Utterly adorable and fascinatingly charming are the kudos that come to mind in this thoroughly delightful episode that has that "old witch with a warped sense of humor" (aka Endora), turning Darrin into the ten year old he once was. And when that ten year old version of Dick York is played by none other than Billy Mumy, you know it's gonna be crackerjack!
Quite possibly one of the best child actors ever to grace television, Billy Mumy, makes his second "Bewitched" appearance after his moving performance in season one's "A Vision of Sugar Plums". Not simply playing a ten year old Darrin but going so far as to uncanninly emulate Dick York's complicated facial expressions and voice patterns to a "tee", Mumy is nothing short of awesome in this performance. Whether giving a "matronly lady" a sour look while in a phone booth or earlier looking IDENTICAL to Dick York in an annoyed reaction to Endora's "why don't you look at your Mickey Mouse watch", Mumy IS Little-Dick-York's Darrin personified.
Big-Dick-York's Darrin is no slouch either. With so much discussion over Dick York's Darrin versus the Darrin of Dick Sargent, especially when labels have been written that York was the "neurotic, hyperactive Darrin" compared to Sargent's "kinder, gentler Darrin", one only needs to look closely at episodes like this to see how erronious statements like that are. Here is a performance (like most of Dick York's body of work on "Bewitched") that is part neurotic, part hyperactive yet gentle and kind, romantic and boyish and always true to the situation. After chastising himself for "being mad at the wrong person" (Sam) he literally melts into a pool of butter. Samantha later comments, "I bet you were a cute little boy" to which York then proceeds to mutter out one of the cutest thank you's I think I've ever seen on film. Other classic York moments worth paying attention to include his reaction to Sam's "What are we gonna do?" with his hysterically delivered, "We're gonna kill the kid!" and an earlier "gentle" warning that he'd better not be turned into anything young enough to "feel a bear skin rug on my belly". But two favorite moments are classic Dick York and forever endearing: in the final scene as two boys run away with a kite, the camera beautifully captures in Darrin the wistful expression of an adult who's just seen his youth run away. But reminded by Sam of his impending fatherhood, York's Darrin lights up, glad to be the adult he is, grabs her hand and gleefully takes her off with a joyfully unbridled cry of "Yippee!" Gentle. Kind. Charming. Brilliant!
David White is perfect, too, with his spot-on reactions of confusion while trying to get Big Darrin and Little Darrin in the same room together. His take on the line, "Where's the boy?" is a fabulous study in puzzlement as we see him in a matter of seconds try to truly assess a situation he knows is crazy. Watch it and you'll see what I mean. Liz gladly hands over the meat of this episode to both York and Mumy but nevertheless shines, in most especially one of my favorite moments: after turning Darrin back into a child in the front seat of their car, Little Darrin is about to leave without giving her a kiss. Samantha cries, "Dar-rin!" to which he then comes back and gives her a peck on the cheek. Liz's expressions are priceless during this, all the while challenging ANY woman to look half as good as she does in a scarf!
Another little feel-good charm, brought to life by an incredible cast.
GUEST STARS: Sharon De Bord (secretary) makes her 3rd of 4th "Bewitched" appearances. She will go on to her most notable role as again Darrin's secretary, four episodes later in "Speak the Truth" wearing a dress "two sizes too small". Rory Stevens (Boy #2, the blond one) goes on to play a role in Brian De Palma's "Carrie" (1976).
Billy Mumy's first season Christmas episode, "A Vision of Sugar Plums" is re-cut and repeated five weeks after this originally aired.
OF NOTE: Remade later with Dick Sargent as "Out of the Mouths of Babes".
© Review Copyright 2000 by SCOTT VIETS
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