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"JUST ONE HAPPY FAMILY"


Maurice (pronounced "Morris") Evans makes his first of many indelible performances as Maurice (pronounced "Maureece"), Samantha's first-class bon vivant of a father who is unaware that his newly acquired son-in-law, Darrin (pronounced "Duncan"), is actually mortal.

With the introduction of Sam's other larger-than-life family members Endora and Aunt Clara, it stands to reason that Sam's father would have to be something quite unique. With the help of director William Asher and the writers, Mr. Evans doesn't disappoint. Portraying Maurice as if he lived his entire life in Cinemascope and Stereophonic Sound, Evans brings a unique blend of sophistication and ham to the role while still managing to remain positively charming.

Unlike the almost scary anticipation of Endora and Darrin's first meeting ("Mother Meets What's His Name"), the pacing here is not as strong but nevertheless delivers the goods despite some earlier sluggish moments. The much-needed exposition required on this new character before he even arrives sets the tone for an inevitable show-down but loses some of its punch in the bar scenes between Larry and Darrin. Though funny, these scenes only succeed in diluting the same ominous tension that worked so beautifully in "Mother". Nevertheless, the eventual shoot-out (or blow-up, in this case) is rewarding and most effective, thanks to some great special effects and fabulous creativity on the part of the writers by having Darrin re-materialize all the way from his shoes to his shirt. Brilliant!

With his debut here, Maurice Evans is THE perfect gem to complement Montgomery and Moorehead's already glittering crown of class, pedigree and impressive acting chops. With a combination of jewels like these, the golden path of "Bewitched's" success is already paved.

LOOK FOR: Liz looking absolutely gorgeous; Endora sitting on a stick of "Albain Butter"... Richard Albain was the special effects director! Maurice Evans looking as if he's walking through a literal mine field as he involuntarily FLINCHES every time something explodes (who wouldn't?!)

OOPS: Joseph Perry plays a con TV repairman in the opening teaser but is inexplicably missing from the final credits. Who is credited, however, are two actors named Thomas Anthony and Charlie Dugdale who are listed even more inexplicably as "Customer #1 and #2". Two such characters never appear. This raises the question as to whether an alternate opening teaser had been originally filmed and then replaced since the TV repairman scene is independent from the rest of the episode and could be used anywhere. Also of note: After Maurice is unable to conjure up a bottle of champagne, Endora begins to gesture as if she is going to produce a bottle but the scene cuts to Darrin and Samantha immediately, as if that moment had been planned, or even filmed, but later deleted.

© Review Copyright 2000 by SCOTT VIETS

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