US sitcom Bewitched had a 1970 episode explicitly addressing racism. It was written by 26 African-American students from a tenth grade English class and was the favourite episode of series star Elizabeth Montgomery

Sisters at Heart

“Sisters at Heart” is the thirteenth episode of the seventh season, and 213th episode overall, of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) fantasy television sitcom Bewitched. This Christmas episode aired on ABC on December 24, 1970, and again the following December.

The narrative follows Lisa Wilson (Venetta Rogers), an African-American girl, as she visits her friend Tabitha Stephens (Erin Murphy), a white girl. Meanwhile, Tabitha’s father Darrin Stephens (Dick Sargent), who works at an advertising agency, fails to land a million-dollar account with toy company owner Mr. Brockway (Parley Baer) because Mr. Brockway is racist and incorrectly believes Darrin to be married to Lisa’s mother Dorothy (Janee Michelle). In an attempt to convince… Continue Reading (12 minute read)

7 thoughts on “US sitcom Bewitched had a 1970 episode explicitly addressing racism. It was written by 26 African-American students from a tenth grade English class and was the favourite episode of series star Elizabeth Montgomery”

  1. BlueSkies0nMars

    That’s cool but Bewitched infuriates me. Darrin Stephens is literally married to magic and his only concern is with being normal.

  2. Clearbay_327_

    There was a similar type episode on Brady Bunch where guest star Ken Berry and his wife in the episode adopts a boy but also decides to adopt an African American and Asian child from the same orphanage because the boy wanted his best friends to be adopted and well, Ken Berry has a soft heart. . It highlights the bigotry, general racial stereotyping and cultural insensitivity that the people around this family all display. Of course the Bradys, Alice the Maid and Sam the Butcher are all kind and supporting. Season 5 Ep 14 “Kelly’s Kids” which aired on January 4, 1974.

  3. anrwlias

    It was a true gem of a show. The overarching plot was completely silly, but the series had a way into diving into deep topics without you even noticing. And then there is Elizabeth Montgomery who is just such an amazing actress.

    Believe you me that I was extraordinarily disappointed in that weird meta-movie with Nicole Kidman. I’d love to see a proper remake.

  4. crappaperlovemachine

    I saw this episode as a kid in the 70s. TV really had sold me on the idea that racism and sexism would be a thing of the past. Like really; my generation was not sold flying cars. It was sold the idea that we’d be judged for our souls, our identity, the things we say, think, and do.

    Elizabeth Montgomery was my second TV crush, and my friend crush on an adult as a child. My heart throbbed for her for her appearance, but also her cunning, and her over all nature. Her appearance in the twilight zone… more of the same just fucking get along ldeas.

    This episode is not problematic to any black people I know, but you wont see it because of the black face. Blackpeopletwitter once noted the difference between ted danson in black face and some racist idiot. Pretty sure that water melon ma and those stories are black face entertainment that black people want in the social narrative.

  5. Elrundir

    Elizabeth Montgomery was really ahead of her time. She was an outspoken Democrat and a very early supporter of gay rights and AIDS patients in particular. In fact the second Darrin, Dick Sargent, came out as gay in the 90s (I’m not sure whether she knew about that beforehand, but they were apparently very close friends so it’s entirely possible).

    EDIT: Forgot to mention they both served as Grand Marshalls of the LA Pride Parade in 1992!

  6. aeraen

    That was the same year 10 year old me told my teacher (who was teaching us about “the Three Races”) that we shouldn’t have to worry about that, because by the time I was an adult, people wouldn’t even care if the person they married was a different color, so everyone will be mixed. I still remember the look of horror on her face! Well, I’m a much older adult now, and still haven’t seen attitudes change significantly. Buried a little deeper, maybe, but as Trump has shown, just scratch the surface and it still oozes out.

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