With the sad passing of Marion Lorne just a year earlier, not only did the cast and crew lose one of their favorite guest stars but one of their best recurring characters in Aunt Clara. The usual "Bewitched" policy was to simply hire another actor to replace the old one (Gladys/Louise/Frank) without any explanation or fanfare -- hey, even DARRIN was replaceable in their eyes -- but this time they were respectfully different...they knew there was something special about Aunt Clara that no one could ever replace. Even so, the writers were faced with a major stumbling block: Not only cute and loveable, Aunt Clara was an extremely important plot device for many of the show's storylines with her confused disposition and ditzy magical powers. What to do?! Enter "Esmeralda" -- a maid with a confused disposition and ditzy magical powers.

With the same qualities, yet a totally different character, the writers find the perfect solution to their problem and Alice Ghostley is a fine choice for the role, though she takes a little getting used to. Not really cute or loveable, Esmeralda comes across more weird than anything else but it works here and many of her reactions and line readings are priceless, and it's a scream to see the way Larry Tate is obviously freaked out by her. David White has some wonderful lines ("Good! Good! Bad! Bad!" and "Well what have you got in there, an oxygen tent?!") and Dick Sargent is still trying to get past the wooden stage, with his facial expressions faring better than his line readings at this point. J. Edward McKinley makes an appearance here not unlike the client he played in "Long Live the Queen," once again witnessing magic and strange animals in the Stephenses living room while Endora here is positively relaxed and seeing her play chess against herself is a very cool effect!

FAVE QUOTE: Sam: "It's a unicorn and they don't exist anymore."
Tabitha: "Why not?"
Sam: "You remember I told you about Noah's Ark?"
Tabitha: "Uh-huh."
Sam: The unicorns missed the boat!"

© Review Copyright 1997 by SCOTT VIETS

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