“The Addams Family” is a classic American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 18, 1964, to April 8, 1966. It ran for a total of 64 episodes over two seasons. “The Addams Family” TV series was created by David Levy, who developed the show based on the original cartoon characters created by Charles Addams.
The show was produced by Filmways Television and released by ABC. Nat Perrin served as the executive producer for the series. Several directors worked on the series, including Sidney Lanfield, Jean Yarbrough, and Jerry Hopper.
The characters did not have names when they appeared in The New Yorker. They were named by the producers of the TV series. When brainstorming names for the patriarch of the family, Addams proposed two options — Repelli and Gomez. The final decision was given to star John Astin.
“The Addams Family” revolves around the lives of the Addams family, a wealthy, eccentric, and delightfully macabre clan living in a spooky mansion at 0001 Cemetery Lane. The family members embrace their bizarre and unusual interests with enthusiasm. Some of their activities include conducting séances, cultivating carnivorous plants, raising pet lions, and engaging in eccentric hobbies.
- Gomez Addams (played by John Astin) – Gomez is the patriarch of the Addams family. He is passionate, eccentric, and deeply in love with his wife, Morticia. He often engages in unusual and dangerous hobbies, such as fencing with his family members and crashing, and blowing up the trains in his train set. Gomez is known for his charm and exuberance. John Astin was an American actor known for his versatile career in film and television. He appeared in various TV shows and movies, including “Route 66” (1962), “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster” (1962-1963), “The Phyliss Diller Show” (1967), “McMillan & Wife” (1972-1973), “The Partridge Family” (1973), “Operation Petticoat” (1977-1978), and voices for “Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels” (1977-1980).
- Morticia Addams (played by Carolyn Jones) – Morticia is Gomez’s wife and the matriarch of the family. She is elegant, darkly beautiful, and has a morbid fascination with all things macabre. Morticia is known for her calm demeanor and her devotion to her husband and children. Carolyn Jones was an American actress known for her work in film and television. She received an Academy Award nomination for her role in “The Bachelor Party” (1957) and appeared in numerous other TV shows and films like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956), “How the West was Won” (1962), “Wagon Train” (1957-1963), “Batman” (1966-1967), and “Wonder Woman” (1976-1977).
Carolyn Jones, who played Morticia, was an actress who had worked with celebrities such as Alfred Hitchcock, Elvis Presley, and others. For her role in The Addams Family, she was extensively made up (2 hours every day) and wore a wig made of natural hair, as her hair was blonde and not so long and straight.
- Uncle Fester Addams (played by Jackie Coogan) – Fester is Gomez’s eccentric brother and is known for his bald head, stocky build, and his love for blowing up lightbulbs by placing them in his mouth. He is a regular source of comedy on the show. Jackie Coogan was a prolific American actor with a career spanning decades. He is perhaps best known for his role as the young boy in the silent film “The Kid” alongside Charlie Chaplin.
- Wednesday Addams (played by Lisa Loring) – Wednesday is the daughter of Gomez and Morticia. She is a solemn and gothic young girl with a penchant for raising spiders and other creepy creatures. Despite her morbid interests, she is a sweet and loving child.
- Pugsley Addams (played by Ken Weatherwax) – Pugsley is the mischievous and chubby son of Gomez and Morticia. He often assists his sister in her dark experiments and is known for his love of destruction.
- Grandmama Addams (played by Blossom Rock) – Grandmama is Gomez’s mother and is a witch who often dabbles in magic and potions. She contributes to the supernatural atmosphere of the Addams household.
- Lurch (played by Ted Cassidy) – Lurch is the butler of the Addams family. He is a tall, stoic, and somewhat slow-witted character with a deep voice. He often plays the harpsichord and responds to his summoning bell with a simple, “You rang?”. Ted Cassidy was a versatile actor and voice artist known for his distinctive deep voice. Apart from “The Addams Family,” he lent his voice to various characters and made appearances in other TV shows.
- Thing – Thing is a disembodied hand that resides in a box and is a helpful member of the Addams family, often performing various tasks around the house. Thing was usually portrayed by Ted Cassidy’s hand.
In one episode, Gomez wants to go on vacation to the moon, so he uses his personal computer to calculate how much it costs to make the trip. This is the first time a computer is used on a TV show. It does the mathematical operation and, in the end, comes up with the sum of one billion and 21.30 USD.
Here are some notable episodes: “The Addams Family Goes to School” (Season 1, Episode 1): The Addams children, Wednesday and Pugsley, attend public school for the first time, leading to comedic clashes with the conventional education system.
“Halloween with the Addams Family” (Season 1, Episode 7): In this episode, the Addams family decides to celebrate Halloween by hosting a masquerade ball for their eccentric friends. The episode showcases the family’s love for all things spooky and macabre. “The Addams Family Meets the Undercover Man” (Season 1, Episode 6): Gomez mistakenly believes that a door-to-door salesman is an undercover detective investigating the family’s unusual activities.
