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May 11, 2005

TV Land doesn't get it...but then neither does WashPo, nor Salem

From the Washington Post:

Executives at TV Land surely expected gracious applause when they announced plans for a bronze statue of Samantha Stephens in "Bewitched." And why not? Everyone loves the statue of Ralph Kramden in "The Honeymooners," which was commissioned by the rerun cable network and is now on display in midtown Manhattan. There were upbeat reviews for their homage to "The Andy Griffith Show," which enshrines Sheriff Andy Taylor and young son Opie and which you can see near the statehouse in North Carolina.

But the plans for the salute to "Bewitched" didn't go over well. That's because TV Land decided the place for this nine-foot tribute to America's most beloved housewife witch is in the middle of Salem, Mass., a town best known for hanging 19 citizens accused of witchcraft. Okay, it happened a long time ago -- in 1692 to be exact -- but it's still a sore subject. Capitalizing on that history with a statue of a broom-riding TV witch struck some locals as in really bad taste.

The Post points out though, that...

The high school mascot is the witch, and police officers have a witch and broom stitched into the emblem on their uniforms. In the run-up to Halloween, a bunch of costume stores and haunted-house operations open up and the place is transformed, at least for the night, into a party town. It's a strange premise for attracting crowds: We hanged people, so come on down!

What's missed is the fact that almost all of those hanged were devout Christians. All of their accusers were self-confessed witches. The judge was a former slave-trader, whose grandson carried on the family's anti-Christian hatred with books demonizing the Puritans.

...and the witches are celebrated?

Posted by Danny Carlton at May 11, 2005 09:12 AM

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