Thursday, December 15, 2016


From Entertainment Weekly:

Veteran character actor Bernard Fox, known for his memorable roles on the classic TV series 'Hogan’s Heroes' and 'Bewitched', died Wednesday at the age of 89.

The Welsh actor, most famous for portraying Dr. Bombay on 'Bewitched' and its spin-off, 'Tabitha', died of heart failure at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, California, publicist Harlan Bollconfirmed to EW.

Fox was enlisted for what was perhaps his most famous role: Dr. Bombay, the witch doctor on 'Bewitched'. It’s a character that he would portray throughout the show’s run and then revive on the 1977 spin-off 'Tabitha', as well as the NBC soap opera 'Passions' in 1999.

“Dr. Bombay was an outrageous character,” Fox told a Bewitched fan site in 1998. “If I’d just gone for an ordinary doctor, you wouldn’t have heard any more about it. But because I made him such a colorful character, that’s why they wanted him back; he was easy to write for. They came up with the idea of him coming from different parts of the world all the time, and in different costumes; that was their idea. The puns, I came up with, and in those days, they let you do that.”

Dr. Bombay was inducted into the freshman class of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame in October of 1999.  Not only did he play the role in 19 episodes of 'Bewitched'.  A decade later, he showed up twice in the life of 'Tabitha' Stephens out in San Francisco.  Two decades after that, he appeared again in the whacked-out soap opera 'Passions' for another two appearances.

- Sam's Witchcraft Blows a Fuse (1972)
- Samantha Is Earthbound (1972)
- A Plague on Maurice and Samantha (1971)
- Samantha's Psychic Slip (1971)
- Mixed Doubles (1971)
- Samantha's Magic Potion (1970)
- Make Love Not Hate (1970)
- Okay, Who's the Wise Witch? (1970)
- Just a Kid Again (1970)
- Super Arthur (1970)
- Samantha's Lost Weekend (1970)
- Samantha's Curious Cravings (1969)
- Samantha, the Bard (1969)
- Weep No More My Willow (1968)
- Allergic to Macedonian Dodo Birds (1967)
- Out of Sync, Out of Mind (1967)
- No Zip in My Zap (1967)
- There's Gold in Them Thar Pills (1967) 

- Tabitha's Party (1978)
- Tabitha's Weighty Problem (1977)

- Episode #1.140 (2000)
- Episode #1.55 (1999) 

I suppose I could even make the argument that Fox's appearance as a "Wish Doctor" named Dr. Jinga-Janga in an episode of 'Pee-Wee's Playhouse' could have been Dr. Bombay as well.  

'Pee-wee's Playhouse'
- Sick? Did Somebody Say Sick? (1989) 

Jambi the Genie isn't feeling so good. So Pee-wee calls a wish doctor. When Dr. Jinga-Janga arrives, he diagnoses that Jambi is suffering from Mecca Lecca Hinyitis.

The reason for the name change?  If he really was Dr. Bombay, maybe he was using an alias to treat the genie because there is an age-old rivalry between witches and genies.

Maybe that's why we never saw Jeannie Nelson meet Samantha Stephens.....

As far as I'm concerned, Dr. Bombay is still alive in Toobworld.  This is one of those times where the character will outlive their portrayer.  And for a very long time at that since warlocks are nearly immortal.  

But eventually we could claim that Bombay has passed away - or at least he might have transformed himself into an "inanimate" object.  According to 'Bewitched' lore, when the powers of a witch or warlock begin to fade, they are required to transform themselves into something that will still prove useful.  We have seen it happen before on that show, when a warlock turned himself into an antique bed-warmer.

One day we may see a magical object in some other show which seems to have a life of its own.  There have been a few - the houseful of electric devices in Bartlett Finchley's house in the 'Twilight Zone' episode "A Thing About Machines".  But that happened in the Toobworld timeline in 1960, before we even got to meet the flesh and blood Bombay.  Another option could have been the sword that was passing itself off as Excalibur in the collection of the Metropolitan Library.  But the real Excalibur was in storage at 'Warehouse 13'.  It's the Toobworld splainin that the other Excalibur held by 'The Librarians' was a warlock, and an old friend of Samantha's father Maurice, by the name of Caliburn Exeter.  (Seen below, although not named, in the episode "My Grandson The Warlock".)

Someday there may be a book of magic, perhaps of potions, which shows up in an episode of 'The Librarians'; perhaps one has already been seen in 'Supernatural'.   The book seems to have a life of its own, similar to that flying book seen in the opening credits for 'Amazing Stories'.  And if so, we can make the claim that it could be Dr. Bombay continuing his "life" in a useful manner....

If not that, then perhaps a wardrobe.  Dr. Bombay always did have so many interesting costumes on the show!

But if not, then he's still alive out there in the world of the Toob and he is immortalized - at least for me - in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

Good night and may God bless.....

"We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound... 
Our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. 
We live in music, in a flash of color... 
We live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star."

1 comment:

CammieInOz said...

Thank you so much for this tribute post to Mr Fox.
I had the great pleasure of meeting him in 2014 at the "Bewitched" 50th Anniversary celebration in Studio City.
A talented actor and a lovely, gracious gentleman.