Ratings were good enough for the television special that NBC decided they would run it on prime time for a second showing. T.J. Nelson, the child of Jeannie and Tony, is revealed to have the same magic powers as his mother, which adds a whole new wrinkle to the story. Barbara Eden clearly still had the magic she did back when the show was on the air, but Larry Hagman did not.
He was starring in the CBS series “Dallas” at the time and wasn’t able to reprise his role of Tony Nelson. Instead, actor Wayne Rogers filled in for him. The film even went back to the very same beach where the show began, the same one where Tony Nelson found Jeannie’s bottle.
Her Time on the Stage
Eden had been a star in big movies and the leading lady of one of television’s most popular shows – what was left? Well, how about starring in theater productions? Eden had actually taken the stage a number of times since 1964, but her most popular outing was probably as Tess Harding in “Woman of the Year” in 1984. She plays a busy TV personality who gets into a relationship with a handsome cartoonist.
This was the play’s first national tour after none other than Lauren Bacall had played the main character during the Broadway run. Tess is up for the eponymous award, but she has to decide between her career and her relationship and needs a lot of help figuring out what will truly make her happy.
Bringing the Band Back Together
While on the road with the “Woman of the Year” show, Eden couldn't do much other acting, but after that, it was back to her most popular role. In 1985, she starred in the film “I Dream of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later.” It was the first of two reunion films for the famous series. It’s been fifteen years since we last saw the characters. Jeannie has been a housewife for fifteen years, and Tony Nelson is being promoted to Colonel, soon to retire from the NASA space program.
Jeannie wants to throw a party for him, but, as you might expect, complications arise. There’s even a space flight that is in danger of being struck by a meteor! The audience even thinks that Jeannie and Tony are broken up at the end until Jeannie uses some magic to fix things.
Slowing Things Down a Little
By this point, Barbara Eden was in her fifties and one of the most famous actresses around, even if she wasn’t a premium A-list star. After reprising her most famous role, she decided to slow down a little bit. The only other thing she did until 1987 was appear in the documentary about Academy Award-winning producer and director George Pal.
The documentary came out in 1985 and has Pal himself and a lot of other people, including Eden, talking about Pal’s work. Other than that bit, Eden didn’t do anything other than appear on stage for the play “South Pacific” in 1986. Only one movie and a play to perform? It’s like she was on vacation! Eden clearly liked to stay busy, but even she needed to relax for a little while.
Her Musical Career
We’ve talked about her movies, her shows, and her plays, but there’s one part of Barbara Eden’s career we haven’t touched on just yet. Eden grew up with her mother singing to her, and she started her entertainment career singing in nightclubs. She was in a couple of musical films and theater productions, but she also released an album of songs all the way back in 1967. It was called “Miss Barbara Eden” and was released through Dot Records.
It didn’t really make all that much press, but it was another way that Eden displayed she had the all-around star power to be a hit in Hollywood. She also performed a couple of songs for the “Harper Valley PTA” soundtrack, just to round out her career.