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The Addams Family

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From left to right, Pugsley, Wednesday, Gomez, Aristotle (Pugsley's octopus), Fester, and Morticia.

The Addams Family is a group of fictional characters created by American cartoonist Charles Addams.

The Addamses are a satirical inversion of the ideal American family; an eccentric, wealthy clan who delight in the macabre and are unaware that people find them bizarre or frightening. They originally appeared as a series of single panel cartoons, published in The New Yorker between 1938 and Addams's 1988 death. They have since been adapted to other media, including television series, films, video games, and a musical.

Contents

[edit] Premise and background

Addams's original cartoons were one-panel gags. The characters were undeveloped and unnamed until later versions.

Gomez and Pugsley are enthusiastic. Morticia is even in disposition, muted, witty, sometimes deadly. Grandma Frump is foolishly good-natured. Wednesday is her mother’s daughter. A closely knit family, the real head being Morticia—although each of the others is a definite character—except for Grandma, who is easily led. Many of the troubles they have as a family are due to Grandma’s fumbling, weak character. The house is a wreck, of course, but this is a house-proud family just the same and every trap door is in good repair. Money is no problem. [1]
 

The family appears to be a single surviving branch of the Addams clan. Many other "Addams families" exist all over the world. According to the film version, the family credo is, Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc (pseudo-Latin: "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us"). Charles Addams was first inspired by his home town of Westfield, New Jersey, an area full of ornate Victorian mansions and archaic graveyards.[2]

They live adjacent to a cemetery and a swamp at 0001 Cemetery Lane, in a gloomy mansion. (In The New Addams Family, the address was changed to 1313 Cemetery Lane, in a reference to a rival show The Munsters[citation needed]). In the Addams Family musical, first shown in Chicago in 2009, the house is located in Central Park.[3]

Although they share macabre interests, the Addamses are not evil. They are a close-knit extended family. Morticia is an exemplary mother, and she and Gomez remain passionate towards each other. She calls him "Bubele", to which he responds by kissing her arms—behavior Morticia can also provoke by speaking a few words in French (the meaning is not important- any French will do). The parents are supportive of their children. The family is friendly and hospitable to visitors, in some cases willing to donate large sums of money to causes, despite the visitors' horror at the Addams's peculiar lifestyle.

Addams began as a The New Yorker cartoonist with a sketch of a window washer that ran on February 6, 1932.[4] His cartoons ran regularly in the magazine from 1938, when he drew the first instance of what came to be called the Addams Family, until his death.[4]

In 1946, Addams met science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury after having drawn an illustration for Mademoiselle magazine's publication of Bradbury's short story "Homecoming", the first in a series of tales chronicling a family of Illinois vampires named the Elliotts. The pair became friends, and planned to collaborate on a book of the Elliott Family's complete history, with Bradbury writing and Addams providing the illustrations, but it never materialized. Bradbury's stories about the "Elliott Family" were finally anthologized in From the Dust Returned in October 2001, with a connecting narrative and an explanation of his work with Addams, and Addams's 1946 Mademoiselle illustration used for the book's cover jacket. Although Addams's own characters were well-established by the time of their initial encounter, in a 2001 interview Bradbury states that Addams "went his way and created the Addams Family and I went my own way and created my family in this book."[5]

[edit] Addams Family characters

Originally none of the members of the Addams family had names, but when the TV show was in development, Charles Addams was asked to provide names for each of the characters. For the father he suggested Gomez or Repelli;[6] for the mother, Morticia;[7] for the uncle, Fester; for the grandma, Grandma Frump;[7] for the butler, Lurch; for the daughter, Wednesday[7] (for being "full of woe"), and for the son Pubert.[6] Pubert was changed to Pugsley.[7] The name Pubert resurfaced as the name of the new Addams baby in Addams Family Values.

[edit] Family members and servants

The Addams family consists of Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, Wednesday, Uncle Fester, Grandmama, Leslie, and Cousin Itt. The family is tended to by their butler, Lurch, and the disembodied hand in a box, Thing.

[edit] Gomez Addams

Gomez Alonzo Addams is the master of the Addams household and the Addams patriarch. He is the husband of Morticia and the father of Wednesday and Pugsley. Originally Grandmama's son, this was retconned later on to make him Grandmama's son-in-law. His brother (originally uncle-in-law) is Uncle Fester. In the original cartoons, he appears as tubby, snub-nosed and with a receding chin.

In the TV series, Gomez is portrayed as a naive, handsome, and successful man, although he has a child-like, eccentric enthusiasm for everything he does. For instance, his personal portrait depicts him as standing gleefully on his head. Though a peaceful man, he is known to be well-versed in many types of combat. He and Morticia fence with foils sometimes.

Gomez has an endless love for his wife, Morticia. He studied to be a lawyer, but rarely practices, while taking great pride in losing his cases. Gomez is also quite pleased with the fact that his law class voted him "Least Likely to Pass the Bar".

