By Paul (with additional images from Dr. Bombay)
If there was one thing the Bewitched production staff was good at, it was making maximum use of available resources. Whether it was making maximum use of sets (see The Master Bedroom), costumes (see The Frock Is Familiar), or people (see The Face Is Familiar), the staff was on their toes. And one of the most under publicized strokes of genius on their part was actress Melody McCord.
Melody began working on Bewitched at, or near, the beginning as Elizabeth Montgomery's stand-in and double because of her similarity to Elizabeth in height, build, and general coloring. It did not take the staff long to realize that they had on their hands a young, attractive woman who was not doing much during filming. Therefore, why not have her serve as a non-speaking extra when they needed a pretty girl to dress up the set? So, Melody was used in at least 30 episodes as an extra where she can be identified ( including #s 85, 97, 109, 120, 162, 220, and 221 as Larry's secretary) and perhaps as many as another 15 or 20 other episodes where the view is too short or too distant to confirm that it is Melody.
Here are some examples of Melody as an extra:
Melody was also used as an on-screen double. How many times no one knows because if done properly, the difference cannot be seen. There is some thought that her first appearance as Samantha was as early as # 2 (see Making a Scene) where it is known that a double was used for Elizabeth, or in # 12 as Samantha on the trampoline, but neither of these scenes have ever been confirmed.
There are several "Melody moments" where she and Elizabeth play Samantha in the same scene. Episode 24 was the first "back acting" role with Melody as Samantha while Elizabeth performs as Endora's version of Samantha. Then, Melody plays Endora's version of Samantha, while Elizabeth is Samantha in another scene from Which Witch Is Which? Another example of Melody and Elizabeth playing Samantha is in # 189 where Melody, as Samantha, exits the room just as Elizabeth, as "Tabitha's own Samantha," comes out of the closet.
However, there are also examples of Melody as a double for Elizabeth. In # 142, the first clue that this is not Elizabeth as Samantha is the wig--the hair is lighter and thicker than Elizabeth was in the episode. The second clue is the fact that her back is kept to the camera (an old pro like Elizabeth would never allow her face to be hidden for that long). The third clue is the movement of the actress is not as graceful as Elizabeth. Finally, the identity is confirmed by single framing the scene and finding two frames where the profile shows enough to confirm that it is Melody.
In # 244, Melody, not Elizabeth, is being carried to the sofa by Darrin. The scene was suspicious because the face was hidden for so long. Single framing provided confirmation. ( By the way, that is not Dick Sargent, but a stand-in for Darrin, doing the carrying).
The big use of Melody came with the Samantha/Serena action. In these scenes, it is necessary to have two people that looked alike on the set at the same time. The four techniques used are explained in Sam and Serena, and Melody was required for the two most frequently used methods. In the "back acting" mode, it is impossible to tell who the non-speaking character is, but Melody is there, fit the part perfectly, knew how to imitate Elizabeth, and people in the know say it was Melody who did the "back acting" parts. Melody was in as many as 20 of the Serena episodes. Examples of Samantha/Serena with "back acting":
Melody can also be identified in other scenes as Serena in # 161 and # 165 and as Samantha in # 192 as shown in Sam and Serena. Melody also had one line in # 236 during the dress changing scene, but was not given screen credit since her face was not to the camera at the time the line was delivered.
We have also been able to confirm that Melody did play Sleeping Beauty in # 129. Now that we know this is her from two of the surviving cast members, we have a full face view of Melody.
Finally, there has long been speculation that Melody was in front of the cameras as "Dusty" in # 194. However, it has been confirmed that actress Melodie Johnson, despite the similarity in profile and name to Elizabeth's long-time stand-in, is a different actress. Melodie Johnson Howe retired from acting and is now a mystery writer.
See also: Our Second Samantha: Melody McCord