Do the words, "Back in the bottle, Jeannie," and "Yes, master," ring a bell?
Barbara Eden is due back tomorrow as the harem-clad granter of wishes in "I Still Dream of Jeannie" (at 9 p.m., Channel 2). But the new reunion movie is actually the second return of the 1965-'70 series, following 1985's "I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later" (also a counterprogramming ploy to the World Series).
Series co-star Bill Daily is in the new film, but original master Larry Hagman is not. The plot has him in space on urgent astronaut business. (In cute casting, another "Dallas" regular, Ken Kercheval, does have a role in the film.)
So it's time for a "Jeannie" trivia quiz:
1. Exactly how did Mr. Hagman's character end up acquiring his own personal genie?
2. How old was Jeannie (give or take a few years)?
3. Although Ms. Eden's costume was supposed to be suggestive of harem outfits, it was cut to meet a network standard of modesty. What was this cover-up?
4. A bit player in "Jeannie" went on to star in a hit show now famous in the annals of TV for its lack of modesty. Who was she, and what was the show?
5. Finally, what happened in the episode that aired Dec. 2, 1969?
While you are thinking, note that the original series has been criticized in modern times for a blatant level of sexism, in which Jeannie was always subservient to -- although frequently brighter than -- the male master. But in this week's TV Guide, Ms. Eden addresses the point, saying, "This is a fantasy, a modern-day fairy tale that has nothing to do with women's liberation."
The answers, please (sources include "Total Television," by Alex
McNeil, and "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows," by Tim Brooks and Earl Marsh):
1. Returning from an aborted space mission, Tony Nelson (Mr. Hagman) crashed on a desert island where he found an ornate old bottle in the sand. When he opened it, a hokey special effect sent out smoke which transformed into a scantily clad genie who declared him master.
2. Jeannie was said to be 2,000 years old.
3. A network navel maneuver insisted that Ms. Eden's bare-waisted pants be worn high enough to cover her belly button. A vest also de-emphasized the bust region. (In this weekend's movie, the 57-year-old Ms. Eden's costume is far more revealing all the way around.)
4. Farrah Fawcett, whose often braless role in "Charlie's Angels" helped coin the term "jiggle show," could be seen in some episodes of "I Dream of Jeannie."
6. Although Mr. Hagman's astronaut was stunningly prim, many viewers had off-color thoughts about the idea of a sexy young woman willing to do everything for her master. So in a much-promoted episode in its final season, Jeannie and her major were finally married.