Gomez is extremely wealthy from inheritance and extensive investments, but he seems to have little regard for money. Although he invests in the stock market, to the point where there is a ticker tape machine in their living area, he seems to play the market primarily to lose, or invests in odd schemes that inadvertently pay off big (swamp land found to have oil, etc.). One novel claims that Gomez became wealthy after he discovered that it is possible to make a killing in the stock market. Despite his macabre sense of humor, he is extremely generous and known for going out of his way to help those he considers friends.

Gomez is of Castilian origin and loves to smoke cigars and play destructively with his model trains. Of the names Addams suggested for the family members, "Gomez" was the only one that was not "ghoulish" (in the manner of Morticia or Fester). When asked why he suggested the name Gomez for the character, Addams replied that he "thought he [the character] had a bit of Spanish blood in him." However, Addams had trouble deciding whether the father character was Spanish or Italian. He decided that if he were Spanish, he would be called "Gomez", if Italian, he would be "Repelli" (although Gomez and Repelli are actually surnames). The final choice of first name was left up to actor John Astin.[8] Gomez is typically seen wearing conservative businesswear long out of fashion, such as pinstripe suits and spats.

[edit] Morticia

Morticia Addams (née Frump) is the matriarch of the Addams Family. She is a slim woman with pale skin and a Gothic appearance, clad in a skin-tight black hobble gown with octopus-like tendrils at the bottom. Certain sources have suggested she may be some kind of vampire; certainly she has never been shown to smile with her teeth. She adores her husband Gomez just as deeply as he does her.

Morticia's original mother was Hester Frump (played in two episodes by Margaret Hamilton), but her origins were later retconned and she became Grandmama's daughter. (Grandmama subsequently became known as Esmeralda Frump.) Morticia has an older sister named Ophelia. In the sitcom, her marriage brought her uncle Fester into the family.

[edit] Pugsley and Wednesday

Gomez and Morticia have two children, Pugsley and Wednesday. Wednesday, whose middle name is Friday, was originally—as her name suggests—a quiet, somewhat pathetic child, full of woe. In the TV show she is a sweet-natured, innocent, happy child, largely concerned with her pet spiders. A favorite toy is her Marie Antoinette doll, which Pugsley had guillotined. The movies gave Wednesday a much more serious and mature personality with a deadpan wit and a morbid fascination with trying to physically harm or possibly murder her brother (she was seen strapping him into an electric chair, for example, and preparing to pull the switch); she is apparently often successful, but Pugsley never dies. Like most members of the family he seems to be inhumanly resilient, requiring a lot more punishment to be killed.

For his part, Pugsley is largely either oblivious of the harm his sister tries to inflict on him, or an enthusiastic supporter of it, seeing all attempts as fun and games. In his first incarnation, Pugsley was depicted as a diabolical, malevolent child next door. In the TV series, he is a devoted older brother and an inventive and mechanical genius. In the films, he loses his intelligence and independence, and becomes Wednesday's sidekick and younger brother, cheerfully helping her in her evil deeds.

In the animated series, Wednesday is a happy and somewhat optimistic child, while retaining her sophisticated manner from the movies, and Pugsley is a genius at chemistry — especially explosives — and machines, though his intelligence seems underdeveloped at times.

The children appear to be home-schooled, receiving all the education they require from Grandmama and Uncle Fester. An attempt was made to enroll them in the local elementary school, but it did not work out, initially. In later episodes of the television series, however, they are depicted as attending the public school.

In the first movie, the children attend an elementary school where Wednesday is praised for her performance. Both children perform in school plays with their uncle's help, and in the second movie they are on summer vacation from school.

In the stage musical, Wednesday is aged to about 18, while Pugsley is kept young.

[edit] Pubert

In the 1993 film Addams Family Values, Gomez and Morticia have a third child, a son named Pubert (voiced by Cheryl Chase), a mustachioed baby who seems to escape certain death through random chance a number of times. At some points in the movie flaming arrows that originate off-screen fly by, with the implication that Pubert is the one who shot them. Originally conceived by Charles Addams for the character eventually named Pugsley in the 1960s TV series, the name was rejected due to fears that network censors would not allow it because of its similarity to the words "pubic" and "puberty".

Pubert is referred to in the unrelated 1998 straight-to-video film Addams Family Reunion and the short-lived follow-up series that aired on Fox Family Channel, in which Wednesday states that there used to be a third sibling, but that they ate it.

[edit] Uncle Fester and Grandmama

Other members of the family who live with Gomez and Morticia include Uncle Fester and Grandmama.

Fester is a bald, barrel-shaped man with dark, sunken eyes and a devilish grin. He seems to carry an electrical charge and can illuminate a light bulb by sticking it in his mouth. In the original television series, Fester was Morticia's uncle. In all other animated and film media, Fester Addams is Gomez's older brother. The character plays a central role in both of the first two feature films. In The Addams Family, Fester is reunited with the other Addamses after years apart; while The Addams Family Values focuses on his relationship with Deborah "Debbie" Jellinsky.

