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The Addams Family

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Back to the Grind

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TV Land - Addams FamilyTHE ADDAMS FAMILY - This offbeat and macabre situation comedy debuted on ABC on September 18, 1964, and ran two seasons through September 2, 1966. The series was based on a series of bizarre, dark comedy drawings that cartoonist Charles Addams created for the "New Yorker" magazine starting in the late 1940s. The cartoons featured a ghoulish family in a gothic mansion who lives were in opposition to the cheerful and upbeat values which were suggested by the mainstream media.

When Addams agreed to the TV series, his only obligation was to create names for the characters. After that, writing duties fell on veteran humorist Nat Perrin who had previously penned several Marx Brothers film classics. Situations on the program inevitably involved outsiders from the so-called "normal world" making contact with the strange family, which featured Gomez (John Astin), a cigar-smoking tycoon with an adolescent appetite for destruction, Morticia (Carolyn Jones), a sexy, black widow figure who revels in gloom and solemnity, Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan), a bald lunatic who takes pleasure in relaxing on a bed of nails and firing cannons in the house, Lurch (Ted Cassidy), the seven-foot-tall butler who tends to groan rather than speak, and a pair of odd children, Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax) and Wednesday (Lisa Loring), each with a distinctly morbid sensibility. Also on hand was Thing -- a friendly hand who traveled from box-to-box in the vast house, and Cousin Itt, a little person covered in long hair who spoke in unintelligible gibberish (body by Felix Silla, voice by the program's sound engineer Tony Magro.).

Unlike a similarly offbeat family, The Munsters, who resided in prime time contemporaneously, the family of Addams was never disturbed about not being accepted by regular society. Since they were independently wealthy, with bundles of cash popping out of almost every nook and cranny, it was the outside world which always wanted to cater to them. Due to their finances, the Addamses were a self-contained unit, who lived purely to enjoy themselves, which they did in their own peculiar ways. But perhaps there are lessons to be learned from such a group, as this was a family who shared a deep understanding of one another. In this house, unlike the other sitcom homes, one would never hear any bickering, quarreling or squabbling between the parents. On the contrary, these were parents who were so in love with each other that they would frequently tango the night away to music written by the show's brilliant composer, Vic Mizzy.


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