“Morticia, the Matchmaker” (Season 1, Episode 12): Morticia tries her hand at matchmaking for Uncle Fester, leading to amusing results as she plays Cupid. “Morticia’s Romance: Part 1 and Part 2” (Season 1, Episodes 2 and 3): This two-part episode focuses on Morticia’s old flame, Gomez’s jealousy, and a hilarious love triangle. It provides insight into the passionate relationship between Gomez and Morticia.
Some of those home interiors came courtesy of the Debbie Reynolds movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which hit theaters a few months before the Addams Family premiere. Both were productions of MGM.
“Fester’s Punctured Romance” (Season 1, Episode 3): Uncle Fester falls in love with a woman who wants to marry him for his money. The family steps in to protect Fester from the gold digger. “Lurch Learns to Dance” (Season 1, Episode 12): Lurch, the butler, learns how to dance for an upcoming party, with comically awkward results. “Morticia, the Decorator” (Season 2, Episode 23): Morticia decides to redecorate the mansion, leading to a series of humorous misunderstandings with the home improvement crew.
“Uncle Fester’s Toupee” (Season 1, Episode 31): Uncle Fester acquires a toupee, and the family’s reaction to his newfound confidence provides plenty of laughs. “Gomez, the Reluctant Lover” (Season 2, Episode 10): Gomez becomes the object of affection for a persistent female suitor, leading to comic misunderstandings. “The Addams Family Tree” (Season 1, Episode 5): In this episode, the family explores their eccentric family tree, revealing more about their bizarre relatives and ancestors. It’s a fun exploration of the Addams family history.
“Morticia and Gomez vs. Fester and Grandmama” (Season 2, Episode 17): This episode features a friendly but competitive game of “Canasta,” which escalates into a hilarious battle between the married couples, with Morticia and Gomez facing off against Fester and Grandmama. “Morticia’s Dilemma” (Season 2, Episode 14): Morticia mistakenly believes Gomez is losing interest in her, leading to a series of humorous attempts to rekindle their romance.
Gomez could often be seen chomping on a cigar. No wonder — Dutch Masters Cigars was a sponsor of the show. As was his practice, Gomez put out lit cigars in the breast pocket of his coat. Thus, prop-makers lined the suit pocket with asbestos.
“Gomez, the Cat Burglar” (Season 2, Episode 12): Gomez takes on the persona of a cat burglar to add excitement to his life, leading to comical consequences as he tries to steal his own belongings. “The Addams Family and the Spacemen” (Season 1, Episode 27): The family encounters an astronaut who crash-lands near their mansion, and they try to help him adapt to their unconventional lifestyle.
“Halloween – Addams Style” (Season 2, Episode 7): Another Halloween-themed episode, this one showcases the Addams family’s unique approach to trick-or-treating, with unexpected and spooky surprises for the neighborhood children. “Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor” (Season 1, Episode 32): Cousin Itt seeks career advice from a vocational counselor, leading to a series of comedic attempts at finding the perfect job.
“Cousin Itt’s Problem” (Season 2, Episode 6): Cousin Itt takes center stage in this episode as he faces a predicament that requires the family’s help. It provides a deeper look at the beloved character of Cousin Itt. “The Addams Policy” (Season 2, Episode 28): Gomez takes out an insurance policy, but his family’s eccentricities make it nearly impossible for the insurance investigator to assess the risks.
“Morticia’s Favorite Charity” (Season 1, Episode 29): Morticia decides to donate her family’s old belongings to charity, creating misunderstandings and comic chaos. “Fester Goes on a Diet” (Season 2, Episode 18): Uncle Fester decides to go on a diet to improve his health, but his eccentric methods and the family’s attempts to help him lead to humorous situations.
“Amnesia in the Addams Family” (Season 1, Episode 22): Gomez develops amnesia and loses his memory, leading to confusion and humor within the family. “Morticia, the Breadwinner” (Season 1, Episode 26): Morticia takes a job to help with the family’s finances, resulting in humorous situations as she adapts to the working world. “Winning of Morticia Addams” (Season 1, Episode 34): Gomez competes with another suitor to win Morticia’s heart all over again, leading to a romantic and funny competition.
“Gomez, the People’s Choice” (Season 2, Episode 5): Gomez runs for public office, and his unconventional campaign leads to an entertaining political race. “Gomez, the Politician” (Season 1, Episode 4): Gomez finds himself elected as the new mayor, but he is less than enthusiastic about his newfound political responsibilities.
A Few of the Actors Who Made an Appearance on the Show
- Cousin Itt (voiced by Felix Silla): Description: Cousin Itt is a short, hairy relative of the Addams family known for speaking in rapid gibberish. He has long, flowing hair and is always seen wearing sunglasses and a bowler hat. Felix Silla was an American actor and stuntman known for his work in various TV shows and movies, including roles as a stuntman in “Return of the Jedi”.
