Don't wrinkle your nose at "Bewitched" sites

by Robert DiGiacomo

Why is "Bewitched" considered one of the gayest of classic-TV sitcoms?

Think about it: The show features a main character, Samantha, who must hide her real identity (as a witch) to fit in; faaabulous '60s-style costumes and sets; and a supporting cast composed of Dick Sargent, who came out publicly in the 1980s, Agnes Moorehead, who likely was a lesbian, and Paul Lynde, who ... no more need be said about him.

"There's a subliminal message from 'Bewitched,'" said actor/choreographer Scott Viets. "She's living in a world where she can't be herself. She's living in the closet. It touches people that has something to hide. The times, the fashions, they're so groovy. Endora [played by Moorehead] is larger than life. She's a total drag queen. Uncle Arthur [played by Lynde] was very gay."

As you may have guessed, Viets is one of the show's most devoted fans, and he's got the Web site to prove it.

Calling himself "The Bewitched Critic" (http://members.aol.com/BewitchVic/critic.html), Viets has set up a fun area dedicated to reviewing each of the show's 254 episodes.

Part of a larger "Bewitched" site created by his friend, Victor Mascaro (http://members.aol.com/BewitchVic/main.html), The Bewitched Critic goes far beyond mere plot summeries to offer ratings -- from bomb to classic; behind-the-scenes tidbits (did you know that Oscar-winner Jose Ferrer provided the narration for the show's premiere after Elizabeth Montgomery's dad, actor Robert, turned the job down?); and gaffes by the cast.

Mascaro's site is also a treasure trove of "Bewitched" trivia, replete with cast biographies, photo stills, original advertisements, magazine covers featuring the show's stars, and sound bites.

Viets, who has posted about 30 reviews to his site so far, began writting about the show in 1984 -- long before he had the medium to make his views available to the public.

"I started it for my own enjoyment," he said. "There were a lot of TV-companion books coming out. They all had episode synopses in them. I thought that was kind of boring and that anybody could do that. I thought, 'Wouldn't it be neat to have your own twist on things?'"

Up for less than a month, Viets' twist has garnered quite a bit of attention from the show's legion of fans, including Tabitha herself, Erin Murphy, who sent him a note after viewing the site.

"We've had 400 hits [in the first] 10 days," he said. "That's what it's all about for me -- to share my love for the show through the reviews. If you don't make money off it, that's OK, too. At least, they're not staying in my closet and having no one read them for 13 years."

Beyond the "Bewitched" pages, there' are many other Web outlets for the Nick at Nite and TV Land (http://www.nick-at-nite.com), which has the scoop on the cable channels' roster, from "Dick Van Dyke" to "Taxi."

From there, check out myriad pages devoted to individual stars and particular shows by clicking on a search engine such as Yahoo's Television section (http://www.yahoo.com/News_Media/Televsion).

You'll find more TV-related home pages than there are cable channels.

There are 10 sites alone for Mary Tyler Moore, including The Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda Page (http://members.tripod.com/~Measom) and The Mary Tyler Moore Fan Poetry Page (members.aol.com/LambChoppy/poet.html), and a half-dozen for another TV queen, Lucille Ball, including Lucy's Place (http://www.lucyplace.com/home.html), and the Lucy-Desi Museum (http://www.lucy-desi.com), a real-life museum open during the summers in Ball's hometown of Jamestown, N.Y.

Fans of "The Many Loves of Doby Gillis," co-starring Sheila James Kuehl, now an out-lesbian and members of the California assembly, will enjoy the The Dobie Pages (http://www.worldsite.net/~further), while admirers of the mucho-macho Steve McGarrett will want to surf over to Mark 'n' Julie's Hawwaii Five-O Page (http://world.std.com/~olorin/h5o.html).

DN's little black book
Break on through to the other side: The Glass Ceiling Internet Women's Resource Center (http://www.theglassceiling.com) has added a section on "Women in Polotics" and a reading room with works by women authors and poets.

With a goal of creating "a haven for women on the internet, a place where women can network together from around the world," the site already offers a free biweekly 'zine for women as well as listings for women-owned businesses at the FemBiz Center, a Biorhythms page, and links to information an career, family, feminisim, health and travel.


Robert DiGiacomo is a Philadelphia-based writer. "Drag 'Net" appears biweekly. Send comments to dragnetpgn@aol.com; PGN Web site: http://epgn.com