‘Jeannie’ star Barbara Eden to visit Brevard in October
Actress Barbara Eden is scheduled to visit the Space Coast Oct. 25 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the TV sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie." The hit show was set in Cocoa Beach but filmed in California.
Actress Barbara Eden, who helped put Cocoa Beach on the map as the star of the 1960s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” will return to the Space Coast in October to mark the 50th anniversary of the hit show’s premiere.
Eden, 84, will be in Cocoa Beach the morning of Oct. 25 to officiate the awards presentation of the inaugural Ron Jon Cocoa Beach Half Marathon. That night, Eden will present her show “On the Magic Carpet with Barbara Eden” at the Scott Center at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Upper School at 5625 Holy Trinity Drive in Suntree. General admission tickets for the 6:45 p.m. show are $39, and meet-and-greet tickets are $99. Tickets are available through events.com.
"The people of Cocoa Beach have always been so gracious and welcoming to me," Eden said in a statement issued Sept. 3 through the Space Coast Office of Tourism. "Even though we never actually filmed the show there, we have spent a lot of time on the Space Coast. It seems like a second home to me, and I am very excited to go back there and see so many familiar and friendly faces."
Eden rose to fame as a mischievous, 2,000-year-old genie freed by stranded astronaut Larry Hagman in the NBC television sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” which premiered on Sept. 18, 1965. Set in Cocoa Beach but filmed in California, the hit show ran for five years and 139 episodes, and had been airing on cable and in syndication in the U.S. and abroad for decades.
The show made numerous references to Cocoa Beach, once mentioning Bernard’s Surf, a now-closed Cocoa Beach restaurant that was a favorite handout of space workers and astronauts. Exterior shots filmed at Edwards Air Force Base in California substituted for landmarks at Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Air Force Base.
Eden visited Cocoa Beach twice in 1969: once just before the launch of Apollo 11 and a second time with Hagman to publicize an episode in which Jeannie married her "master," Air Force Maj. Tony Nelson.
Eden’s last visit to Cocoa Beach was in 1996, when the city created a special “Jeannie Day” and renamed Primrose Avenue at Lori Wilson Park “I Dream of Jeannie Lane.” A historical marker commemorating the show was added in 2012.
The inaugural Ron Jon Cocoa Beach Half Marathon on Oct. 25 will have a “Jeannie” theme. Runners can dress up like Jeannie and will be awarded medals shaped like Jeannie’s famous bottle. For more information about the running event, go to cocoabeachhalfmarathon.com.
For her stage show, Eden recalls her star-studded career with rare and never-before-seen film clips, a Q&A session with the audience, memories of such stars as Hagman, Elvis Presley, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and President John F. Kennedy.
Eden, whose 2011 autobiography “Jeannie Out of the Bottle” became a New York Times bestseller, will host a 25-hour, 50-episode “Still Dreaming of Jeannie” marathon on Antenna TV starting at 8 p.m. Sept. 19.