There is likely very little sadness surrounding the passing over the weekend of 100-year-old Sherman Oaks resident Sol Saks. His life was one of many blessings, right down to the fact that there will be no funeral services because, according to the LA Times obit, he got to celebrate his recent centenary (December 10th) as a “living memorial.”
The one-time Northwestern journalism student became a multi-millionaire on the basis of a single Bewitched pilot script. He never wrote another episode. And because Columbia Pictures owned all rights to domestic sorceress movies I Married a Witch (1942) and Bell, Book and Candle (1958), Saks was free to co-opt without fear of being sued. Granted, what he did with the assignment was stellar, but he never failed to frame his efforts as the reworking of an age-old idea.
Saks’ down-to-earth MO is evident when you listen to his description, via Bewitched fan site HarpiesBizarre.com, of the early 1960s TV show pitch process:
“If you were invited for a drink, that was good. Lunch was better. The top was dinner. If you were invited for dinner, you knew you were in.”
Saks also became good friends with Cary Grant after writing the star’s 1966 feature film Walk Don’t Run, later attending Dodger games with the star. Sweet.
[Photo courtesy Television Academy Foundation]