Grandmama is the maid of the Addams household, and is also a witch who deals in potions, spells, hexes, and even fortune-telling. Her trademarks are her shawl and grey, frizzy hair. Charles Addams originally named the character Grandma Frump in his notes for the cartoon strips' adaptation to television,[7] therefore making her Morticia's mother. For the 1960s television series—as well as The New Addams Family, in which she is named Eudora Addams—her relationship to the family is retconned and she becomes Gomez's mother. However, both the feature films and animated television series conform to Charles Addams's original concept of Grandmama as Wednesday's and Pugsley's maternal grandmother. In the first film, Morticia and Gomez discuss how Mother and Father Addams were killed by an angry mob, removing any possibility that Grandmama could be Gomez's and Fester's mother. In the third film, in which she is named Esmeralda, she is again implied to come from Morticia's family. The character is simply referred to as Granny in the two animated series. In the second episode of the 1992 series, Grandmama introduces herself with the line, "the name's Granny Frump",[9] while the following episode references Gomez's parents, Mother and Father Addams.[10] The 2010 Broadway musical version of The Addams Family pokes fun at the inconsistencies of Grandmama's origin. In once scene, Morticia and Gomez both reveal that each believes she is the other's mother. People didn't know about her ghost son named Eduardo.

[edit] Thing, Lurch, and Cousin Itt

Another member of the family is seen in the form of a disembodied hand named "Thing". Thing has been Gomez's friend since childhood. He (it is implied that he is male) often performs common, everyday tasks such as retrieving the mail, writing a letter or just giving a friendly pat on the shoulder, appearing out of ubiquitous boxes or other convenient containers throughout the house. He communicates with the Addamses with a Morse-like alphabet, sign language, writing, and knocking on wood. In the movies and The New Addams Family, Thing was a fully mobile hand, cleanly severed just below the wrist (although no muscle or bone is exposed). In the original sitcom, Thing is severed just below the elbow (In the TV series, the lower arm was often seen). He lives in an upstairs closet made up as a house-within-a-house, though he is also shown to reside in a cigar box. In the original TV series, Thing was generally played by Ted Cassidy (the actor who played Lurch). Thing is called "Dedos" (Fingers), "maozinha" (little hand) or "Coisa" (thing) in Brazil, "Mano" (hand) in Italy, "La Chose" (The Thing) in French and "Eiskaltes Händchen" (ice-cold little hand) in Germany. He was usually a right hand, but Cassidy occasionally used his left, "just to see if anyone noticed".[11]

Thing was based on a New Yorker cartoon that depicted a shocked mailman reacting to sign posted on the Addamses' mansion which warned "Beware of the Thing". While developing the series, Charles Addams was asked what, exactly, was the "thing"? He opined that "thing" was a disembodied head that rolled through the house on various ramps and pulleys. It was decided that a hand would be a bit more palatable. This was to prove a source of some terrible puns.

It is never made clear exactly what Thing is, whether some sort of actual creature or a somehow reanimated hand from some human person. We do know from the 60's sitcom that Thing is not unique. In episode #38, 'Morticia Meets Royalty', Princess Millicent von Schlepp arrives and produces an elaborate box from which a distinctly feminine hand (played by Carolyn Jones) emerges. Thing promptly falls in love. The female thing has an actual name, Lady Fingers, and in another episode we find that Thing, too, has a name: Thing. Or, more specifically, according to Morticia, Thing Thing; actually, Thing T. Thing, she finally clarifies. At least one other Thing appears on-screen: when Lady Fingers leaves Ms. von Schlepp's service, she is replaced by "Esmeralda", a rather hideous old female claw with jewels and nasty black pointy fingernails. In the episode "Thing is Missing", a picture was shown supposedly of his parents. The picture only showed a male and female hands holding hands. It would appear that Things are fairly common amongst the family's odd associates.

In addition to Thing, the Addams family also have a tall, ghoulish manservant named Lurch. Lurch serves as a shambling, gravelly-voiced butler, vaguely resembling Frankenstein's Monster though he is a considerable "jack of all trades". He tries to help around the house, although occasionally he botches tasks due to his great size and strength, but is otherwise considered quite a catch by the Addamses for his skill at more personal tasks, such as waxing Uncle Fester's head and amusing the children (to whom he is deeply devoted). Surprisingly, he is often seen playing the harpsichord and organ with a great degree of skill and somewhat uncharacteristic enthusiasm. In Addams Family Reunion, Gomez states that Lurch is not really an Addams, and Morticia replies that Lurch has parts of many families, and that he has the heart of an Addams. In one episode of the 1960s TV series, Lurch's mother, played by actress Ellen Corby, comes to visit. She is a short, overbearing little old lady. Lurch also seems to have a level of invulnerability; in Addams Family Values, a 20-pound cannonball is dropped from the top of the Addams mansion, landing directly on his head, seemingly with no ill effect. In the sitcom, he was capable of speech; beckoned by the pull of a noose-shaped rope which sounded a thunderous gong, he would answer with a signature monotone, brusque and basso profundo, "You rang?" In the theatrical movies, Lurch never speaks, using only grunts, sighs, or simple gesticulations. The New Addams Family returned to the original style, right down to the noose that rang a gong. Lurch also seemed a little more polite than his earlier counterparts.

