Monday, 26 January 2015

Monstrous families...

Of course one of the big questions in the playground when I was a boy was which are you, Addams Family or Munsters?

Yes, the two spookiest TV families to come out of America were all the rage in my sixties childhood. We ran around arms outstretched pretending to be Lurch or Herman or waved imaginary capes and pulled vampire faces as we became Grampa Munster or Uncle Fester. It was such fun being a monster, and these TV monsters were so different from the monsters on Doctor Who or the real ones that hung around Manchester preying on young children.

Of course, there were similarities between The Munsters and The Addams Family. Both shows had a spooky Gothic house and featured families of horror-movie characters straight out of a Hammer film. They were so not the way America was generally portrayed in Peyton Place and Doctor Kildare. Their world wasn’t perfect; they were misfits in the buttoned-down suburban community they lived in, they were struggling for acceptance. Maybe that’s why I found them so fascinating. I often felt like I didn’t fit in or belong either.

I watched both and soon saw that the two shows were quite different in tone and characterisation. The Addams Family were wealthy eccentrics (well, they did first appear in the New Yorker magazine in the thirties) who spent most of their time at home; a kind of monster aristocracy. The Munsters on the other hand, were a blue-collar family with Herman going off to work each day with a peck on the cheek and his lunchbox. They were more your everyday friendly family of legendary monsters and one of them, Marilyn, wasn’t even a monster at all.

The theme tunes underlined that too. The click-click trendiness of the Addams Family song compared to the jaunty up-beat swinging guitars of The Munsters. Yes, The Addams Family were altogether ookie, maybe just a little too ookie for me with their hip New York ways, addictions and strange psychoses. Mind you it wasn’t just TV horror families who had issues and pretended not to.

The Munsters on the other hand were laid back Californian hicks and of the two I preferred the Munsters. Herman was a goofy friendly giant whilst Gomez was more sinister. Lily Munster was pretty sexy, but Morticia was overly sexy to my schoolboy eye; not that I knew much about monster women or what sexy was back then. And when it came to the kids – well, I didn’t like Pugsley at all.

Perhaps because he reminded me too much of myself.

15 comments:

  1. Kevin Burke on FB
    Adams for me

    ReplyDelete
  2. Joan McGee
    Adams for me.The Munsters were too wholesome.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Val Wynne on FB
    That's too hard a decision to make especially as I dressed like them in the 80s

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew Height
      I am slowly turning into Uncle Fester Val.

      Delete
    2. Kevin Burke
      Ha ha Andy

      Delete
    3. Kevin Burke
      I've been thing for years

      Delete
  4. Lynda Henderson on FB
    Munsters! Yvonne de Carlo is my fave!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew Height
      Good choice Lynda.

      Delete
  5. Maggie Patzuk on FB
    I have Morticia to thank for my love of black clothes!
    Maggie Patzuk's photo.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Maggie Patzuk on FB
    And Mrs. Robinson for my love of leopard print!!!
    Maggie Patzuk's photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morticia and Mrs Robinson - growllllll!

      Delete
  7. Lynda Henderson on FB
    Maggie too funny! You're Morticia Robinson!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maggie Patzuk
      Lynda Henderson - YES I AM!!!!!

      Delete
  8. Fraser Stewart on FB
    The Munsters were my heros. The Addams family were too like real rich families for my liking.

    ReplyDelete