8. The studio insisted on black and white
Despite I Dream of Jeannie’s now classic status, NBC originally had little faith in the show’s success. In fact, Sidney Sheldon revealed in his autobiography The Other Side of Me that studio execs didn’t expect the show to survive beyond a single season. Consequently, they forced him to shoot the show in black and white as a cost-cutting measure.
9. Producers had trouble filming special effects
Nevertheless, shooting in black and white had its advantages. Indeed, the show’s numerous special effects – including the puff of smoke from Jeannie’s bottle – were difficult to achieve in color, and the monochromatic film stock helped the FX department iron out its kinks. It also resulted in the series being the last U.S. network show shot in black and white.
10. The pilot episode was shot in winter conditions
Production on I Dream of Jeannie began in December 1964 with pilot “The Lady in the Bottle.” Much to the cast’s chagrin, though, the episode was partly shot on California’s Zuma Beach in the midst of a particularly bitter winter’s day. And Eden’s genie outfit probably didn’t afford much protection from the cold, either.
11. Jeannie’s bottle had humble origins
Though I Dream of Jeannie featured otherworldly themes, its most famous effects had extremely down-to-earth origins. In particular, the bottle that housed Jeannie was, in reality, a Jim Beam whiskey decanter painted to resemble a magic lamp. And, due to its fragile design, the prop kept breaking on set, which resulted in multiple copies being made.
12. Barbara Eden’s costumes kept ripping
Jeannie’s bottle wasn’t her only belonging that kept breaking. Indeed, Eden often tore her pantaloons by catching the hem in the heel of her shoe. Years later, moreover, the actress admitted that the only costume she managed to snag from set was a hat – possibly due to her habit of ruining everything else.
13. The show’s director played pranks on Barbara Eden
Despite the often tempestuous personality of Larry Hagman, the cast and crew frequently had fun on set. To illustrate, while filming a scene of Jeannie trapped in an oversized perfume bottle, the director called a break for lunch, leaving Eden alone on set. Her shouts for help were later incorporated into the final cut.
14. A lion once drove Larry Hagman from the set
Barbara Eden’s autobiography Genie Out of the Bottle contains many eye-opening on-set stories – most notably one between Larry Hagman and a trained lion named Simm. While Eden was comfortable in the creature’s presence, Hagman lost his cool when the cat let out an almighty roar. “Larry bolts off the set, out of the studio and into the street,” she wrote.