Cousin Itt (spelled as "Cousin It" in the movies and the pinball game), who frequently visits the family, is short-statured and has long hair that covers his entire body from scalp to floor. Cousin Itt drives a 3-wheeled car: a Messerschmitt KR175.[12] Although in the series he is shown wearing opera gloves, it is unclear what, if anything, is beneath the hair. In episode 34 of season 1 of the original television series, when Gomez asks Cousin Itt what is underneath all the hair, Cousin Itt replies, "Roots." He is known to speak in a high-pitched nonsensical gibberish that only the family seems to understand. Although in the "My Fair Cousin Itt" episode of the sitcom, Morticia and Gomez teach Cousin Itt to speak in an understandable voice. In the second animated series, Itt is a super-spy for the U.S. government. In the movies he falls in love with a human woman, Margaret, and marries her after her first husband, Tully the lawyer, is disposed of by the Addams children. He and Margaret (whose child with Tully is missing since the school recital in the first film) go on to have a child in Addams Family Values, named "What" (from the obstetrician's reaction). In Addams Family Values, Cousin Itt performs the wedding of Fester, demonstrating he has some sort of title and legal power that is not explained in the movie. In Latin America, Cousin Itt is called "Tio Cosa" (Uncle Thing) and he is Morticia's brother. In Italian, It is known both as "cugino It" and "cugino Coso". Another cousin named "Cousin Cackle" is depicted as residing in the caves beneath the Addams mansion, often heard laughing in a cackling manner, and appearing in one Halloween episode of the television series to participate in a seance.

[edit] Pets

In the sitcom, references are made to an innumerable collection of bizarre and unconventional creatures such as hawks, bats, and alligators, although there were a handful with some consistency throughout the various media the family appeared in.

Kitty Cat is the family lion, and can be seen in several episodes roaming around the house. (Though not seen in the 1991 film, Gomez can be heard shouting 'Down, Kitty!' while going to the vault to pay Tully, while a lion's roar can be heard.) The entire family regards Kitty Cat as they would an average housecat, and seem flummoxed at the notion that Kitty Cat is in any way dangerous. Pugsley has an octopus called Aristotle, and Wednesday a large collection of spiders with only one she mentions in particular by name, Homer. The family also has a pair of piranha named Tristan and Isolde who live in a fish tank and a vulture named Zelda (changed to Muerto for the first film).

Cleopatra is an African Strangler, a man-eating plant (similar to Audrey 2 from Little Shop Of Horrors) belonging to Morticia. The plant eats meatballs made of yak and other tasty meats specially prepared and more often than not spoon-fed to her. In a season 1 episode, "The Addams Family Meets the V.I.P.'s", Gomez states that Cleopatra is only 3 years old. At another point in the series, however, it's said that Morticia had Cleopatra before she and Gomez married, having grown her from a seedling.

In the musical, the family has a pet giant squid named Bernice, that, one night, crawled up from the toilet. She lives in the sewers underneath the house, and appears in the grotto. Only her tentacles are shown.

[edit] The Mansion

The Addams family's mansion has had many different incarnations over the years. It made its first appearance (at least, the interior did) at the same time as Morticia and Lurch, in one of Charles Addams's cartoons. The house was depicted as being a dilapidated mansion that had been condemned (and was seemingly haunted, due to the strange creatures at the top of the staircase). Since then, it had become almost a character itself, and served as the main setting for the rest of the cartoons featuring the Addams family. Stories surrounding the mansion (in video games, primarily) are common, and the house's origins and specific nature are explored more deeply in The New Addams Family than any other incarnation.

In the 1960s TV series, the house was given an address: 0001 Cemetery Lane. Instead of being a dilapidated house, it was now practically a museum filled with odd statues, trophies, and other interesting things. The house also sported a playroom with medieval racks, nailbeds, iron maidens, and stockades for "relaxing".

The house once again became a condemned mansion in the New Scooby-Doo Movies TV show, in which the Addamses made a guest appearance. In the following Addams Family 1970s cartoon, the mansion was mounted on a trailer and dragged all over the world with the globetrotting Addams clan.

The two Addams Family movies in 1991 and 1993, along with the second animated series in 1992, resurrected the mansion's original exterior design from the Charles Addams cartoons. The movie Addams Family Values had the mansion appearing exactly as it did in Charles Addams's drawing of the family about to dump boiling oil on a group of carolers from the roof (a gag that was acted out in the opening sequence of the previous film).

