A very expectant Barbara Eden, title star of NBC-TV’s fall I Dream of Jeannie series, beamed and smilingly said, “I thought I had picked up a bug somewhere.”
So she went to the doctor and he told her it was no bug.
“We,” said Barbara, “were pregnant.”
The “we” includes actor-husband Michael Ansara whom Barbara wed in 1958.
“We let the first year go by,” said Barbara, “but we’ve tried ever since. When we did get pregnant, we really didn’t know that’s what it was. We had sort of given up.”
Barbara “picked up her bug” during the time the sample-pilot for Jeannie was being taped.
The series is about an astronaut (Larry Hagman) who finds a bottle out of which pops a genie. Barbara feels that some of the magic of her genie role must have rubbed off on her. But she was concerned about how Sidney Sheldon, creator of Jeannie would take the news of the magic reaction; For the sample-pilot, with Barbara as one of the principal reasons, had sold as a series.
She had no need to worry. “That’s wonderful,” said Sheldon when she informed him about the baby. “Just wonderful. It’s the most wonderful thing that ever happened to a person,” he said, as if he had personally been through the experience.
The baby is expected in September. Before his/her’s presence became too evident, 11 segments of the series were taped. Barbara, who wears harem-girl attire, said: “I wore veils on veils.”
Whilee she remembers what Sheldon said, she can’t recall hubby Mike’s first words upon hearing the news.
“All I remember is his silly look,” she said. “He still gets it when he sees the baby kick.”
She’s not too sure she, also, doesn’t have a perpetual silly look.
“It’s a miracle, she said, “if you ever stop to think about it.
“Especially when the little leg gets under you and you rub it and you gently push it down.”
She paused. She didn’t look silly. There was a glow and only a woman who has been expecting a baby would be able to fittingly describe that glow.
Said Barbara, “I’ve never felt so important in my life.”
Last year, another television actress, Elizabeth Montgomery, found herself in the same expectancy boat after the pilot for “Bewitched” had sold as a series.
The comparison doesn’t end there. There are those who contend I Dream of Jeannie sounds like a copy of Bewitched, Barbara takes issue with those contentions.
“Look,” she said, “after they had sold Bewitched, there were a lot of people who said it was a copy of My Favorite Martian. Somebody is always making comparisons without seeing what they’re comparing. As far as ‘Bewitched and ‘Jeannie’ are concerned we’re night and day. We’re simply different.”
Whereby she preceded to prove it. She wrinkled her nose a la Liz Montgomery’s magic mannerisms in Bewitched. Nothing happened.