Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Addams Family, The

Two tv series have been based on the creations of Charles Addams.

1. US tv series (1964-1966). Filmways/NBC. Pr Nat Perrin. Exec pr David Levy. Dir Arthur Hiller, Jerry Hopper, Sidney Lanfield, Nat Perrin, Sidney Salkow and many others. Developed for tv by David Levy. Writers Hannibal Coons, Carol Henning, Preston Wood and many others. Novelization The Addams Family * (1965) by Jack Sharkey. Starring John Astin (Gomez Addams), Ted Cassidy (Lurch/Thing), Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester), Carolyn Jones (Morticia Frump Addams/Ophelia Frump), Lisa Loring (Wednesday Addams), Blossom Rock (Grandmama Addams), Felix Silla (Cousin Itt), Ken Weatherwax (Pugsley Addams). 64 30min episodes. B/w.

For many years Addams had entertained magazine readers with a running series of sketches featuring the family, but now they were given names and distinct personalities. Gomez, the head of the family, hails from Spain; he is totally unaware he is unlike the rest of the world. Some of his more memorable moments come when his wife, Morticia, says anything in French, for this drives him to the heights of amorous ecstasy. Morticia, dressed in a slinky black gown so tight she can barely walk, enjoys working in her garden of carnivorous plants. The couple have two children: Pugsley, aged nine, and Wednesday, seven. The household also includes Uncle Fester, who loves explosives, sleeps on a bed of nails and puts his head in a vice to relieve headaches, and Lurch, the 6ft 9in butler, whose vocabulary consists almost exclusively of a sepulchral "You rang?". The family is completed by Thing, a disembodied hand.

In each episode some poor "regular" person would be drawn briefly into their madness. For example, one episode dealt with a visit from the children's teacher, who was concerned about their schoolwork; a short while in the mansion quickly convinced her never to worry about them again. This was one of two series debuting that year that dealt with unusual families, the other being The Munsters (1964-1966). [BC]

2. The Addams Family US animated tv series (1973-1975). Hanna-Barbera/NBC. Pr Iwao Takamoto. Exec pr William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Dir Charles A Nichols. Comics adaptation The Addams Family * (3 issues 1974-1975). Voice actors Ted Cassidy (Lurch), Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester), Jodie Foster (Pugsley Addams), Cindy Henderson (Wednesday Addams), Janet Waldo (Morticia Addams/Grandmama Addams), Lennie Weinrib (Gomez Addams). 37 30min episodes. Colour.

This animated version put the Addams family in a series of new settings, for they converted their two-storey mansion into a motor home and set out on the road. Each episode featured their misadventures as they travelled across the USA. Original cast members Jackie Coogan and Ted Cassidy reprised their roles. One intriguing (with hindsight) bit of casting was of the young Jodie Foster as Pugsley. The humour was rudimentary.

3. A third US Addams Family tv series (animated; vt The New Addams Family) was aired in 1992, in the wake of the success of The Addams Family (1991). [BC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.