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Emmys 2017
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Revisiting I Dream of Jeannie

With Nick at Nite playing reruns of the 60s sitcom all summer, Barbara Eden talks about her most famous role

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Everett Collection

Barbara Eden needs a straw for her lemonade. Faster than you can blink, she searches the kitchen cupboard of the tony Beverly Hills home where she lives with her third husband, real estate exec Jon Eicholtz, and finds one. Then, over a plate of chocolate chip cookies, Eden, 59 (who’ll be starring this November in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at — natch — the Aladdin Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas), discusses the myth and magic of I Dream of Jeannie.

Is Jeannie politically incorrect? I don’t think so. It’s ludicrous to take this wisp of smoke and compare her with a real person. She’s smoke that’s thousands of years old. She was totally out of context in our civilization.

Do you still have Jeannie’s bottle? Yes, I have the first-year bottle and the one that’s all purple, and both survived the earthquake. They were in our library. All the books came down and everything glass was broken in that room. We looked, and there were the bottles on the shelves.

Did you vote in Nick at Nite’s poll asking who had stronger powers, Jeannie or Samantha? I didn’t vote. My sister kept trying to vote, but she said my line was always busy. She said, ”Her line is always open.” But I have no idea who has more power. I only know about genies. I’ll have to do background work on witches.

Are the rumors true that Elizabeth Montgomery thought ”Jeannie” ripped off ”Bewitched”? Oh, did she? We were on the same lot, and she never said anything to me. Of course, I guess she wouldn’t. It wasn’t my idea. I was just an actor.

Will there be a Jeannie movie? Not that I know of. But if they do one, they’d better have me play the genie, by golly! Genies are old, anyway.

Do you ever dream of Jeannie? No, I don’t. Not that I remember. But you don’t always remember your dreams.