The New Addams Family provided a cross between the original TV show's mansion and the movie/comic strip's mansion. The mansion remained a condemned building (according to Morticia, it had actually been condemned five times), and the interior had various dangerous objects and odd statues, just like the original TV show. The entrance gate (nicknamed, appropriately, "Gate" in the original TV show and the 1991 film) was now overgrown with foliage. A cemetery was moved next to the house (a change that also occurred in the two feature films and the 1977 reunion special), and there were now various secret rooms and passages. The mailbox and door knockers seem to be alive. When Gomez and Morticia first moved in as the home's owners (though Gomez and Grandmama had been residents even before then), they thought it was haunted. They regret that it wasn't, "but you can't have everything." But the existence of the ghost of Aunt Minerva proves otherwise (though she may have "moved in" just recently). It's also mentioned that the home is made of titanium instead of wood (and is consequently bomb-proof), has 26 (or maybe 27) rooms—if Fester has made a new addition with his cannon—and the house has apparently been in the family for centuries. The area surrounding the house can be described briefly as a wasteland, with swamps, a moat, and the like. The address was also changed to 1313 Cemetery Lane in a reference to 1313 Mockingbird Lane, the home of The Munsters.

In the stage musical, the mansion is moved to two acres in Central Park, New York City.

[edit] Houseguests

Guests include Morticia's older sister Ophelia (also played by Carolyn Jones in the sitcom), Morticia's cousin Melancholia and Morticia's mother (including Fester and Gomez's sister), Hester Frump (played in the sitcom by Margaret Hamilton, wearing her Miss Almira Gulch dress from The Wizard of Oz)[citation needed]. The Addamses have many other eccentric relatives who, in the sitcom, are described but never shown—unless they appear in one of the bizarre family portraits seen hanging on the walls.

[edit] Neighbors

Most of the Addamses' neighbors are less than understanding of the family's eccentricities. Within the larger community, the Addamses are viewed as eccentric, dangerous, or worse. Both the TV shows and movies deal with outsiders attempting to understand and "correct" the behavior of the family, and remain frustrated and horrified by the things that the Addamses find amusing. The Addamses, for their part, are just the opposite, and are often shocked and horrified at the actions of conventional society.

The second animated series introduced three new regular characters: the Normanmeyers (Norman, Normina, and N.J.), a family of "normal" people living across the street from the Addams. While Norman and Normina are constantly appalled and shocked at the Addamses' macabre behavior, their son N.J. counts Wednesday and Pugsley as his best friends. Norman owns and works at an underwear factory and is utterly obsessed with underwear, decorating the entire Normanmeyer house with an underwear motif, which arguably makes him less "normal" than the Addams themselves. Norman was played by Rob Paulsen, Normina was voiced by Edie McClurg, and N.J. was performed by Dick Beals.

[edit] The Beineke Family

Mal and Alice portrayed by Terrence Mann (back) and Carolee Carmello (front) in The Addams Family.

Not originally created by Charles Addams, they were introduced in the musical. The Beinekes are supposedly related to the Addams (it is implied that Lucas and Wednesday married). Coming from Ohio, they are described as "straight arrow Midwesterners." [13]

Lucas Beineke, Wednesday's boyfriend (and implied husband). At first, he is reluctant to get married, but later he agrees.

Mal Beineke, Lucas' father. He works for a unnamed demolition/real estate company.

Alice Beineke, Lucas' mother. She loves to rhyme and spout happy poems at random.

[edit] The paranormal nature of the Addams

Unlike The Munsters, which explicitly stated its characters' supernatural identities, the exact nature of the Addamses is never established. They all seem to share a bond with the occult and supernatural. Uncle Fester is often portrayed as something of a mad scientist, and Grandmama as a fortune-teller, but these activities don't really explain the Addamses' seemingly immortal state. Much of the food they live on is inedible or outright deadly for normal humans to eat, and they take an interest in painful activities like walking across minefields or having a sharp pendulum cut them in half.

In the 1960s television series, virtually every member of the family demonstrates some uniquely "non-human" trait:

None of these traits are considered unusual by any others in the family, but treated simply as individual talents that anyone might possess. All take pleasure in enduring such experiences as lying on a bed of nails, being stretched on a rack, and so on.

Occasionally, the 1960s series features guest characters who share the Addamses' tastes, which—along with the fact that the family obviously purchases its yak meat, explosives, etc. from somewhere—implies an entire subculture of people who share the family's tastes (as seen in several Charles Addams cartoons). In contrast, the Addamses themselves consider such things as daisies, chocolate fudge, the Boy Scouts, and other such traditionally "wholesome" things—as well as any distaste for such things as swamps, octopuses, and hanging upside-down from the ceiling—to be odd, if not outright disturbing. Fester once cited a neighbor family's meticulous petunia patches as evidence that they were "nothing but riff-raff".

