by Stanley Cooper
TV Photo Story
Submitted by: Windjammer
"I was really scared for awhile that they were going to take the baby away from me," Liz Montgomery told us recently in an exclusive interview. "Even now I think they might have succeeded if I hadn't fought with all my strength to keep it."
This, of course, was an astonishing revelation. Millions of people across the country were anxiously following the development of Liz' pregnancy both in real life and on her TV series, Bewitched and she was telling us that an attempt had been made to take her baby away from her before it had even been born.
According to Liz, trouble began almost as soon as she discovered that she was pregnant. "You know how it is with these Madison Avenue types who run the publicity departments out here," she said. "They develop this image of you, and then Lord help it if you don't fit it exactly. They expect you to fit into a mold".
"Well, with me they'd worked up this image of a cute and sort of sexy witch, and a baby, supposedly, didn't fit in with it. I don't know how they came to the conclusion, but a baby is supposed to detract from my sex appeal, whatever that is.
Liz "as cheesecakey as she'd go" in 1951
"When I first heard about their opinion I thought they must be crazy. After all, I mean, isn't motherhood the purpose of sex in the first place? I discovered that other people had different ideas.
"They were so smart about the whole thing; it really was infuriating. They had these statistics and polls that were supposed to prove that it would be a disaster if I had a baby on the show. According to them, the ratings would fall straight to the bottom."
Liz had gotten angrier and angrier as she spoke, and now she paused for a second to regain her calm composure.
Liz with Buffy and Her Father in 1953 at the NY Stork Club
"Well," she went on, "when I told them that their statistics were a lot of nonsense, they really hit the ceiling. I can't understand it, really I can't! They acted like statistics and rating charts were some kind of gods that couldn't be wrong. Even when I showed them how Lucille Ball's ratings had climbed when she had a baby on her old I Love Lucy series, they refused to listen to me. All they would say was that Lucy's image is different than mine. "
"Finally they gave up on the statistics routine, however, and decided to try a different tactic. All of a sudden they became all concerned about my health. It wasn't right for me to work while I was pregnant because of the danger to the baby. They'd just have to shoot around me for my own sake. "That was the limit! Shooting around me would have been more of a strain on me than having a half a dozen children. It would have meant that I'd have to have worked twice as hard in the early months so that the show's schedule wouldn't have been held up. I did that when I had Billy, Jr. and I was completely exhausted afterwards."
Billy Jr. Was Only 1 Month Old When Montgomery Went Back to Work
"When I flatly refused to go along with that plan, they began to hint that the show might be dropped altogether if I didn't cooperate. Of course, that would have been awful for everybody, not just myself and Bill. There are a lot of other people who depend on the show for their living, and I certainly didn't want to hurt them."
Liz paused again. Her face reflected the strain that she must have been under at that time.
"Bill and I had a long talk about the whole situation," she said, "and we were ready to give in to them when something amazing happened. Somehow some little newspaper in Iowa got a hold of a rumor that I was pregnant and printed the story. We still don't know where they got their information from, because we hadn't made a public announcement of the fact yet.
"After they printed the story, the other newspapers came around to check if it were true, and naturally we said it was. Well, no sooner did we do that than letters began to pour into the studio congratulating me and asking if I was going to have the baby on the show.
"Everybody was stunned by the public's reaction, and nobody more than the people who had tried to keep me from having the baby on the show. All of a sudden they were forced to change their tune completely. Their image of me had been all wet as far as the public was concerned. What they had forgotten was that Samantha isn't really some kind of sex symbol; she's the girl next door who just happens to be a witch also. And one thing everybody knows about the girl next door is that her friends and neighbors like to see her happily married and raising a flock of kids."
The people who were against Liz' having a baby on TV have definitely been proved wrong by Liz' fans. Ever since it was announced that Samantha was going to have a child, Bewitched's ratings have been climbing so fast that it's now the number one show all over the country.
When we asked Liz whether Samantha was hoping for a boy or a girl she told us she was casting spells so that it would be a girl. "Of course, I wouldn't really mind if a little warlock came along" she said.
What Liz is happiest about right now is the fact that the baby is expected around October 5th, which is her husband's birthday. "Bill is so pleased at the timing," she told us. "It's really terrific."
When we asked whether she ever felt nervous about having the baby while she was doing the series she said no. "I'm not the one who is nervous," she commented. "It's Bill who is the nervous one. He worries and frets about me like an old hen over her chicks. But that's terrific, too. It really shows that he wants the baby just as much as I do. He'll be a good father."
says she has never been so happy
At that point Bill came over to us with a glass of warm milk for Liz. "It's that time again," he said jokingly. "You know we want this baby to be the healthiest one ever born on TV."
This article originally appeared in TV Photo Story magazine's October 1965 edition. It is reprinted here for educational purposes.