New Biography on "Bewitched" Star!

New Biography on "Bewitched" Star!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Updated Press links related to TWITCH UPON A STAR

General Classic TV Women Article

Who Is Herbie J Pilato?

I am Caine – Herbie J Pilato: The Interview

The Industrious Light and Magic of Herbie J Pilato

An Interview with Herbie J Pilato

Celebrating the Charms of Bewitched – 50 Years Later

Yahoo!  - How Samantha Got Her Nose Twitch

Bewitched Craft

Author Profiles Bewitched Star in New TWITCH Biography

Book Pleasures Interview with Herbie J Pilato

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christian Book Critic Salvador SeBasco Gives TWITCH Five Star Review

"Herbie J Pilato’s TWITCH UPON A STAR is as perfect a book as could be in honor of a star’s legacy (Elizabeth Montgomery). Through this book, the recognition of her influence on a culture and memories of her impact live on. Pilato gives readers insight about just how really human Television’s most popular fictional witch of all time was. TWITCH UPON A STAR shines bright at a rating of 5 Stars (out of five).

Elizabeth Montgomery life, her trials of self-realization, and the chain of events that led her to entertain others is what first resonated after reading TWITCH UPON A STAR. I read it twice. Afterwards I watched re-runs of Bewitched− knowing what I learned from TWITCH UPON A STAR –and what stirred me most were the questions that came to mind which I feel TWITCH UPON A STAR answered.  What does a person’s life mean to others?  Does a meaningful life mean one’s influence on other’s after one has gone? Does it mean an undeniable mark on others? A lasting fondness?  By Pilato reminding us of Elizabeth Montgomery life, he reminds us that to live is to have meaning to others. In the era Elizabeth Montgomery lived, the onset of woman’s lib placed her unsuspecting role as the role of Samantha Stephens on a (sweet little) television show called Bewitched.

It also showed viewers that an extraordinary extent of privacy is possible in one’s own home. After all, if a witch could be hidden from recognition and within the walls of a home was one’s own business, there was a great value to owning a home. The show also conveyed a woman knows best and that her dabbling in her husband’s business affairs brought unexpected gains. That was something unheard of in that era.

TWITCH UPON A STAR is as no other book. And while my being Christian sides me with the direction of thought that us being “perfect” is not attainable (because the only perfect is the Lord) TWITCH UPON A STAR is as perfect as perfect a book can get on this earth. Between the lines we are reminded that to realize (with television) we are watching a place in history made is not what we realize when we watch the best entertainers of our time. After we are affected by what we experience, we just know they took us to a place (in our own hearts) and to that a moment in time that relieved us from our own expectations on ourselves and others. We get to tune out all but what we are watching. In a world where anticipation is half the fun, the best entertainers (as was Elizabeth Montgomery) get us to anticipate and stay in a steady-state of anticipation that detracts us from those levels of expectations from everyday life. Some call it escapism−that being entertained provides−but it is more. Every now and far in between then a person (entertainer) comes along, as Elizabeth Montgomery had, that brings a sheer joy to watch; because we did not know what to expect next out of that person; a humbling experience in observance of what is genuine about a person.

When our values of past have been bruised by the present world we live in, and we’ve evolved away from certain mainstay values in entertainment, the preservation of television’s history and the efforts to preserve, brings us back to the foundational values of being entertained; to bring forth appeal, and all that is unexpected and not anticipated. TWITCH UPON A STAR more than takes us back to a time when. It moves readers forward with hope of what (in similar fashion and form or spiritedness) can be achieved in entertainment; and who better than Herbie J Pilato to bring that message forward to this and the next generation. He is the founder and Executive Director of The Classic TV Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education.

Thank you, Herbie J Pilato for giving it your all (in this book). TWITCH UPON A STAR is a blessing in disguise; a reminder of the passion, perseverance, devotion, and diligence partook by entertainers. In between the lines of TWITCH UPON A STAR readers are likely to gain a sense that Elizabeth Montgomery lived her legacy while she was alive, and that by her genuine nature, left a mark on society, influenced others beyond her widest imagination, and in what we see of her work in reruns and by Pilato’s artful mastery of the craft of writing, we (readers) get to relive the reasons we have the fondness for the way Elizabeth Montgomery entertained us.

Back to our earlier questions, questions that stirred in me as I read TWITCH UPON A STAR: What does a person’s life mean to others?  What would be at stake had that person never existed? Pilato shows readers in more ways than one that one person can make a great difference in the world and that Elizabeth Montgomery did so by not setting out to do so; but by serving to the best of one’s ability.  To be given the gift that TWITCH UPON A STAR is proves that a life well lived is not about what you take but what you give.