[edit] The Addams Family (TV series)

In 1964, the ABC-TV network created a television series based on Addams's cartoon characters. The series was shot in black-and-white and aired for two seasons in 64 half-hour episodes (September 18, 1964 – September 2, 1966). During the original television run of The Addams Family television series, The New Yorker editor William Shawn refused to publish any Addams Family cartoons, though he continued to publish other Charles Addams cartoons. Shawn regarded his magazine as targeting a more refined readership, and did not want it associated with characters who could be seen on television by just anybody. After Shawn's 1987 retirement, the characters were welcomed back to The New Yorker.

The TV series featured a memorable theme song, written and arranged by longtime Hollywood composer Vic Mizzy. The song's arrangement was dominated by a harpsichord, and featured finger-snaps as percussive accompaniment. Actor Ted Cassidy, in his "Lurch" voice, punctuated the lyrics with words like "neat," "sweet," and "petite". Mizzy's theme was popular enough to enjoy a single release, though it failed to make the national charts. (The song was briefly revived in 2007 for a series of "Addams Family" TV commercials for M&M's candies.)

[edit] The Addams Family Fun-House

In late 1972, ABC produced a pilot for a musical variety show titled The Addams Family Fun-House. The cast included Jack Riley and Liz Torres as Gomez and Morticia (the pair also co-wrote the special), Stubby Kaye as Uncle Fester, Pat McCormack as Lurch and Butch Patrick as Pugsley. The pilot aired in 1973, but was not picked up for a series.

[edit] Halloween with the New Addams Family

A TV reunion movie, Halloween with the New Addams Family, aired on NBC Sunday, October 30, 1977. It featured most of the original cast, except Blossom Rock, who had played Grandmama but was very ill at the time; she was replaced by Jane Rose. Gomez's brother, Pancho, is staying with the Family while Gomez goes to a lodge meeting in Tombstone, Arizona. Gomez is jealous of his brother, who once courted Morticia. Halloween is nigh, and Pancho tells the legend of Cousin Shy, who distributes gifts and carves pumpkins (similar to the Great Pumpkin). Actually, Gomez has been lured off by crooks, who've bugged the house in order to steal the Family fortune. Lafferty, the boss, sends Mikey to investigate. Wednesday (now called "Wednesday Senior") is home from music academy, where she studied the piccolo (she breaks glass with it). Pugsley ("Pugsley Senior" now) is home from Nairobi medical school, where he's training to be a witch doctor. Gomez and Morticia meanwhile have had a new set of kids, Wednesday Jr. and Pugsley Jr., who closely resemble the original kids. Mikey panics and flees after treading on Kitty Cat's tail. The crooks have a fake Gomez and Morticia to help in their plans, along with two strong-arm goons, Hercules and Atlas. Gomez returns home for the Halloween party and trimming of the scarecrow. The movie had a slightly different version of the theme song. The finger snaps were used, but not the lyrics.

Lafferty poses as Quincy Addams (from Boston) to get in. He has his men tie up Gomez and Morticia and his doubles take their places, confusing Pancho, who's still got the hots for Morticia. Lurch scares off the thugs and terrifies the assistant crook. Fester, trying to be nice, puts Lafferty on the rack. Lafferty tries to escape through the secret passage and steps on Kitty Cat's tail. When the police arrive, they surrender. The Addamses are then free to celebrate Halloween happily.

[edit] Films

In the 1990s, Orion Pictures (which by then had inherited the rights to the series) developed a film version, The Addams Family (released on November 22, 1991). Due to the studio's financial troubles at the time, Orion sold the US rights to the film to Paramount Pictures. Upon the film's initial success, a sequel followed: Addams Family Values (released on November 19, 1993, with worldwide distribution by Paramount). Loosened content restrictions allowed the films to use far more grotesque humor that strove to keep the original spirit of the Addams cartoons (in fact, several gags were lifted straight from the single panel cartoons). The two movies used the same cast, except for Grandmama, played by Judith Malina in the first film and Carol Kane in the second. A script for a third film was prepared in 1994, but was abandoned after the sudden death of actor Raúl Juliá.

In 2010 it was announced that Illumination Entertainment, in partnership with Universal Pictures acquired the underlying rights to the Addams Family drawings. They will be producing a stop-motion animated film based on Charles Addams' original drawings to be directed by Tim Burton.[14]

[edit] Addams Family Reunion

A third film, Addams Family Reunion, was released direct-to-video on September 22, 1998, this time by Warner Bros. through its video division. It has no relation to the Paramount movies, being in fact a full-length pilot for a second live-action television version, The New Addams Family, produced and shot in Canada. The third movie's Gomez, played by Tim Curry, follows the style of Raúl Juliá, while the new sitcom's Gomez, played by Glenn Taranto, is played in the style of John Astin, who had played the character in the 1960s. The only actors in this Warner Brother's production to have played in the previous Paramount films were Carel Struycken as Lurch and Christopher Hart as Thing.

