Thanksgiving is stressful for many people. The time and effort spent on preparations often disappoint one loved one or another. Or maybe it’s the not looking forward to that weird uncle and what he might say in front of invited guests. I’ve been there. I’ve tried to relax and impress and have failed miserably at both. Although – in the end – the underlying love and great intentions rule the day and end up being what memories are made of. We take a lot for granted, however. As we struggle through our busy schedules and aim for that perfect gathering we forget that others have much more to worry about on Thanksgiving Day than a well-stuffed turkey and a well-baked pie. Some people have to worry about much more serious things. Like….say…burning at the stake.
Episode: “Samantha’s Thanksgiving to Remember”
Original Air Date: November 23, 1967 – Season Four
This particular year the Stephens were looking forward to a small, intimate, relaxing Thanksgiving dinner for their young family. Darrin, Samantha and baby, Tabitha had a low-key day planned when an unexpected visitor drops in. Literally – into the fireplace. It’s Samantha’s lovable, if mishap-riddled, Aunt Clara. Aunt Clara’s witch powers are not what they once were, you see, so her intentions don’t always match the outcome of her spells and incantations.
Anyway, the family settles in for a lovely Thanksgiving visit with Aunt Clara – after she is dusted off. But trouble awaits, as expected whenever the elderly witch is in the house. While telling stories of the first Thanksgiving to Tabitha, from personal recollection of course, Clara becomes nostalgic for the old times and home. She decides not to stay for dinner after all. The trouble comes when, as she recites the incantation to transport herself back to Plymouth, she takes everyone along with her – Darrin, Samantha and busy-body neighbor, Gladys Kravitz.
Once in Plymouth and celebrating the original Thanksgiving with a few of the forefathers like John Alden (Richard Bull) and Miles Standish (Peter Canon) the Stephens try their best to fit in to the time and culture. They have to do so until Aunt Clara remembers the spell so she can reverse the original incantation and they can go home. As the Stephens try to assimilate, many funny moments come up. For instance, poor Darrin consistently botches up the pronunciation of words – the “eth” and “thous” required in everything, “speaketh not to my wife-eth that way-eth” – he’s not good at it, is all I can say.
High drama ensues in this episode when soon after their arrival in Plymouth one of them is accused of witchery and will be burned at the stake unless they can prove themselves free of witchcraft. Ironically, it’s not Samantha or the clumsy Aunt Clara but Darrin who is caught lighting a match. A sure-fire sign of great witchery! Darrin is then forced to face his accusers and the townspeople. Samantha, ever clever, presents a great defense of her husband by casting doubt in one of his accusers by using her own witchery gifts. Anyway, just as the trial is drawing to a close, Aunt Clara remembers the spell…
“Wing of fire, eye of flame. Take us back to whence we came.”
Just in the nick of time.
Back home now, the Stephens sit and enjoy that quiet Thanksgiving dinner and all is well again between mortals and witches. Everyone is where and when they are supposed to be. For the time being at least. Aunt Clara ends the episode with plans to take Tabitha to meet the real Santa Claus.
That’s all for this episode of Bewitched. A fun 25, or so, minutes. And a nice way to remember to be thankful for our the gifts in our lives. Normalcy cannot be underrated.