Salem, Mass., known for witch trials, gets Bewitched statue

SALEM, Mass. (AP) – Not everyone was enchanted when officials unveiled a statue of the actress who played Samantha Stephens on the 1960s television show Bewitched in this city known for its witch trials several centuries ago.

Hundreds turned out last week to see the 2.7-metre-tall bronze statue of late actress Elizabeth Montgomery.

But some say the statue trivializes the tragic events that occurred in Salem in 1692, when 20 people were put to death after being accused of witchcraft. Critics say the statue is nothing but an ad for the Bewitched movie, starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, which is set to be released this month.

Others, including the mayor and some city councillors, welcomed the statue as harmless fun in a place that has long made money playing off the witch hysteria.

The statue is sponsored by the TV Land cable network, which airs classic shows. The network has placed statues of famous sitcom characters around the United States, including one of bus driver Ralph Kramden of The Honeymooners in New York, and one of Mary Richards in Minneapolis, Minn., where The Mary Tyler Moore show was set.

The ceremony was attended by show director William Asher, who was married to Montgomery, and actors from the original series, including Bernard Fox (who played Dr. Bombay), Kasey Rogers (Louise Tate), and Erin Murphy (Tabitha Stephens).

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AP, via, USA
June 20, 2005

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