About Christmas TV History

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Christmas in July 2023: Bewitched (1967)


Merry Christmas in July! It is Day #16 in the month-long celebration of Christmas entertainment. Each day this month I will be sharing brief reminisces about Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies that are a creative or imaginative adaptation of Charles Dickens' tale A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Just a little something different and a way for me to show off the diversity of holiday stories I've collected in the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV (the updated and expanded 2nd edition will be released soon).  

This week, let's look at especially creative examples of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in TV episodes in which characters have read Charles Dickens' book and look to influence someone else who needs inspired with the holiday spirit! For more--see Day 15's introduction with a discussion on the TV series The Rogues.


Samantha Stephens takes it upon herself to teach this scrooge a lesson.

Today's discussion is on the 1967 episode "Humbug Not to Be Spoken Here" from the sitcom Bewitched. In this episode, Darrin and Samantha Stephens are disappointed when a client named Mr. Mortimer insists on working Christmas day--he’s obviously missing the holiday spirit. Sam decides to take inspiration from Charles Dickens’ book “A Christmas Carol” and teach Mortimer a lesson. Using her witchcraft, Sam visits Mortimer in the middle of the night and introduces herself as the “Spirit of Christmas.” She uses her magic to bring him to Santa Claus at the North Pole, and even has him visit his impoverished former butler’s family in New York. On Christmas morning, Mr. Mortimer awakens from his “nightmare” renewed with the holiday spirit. He arrives at the Stephens’ home bearing gifts with a change of heart about canceling his ad campaign.


Character actor Charles Lane makes a believable Scrooge character here.

What makes this episode different from typical adaptations of Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” is that Samantha stands in for the three Spirits of Christmases Past, Present, and Future. Even more precisely, she takes it upon herself to us her magic and teach Mr. Mortimer a lesson about the holiday spirit by gaslighting him into thinking he's experiencing a ghostly journey during the night. The episode's story is overall a little muddy, but I believe Dickens' original elements are all clearly here even if the witch Samantha is the one who teaches this Scrooge a lesson.

The cast includes Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens, Dick York as Darrin Stephens, David White as Larry Tate, Charles Lane as Mr. Mortimer, and Don Beddoe as Santa Claus.


I previously wrote about this episode with more detail on this website a few years ago--click HERE to see that discussion again. I'll be discussing more examples of this kind of Scrooge Treatment version of "A Christmas Carol" more this week, so keep following!


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for an upcoming release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com

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