50 Years since The Munsters premiered

2014-09-24_1429Today marks 50 years since The Munsters premiered on US television.

Just a week later than The Addams Family, it aired in black-and-white on CBS until 1966, totalling 70 episodes.

It stared Fred Gwynne, Yvonne de Carlo, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick and Beverley Owen (replaced by Pat Priest from episode 14).

While The Addams Family were wealthy ghouls, The Munsters were decidedly blue collar, living at 1313 Mockingbird Lane with Herman working in a funeral parlour.

In one memorable episode, Herman was zapped by lightning, causing his appearance to change and actor Fred Gwynne performing the episode sans make up. Unbelievable…..

The exterior shots were filmed on the Universal Studios backlot with the Munster house used in subsequent shows including Shirley and even Desperate Housewives.

The idea of a family of comical monsters was first suggested to Universal Studios in the late 1940s by animator Bob Clampett, who wanted to do a series of cartoons. The project didn’t see development until the early 1960s, when a treatment was submitted to Universal Studios by Rocky & Bullwinkle writers Allan Burns and Chris Hayward. This format was later handed to writers Norm Liebman and Ed Haas, who wrote a pilot script, Love Thy Monster. For some time, there were executives who believed the series should be made as a cartoon and others who wanted to see it made using live-action. Finally, a presentation was filmed by MCA Television for CBS, using live-action.

Following syndication the show spawned a spin-off series, as well as several films for both television and theatrical release including the film Munster, Go Home! The Munster Koach hot rod, with its hearse design, appeared in 20 episodes and replicas have since been rebuilt.

Munsters.com website is owned by Butch Patrick, now 61, with memorabilia and personal appearance bookings.

Butch Patrick, a.k.a. Eddie Munster, is available for “Halloween Appearances, Special Occasions, Reunions, Birthdays, Corporate Parties and More!”

As he notes, “To give you a peek at my August it’s my 61st B’ Day August 2nd and then I’m off to Steel City Con 8-10th in Pittsburgh. Then we literally shift gears to the car cruise mode in Woodbridge NJ Wednesday the 13th evening with Kroozin Productions. Next it’s Wildwood Tattoo Invitational in Jersey with my bud Tattoo Tony of Under My Skin on the 15th & 16th The 17th is the New York Sports show. Take a week off to visit my east coast pals and we start the next week filming Comic Book Men on Tuesday the 26th.”

Last week marked 50 years since The Addams Family and Bewitched, with Gilligan’s Island reaching 50 years later this week.

6 Comments:

  1. @m4rcocapps: I also remember the morning re-runs. The Munsters seemed to get a decent run here through the 1980s but The Addams Family was rarely seen until Nine dug it out of the vaults in about 1988 when it became a sudden hit with a whole new generation who’d never seen it before.

  2. Chuck – there was a ‘revival’ Munster’s movie 1995. imdb.com/title/tt0113296/ Gets a IMDB rating of 4.8. 🙂

    Plus a 1987 TV series – imdb.com/title/tt0094518/

    Also the original cast made some movies…the last was in released in 1981 it seems.

  3. Strange there was never a film made after the success of the Addams Family 1990s versions (along with such gems as Beverley Hillbillies and The Brady Bunch).

  4. The other primary difference between the Addams Family and the Munsters was that the Munsters had a direct conduit to the ‘real’ world via the character of Marilyn, who was a completely normal person, who loved her family, even though at times they couldn’t understand her and felt sorry for her because of her ‘looks’.

  5. Funny thing is, Fred Gwynne really didn’t need a lot of makeup to look like Herman!

    Loved this show, definitely preferred it to the Addams Family. Watching it in the mornings before school – those were the days!

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