It’s Halloween week, so why not bring a little light-hearted spookiness to Nerds United?
This week’s #ToughCallTuesday comes our way from longtime supporter Josh, who said this week’s column should be:
The Munsters versus The Addams Family.*
(Note – To prevent any unnecessary arguments, we’re only talking about the classic television shows. This discussion does not include the movies of the 1990’s.)
The Munsters a group of monsters who are either oblivious to their differences or hope the rest of the community overlooks them as well. They just seem to want to fit in. The Addams Family is relatively normal from a genetic standpoint (no Frankenstein’s monster, vampire, or wolf boy) who are just…odd.
John Astin (previously mentioned in #ToughCallTuesday 4 – Batman ’66 Villains) played a witty, if not charming, Gomez Addams. There was something cool about Gomez. Maybe it was the cigars. But I always thought Astin’s Gomez was smooth, yet comical.
Morticia Addams kept it simple with that slinky black dress and minimal jewelry. Carolyn Jones made a better Morticia than her big-screen counterpart Anjelica Huston (purely opinion). I mean, if you look past her obsession with cyanide and other components used for “flavoring,” she seemed almost normal.
Wednesday and Pugsley were far more innocent and well-meaning in the show than they were in the cinematic version. Wednesday just wanted to raise her pet black widow (you can have all my “NOPE’s” right there) and decapitating dolls. Pugsley was an intelligent lad who at times even tried to “fit in.” He spent time engineering an abundance of gadgets and machines, bonded with dear old dad, and had a pet octopus.
Uncle Fester was an oddball. He likes to blow stuff up and can illuminate a light bulb just by putting it in his mouth. My clearest memories of Uncle Fester are the bed of nails and the head in a vice. Lurch was the butler and could easily be summoned when Gomez or Morticia yanked on the noose (seriously…a noose. I just learned that. I always thought it was just a fancy rope). Lurch’s famous words “You rang” are still echoed through the halls of the Casa de Mehochko, and have been for several years. And then there’s Thing – the helpful hand around the house. A longtime companion of Gomez, Thing’s skill set includes getting the mail, answering the phone, lighting cigars, and…I’m guessing other tasks one does with their hands.
As for the Munsters – a smaller troupe, but unique in their own way.
Herman Munster was a blue-collar worker and the sole bread winner for his 1960’s family. He went out and tried to have a normal, suburban life. Before all that, he traversed Europe, where he met and eventually married Lily. Then he moved with Lily and her father to America, joining the US Army and fighting in World War II.
Lily (nee Dracula) is a vampire, hence the maiden name. This was one of the first shows that featured a strong matriarch and a somewhat bumbling male figure who gets “the look” from his wife. OH MAN! This might have been the show that originated “the look.” Lily also keeps an eye on her son Eddie, and pities her niece Marilyn because she was “hideous” in her normality. And being the smart woman she is, when Herman and Grandpa are fighting, she typically sits it out.
Eddie was a young werewolf boy who attended grade school, had friends, fangs, a wicked widow’s peak, pointy ears, and the worst outfit ever. But he had a sweet little stuffed werewolf. Young Eddie was quite proud of his father, even if he embellished some of Herman’s heroics.
Marilyn was the normal member of the family…which meant she was ostracized be her loved ones. Lily’s niece had nothing “wrong” with her, loved her family, and thought they were the normal ones. It was said that her father was a werewolf, but it was never confirmed what her mother was.
Grandpa “Sam Dracula” was an in-home geriatric (or beyond, seeing as he was hundreds of years old). Unlike vampires of today, there was no sparkling. Grandpa could change into a bat or a werewolf. He spent a lot of time in his cellar-based laboratory. And he often worked some schemes with Herman…to varying degrees of success. But he had a sweet car:
These shows also had incredibly memorable and lasting theme songs (*snap snap*). While I think The Addams Family theme stands out a bit more, when researching for this column, I listened to both, and I was shocked with just how memorable The Munsters’ theme song is. I mean, it absolutely fits the mid-1960’s. It is a little dated, but still, having not heard it for years, I was surprised with how quickly I jumped back in and knew the melody in my head.
There are reasons to love both of these shows. They are iconic and while one has been transferred to the big screen and the other had an attempted reboot for today’s television audience, these are two franchises who hit their high marks with their original content. It is for that reason that I choose……
It was, by many accounts, the first show that showed a more dim-witted, oafish husband/father-figure. But Herman was that inept and still scored a gorgeous vampiress. It doesn’t take Gomez much effort to exude confidence and bring about that well-polished exterior. I just like to think that Herman had to work a little harder for it. PLUS, Herman was a WWII vet.
Furthermore, The Munsters were cancelled in 1966 and replaced with Batman the Series. And I don’t have to explain to you all of the benefits of that particular show.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments, and if you have a topic idea like Josh did, let me know.