Bravo to Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. For me, a person who thinks he’s read the best of the best books, you put a twinkle in my eyes with Herbie J Pilato’s mastery of the craft of writing. To relive television’s greatest times is to travel into the depth of one’s own heart and TWITCH UPON A STAR did that for me. Thank you.”


Salvador SeBasco
Book Critic
Literary Director
on staff with CNN affiliate station, KNLE

December 5, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012


On October 25, 1963, Elizabeth Montgomery made a TV-guest star appearance on an episode of 77 Sunset Strip, titled, “White Lie,” in which she portrayed the conflicted half-white, half-black granddaughter of a character played by Juanita Moore.  It was a monumental premise that Moore had explored with her Oscar-winning performance in the 1959 ground-breaking feature film Imitation of Life.  It was also an historic theme that Montgomery would revisit in playing Samantha - the witch-with-a-twitch - Stephens on Bewitched, which began rehearsals on November 22, 1963 - the day President Kennedy was assassinated.  The core message of both “White Lie” and Bewitched was prejudice, against which JFK (who was friends with Montgomery) had fought in an era which became increasingly volatile with race rioting, the Vietnam War, and future assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., each also bold endorsers of human rights.

On Bewitched, Montgomery’s other-worldly Samantha loved her mortal husband Darrin (first played by Dick York then Dick Sargent) despite their “differences,” which they ignored to concentrate on what made them the same: their humanity.

No episode of the show more clearly brought this message home than the Christmas segment “Sisters At Heart,” which debuted on Christmas Eve, 1970, during the show’s seventh season.

Here, Samantha and Darrin’s supernatural daughter Tabitha (played by twins Erin and Diane Murphy) befriends Lisa, a young African-American girl (played by Venetta Rogers).  The two children get along so well, they want to be sisters.  But after a bully in the park tells them that’s impossible because of their disparate physical appearances, Tabitha employs “wishcraft” (whatever she wishes comes true), and seeks to make both she and Lisa the same color.  But the magic goes awry: white polka dots appear on Lisa, and black polka dots appear on Tabitha.  Samantha of course is confounded and calls witch-doctor Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox) for a remedy, though not before espousing to Tabitha and Lisa that,  “All men are brothers, even if they’re girls.”

It’s a touching message that Montgomery believed represented the core message of Bewitched; and one to which she clung off-screen and talked in-depth about with author Herbie J Pilato (Bewitched Forever, The Kung Fu Book of Wisdom).

Pilato shares those talks and more insight from Montgomery in his new book, TWITCH UPON A STAR: THE BEWITCHED LIFE AND CAREER OF ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY, which is based on his exclusive interviews with the actress (who died of cancer in 1995).

Other topics covered: include Montgomery’s generous support of the Peace Movement and the disabled community; how she became one of the first celebrities to help those suffering from AIDS; and her many other charitable efforts.

This book also includes never-before-published commentary about Montgomery from other TV icons like: Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch), June Lockhart (Lost in Space), Lydia Cornell (Too Close For Comfort), Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Eric Scott (The Waltons), as well Montgomery’s childhood best friend Sally Kemp, the Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson (in his final interview!), actor Ronny Cox (her co-star from A Case of Rape, one of her historic, ground-breaking TV-movies), and many others. 

With an expansive perspective on her free spirit, intelligence and wit; her strong sense of politics, family, work ethic and general life priorities, Herbie J Pilato’s TWITCH UPON A STAR: THE BEWITCHED LIFE AND CAREER OF ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY offers a compelling chronicle of a legendary, charitable and very complex actress.  Or as Shannen Devereau Sanford, of New York’s WTBQ Radio said it, “Wonderful book…terrific author . . .”

HERBIE J PILATO is the author of several pop-culture books, including “Life” Story – The Book of “Life Goes On”: TV‘s First and Best Family of Challenge.  Pilato is also the founder of The Classic TV Preservation Society (a nonprofit that seeks to close the gap between popular culture and education), and writes the Classic TV Corner blog for Jack Myers’

Sandy Trupp at Media Connect  *   202.974.5022   *

Kalen Landow   *   Taylor Trade Publishing   *


Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery by Herbie J Pilato

November 2012 · ISBN 978-1-58979-749-9 · 456 pages ·  6 x 9  · $24.95 · Hardcover · 40 B&W and Color Photos · Biography/Entertainment

Taylor Trade Publishing | An Imprint of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group

Distributed by National Book Network · 1-800-462-6420