I Dream of Jeannie
For years, it was said that Sidney Sheldon received one as a gift and thought it would be a perfect design for the series. Several people in the Screen Gems art department also take credit for finding the bottle. There is strong evidence, however, that it was first season director Gene Nelson who saw one in a liquor store and bought it, bringing it to Sidney Sheldon.
Jeannie's bottle was left its original dark, smoke-green color, with a painted gold leaf pattern (to make it look like an antique), during the first season. The plot description of the pilot episode in TV Guide in September 1965 referred to it as a "green bottle". In that first episode, it also looked quite rough and weathered. Since the show was originally filmed in black and white, a lot of colors and patterns were not necessary. When the show switched to color, the prop people came up with a brightly colored bottle to replace the original.
The first season bottle had a clear glass stopper that Tony took from a 1956 Old Grand-Dad Bourbon bottle in his home, as the original stopper was left behind on the beach where Tony found Jeannie. In the first color episode, Jeannie returns to the beach, and her bottle is seen to have its original stopper (painted to match the bottle), presumably retrieved by her upon her return there. The rest of the TV series (and the movies) used the original bottle stopper. (During some close-ups, you can still see the plastic rings that hold the cork part of the stopper in place.)
During the first season, in black and white, the smoke effect was usually a screen overlay of billowing smoke, sometimes combined with animation. Early color episodes used a purely animated smoke effect. Sometime later a live smoke pack, lifted out of the bottle on a wire, was used.
Jeannie's color-episodes bottle was painted mainly in pinks and purples, while the bottle for the Blue Djinn was a first-season design with a heavy green wash; and Jeannie's sister's bottle was simply a plain, unpainted Jim Beam bottle.
No one knows exactly how many bottles were used during the show, but members of the production have estimated that twelve bottles were painted and used during the run of the series. The stunt bottle used mostly for the smoke effect was broken frequently by the heat and chemicals used to produce Jeannie's smoke. In the pilot episode, several bottles were used for the opening scene on the beach; one was drilled through the bottom for smoke, and another was used to walk across the sand and slip into Tony's pack. Two bottles were used from promotional tours to kick off the first season, and one bottle was used for the first-season production.
Barbara Eden got to keep the color stunt bottle used on the last day of filming the final episode of the television series. It was given to her by her make-up woman after the show was canceled while the show was on hiatus. As per the DVD release of the first season, Bill Daily owns an original bottle, and as per the Donny & Marie talk show, Larry Hagman also owns an original bottle.
In the next-to-last aired episode, "Hurricane Jeannie," Nelson dreams that Dr. Bellows discovers Jeannie's secret, and that Jeannie's bottle is broken when dropped. A broken bottle is shown on camera.
In the first season, it is made clear that Jeannie was originally a human who was turned into a genie by (as later revealed) the Blue Djinn when she refused to marry him. Several members of her family, including her parents, are rather eccentric, but none are genies. Her mother describes the family as "just peasants from the old country". (Note that the term "Djinn" is synonymous with "genie".)
The topic of Jeannie originally being human is restated in season two during the episode, "How to be a Genie in 10 Easy Lessons". Jeannie mentions that she has a sister who is a genie, but the phrasing – "she was a genie when I left Baghdad" – does bring up the question of whether she too was born a genie.
In the third season, this continuity was changed retroactively and it was assumed that Jeannie has always been a genie. All her relatives are then also genies, including, by the fourth season, her mother (also played by Barbara Eden). This may have been done to increase the similarity with Bewitched, or simply to increase the number of possible plotlines. Whatever the reason, this new concept was retained for the rest of the series.
The 1985 TV movie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later reiterates most of Jeannie's first-season origin when she tells her son, Tony Jr., that she was trapped in her bottle by an evil djinn after she refused to marry him. (There is no specific statement, however, about whether he turned her into a genie at that time or if she had been born one.)
In a 1966 paperback novel published by Pocket Books, very loosely based on the series, it was established in the story that Jeannie (in the book, her real name is revealed as "Fawzia") and her immediate family were genies living in Tehran hundreds of years before Tony found her bottle on an island in the Persian Gulf (instead of the South Pacific, as depicted on TV).