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Mar '11

Bewitched in Salem

SUBMITTED BY: Alexandra, Brian and Chloe Pecci   LOCATION: Salem, Massachusetts (2010)

TV Land commissioned a statue of the most gorgeous witch of all time, Elizabeth Montgomery, to celebrate the pop cultural significance of the 1960s comedy “Bewitched.”

The statue is controversial, even attracting the ire of vandals, because some say it is insensitive to mix a silly TV show with the serious horrors of the Salem Witch Trials.  We here at Tacky Tourist Photos would argue that those critics would have a point if the city was not already marketing itself as “The Witch City,” selling out its history as the ultimate Halloween party favor.

Some Bewitched fans have suggested that the TV Land network-sponsored statue would have been more appropriately placed in Westport, Connecticut, the suburb where Samantha and Darrin Stephens lived on the show.

Controversy aside, Alexandra Pecci, author of a new travel guide about Salem, likes the statue.

Bewitched was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid, and I always thought Darrin should lighten up!,” she says.  “Or better yet, spunky Samantha should have found a guy who accepted her talents!”

Pecci is referring to the countless squabbles between Darrin and Samantha about her not using her powers and trying to act like a “normal” housewife. She does not take into account the constant meddling and mental abuse of Darrin’s mother-in-law, Endora, who is always turning him into a frog.

TV Land has also commissioned or financially contributed to other pop culture shrines, including ones to:

* Fonzie (Henry Winkler) from “Happy Days” in Milwaukee.
* Mary Richards from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in Minneapolis.
* Andy (Andy Griffith) and Opie (Ron Howard) from “The Andy Griffith Show” in Raleigh, N.C.
* Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) from “The Honeymooners” in Manhattan.
* Bob Newhart in Chicago.

When the Mary Tyler Moore statue was dedicated in 2001, the actress tossed her hat in the air for countless photographers. About 1,000 Mary Richards-style hats were given out to the crowd to simultaneously toss them in the ultimate Tacky Tourist Photo-op. But no one threw the hats because they wanted to save them as souvenirs.

Astoundingly, the Mary Tyler Moore statue is considered controversial, too.

If you’ve posed with any of these TV Land statues, we’d love to hear from you!

(Alexandra Pecci is author of “Salem: A Guide to America’ Bewitching City,” now available at Amazon.com.)

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