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Friday, April 22, 2011

Sok Saks 1910-2011

Sol Saks, the creator of "Bewitched", one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960's, has died at age 100. Saks only wrote one episode of the classic sitcom, the pilot episode, which he based on two earlier Hollywood movies about witches living in normal society, "I Married a Witch", (1942), with Veronica Lake and "Bell Book and Candle", (1958), with Kim Novak. Bewitched, which ran from 1964 to 1972, starred Elizabeth Montgomery, 4-time Oscar nominee Agnes Moorehead, and the two Dick's as the two Darrin's: Dick York as Darrin #1 and Dick Sargent as Darrin #2.

New York native Saks was a child radio actor who later wrote for radio comedies such as "Duffy's Tavern", as well as early t.v. series, "My Favorite Husband", "Mr. Adams and Eve" and "I Married Joan". Saks wrote the screenplay for the Cary Grant comedy, "Walk Don't Run", (1966), and briefly served as a CBS executive in comedy development. In 1985, Saks wrote a well known industry book, "The Craft of Comedy Writing".
Some interesting, little-known facts about "Bewitched": -The original name given to the witch was Cassandra, later changed to Samantha.
-Sak's original choice to play Samantha was Tammy Grimes, but at the time the show was to begin production, Grimes was committed to a Broadway musical. In the meantime, Bill Asher and wife, Elizabeth Montgomery, came in to meet with Saks to discuss a series they had developed. Saks gave the "Bewitched" script to the Asher's who called back a few hours later and said they'd do it.
-Samantha's "nose-twitch" wasn't written into the original script, it just so happened to be a physical talent of Montgomery's, and when she demonstrated it for Saks, it was used on the show and became one of the most famous trademarks of the long-running series.

-Elizabeth Montgomery was pregnant during the first season of the show, but stand-ins and creative camera work disguised this fact.

As an executive at CBS, Saks oversaw the creation of another legendary sitcom, "Gilligan's Island", about which Saks once commented that the show was "close to the perfect format for a television comedy series."

Saks died in Los Angeles on April 16.

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