Long before "Very Special Episodes" became a part of our television vocabulary and one year before the groundbreaking "All in the Family" debuted, "Bewitched" switched gears and tackled the daring and innovative challenge of confronting racism -- something almost unheard of in the sitcom world of 1970. Written by 10th grade high school students (with assist from Barbara Avedon & Bill Asher) it superbly gets the serious message across in a sturdy yet charming manner while still fitting into the standard "Bewitched" formula.

When asked what her all-time favorite episode was, Elizabeth Montgomery cited this as it and was even quoted to say that "this is what I want "Bewitched" to be about." Indeed the message is so strong that it stands more on its own as a pioneering episode rather than a Christmas episode, which in the past simply dealt with the typical fare of Santas and Scrooges.

Erin Murphy and Venetta Rogers (Lisa) are delightful in this, making the situation seem totally believable, playful and logical; Sam spoofs Shakespeare ("Out, out, darn spots!") and makes the book of spells disappear in a fun and creative way.

GUEST STARS: Don Marshall (Keith, Lisa's father) was a regular on "Land of the Giants." And is it me or does Janee Michelle (Lisa's mom, Dorothy) look like she could have been Sharon Tate's own "sister-at-heart"?!

GERALD WATCH: Well! Gerald's been moonlighting again... At the Stephenses party he is first seen as a party GUEST (over Larry's shoulder when Larry & Darrin are at the buffet table) but is soon demoted to being a WAITER (!) at the SAME PARTY (!!), this time wearing a red serving jacket as Larry looks up at Darrin and Sam on the stairs.

© Review Copyright 1997 by SCOTT VIETS

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