video Born on this date: Elizabeth Montgomery

Elizabeth MontgomeryElizabeth Montgomery would have turned 80 today, April 15, 2013.

Her most famous role was Samantha Stephens, the witch who married a “mortal,” on Bewitched. She also played Samantha’s free-spirited identical cousin, Serena.

In the clip below, Serena plays guitar and sings an original song, “I’ll Blow You a Kiss in the Wind.” The episode’s plot revolves around Serena wanting to have a mortal singing duo perform her song at the annual “Cosmos Cotillion,” of which she is chairwoman. The duo, Boyce & Hart, were real-life songwriters and performers who wrote pop hits for the Monkees and other groups. They appear in the episode as themselves, and also turn up in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie.

From “Serena Stops the Show,” Bewitched (Feb. 19, 1970)

I love how the lighting transforms the Stephens living room when Serena sings, and the way the camera zooms in and out. Her dress is pretty short for TV, even by 1970 standards—how did that slip past the censors? Samantha’s reaction shots are cute, especially when she makes the little “shame on you” finger gesture.

When Serena finishes, she asks, “Well, how do you love it?” and Durwood says, “I’ll give you an honest opinion: It stinks.” Surprisingly, she does not turn him into a toad—she only tries to bash his head in with her guitar, just like a mortal would.

Quentin Tarantino described this performance by Serena as the finest moment in the history of television, and he sang the song on Saturday Night Live during his opening monologue in 1995. This caused Nerve.com to name him one of the ten worst SNL hosts of all time, calling his singing “unbearable.”

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