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January 11, 2007


Nice tribute. We didn't get The Addams Family syndicated in Arizona, so I was a Lily Munster girl all the way. I also loved Bewitched as a kid and made up lyrics to the show's theme song. Scary, I know.

I could never get into the Munsters and barely into the Addams Family. But the two represent a continuing tradition of TV programmers: Avoid an original thought unless desperation leads you to it.

As I recall, the Addams Family was aired by ABC, at that period the distant third-place network (that meant last place in those days), a demographic backwater that held itself together with duct tape and shows appealing to the then-inconsequential younger crowd. That meant that they were willing to take some chances.

When the Addams Family hit, those original-thinking programmers at CBS told a producer, "Make me one of them!"

It's still happening, of course. We have all these stupid "unreality" shows because of 'Survivor.' We also have hour-by-hour or day-to-day season-long dramas because of '24.' We have police shows of the type we now have because of the 'Law and Order' franchises.

Mike Farrell was once asked what he thought that network executives had learned from the success of the M*A*S*H TV show. "Nothing," was his response.

The other day, I wrote a post on my site extolling the virtues of Gerald Ford's vaunted normalcy, seeing that these descriptions didn't reduce him. In fact, they elevated him because his normalcy was actually being a functional human being! But sometimes "normal"--as in the case of network programmers incapable of being original unless they're desperate--is dysfunctional. The theme song for them might be taken from that old Bruce Cockburn song, "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse."


Oh, by the way, it was a revelation for me to see Carolyn Jones in King Creole (1958) on TV after I'd seen her in The Addams Family. Frankly, even on the TV show, she seemed asexual to me. With Elvis she appeared to be sexual, yet maybe because of the show, her sexuality seemed so feigned, so contrived.


Mark, I think the network programmers are worse today than they were in the 1960s. At least back then they'd give a show a chance until it found its audience. Remember that "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was almost cancelled during its first season but it was allowed to percolate until it (deservedly) became a huge hit.

I think both "The Munsters" and "The Addams Family" were refreshingly original, but of course I'm remembering them from the perspective of a 5 to 7 year old. I do think Carolyn Jones was underrated as a comedian. Remember her role as Morticia's older demented sister, based on Hamlet's Ophelia? And I thought she was incredibly sexy, but it was in that very subtle goyishe way where she just expected all the men to flock around her, as opposed to Lily Munster's neurotic hands-on nurturing which I loved. In real life, of course, Yvonne De Carlo was far more the sexpot than Carolyn Jones. And Carolyn Jones was Jewish. She converted when she married Aaron Spelling.

As always another great post. I too was sad to hear of her passing, and it brought back a lot of memories.

I don't see first run of either show, but watched them, endlessley, in reruns. And I was a fan of both Lilly, and Morticia.

And you both couldn't be more right in terms of networks not giving show's time to catch on.

From The Dick Van Dyke Show, to Seinfeld to Scrubs to many others, if the networks would give the shows a little bit of time to both keep the audience and introduce new viewers to their shows, they might have successes on their hands.

But execs are afraid of being saddled with a failure, so they cut off their nose to spite their face (and loyal viewers) by pulling the plug and moving on to the next show before anyone can take notice.

I'm still miffed at NBC for pulling the plug of Surface, a fun show with a cute little sea creature that everyone I spoke to who had a chance to see it, enjoyed. But the numbers just weren't there.

I guess 2 million viewers is good for cable, but not for network numbers...If something doesn't change soon, we're all going to be watching cable, and then where will the networks be?

I was recently watching Jean Cocteau's version of La Belle et La Bete, and noticed the hand that looked like the Addams Family's version of Thing. Do you suppose they borrowed the idea from Cocteau?

It certainly appeared as though Disney borrowed quite a bit from the film!!

Despite the fact that I believe the true art of cartooning died Charles Addams (although a few, like Gary Larsen, learned a lot from him, oh, and BTW, I once read somewhere that Addams refused to watch the TV show -- don't know if that's true and too lazy to look it up right now), when it came to the two T.V. shows, I was much more a Lily fan than a Morticia fan, despite the fact I actually liked the Addams Family more than I liked The Munsters. Maybe this was because I liked the Charles Addams patriarch better (that must have been the Rorschach test for girls, even those of us who watched the shows in re-runs, having been too young to pay attention when they first arrived. I'm so jealous of those of you who were conscious when such things first appeared).

Wonderful tribute! She was a beautiful and talented actress. I watched the Munsters every evening in reruns as a child, and much preferred Lily to Morticia! (Even though, like Emily, the previous comment writer, I was a Charles Addams fan, too.) Thank you for writing such a nice post, Danny.

And best wishes to your wife. Hope she's feeling better soon. (We exchanged letters for a short time after her book came out many years ago. I still long for her second book. A year ago you mentioned she had written one. Any hope of seeing soon?)

Ahhh. I just sneezed. She's not contagious through the blog, is she? Anyway... get well, Kendall.

