April 19, 1998
What a lovely day! I was one of those lucky enough to attend the Elizabeth Montgomery Celebration Fashion Show, Auction and Sale -- a loving tribute to Lizzie as fans and friends gathered to honor her birthday at the Duet Restaurant and Nightclub, located in the heart of Westwood, California. For those of you who weren't able to attend, I'll try to give you a first-hand account of what it was like to be there, though the magic of simply being there is indescribable.
Only second in line and ushered in promptly at 3:00 into the hip, slightly funky club, the atmosphere was much more casual (refreshingly so!) than one might have expected. Upon entering and after a brief stop at the registration table, I immediately spied only a few feet away the unguarded garment racks set up with dozens of items from Liz's wardrobe from both her personal life and TV Movies. Since I was one of the first to arrive, I had the privilege of perusing most of these garments before many others had a chance. It was fascinating to see everything simply hanging there for all to browse through as if in a department store...it added a nice personal touch and a bit of surrealism to be able to stand there and casually finger through the clothes that Lizzie had worn!
All had price tags on them with astonishing LOW prices on them (some as low as $5) and a few were labeled as to which film she had worn them in. While most garments were from her personal wardrobe, there were also some items from her later TV Movies such as "Sins of the Mother," "Black Widow Murders," and the two Edna Buchanan films (which simultaneously were broadcast over video monitors.) Interspersed with the clothing, laid out on tables between the racks were other smaller items for silent auction with surprisingly very little "Bewitched." As far as I could see, only the yellow 10 cent writing tablet, a dozen or so 8X10 photos and the Al Hine "Bewitched" paperback were available as "Bewitched" items for sale. Strangely enough, Nick @ Nite seemed to get in the act with some of THEIR items up for bid: a (non-"Bewitched") watch, jacket, Hirschfeld drawing and picture frame seemed to be the only non-Liz items up for sale but nevertheless were a treat to see. Other accessories open for auction on tables for all to touch were two purses (one from "Act of Violence,") a pair of cowboy boots worn in "Belle Starr" (and subsequently won later by Erin Murphy!) and framed film posters from "The Rules of Marriage", "Missing Pieces" and "Face to Face."
Though I was hardly there to eat, there was a beautiful buffet that was constantly re-stocked of bite sized finger foods, chips and avocados, huge fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate all next to a single table which held a huge birthday cake with a beautifully well-done likeness of Liz and simply "Elizabeth Montgomery" etched on it. As techno-dance beats played lowly through the speakers, more guests (and stars!) began filtering into the club. Kasey Rogers, Bernard Fox and Sandra Gould drove up together, all looking smashingly dapper and adding a touch of glamour to the festivities. I introduced myself to Mark Wood, Kasey's writing partner ("The Bewitched Cookbook") who graciously introduced me to Ms. Rogers and indulged me with a photo op (Thanks, Mark!) While Rebecca Asher rushed around, overseeing many of the last minute details of the upcoming fashion show, I spied Erin Murphy wearing one of the first dresses she was to model in the show and after an introduction and photo with her I was able to happily discover for myself that yes... she is as nice and as incredibly beautiful as you think she will be. Other sightings: Diane Murphy and Mrs. Murphy; Larry Manetti ("Magnum PI" and owner of Duet) and Mrs. Bernard Fox.
At approximately 4:30, the fashion show was ready to begin and we all took our place around the small stage which had four large photo blow-ups of Liz, unveiled to serve as background scenery. Paul Ryan, the emcee, first introduced cast members Kasey, Bernard, Sandra and Erin, each of them stepping up to the podium and regaling us with a favorite memory of Elizabeth while working on "Bewitched." Rebecca also stepped up to the mike, thanking all for coming and assuring us that since Liz had loved contributing to so many charities in life (especially AIDS-related) that she knew her mother would be thrilled to know that she still was contributing to charity even after her passing (the event is benefitting AIDS Healthcare Foundation.) Also on hand to make a rare appearance was Liz's long-time manager, Barry Krost, who had the audience laughing with his remark that when he first started working with Liz he was 7 years younger and by the time she had passed, he was three years older!
The fashion show featured 18 models, including Erin and Linda "The Exorcist" Blair with added entertainment from singer Susan Thompson and some very creative choreography by Bart Doerfler, who danced with two other male dancers and Erin to the "Bewitched" theme (yes folks, she can DANCE too! -- and as a bonus, she even twitched for us!) The models looked gorgeous but unfortunately the garments were never identified as to what movies they might had been featured in so unless you had a good memory of all her films, you probably wouldn't recognize them (Victor, where WERE you?!) As far as I could tell, there were no "Bewitched" related costumes in the fashion show or on the racks.
After the fashion show, a silent auction began on the items just seen in addition to the four large photo blow-ups that were on stage. Those especially created quite a bit of interest as prices kept getting higher and higher for each photo -- one going for up to $350!
All in all, a wonderfully fitting birthday tribute to our beloved Liz. Rebecca Asher's warm presence was felt throughout the room as were the original cast members who were all willing to oblige in signing autographs, having photos taken and meet the fans. What I anticipated to be a large, formal and maybe even intimidating affair actually turned out to be what I think Liz would have loved... a big, casual party with people who all have one love in common, having a great time, meeting, laughing, reminiscing...simply enjoying the honor of being able to collectively show our love celebrating the woman who has brought all of us so much happiness.
P.S. So did I buy anything? Yes, a couple of dresses. Only problem is... where can I wear 'em?!
Hear what Liz's daughter Rebecca, Erin Murphy & Sandra Gould had to say about Elizabeth Montgomery.© Copyright 1998 by SCOTT VIETS
Send mail to
Back to Vic's Bewitched Page