Ahead of a trip to Brisbane later this month, Barbara Eden explains why her old TV series, I Dream of Jeannie , is still so popular today.
I Dream of Jeannie launched in 1965 on NBC in the US (makes you feel old, doesn’t it?) and instantly became a hit around the world. To this day, repeats of the TV show are still being aired in many different countries, including ours.
But in a day and age when TV is so competitive and cutthroat, how does a show like this last for so long?
Lead actress Barbara Eden says that’s one question she’s asked a lot.
“I guess my answer would be that the show isn’t really dated – we all wear uniforms (in the show) and things like that. It’s a very classical theme, the Genie, the bottle, the magic – and I think you could do that in any era and it would survive.”
Since the beginning of her career, Barbara says she’s always had a love for performing.
“I started out singing, I was singing in church and study at the conservatorium of music in San Francisco and I loved to sing which led to acting,” she says.
“I have always liked the fact that there is something around the corner and I don’t know what it is. Whether I did a film, went singing in Vegas or did a musical or a tragedy, something different was always happening and I love that to this day.”
“Back then it was very hard for female directors, but I think for actresses that was where we (women) were expected to be. I think I was very lucky to find a way to make a living that I enjoyed and was suited to.”
Barbara says although certain things in her life could have gone better, she would never go back and change anything.
“Everything happens for a reason,” she says.
“I think we’re here to do things they way to do them, I think it’s futile to think we have to go back and redo something and change it.”
Since I Dream of Jeannie, Barbara has starred in 25 feature films, over 50 variety TV shows including 21 Bob Hope specials, has been featured in numerous TV commercials and has toured for multiple musicals. She says if you want to be successful in a career you have to be secure in your craft.
“If you’re secure in your craft and you’ve studying it and then you work it, you’ll get the jobs,” she says.
Well, it’s certainly worked for her!
Barbara Eden will be appearing at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Brisbane this month, and looks forward to meeting all her fans.
“I’m excited, I’ll be so happy to see everyone again. I love Supanova,” she says.
Barbara will be doing meet and greets as well as Q & A sessions for fans during the expo. She says she finds it fun and stimulating.
“I love the interchange with the people, I enjoy talking to them,” she says.
“I remember one year I had a whole family come up to me dressed like Jeannie, it was lovely and very nice.”
And the question that’s on all our minds — will Barbara be making her appearance wearing the costume that made her famous?
“No, that’s put away,” she giggles. Damn!
“Unfortunately I haven’t kept many of my costumes over the years, although I wish I had. I do have a Jeannie costume, but I don’t have any of the others things. I wish I had saved more. I also wish I had saved my scripts, when I was finished with them I threw them away – you know, on to the next exciting thing.”
The Supanova Pop Culture Expo will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 November. For more information visit www.supanova.com.au