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"THE SHORT, HAPPY CIRCUIT OF AUNT CLARA"


A loveable dim bulb herself, Aunt Clara accidentally causes a 12 state electrical blackout in this episode which takes its inspiration from the real-life blackout that dimmed New York only the year before in November, 1965.

Incredibly fast-paced, director William Asher keeps things bright and wacky with the right combination of quick editing and enjoyable subplots, making this episode at times resemble a tight drawing room comedy sprinkled with just a hint of vaudeville. As comedic teams worthy of any vaudeville house, Sandra Gould and George Tobias are fabulous in their prickly exchanges while Marion Lorne and Reginald Owen (Ocky) are adorable in their befuddlement.

Montgomery, York, David White and Kasey Rogers leave most of the comedy to the other players but that's okay -- with the four of them looking as incredibly gorgeous as they all do in this, they don't need to talk much. With his trademarked horn-rimmed glasses and "I'm so bored" smirk, Arte Julian is perfection as Mr. MacElroy. Always unlikeable in a totally likeable way, Mr. Julian is hands-down one of the best guest actors "Bewitched" ever used.

Highlights include: Tabitha crying when Aunt Clara tries to sing her to sleep; Terrific special effects (the ever expanding piano and the nicely done "walking shoes"); And perhaps the strangest incantation ever uttered when Clara summons Ocky to the house with the none too flattering, "Eyes-like-fishes, nose-like-dishes!" Nice boyfriend, Aunt Clara!

GUEST STARS: Reginald Owen appeared in over 100 films including "Mrs. Miniver," "Woman of the Year," "Mary Poppins," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," and played Scrooge in the 1938 classic "A Christmas Carol." The character of Ocky made one other appearance on "Bewitched" in the fourth season's "McTavish" #130.

FAVE QUOTE: ABNER: "The whole Eastern seaboard is blacked out."
GLADYS: "What caused it?"
ABNER: "They don't know."
CLARA: "Well, I hope they never find out!"

DIANE WATCH: It's all Diane in this, crying her eyes out in the crib!

LISTEN FOR: In a somewhat careless choice, when Aunt Clara comes down chimney in the opening scene, the sound effect used is the whooshing sound reserved for Jeannie (as in "I Dream Of...") whenever she would pop in/out of her bottle!

OF INTEREST: Although his screen credit inexplicably reads ARTE Julian here, his other appearances on "Bewitched" credit him as ARTHUR Julian. For those interested in an "Arte-Palooza", his other fabulous episodes are: "Dancing Bear" #58, "Art for Sam's Sake" #98, "To Twitch or Not to Twitch" #132 and "Splitsville" #140. He is also responsible for writing one "Bewitched" episode, "Is it Magic or Imagination" #148.

© Review Copyright 1998 by SCOTT VIETS

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