“Hi Sam!” are the very words that were on the lips of many when American television show 'Clarissa Explains It All' first aired in 1991. Loved by many, it was a show that put actress Melissa Joan Hart on the map after her fantastic performance as Clarissa Darling. Although the show ended in 1994 after a very successful run, there was a lot more of Hart to be seen!
In 1997 a television series hit our screens, known as 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch'. It told the story of a teenage witch named Sabrina who moved to the mortal realm in time for her sixteenth birthday, to live with her two Aunts Hilda and Zelda, and their cat familiar Salem. There they teach her to use her powers once Sabrina has come to terms with the fact that she is a witch, and while juggling her spells Sabrina also has to deal with everyday problems mortal teenage girls face, such as high school and relationships.
Already Sabrina was quite a well known character, thanks to the Archie comic series about the teenage witch. Having produced the television series alongside her mother, Paula Hart, Melissa has said that it was thanks to the comic book series that they “came up with the movie idea”, which was released a year before the series launched.
The television series ran for a total of seven seasons, coming to a dramatic end in 2003. Hart has claimed that there are “too many highlights to name” from the show, though admits that her favourite outfit would have to be “ the sparkle-dress from the opening credits”. Indeed, 'Sabrina' got to dress up in a lot of different, and often outrageous, costumes – the wardrobe department must have had the most amazing fun with those!
Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda were just two of the characters in Sabrina the Teenage Witch that were hugely adored. Though, many viewers had their favourites Aunt, as both were contrasting in personalities. Though Hart says she doesn't have a favourite, and that she likes them “both”. Hilda's wacky characteristics were fantastically portrayed by Caroline Rhea, with the more disciplining Zelda played by the equally amazing Beth Broderick. It is clear to see why it would be hard to choose a favourite!
A short while after the television series launched, 'Sabrina the Animated Series' aired – a cartoon series based on the original. It was in fact Hart's younger sister Emily, who can be seen as Amanda in the television show, who was the voice of Sabrina. Hart provided the voices of both Hilda and Zelda. Hart was able to jump from the role of Sabrina straight into the role of the Aunts with ease, showing the strength in her talent as an actress.
Hart has played various characters over the years in different shows, and claims that she “loves them all for different reasons”. She also states that, “ every job I have done has better prepared me for the future”. Certainly Hart has had a lot of experience, with a range of roles to appeal to different audiences. No matter what your preference, there is bound to be a Hartbreak production for you!
She admires her “Mom” most in life, and in 2006 Hart became a Mom herself when she gave birth to her first son Mason three years after marrying musician Mark Wilkerson. Her second son, Braydon, was born in 2008. Television is often criticised now, with suggestions that it often gives out inappropriate messages to children. Hart states that she “monitors what they watch”, ensuring her children are brought up in the best world possible.
While juggling motherhood and her career, Hart also opened up her own candy store, 'Sweetharts' in 2009. It was something she had always dreamed of, and hopes to expand the store to other places in the USA, with the current store located in California. Perhaps one day it will expand across the the United Kingdom too.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch 'ended' six years ago now, and as things stand, Hart has claimed that there are no plans for any one off 'reunion episodes'. She hopes for “ peace, love and happiness” in the future, and of course fans are sure to keep her career going strong. We are sure to see a lot more of Hart in the future – she is a wonderful actress, incredibly talented with a great personality. Whether she is your Clarissa Darling, or your Sabrina Spellman, Hart has warmed the childhood of many, and long may she continue to do so.