- Granny Hester Frump (played by Margaret Hamilton): Granny Frump is the mother of Morticia Addams and the mother-in-law of Gomez Addams. She is known for her eccentric and witch-like appearance, with a penchant for casting spells. Margaret Hamilton was an iconic American actress famous for her role as the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz.”
- Mr. Henson (played by Vito Scotti): Mr. Henson is a recurring character in the series, often portrayed as a neighbor or acquaintance of the Addams family. He is typically befuddled and bewildered by the family’s strange antics. Vito Scotti was an Italian-American actor known for his versatile career in film and television, appearing in various roles throughout his long career.
- Sam Picasso (played by Richard Deacon): Sam Picasso is another recurring character who is usually depicted as a businessman or visitor interacting with the Addams family. He is often the target of the family’s unusual hospitality. Richard Deacon was an American actor known for his appearances in various TV series, including his role as Mel Cooley on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
- Clyde Arbogast (played by Eddie Quillan): Clyde Arbogast is a character who occasionally appears as a visitor to the Addams family mansion. His interactions with the family often lead to comedic situations. Eddie Quillan was an American actor who had a long and varied career in film and television, including roles in classic movies and TV shows.
Charles Addams (1912-1988) was an American cartoonist known for his darkly humorous and macabre illustrations. He gained fame for creating “The Addams Family,” a fictional household filled with eccentric and ghoulish characters that first appeared in The New Yorker magazine in the late 1930s. The Addams Family went on to become a beloved franchise, inspiring various adaptations in television, film, and other media.
Charles Addams’ unique sense of humor and talent for blending the eerie with the comedic left an indelible mark on popular culture, making him an enduring figure in the world of cartooning and entertainment.
- Aristotle – Pugsley’s pet octopus
- Cleopatra – Morticia’s pet African strangler (a type of man-eating plant)
- Fang – Pugsley’s pet jaguar
- Homer – Wednesday’s pet spider
- Kitty Kat – The Addams Family’s pet lion, in “The Addams Family Tree”, Gomez mentioned that Kitty “can’t stand the taste of people.” In “Cat Addams”, Kitty Kat’s dad was claimed to have eaten the father of Dr. Mbogo, which explains why Dr. Mbogo will not treat Kitty Kat.
- Lucifer – Wednesday’s pet lizard
- Tristan and Isolde – The Addams Family’s pet piranhas
- Zelda – The family’s pet vulture. This character was performed by a live male vulture named Igor.
David Levy is an American television and film writer and producer known for his significant contributions to the entertainment industry. Throughout his career, Levy has been involved in various projects, including co-creating the iconic television series “The Addams Family.”
He also wrote for and produced other TV series like “Honeymoon Suite” and “My Favorite Martian.” Additionally, Levy worked as a writer and producer for numerous other television programs and made notable contributions to the world of entertainment, particularly during the mid-20th century.
The show’s theme, written and arranged by longtime Hollywood composer Vic Mizzy, is dominated by a harpsichord and a bass clarinet. Mizzy first improvised the iconic finger snaps when he presented his composition for approval, they worked so well they became part of the percussive accompaniment.
Ted Cassidy punctuated the lyrics with the words “neat”, “sweet”, and “petite”. Mizzy’s theme was released by RCA Victor as a 45-rpm single, although it failed to chart in the U.S. The closing theme is similar but is instrumental and features such instruments as a triangle, a woodblock, a siren whistle, and a duck call replacing some of the finger snaps.
Main Theme The Addams Family - by Vic Mizzy They're creepy and they're kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They're altogether ooky, The Addams Family. Their house is a museum When people come to see 'em They really are a scream The Addams Family. [snap twice] (Neat) [snap twice] (Sweet) [snap twice] (Petite) So get a witch's shawl on A broomstick you can crawl on We're gonna pay a call on The Addams Family.
- “The Addams Family (1964 TV series)” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family_(1964_TV_series)
- “The Addams Family” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057729/
- “14 Facts About “The Addams Family” You Might Not Know” https://brightside.me/articles/14-facts-about-the-addams-family-you-might-not-know-808560/
- “13 altogether ooky facts about ‘The Addams Family'” (Oct 6, 2022) https://www.metv.com/lists/13-altogether-ooky-facts-about-the-addams-family
- “13 Kooky Facts About The Addams Family” (Jun 17, 2016) https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/81536/13-kooky-facts-about-addams-family
- Lambiek Comiclopedia. “Charles Addams” – https://www.lambiek.net/artists/a/addams.htm
- IMDb. “David Levy (II)” – https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0506739/
- “The Addams Family” https://thetvdb.com/series/the-addams-family/allseasons/official
- “Addams Family Lyrics Vic Mizzy” https://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/theaddamsfamilylyrics.html