The first episode of “I Dream of Jeannie” was shown on September 18th, 1965 on NBC. The pilot episode was called “The Lady in the Bottle.” Captain Tony Nelson, played by Larry Hagman, has his one-man capsule “Stardust One” come down far from the planned recovery area, near a deserted island in the South Pacific. While on the beach, Tony notices a strange bottle that seems to be moving on its own.
He removes the stopper and rubs the lamp, and a beautiful woman emerges, who begins speaking Persian before kissing him on the lips. He is unable to understand her until he expresses a wish that the woman could speak English, at which point she does perfectly. She is able to help Tony get rescued, and he’s so grateful that he frees her, but she’s fallen in love with him at first sight, so she decides to stay with him.
Sure, Eden was a lovely lady, and she’d actually had some success as a beauty contestant, but she was an actress and not a model. Sheldon tempted Eden to the show, and Eden was happy to try out – especially after Sheldon was so flattering about her resume. It was then that Eden found out who she would be competing against.
In an interview with Channel to News in Australia, she said that when she found out all the other women competing for the job were models and beauty pageant winners, she had to actually ask her agent if Sheldon knew that she was primarily an actress and not just a pretty face. But it was clear that Eden suddenly had a leg-up on the other women. Not only was she a blonde bombshell, but she was also a trained and talented actress, too.
Landing the Biggest Role of Her Life
Despite being up against some stiff competition, Barbara Eden proved that she was the woman for the job. She accepted the role, and to some, that might come as a surprise – why give up movies for TV? Every actor’s dream is to be the lead in a long-running television show, trust us. That’s a lot of money, no matter what. Not only that, but landing a movie star like Eden immediately gave the show a whole lot of buzz and press before it was even shown on the screen.
Eden would play the titular character Jeannie, a genie that had been stuck in a bottle for two thousand years before being found by an astronaut. Immediately, the two start to fall in love, but a lot more happens, too.
A TV Show That Made History
“I Dream of Jeannie” ran for five seasons with a total of a hundred and thirty-nine episodes, and it also happened to make a couple of strides when it comes to television history. Since the show first began in 1965, “I Dream of Jeannie” would be the final series on NBC to begin in black and white as opposed to color.
It was only that way for a single year, and then it switched to color, reflecting the ways TV had advanced in the few short years it had been a main method of entertainment. If the show had stayed in black and white, it might not have been anywhere near as popular as it turned out to be – everybody was always looking for the new thing.
Trying on Plenty of Clothes
“I Dream of Jeannie” had a lot going for it – it had humor, romance, magic, and a couple of actors and actresses who knew their way around a set. For Eden, the show was like a dream come true. She got custom-made clothing that was designed to make her as attractive as possible, combining clothing elements from all over the world – the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia – and that’s just when she’s dressed as a genie.
While in modern-day clothing, she also had plenty of fancy duds that took advantage of the counterculture era in which the show was set. Even if you’ve only seen the show a little bit, you can probably picture some of the colorful and cute outfits that Eden got to wear during the show’s long run.