Tabitha Stephens is the beautiful blonde witch featured on the ABC fantasy comedy series TABITHA (1976-78).
Tabitha (Lisa Hartman) is the daughter of Samantha and Darrin Stephens who live in Westport, Connecticut at Morning Glory Circle. Like her mother, Tabitha is a witch. She also has a younger brother named Adam who didn’t inherit the ability to do magic.
“Once upon a time there was little girl named Tabitha. She and her family lived in a typical American home. There was a mother, Samantha; a father, Darrin; little Tabitha; and her brother, Adam. As Tabitha grew older, her parents discovered that she was a gifted child [“Look!” (Tabitha levitates a book)]…quite gifted. but wisely they didn’t pay a lot of attention to that and Tabitha grew up ju-u-u-u-st right with pigtails and freckles, just like any other typical American girl. Eeeh, almost.”
When Tabitha and Adam matured, they both left Connecticut and traveled to California. There, Tabitha, now 22-years old, and Adam (David Ankrum) found employment at TV Station KXLA. Tabitha got hired as the television production assistant for “The Paul Thurston Show.” When necessary, Tabitha used her witchcraft to solve problems.
Keeping an eye on the two Stephens siblings was their meddlesome but well-meaning Aunt Minerva (Karen Morrow) who encouraged Tabitha’s use of witchcraft.
Tabitha’s coworkers at KXLA included Tabitha’s boss, Paul Thurston (Robert Urich), a talk show host and love interest; producer Marvin Decker (Mel Stewart) and assistant program manager, Adam Stephens, Tabitha’s brother who discouraged his sister’s use of witchcraft.
To afford Tabitha a promotion path, Aunt Minerva once “arranged” for Tabitha to become a TV weather girl. Not only that, what ever weather Tabitha predicted, it magically happened.
Witchcraft also came in handy when Tabitha saved Paul from the wrath of a powerful coven witch named Cassandra (Mary Wickes) after he mocked witchcraft during an interview. The “hit witch” sent after Paul was a little 8-year old girl (actually a 85-year-old who has refused to grow up) named Paula who claimed to be Paul’s daughter and moved into his home to do her dirty work on him. On Halloween night, Paula turned Paul into a werewolf. But through Tabitha’s intervention, Paul avoided disaster.
While Tabitha had the notion that Paul Thurston was her “Mr. Right,” it didn’t stop her from looking around for other possible candidates which brings us to Ted Bingham (Dack Rambo), a candidate for State Senator. Tabitha used witchcraft to delay his plane so she could have dinner with him.
Ted was attracted to Tabitha and admitted that was his main reason for doing The Paul Thurston Show. After Paul declares his jealously over Ted, Tabitha cast a “truth spell” to find out which of the men were sincere. In the end, Tabitha decided that Paul was still her man.
Other suitors for Tabitha’s affection were TV director Jeff Baron and Warlock named “Monty the Magnificent” whom Aunt Minerva recommended as a possible romantic interest.
Now, Tabitha wasn’t the only one with romantic misadventures. Once, the wild and crazy Aunt Minerva decided to live as a mortal and consequently, she falls madly in love with French ski instructor named Jean Claude LeMatt. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a philanderer.
Occasionally, people from Tabitha past made appearances in her life. One such character was the family witch doctor Doctor Bombay (Bernard Fox). He had cared for Tabitha since she was a child. Now even as an adult, he would pop in from time to time to offer a diagnosis on a medical problem.
Tabitha once caught a strange cold and every time she sneezed, she cast a spell. After Aunt Minerva’s remedy failed, Dr. Bombay popped in to save the day but not before Tabitha had turned an amorous Russian weightlifter name Vasily Kasseroff into a photograph of himself.
The Kravitz family, Abner and Gladys who lived across the street from Tabitha most of her life, also visited Tabitha to check on their bumbling niece Nancy when she ran away to the big city.
Tabitha let Nancy stay with her temporarily and later assured the Kravitz’s that Nancy was fine. Nancy entertains hopes of a romance with Tabitha’s brother, Adam, but he does not share her inclinations. Nancy eventually got a job as a police meter maid and assuaged her aunt fears that she could take care of herself.
Another drop in was a witch named Portia (Tracy Reed), who had made Tabitha’s high school years miserable. During her visit, Portia bewitched coworker, Marvin Decker, until then a happily married man.
When her initial seduction failed, she sends Marvin a magical red velvet coat. When worn, he becomes a swinger and heads out to the disco with Portia. But Marvin and his wife, Lorraine’s true love break the spell and send Portia packing.
The last we heard of Tabitha she was abiding by a ruling from the Witches Council to marry a human. The chosen target: Paul Thurston. We are still waiting to learn the outcome.
Tabitha’s Theme Song
[Sung by Lisa Hartman]
Some people got it,
Some people don’t
You never know until you try
You never know baby if you can fly
If you try. It could be magic the way i feel,
It could be magic but it feels so real.
It could be magic
Well, it could be magic.
It could be magic.
NOTE: In the first pilot, called TABATHA, she lived in San Francisco and chose to live her life as a mortal and not use witchcraft.
Her brother Adam, however, was a full-fledged Warlock and tried to convince Tabatha to use her magical abilities. (Susan Dey of THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY fame) was asked to play the role, but she turned it down.
Another pilot episode screened in the USA by ABC on 24 April 1976 (not shown in Britain) featured Liberty Williams as Tabitha and Bruce Kimmel as Adam. In the series that followed a year later Tabitha was played by Lisa Hartman; she also sang the theme song ‘It’s Magic’ and later enjoyed a successful career as a rock singer.
On 2 December 1972, ABC screened a one-hour animated special, “Tabitha And Adam And The Clown Family,” in which the teenage witch and her younger warlock brother were pitched into a circus setting. Cindy Eilbacher and Michael Morgan provided the principal voices.
c/o KXLA Television
Los Angeles, CA