_The Wicked Witch of the West. The most familiar and arguably best Hollywood witch may be the one from Western Oz. Her green-skinned presence eclipsed Glinda’s in the “Wizard of Oz” (1939), even though it took the good witch, not the charlatan wizard, to send Dorothy and Toto back home to Kansas. You’ll be seeing them both again soon when Warner Bros. re-releases a special edition Nov. 6 to commemorate the film’s 60th anniversary.
_Jennifer Wooley: Throaty Veronica Lake weds Frederic March in “I Married a Witch” (1942) in a comic act of vengeance; he’s the descendant of the Puritan who had her burned at the stake in the 17th century. This film inspired the television series “Bewitched.”
_Gillian Holroyd: Kim Novak beguiles Jimmy Stewart in the romantic comedy “Bell, Book and Candle” (1958). Too bad love made the anthropology major-turned-retailer swap her primitive art store for a flower shop. Her bongo-drumming male witch brother _ a rare acknowledgment that male witches actually exist _ was played by Jack Lemmon.
_Samantha Stephens: The nature of television itself makes the nature of witches much kindlier, like the late nose-twitching Elizabeth Montgomery in “Bewitched,” the TV series that aired 1964-’72 and in apparent perpetuity on Nickelodeon.
_”The Witches of Eastwick”: Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer play three sexually frustrated friends who get much more than they bargain for when they all succumb to the charms of the devilish Jack Nicholson (1987).
_The “Hocus Pocus” trio: Disney was behind this film, featuring the unlikely but somewhat inspired grouping of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as witches who terrorize children on Halloween, prompting Wicca protests (1993).
_”The Craft” quartet: Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Fairuza Balk and Robin Tunney _ outcasts due respectively to their looks, race, reputation and outsider status _ strengthen friendship bonds through Wiccan rituals of sisterhood. Unfortunately, they degenerate into narcissism, recklessness and even attempted murder. The movie ends up being another cautionary tale when women become too self-assured (1996).
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(c) 1998, Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.).
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