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Curses, Spells & Incantations

Curse of Strega - Strange family curse mentioned on episodes No. 155/156 "A Midwinter's Night's Dream - Part 1 & 2" on the sitcom THE GOLDEN GIRLS/NBC/1985-92.

The "Curse of Strega" was placed on Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak (Beatrice Arthur) when she was a child after she passed on a cold to a girl named Lena Pacerelli who died from the infection. Any attempts at removing the curse were futile unless remedies were cast during a leap year's full moon.

Of course, the liberated Dorothy felt the curse was pure superstitious, but her Sicilian mother, Sophia Spirelli Petrillo (Estelle Getty) held firm beliefs in the Old World ways and feared for her daughter's safety.

Years later at a moonlight madness party celebrating the leap year's full moon, Sophia suddenly remembered the childhood curse and set out to save her now grown daughter from any further harm.

To reverse the spell, Sophia needed to perform three tasks before midnight: kiss a fool; help a holy man; and reveal a betrayal of a loved one.

First, Sophia kisses a man who thinks that her dim-witted friend Rose Nylund (Betty White) is smart ("He's got to be a fool1"). Next, Sophia trips a Rabbi and then helps him up. Her third task was accomplished by overseeing her daughter kiss Rose's boyfriend, Dr. Miles Webber (Harold Gould) who just proposed marriage to Rose and was having second thoughts. Dorothy and Miles were both confused and in a moment of weakness kissed each other as a way to comfort one another. Sophia joyfully used this mistake to held end the curse by rushing to Rose and telling her what she witnessed.

But before Sophia could tell Rose about the kiss, Miles and Dorothy were feeling guilty about the first kiss and Rose sensed trouble. To save Rose's feeling, Miles lies and says Dorothy stole five hundred bucks from him. Rose mediated the crisis and tells Dorothy and Miles to kiss and make up.

As they kiss, Sophia rushes in for the kill to reveal what she witnessed. Rose thinking the kiss Sophia is talking about is the one she just observed, tells Sophia "I saw them kiss. It's no big deal."

With that, Sophia takes her lumps but is happy because the terms of the Curse of the Strega have been satisfied.

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