If we were really young—during the original airings of the fluffy sit-com—we were likely not made privy to the details and nuances of what was at the time considered a unique take on subject matter and scenarios, nor were we aware of the dynamics, the issues and concerns, of such a potentially wild show as “I Dream of Jeannie.”
For instance, the classic I Dream of Jeannie Costume was the subject of much discussion, attention, and even controversy: first, it could not be so revealing that it left open to viewers the sight of Barbara Eden’s navel—which it first was when costumers originally created it.
Next, the more commonly appearing “I Dream of Jeannie” get-up was a pink harem outfit; but in a few episodes, Eden/Jeannie wears a green costume…which would become the costume of her evil twin in later episodes.
Finally, because it represents or represented such hallmark iconography, the “I Dream of Jeannie” costume is under glass on display at the Smithsonian Institute.
Issues of navels and evil twins aside, “I Dream of Jeannie” was oddly timed. That is, given its 1965 pilot and its subsequent 100+ episodes, the show’s concept was borderline challenging.
When housewives were yanking off their aprons and while working moms, female students, and women of all walks of life were burning bras and fronting off the patriarchy, Jeannie was groveling, obsequious, and—though she was rebellious in her own right—was cow-towing to her “MASTER”.
The implications, besides those pointing to Jeannie’s neediness (despite her exponential powers), lent themselves to the edge of the alternative world…to say nothing of the woman serving man construct that was on it’s way OUT.
I Dream of Jeannie #1 Minisode - Lady in the Bottle
“I Dream of Jeannie” classics are still aired in re-run, are available on CD, and are most intriguing to watch.
The show and the storylines and actors (Larry Hagman as Major Nelson, by the way, waaay before his Dynasty and JR days) are cult commodities, replicated on and/or into everything from t-shirts to neckties on posters and prints to board games, internet activities, and, as of a few years ago, casino slot machines.
One especially bullish/macho date and I went to Las Vegas the year the “I Dream of Jeannie” slots came out. Every time we Baby Boomers approached and initiated with a nickel, the machine would turn on with a Barbara Eden voiceover saying, Helllooo, Master!”
This delighted the hell out of my date. And, evidently, it tickled the sensibilities of thousands—in 1965 and for many years after.