installment of the Jeannie franchise.
Sony chose to not move forward with a DVD release and it remained strictly for television audiences until 2013 when it was released by Region 1. It was part of an online program, the Sony Pictures Choice Collection.
If Jeannie Was A Single Lady
It looks like the producers had decided to explain the absence of the original Tony Nelson, initially played by Larry Hagman. In the follow-up reunion special, Jeannie’s husband was on a NASA space mission, indefinitely. One of the only few times Tony Nelson is acknowledged is in the opening sequence, before becoming predominantly unmentioned.
Without a master in the plane of reality Jeannie must find a new one in order to stay, and she ventures out to singles bars to find her next adventure. Whether that adventure is temporary or permanent, she doesn’t know.
I Dream Of Jeannie And Friends Connection
John Bennett Perry was the actor who played the owner of the sporting goods store in the I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later movie. His son is none other than Friends actor Matthew Perry!
The fountain featured in the opening sequence of Friends was also seen in various episodes of I Dream of Jeannie. In fact, that fountain is located just across the street from the Nelson house on what is now Warner Ranch.
Celebrating The 50th Anniversary
On September 18th, 2015, Barbara Eden joined NBC to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of I Dream Of Jeannie. The actress reminisced about the show’s time on the air and what it was like to portray such an iconic character. While it would seem as though it could become very difficult to deal with life in the public eye.
Fans couldn’t help but remark at how gorgeous Eden still looked, so many years later. She aged very well.
Get Your Own ‘Jeannie’ Bottle?
A company called Jeannie Bottles sells replica versions of the bottle used on the show. Customers can also order customized bottles. The store’s website claims that Barbara Eden is a fan and that Larry Hagman used to be.
“I own several of Mario’s Artworks, his talent is truly second to none. He is a true master artist and I am very proud to have his work displayed in my home,” she is quoted as saying.