Kooky and Spooky

Last night when Greg said the house and its occupants reminded him of The Addams Family it made me think about the movie. And then I remembered that weird little black and white TV series by the same name ran from 1964 to 1966. John Astin was Gomez Addams, Carolyn Jones played Morticia. The passionate couple lived with their two children: Wednesday and Pugsley and their extended family which consisted of Uncle Fester, Grandmama, and visiting relatives like Cousin Itt and Ophelia. They also had some extraordinary servants: Lurch and Thing, a hand that would scuttle around and do … well … things.

All very macabre, yet wholesome and certainly popular—too popular for the The New Yorker, which originally published the single-panel cartoons by American humorist Charles Samuel Addams. Addams was a sophisticated and debonair character with a tendency toward the darkly bizarre. He was “Chill” to his schoolmates. The New Yorker suspended his Addams Family cartoon for a while because of the series, but brought it back after the editor who had deemed it suddenly inappropriate retired.

What I like best about the The Addams Family in print or on film is the implicit message. It’s the supposedly normal humans who are always scheming while the dearly dreadful Addamses are the sweetest, kindest, most helpful creatures you can imagine, although their attentions are sometimes a bit odd and off-base. I don’t mind the comparison. I also love their servants. Oh, for a Thing and a butler called Lurch. Lurch, Lurch?

“You rang?”

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/The Daily Slice

Image by Bart Frescura, courtesy of Bart Frescura