With the release of season five, the complete run of I Dream of Jeannie is now available on DVD. The 1965-70 sitcom about a 2,000 year-old genie in the form of Barbara Eden and her exploits with “master” Major Anthony Nelson (Larry Hagman) has become one of the most beloved of sitcoms.
Variety began its review of the series premiere with, “The star of this blithering comedy is Barbara Eden’s cleavage,” but had changed their tone by the time they reviewed the last season’s premiere episode: “Jeannie started its fifth season with the sort of bright and bouncy enthusiasm that has kept the series nicely afloat to date. The writers… balance the magic elements neatly with sharp characterizations and fast-moving situations, and the laugh track was almost always justified.”
The Archive of American Television has interviewed several of the prominent contributors to the series including stars Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, and Bill Daily; plus series creator Sidney Sheldon, director Hal Cooper, and casting executive Eddie Foy III.
Barbara Eden on I Dream of Jeannie’s special effects: “Our special effects weren’t very sophisticated. We did a lot against blue, which meant that if I was floating in the air, I had to do it alone with a blue backdrop. And I would be balanced on a piece of very thin board. That’s not easy…. The popping in and out of scenes, when I disappeared, everyone would have to freeze wherever they were in the scene and I ran out of the scene. And the director would say, ‘one, two, three, action.’ And everyone would continue. They were very lucky they had actors who could do that. That isn’t easy to do. You have to have some musical, you know, bent, to be able to do that, and both Larry and Bill and Hayden were very good at it.”