Today November 25th, will make if 45 years ago that I Dream of Jeannie cast had their mock wedding in Cocoa Beach and the final winding -down of the popular sitcom series “ I Dream of Jeannie”.
Avid TV viewers will recall the final series of “I Dream Of Jeannie” where Jeannie marries Tony Nelson. In an interview with this author, Barbara Eden said that it was a ‘bitter sweet; experience”. The episode was cast well with great costumes and Barbara Eden performed well but it was the end of the series when Tony marries Jeannie and sadly everyone know the show was winding down..
But to get this final series kicked off with a good publicity stunt, a mock wedding was held on November 25th, 1969. The whole cast of I Dream of Jeannie showed up in Cocoa Beach for this event. In addition to the TV show’s cast were at the original mock wedding were many state VIPs. This well publicized occasion preceded the TV wedding episode that aired early part of December 1969.
The activities commenced in Cocoa Beach on November 25th,1969 with a signing of a mock wedding license. Accompanying Barbara was her real life husband Michael Ansara and present were other cast members, Larry Hagman,Bill Daily, Hayden Rorke, and Sidney Sheldon (creator of the show). It was a jam packed three day of activities including a visit to the budding spaceport at the Cape Canaveral Air Force station. To get things kicked off right and as authentic as possible Ms Eden and Larry Hagman took out a wedding license at Cocoa Beach City Hall. Among the VIP guests Governor Claude Kirk was the first to arrive with Senator Beth Johnson who had engineered the event. Over 400 guests were gathered at the wedding ceremony including 35 television writers from around the county.
The bride was lovely, her wedding gown a white satin pant suit with a beaded genie vest, cap, veil and the familiar Jeannie pony. The groom Larry Hagman the actor of character ‘Tony Nelson’ was attired in a navy Nehru suit with rose embroidered trim, a double strand of beads on his wrist and rose colored glasses – the glasses were for real, “I can’t see without them,” said Hagman jokingly.
Official ceremonies included cake cutting by Gov. Kirk. He kissed Jeannie and said ,”It is my duty to kiss every bride in the state.” Jeannie in turn presented Governor Kirk with a 200th anniversary medallion from the State of California.
At the reception Larry Hagman was the center of attention. Known as Mr. Casual in the press he wore a Stetson, with a necklace made of horse teeth and wore Levis and cowboy boots. Playing a flute someone across the pool yelled, “What’s that Larry? ” It is a flute you dummy” retorted Larry.
Hagman told reporters how he got his start in acting and movies in Miami, Florida. For some reason he wasn’t always considered credible in his discussions with the press.
Real life astronaut Gene Cernan was there too signing autographs and making comments on Monday’s splashdown of Apollo 12 saying, “It was beautiful.”
This celebration ended by a “Jeannie Night” at Lee Caron’s Carnival Club, a popular Cocoa Beach night club.
“Jeannie Days Remembered” by Ray Osborne
Cocoa Tribune 1969
Interview with Barbara Eden November 2010
On this day Novemeber 25th, 2011, GPS over to I Dream Of Jeannie Days geocache and enter your name in the log and enter to win a copy of the book”Jeannie Days Remembered”
Visit the History of Cape Canaveral website for a link for the above geocacher.