To continue the spin-off discussion about shows that are cancelled before they are given a chance, let's not forget "My So-Called Life", the best show ever, which was cancelled after one season due to low ratings, regardless of critical acclaim. I still grieve.

Sorry to hear of Ms. DeCarlo's passing. IMHO the striped hair was WAY sexier than Morticia's. I remember as a child being surprised to accidentally catch Ms. D in one of those 40s films (hot, hot, hot!). She became more of a person than a caricature to me then. This was AFTER I had been watching "Munsters" reruns. It was actually "The Munsters" that set me on a life-long course to become a writer. In second grade I vehemently disagreed with the way they had ended an episode (can't remember which one now), and I stomped to my room and rewrote it on that kind of wide kids' newsprint that has room for drawing on top and guide lines on the bottom. I did story boards in colored felt pen on the top and wrote the dialogue in pencil on the bottom. Also, by then I had a "long term" crush on Fred Gwynne. Not only was his Herman M. gawkishly goofy with a remarkably stupid sense of humor that appealed to kids, but he had also been on (I think, if memory serves) one of the two policemen in a way-older show, "Car 54, Where Are You," one of the first things I ever remember seeing on TV as a tiny kid. Gees, I forgot all about that until your post, Danny!

i am faan number #1 of john astin, john astin i dead for you ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡YOU ARE THE BEST ACTOR¡¡¡¡

I Wish i could talk with Carolyne Jones, because i think that is the best actress i have never seen.. but i can't.. so i want to say that i prefer Morticia to Lyli..

Can we just get this straight... Morticia is better; the Addams Family is better; Carolyn Jones is s goddess. That's all you need to know.

I much rather Morticia than Lily. I love Mrs. Addam's smouldering glare. Ah! Gomez was a lucky man!

I prefer Morticia, and don´t think she doesn´t pay attentions to Wendsday and Pugsley, when the characters appears she is a devote, concerning mother (ej.when the kids are force to assist to regular school both of the parents suffer with the idea of be far from them). The problem here is (I think) the families are really different one is a lets say typical middle class family and on the other hand a very excentric and really very rich family.

P.D. Sorry the misspelling and the grammar I´m not from an English speaking country.

By the way, I alway dream to be the owner of a plant like Cleopatra or that my pet was an octopus. (A dragon will be usefull if I want my not to friendly classmates to get eaten :D).

I've seen The Munsters, and I hate it! I love the Addams Family, however. I own every episode on DVD! The Addams Family always was, and always will be, far superior to The Munsters.
P.S. NE1 who thinx M&G are not good parents are obviously idiots who have not seen the first episode where W&P went 2 school.

adoro esta familia, es la mejor. soy aun muy joven, pero amo esta serie y lamento en verdad que no esté actualmente.

I always thought Addams was a more literate show than Munsters. Gomez always spoke in clever wordplay that reminded me of Groucho Marx. Munsters was more or less just a parody of the standard 50s/60s sitcoms that ruled the schedule. Since one was inspired by a New Yorker contributer and the other a product of the Leave it To Beaver creators, perhaps this was to be expected.


adams famly is so cooooooooooool im part goth

For as long as I can remember, I have always thought Lily Munster was HOT!

The addams family is the best show ever linking it to the munsters is horrible they're two different shows leave it as that. Still Carolyn Jones's a better actress than yvonne decarlo and much better looking aswell...

When you think about it, the Addams were probably the least dysfunctional family in television from the 60's onwards. Everyone got along with everyone and all outsiders were accepted for who and what they were.

"A normal family trying to be odd or an odd family trying to be normal?" give me the Addams, any day. They will always be "My Crowd."

BTW, Carolyn Jones was drop-dead gorgeous and John Astin, didn't play Gomez, he was Gomez (with all respect to Raul Julia, who PLAYED him with a gusto rarely seen in movies.)

Okay can I please say something? Mortcia did love and care for her kids. Take note

every time she talked to Wednesday we can see her stroke her daughter's hair. Also I toke

this out of someone's else post:Watch as she frets on the troubles of Pugsley's

joining the boy scouts, watch her weep with worry as little Wednesday runs away from

home...see her beside herself as poor
Pugsley is turned into a chimp!!! (Or so

she and everyone else think)
She worries about spoiling the children,

and over-indulging them too much. She knows that sending them to school is the best

thing for them (even though Gomez wants to stay home and play with them all day).

Morticia is a fine mother.... a great mother.(The post was made by profgriffin on the morticiaphilia on live journal.)

Also Wednesday and Pegsley bratty? Sorry but I think you are wrong on that too.

I wish women could still carry themselves with the grace of Carolyn Jones' Morticia. She did not have to dress like a harlot or cave in to the like of the low brow trash that is "Two Broke Girls"

With a single angelic swish of her wrist she had become the very embodiment of femininity. A small smile of her lips surpassed so much of what we consider elegant. Even now, in the "future", she shames our degraded views of beauty.

My daughter will be exposed to the like of Morticia Adams long before her young eyes are confronted with the disgraceful acts of Beyonce or Rhianna. Hopefully she will see how exquisite and unnervingly beautiful any woman can be.

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