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Addams Family, The

1 9 6 4 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
64 x 30 minute episodes

The adventures of the seriously spooky and altogether ooky Addams family who live in a haunted-looking Victorian residence at number 0001 Cemetery Lane in suburban New York – right next door to an overgrown cemetery.

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The extended family include eccentric cigar-smoking millionaire lawyer Gomez Addams (John Astin); his slender wife, Morticia (Carolyn Jones); their obese son Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax); their sombre little girl Wednesday (Lisa Loring); Grandmamma Addams (Blossom Rock) who is a witch; bald Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan); hairy Cousin Itt (played by Felix Silla with the voice provided by Tony Magro); and Lurch, the family’s towering seven-foot-tall zombie butler (Ted Cassidy).

Other “residents” include Thing (a disembodied hand that lives in boxes placed around the house); a cowardly pet lion called Kit Kat, and a pampered carnivorous plant (an African Strangler) called Cleopatra.

As the theme song announces, they are ”creepy and kooky”. Yet on the other hand, the mother and father are utterly smitten with one another, they dote on their children and the kids are respectful of their elders and both the grandmother and uncle are loved and respected.

Extended family members are admired and Lurch shows great devotion to his employers, Thing is appreciated for his helpfulness, and visitors are always welcome and treated with generosity and courtesy. If that’s creepy and kooky let’s have more of it . . .

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Gomez dabbles in the stock market and has made a fortune on a stock called Consolidated Fuzz. He owns an elephant herd in Africa, a nut plantation in Brazil and a salt mine and animal preserve in Nairobi (which he keeps for its subterranean bat caves).

His ancestry dates back to ancient Egypt when Maumud Kali Pashu Addams set fire to the library at Alexandria. “The second ‘d’ in our name distinguishes us from the embarrassingly famous and historic John Adams and family” says Gomez.

Morticia, like Gomez, enjoys gloomy weather, thunderstorms, moon bathing and exploring caves. Blue-eyed Morticia’s favourite colour is black (“It’s so soothing and mysterious”) and she always wears a tight, floor-length black dress. Morticia’s ancestry dates back to the early witch-burning days of Salem, Massachusetts.

Gomez and Morticia were 22 years old when they met and married and Gomez becomes aroused whenever Morticia speaks French. She calls him “Bubala”, “cara mia” and “querido” (sweetheart) while he lovingly refers to her as “querida” (darling), “Tish” and “cara bella”.

addams_637Wednesday and Pugsley attend the Sherwood Elementary School. Wednesday has a headless doll called Marie Antoinette and a spider called Homer. Pugsley has an octopus (Aristotle) and a jaguar (Fang) and he loves to play with dynamite.

Morticia’s Uncle Fester thrives on electricity and needs to be recharged when he runs low. Fester considers himself to be an explosives expert and cures his headaches by forcing out the pain by placing his head in a vice.

Grandmama attended Swamp Town High School and uses love potions to spark romances.

Lurch loves to play the harpsichord and responds with a sombre “You Rang” when he is summoned. Cousin Itt is the family intellectual. He is covered with hair from head to toe and speaks his own language. He considers himself a ladies’ man.

Felix Silla – the diminutive actor under all that blonde hair –  later played Twiki on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and one of the countless Ewoks in Return of the Jedi (1983).

The Addams Family – developed from Charles Addams’ famous New Yorker cartoon strip – was basically a one-joke show – The running gag of outsiders trying to cope with the Addams’ ghoulish world; Fester’s headache cures in the torture chamber; Pugsley’s spectacular train set wrecks; Morticia’s taste for the macabre and bizarre.

Charles Addams was fascinated with medieval paraphernalia and his Manhattan apartment was filled with instruments of torture, a collection of crossbows and armour, as well as human skulls, a collection of brass lizards, fragments of tombstones, and 18th-century embalming table which he converted into a coffee table.

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In 1973-74 Hanna Barbera/NBC broadcast a cartoon version of the show with Ted Cassidy and Jackie Coogan voicing their roles as per the series. In this cartoon series, Pugsley was voiced in some episodes by the then 10-year-old Jodie Foster.

There was also a made for TV movie, Halloween with the New Addams Family which was broadcast in 1977. The movie reunited most of the original cast.

The characters were revived in 1991 and 1993 with the Paramount movies The Addams Family and Addams Family Values. Both films starred Raul Julia and Angelica Huston.

In 1992 Hanna-Barbera produced yet another cartoon version to tie-in with the pair of big-budget films.

65 episodes of a new half-hour live-action series, called The New Addams Family, were made for the Fox Family Channel in 1998. Glenn Taranto starred as Gomez, with Ellie Harvie as Morticia, John De Santis as Lurch, Michael Roberds as Uncle Fester, Nicole Marie Fugere as Wednesday and Betty Phillips as Grandmama Addams.

Carolyn Jones died of colon cancer on 3 August 1983.

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Gomez Addams 
John Astin
Morticia Frump Addams

Carolyn Jones
Lurch

Ted Cassidy
Uncle Fester Frump

Jackie Coogan
Wednesday Friday Addams

Lisa Loring
Pugsley Addams

Ken Weatherwax
Cousin Itt 

Felix Silla
Cousin Itt (voice)

Tony Magro
Thing

The hand of Ted Cassidy
Grandmamma Addams
Blossom Rock