The Addams Family is an American television series based on the characters in Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons. The 30-minute series was created by David Levy and shot in black-and-white, airing for two seasons on ABC from September 18, 1964, to April 8, 1966, for a total of 64 episodes. It is often compared to its CBS rival, The Munsters, which ran for the same two seasons and achieved somewhat higher Nielsen ratings. The show is the first adaptation of the Addams family characters to feature The Addams Family Theme composed by Vic Mizzy.
The Addams Family was originally produced, by head writer Nat Perrin for Filmways, Inc. at General Service Studios in Hollywood, California. Successor company MGM Television (via The Program Exchange for broadcast syndication and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for home video/DVD) now owns the rights to the show.
The Addamses are a close-knit extended family with decidedly macabre interests and supernatural abilities. No explanation for their powers is explicitly given in the series.
The very wealthy, endlessly enthusiastic Gomez Addams (John Astin) is madly in love with his refined wife, Morticia, née Frump (Carolyn Jones). Along with their daughter Wednesday (Lisa Loring), their son Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax), Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan), and Grandma (Blossom Rock), they reside at 0001 Cemetery Lane in an ornate, gloomy, Second Empire-style mansion, attended by their servants: Lurch (Ted Cassidy), the towering butler, and Thing (billed as "itself", but portrayed by Cassidy and occasionally by Jack Voglin, when Lurch and Thing appear in the same scene), a disembodied hand that usually appears out of a small wooden box. Occasionally, episodes would feature other relatives such as Cousin Itt (Felix Silla), Morticia's older sister Ophelia (also portrayed by Carolyn Jones), or Grandma Frump, Morticia's mother (Margaret Hamilton).
Much of the humor derives from their culture clash with the rest of the world. They invariably treat normal visitors with great warmth and courtesy, though some of their guests often have bad intentions. They are puzzled by the horrified reactions to their own good-natured and normal behavior, since the family is under the impression that their tastes are shared by most of society. Accordingly, they view "conventional" tastes with generally tolerant suspicion. For example, Fester once cites a neighboring family's meticulously maintained petunia patches as evidence that they are "nothing but riffraff". A recurring theme in the epilogue of many episodes was the Addamses getting an update on the most-recent visitor to their home, either via mail, something in the newspaper, or a phone call. Invariably, as a result of their visit to the Addamses, the visitor would be institutionalized, change professions, move out of the country, or suffer some other negative life-changing event. The Addamses would always misinterpret the update and see it as good news for their most-recent visitor.
The tone was set by series producer Nat Perrin, who was a close friend of Groucho Marx and writer of several Marx Brothers films. Perrin created story ideas, directed one episode, and rewrote every script. As a result, Gomez, with his sardonic remarks, backwards logic, black mustache and ever-present cigar (pulled from his breast pocket already lit), is comparable to Groucho Marx. The series often employed the same type of zany satire and screwball humor seen in the Marx Brothers films. It lampooned politics ("Gomez, The Politician" and "Gomez, The People's Choice"), the legal system ("The Addams Family in Court"), rock n' roll and Beatlemania ("Lurch, The Teenage Idol"), and Hollywood ("My Fair Cousin Itt").
Boomerang run Edit
The series was first shown on Boomerang alongside The Munsters on October 24, 2011 as part of Halloween 2011. This made the series was of the first (and only) live-action series to air on Boomerang. After it was removed on October 31, 2011, it continued to air every October as part of Halloween until 2013.