[edit] The New Addams Family

The New Addams Family was filmed in Vancouver, Canada, and ran for 65 episodes during the 1998–1999 season on the newly-launched Fox Family channel. Many storylines from the original series were reworked for this new series, incorporating more modern elements and jokes. John Astin returned to the franchise in some episodes of this series, albeit as "Grandpapa" Addams (Gomez's grandfather, a character introduced in Addams Family Reunion). Pubert's absence in the new series (and possibly Addams Family Reunion) was explained in an early episode when Wednesday mentioned that "There were three of us, but Pugsley ate the little one." The cast included Glenn Taranto as Gomez Addams, Ellie Harvie as Morticia, Michael Roberds as Fester, Brody Smith as Pugsley, Nicole Fugere (the only cast member from Addams Family Reunion to return) as Wednesday, John DeSantis as Lurch, Betty Phillips as Grandmama and Steven Fox as Thing.

[edit] Animation

Two animated television spin-offs and an animated guest appearance have also been produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions.

The Addams Family's first animated appearance was on the third episode of Hanna-Barbera's The New Scooby-Doo Movies, "Scooby-Doo Meets the Addams Family" (a.k.a. "Wednesday is Missing"), which first aired on CBS Saturday morning September 23, 1972. Four of the original cast (John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, and Ted Cassidy) returned for the special which involved the Addamses in a mystery with the Scooby-Doo gang. The Addams Family characters were drawn to the specifications of the original Charles Addams comics. After the episode aired, fans wanted more animated adventures featuring the Addamses, and Hanna-Barbera obliged.

The first animated series ran on Saturday mornings from 1973–1975 on NBC. In a departure from the original series, this series took the Addamses on the road in a Victorian-style RV. This series also marked the point where the relations between characters were retconned so that Fester was now Gomez's brother, and Grandmama was now Morticia's mother (though the old relations would be revisited in the 1977 TV movie, to keep continuity with the original sitcom). Although Coogan and Cassidy reprised their roles, Astin and Jones did not, their parts being recast with Hanna-Barbera voice talents Lennie Weinrib as Gomez and Janet Waldo as Morticia, while an eight-year-old Jodie Foster provided the voice of Pugsley. Again, the characters were drawn to the specifications of the original Charles Addams comics. One season was produced, and the second season consisted of reruns. A complementary comic book series was produced in connection with the show, but it lasted only three issues. The show's theme music was completely different and had no lyrics and no finger snaps, although it retained a bit of the four-note score from the live-action show.

The remake series ran on Saturday mornings from 1992–1995 on ABC after producers realized the success of the 1991 Addams Family movie. This series returned to the familiar format of the original series, with the Addams Family facing their sitcom situations at home. John Astin returned to the role of Gomez, and celebrities Rip Taylor and Carol Channing took over the roles of Fester and Grandmama, respectively, while veteran voice actors Jim Cummings, Debi Derryberry, Jeannie Elias and Pat Fraley did the voices of Lurch, Wednesday, Pugsley and Cousin Itt. New artistic models of the characters were used for this series, though still having a passing resemblance to the original comics. Two seasons were produced, with the third year containing reruns. Oddly in this series, Wednesday maintained her macabre, brooding attitude from the Addams Family movies, but her facial expressions and body language conveyed the happy-go-lucky, fun attitude of her portrayal in the original television show. The original Vic Mizzy theme song, although slightly different, was used for the opening.

They also appear in an animated M&Ms Dark Chocolate commercial in 2008 as M&Ms themselves as a part of the "There's an M&M in everyone" campaign.

[edit] Video games

Six video games released from 1989 to 1994 were based on The Addams Family. Fester's Quest (1989) was a top-down shooter that featured Uncle Fester saving the world from an alien invasion.

Two versions of The Addams Family were released by Ocean Software based on the 1991 Movie; an 8-Bit version for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64, as well as a 16-Bit version released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Amiga, Atari ST and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.


ICOM Simulations also developed a game based on the movie for the TurboGrafx-CD.

The games' sequel, The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt (1993), also by Ocean Software, was based on the ABC animated series and was released for Super NES, NES and Game Boy (although the latter two were just 8-bit remakes of the first SNES game, swapping Pugsley and Gomez's roles).

Addams Family Values (1994) by Ocean was based on the movie's sequel and returned to the style of gameplay seen in Fester's Quest.

A Game Boy Color game was released in the 1990s for promotion of "The New Addams Family". The game was simply titled "The New Addams Family Series". In this game, the Addams mansion had been bought by a fictional company called "Funnyday" that wanted to tear down the house and surrounding grounds to make room for an amusement park.

