Addams VS Munsters

Welcome to the 13 Days of Halloween

This week’s blog posts will be a three-part series. Each post will be a “vs” feature where I will be pitting two similar icons of Halloween against each other and see who comes out on top. Although I will have my decided favorites going into this series, I’m also keeping myself open to the possibility of being pleasantly surprised and possibly swayed by whatever information I dig up. I hope you enjoy and welcome you to weigh in.

Part 1 of 3:

Addams Family VS The Munsters

How much fun was TV in the 60’s–am I right? I Dream of Jeannie; Bewitched; The Twilight Zone; Dark Shadows; The Carol Burnett Show; The Avengers, and of course, The Addams Family and The Munster’s, just to name a few. In this post I’ll be taking a look at the first family of Halloween–and their rival. We’ll look at the following:

  • theme songs
  • similarities
  • distinct differences
  • sitcom scenes

The Addams Family

What they have:

  • snapping fingers
  • catchy tune
  • ooky intensity
  • Lurch

The Munsters

What they have:

  • great riffs
  • a “normie”
  • a 1950’s housewife feel
  • Fred Gwynne
The Addams Family Mansion
The Munsters’ Home
One of the blue prints of the Addams family mansion . . . just in case I win the lottery.

             Similarities

  • great casts: Carolyn Jones, John Astin, Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis
  • debuted in 1964 (Friday, Sept 18th for the Addams family and the Munsters 6 days later)
  • classic black and white horror film feel
  • close-knit families (macabre but loving)
  • unusual people (who think they’re ordinary) placed in an ordinary setting
  • sitcom hi-jinks
  • ran for 2 seasons

Related image

Distinct Differences

Addams Family

  • originated from a series of cartoons by Charles Addams
  • extremely wealthy
  • Thing (disembodied hand)
  • Cousin It (walking hair)
  • deliciously oddball pets: There were piranhas, a vulture and a pet octopus, called Aristotle (Pugsley’s). The family’s pet lion, Kitty (can’t stand the taste of people)
  • culturally sophisticated oddballs: fencing, horticulture, multilingual, music, dancing,
  • the 90 movies rock: this and this . . . not this never, ever, ever this. Sorry, Tim Curry. You’ve got mad skills but–just–no.

Munsters

  • a family of “real” monsters
  • the Cleavers of the monster-world
  • the “plain-looking niece (Lily’s side)
  • costumes and appearances were based on the monsters of Universal Studios (copyrighted)
  • blue-collar and friendly
  • typical family sitcom formula
  • had higher Nelson rating figures

And the winner is . . .

The Addams Family

In my opinion, the Addams family wins–hands down. Although I can appreciate the satirical aspects of the Munsters, I do not get the “creepy” vibe from them. I gotta have “creepy” and the Addams family delivers. They also really have a handle on “kooky, spooky, and all together ooky.” From their home to their pets to their visiting relatives–nothing “plain” about Cousin It–out of the ordinary is fully embraced.

I can also appreciate the slapstick comedy between Herman Munster and Grandpa, however, I find it leans more toward silliness and not wit. Time and time again that the Addams Family TV series successfully captured the dark humor of Charles Addams (their creator). In every episode, the characters would do creepy things that would be completely out of the normal for “us” (which was demonstrated in many an episode) but completely normal for them. That, I feel, is the appeal of the show. It was just another average day at the Addams family mansion.

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Some have suggested fascination with the Addams Family is partially rooted in class/financial distinctions. Where the Munsters are described as a blue-collar family, the Addams family are described as being filthy rich. This lends to the argument that the Munsters are more relatable given their class status. Relatable? Umm–hello–they’re monsters! And if the Munsters portrayal is that of a typical working class family, couldn’t it also be said that the Addams’ status of wealth is an example of the American dream?

Well that’s it for this time . . . or is it . . . this is the best thing to happen to M&Ms since they brought the red one back:

Until next time . . .

Happy Haunting

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