[edit] Pinball

A pinball game by Midway (under the Bally label) was released in 1992 shortly after the movie. It was the best-selling pinball game in history.[15]

[edit] The Addams Family: An Evilution

The Addams Family: An Evilution is a book about the "evilution" of The Addams Family characters, with more than 200 of the original New Yorker cartoons.

[edit] Advertising

In 1994, the actors cast as the Addamses in the first two films (sans the recently-deceased Raúl Juliá) were in several Japanese TV spots for the Honda Odyssey. The Addamses—most prominently Gomez (for which a voice actor was used to impersonate Juliá while footage from Addams Family Values was seen) and Morticia—are seen speaking Japanese.[16][17]

In 2007 and 2008, the Addams Family appeared as M&Ms in an advertising campaign for M&Ms Dark Chocolate.[18][19]

[edit] Stage musical

Zachary James as Lurch and Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family.

In May 2007 it was announced that a musical inspired by the Addams Family was being developed for the Broadway stage. Broadway veterans Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice wrote the book, and Andrew Lippa wrote the score. Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott (Improbable Theater founders) are directing and designing the production, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo.[20] A workshop and private industry presentation was held August 4–8, 2008. Featured in the cast were Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, Annaleigh Ashford as Wednesday, and Nathan Lane as Gomez. A two-week workshop was held in January 2009, with an industry presentation on January 27, 2009.[citation needed] In addition to the earlier cast, Kevin Chamberlin plays Fester and Zachary James plays Lurch.

The musical opened in previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway on March 8, 2010, with an official opening on April 8.[21] after an out-of-town tryout in Chicago at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts from November 13, 2009 to January 10, 2010.[22][23] The cast includes Lane as Gomez, Neuwirth as Morticia, Terrence Mann as Mal Beineke, Carolee Carmello as Alice Beineke, Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, Jackie Hoffman as Grandmama, Zachary James as Lurch, Krysta Rodriguez as Wednesday, and Wesley Taylor as Wednesday's love interest, Lucas Beineke. The creative team is as stated previously.[24]

[edit] Cast

Gomez Addams is portrayed by
Morticia Addams is portrayed by
Pugsley Addams is portrayed by
Wednesday Addams is portrayed by
Uncle Fester is portrayed by
Grandmama is portrayed by
Lurch is portrayed by
Thing is portrayed by
Cousin Itt is portrayed by

[edit] References

  1. ^ PDF Document of The Addams Family: An Evilution
  2. ^ Charles Addams (1912–1988)
  3. ^ Chris Jones, "Needs More 'Family' Time", Chicago Tribune, Friday, December 11, 2009, Section 5, page 5
  4. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (October 26, 2006). "In Search of the Dark Muse of a Master of the Macabre". The New York Times: p. E9. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/26/books/26masl.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&ref=arts&pagewanted=print. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  5. ^ Ray Bradbury Interview Part 1 | IndieBound
  6. ^ a b Burr, Ty. "The Addams Family (1992): DVD Review", Entertainment Weekly, June 12, 1992
  7. ^ a b c d e Miserocchi, Kevin, (2010) The Addams Family: An Evilution, p. 2 (online sample pages)
  8. ^ Davis, Linda H. Chas Addams: A Cartoonist's Life, Random House, 2006. page #?
  9. ^ Episode 1x02, "Dead and Breakfast", (1992) The Addams Family
  10. ^ Episode 1x03, "The Day Gomez Failed", (1992) The Addams Family (see also, IMDB's Memorable Quotes for the episode)
  11. ^ "The Addams Family" at Sitcoms Online
  12. ^ 3-Wheelers on TV and at the Movies
  13. ^ OnMilwaukee.com Arts & Entertainment: Addams Family heads to Broadway, via Chicago
  14. ^ Tim Burton’s Next 3D Animated Film? Da Da Da Da, Snap Snap: ‘The Addams Family’ – Deadline.com
  15. ^ Addams Family at the IPDB
  16. ^ Honda Set to Play Catch-Up in Mini-Van Market - New York Times
  17. ^ Addamses: The Addams Family Archive: Japanese Car Commercials
  18. ^ The Addams Family: A Spooky Yet Sweet Return | TV Series Finale
  19. ^ M&Ms Dark
  20. ^ Go, Go, Go Gomez! Addams Family Musical, by Lippa, Brickman and Elice, In Development playbill.com
  21. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Zaks Is New Patriarch of Addams Family; Previews Will Now Begin March 8". Playbill.com, December 29, 2009
  22. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Gans, Andrew. "Lane, Neuwirth, Chamberlin, McCarthy and Arden Featured in Addams Family Reading", playbill.com, August 4, 2008
  23. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Addams Family Sings Together in NYC Workshop of New Musical, With Lane and Neuwirth", playbill.com, January 2009
  24. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Addams Family Musical to Star Lane, Neuwirth, Carmello, Hoffman, Chamberlin and More", playbill.com, May 11, 2009

[edit] External links

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