13 altogether ooky facts about 'The Addams Family'

Learn how Jodie Foster, asbestos and the color pink all relate to the creepy, kooky clan.

Image: The Everett Collection

Long before comic book adaptations were all the rage, Hollywood looked to the pages of daily newspapers for ideas. Half a century ago, comic strips like Blondie and Dennis the Menace became sitcoms. Peanuts kicked off a string of iconic animated Charlie Brown specials. A Saturday Evening Post strip called Hazel became a TV hit on NBC.

Of course, one of the greatest adaptations of a comic strip from the 1960s was The Addams Family, a gothic comedy inspired by one-panel cartoons in The New Yorker by Charles Addams. Premiering on small screens in 1964, the Addams Family has never really gone away. Cartoons followed in the 1970s. A Halloween reunion came later that decade. A trilogy of films revived the characters for a new generation in the 1990s. There have been Broadway shows, video games, and an incredible pinball game based on the Addams. 

So, let's look back at the classic. Here are 13 kooky, spooky things you might not have known about The Addams Family television series.

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1. Until the TV show, the characters did not have names.

Charles Addams, pictured here in his home office, did not name the creepy, charming characters in his one-panel cartoons. When the show was green-lit, Addams and producers came up with names for the clan. Did you know Wednesday's middle name is Friday?

Image: AP Photo / Ron Frehm

2. Gomez was almost named Repelli.

When brainstorming names for the patriarch of the family, Addams proposed two options — Repelli and Gomez. The final decision was given to star John Astin. He made the right choice.

Image: The Everett Collection

3. John Astin originally auditioned for Lurch.

Speaking of Astin, it's hard to picture him playing any other member of the family. Coming off the short-lived sitcom I'm Dickens, He's Fenster (he was Dickens), Astin initially tried out for the role of the butler, as yet unnamed. He could not quite envision himself in the role, and thankfully producers saw the potential of him as the father. Astin was an early casting decision. Check out fascinating audition photos from TIME Magazine in 1964, in which Astin tries out potential Morticias, Festers, Lurches and Pugsleys. 

4. Ted Cassidy played two roles.

While best known for playing Lurch, Ted Cassidy also lent a hand — literally — by also playing Thing.

Image: The Everett Collection

5. The Addams Family house had pink walls.

Though it aired just as television was blossoming from black & white to full color, The Addams Family appropriately filmed in gothic grayscale. Like the simple, inky black of the comic strips, The Addams Family just felt at home in shadowy black & white. Plus, it might have ruined the vibe in color, as the walls of their home were bright pink, as you can see in this promotional photo.

Image: The Everett Collection

6. The sets were recycled from the film 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown.'

Some of those home interiors came courtesy of the Debbie Reynolds movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which hit theaters a few months before the Addams Family premiere. Both were productions of MGM.

Image: The Everett Collection

7. The Addams were the first TV family to have a home computer.

A couple of years later, Bruce Wayne would utilize his Batcomputer in the Batcave, but the first family "P.C." seen on TV was the UNIVAC on The Addams Family. As you can see, it was not exactly a laptop.

Image: MGM Television

8. Carolyn Jones divorced Aaron Spelling weeks before the premiere.

Morticia star Carolyn Jones had split with her second husband shortly before The Addams Family premiere. A New York Times report on the divorce from August 7, 1964, explained the reason for the divorce. "Mr. Spelling stayed out late at night without explanation," testimony claimed. Spelling would go on to produce Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Beverly Hills 90210, and dozens of other TV shows. Jones did work together with Spelling on his creation The Lloyd Bridge Show (1962-63).

Image: The Everett Collection

9. Astin's suit pockets were lined with asbestos.

Gomez could often be seen chomping on a cigar (as in the photo at the top of the page). No wonder — Dutch Masters Cigars was a sponsor of the show. As was his practice, Gomez put out lit cigars in the breast pocket of his coat. Thus, prop-makers lined the suit pocket with asbestos.

10. The studio would not pay for singers, so the theme song is just multiple tracks of the same guy.

Da-da-da-dom, *snap* *snap*. Where would The Addams Family be without that brilliant theme song? The tune was the work of Vic Mizzy. Reportedly, the studio was reluctant to spend the cash for multiple singers, so Mizzy multi-tracked his voice to perform as the "trio" heard in the opening credits.

Image: The Everett Collection

11. The Addams Family made their first animated appearance on 'Scooby-Doo.'

In 1972, the Addams Family appeared in "Wednesday Is Missing," an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, the hour-long sequel series to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! A year later, the clan finally got its own cartoon with Hanna-Barbera's The Addams Family on NBC Saturday mornings.

Image: Warner Bros. / IMDb

12. Two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster voiced Pugsley Addams.

The adult cast returned for the Scooby-Doo cartoon — John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan and Ted Cassidy. For the 1973 Hanna-Barbera animated series, only Coogan and Cassidy would remain. They got a little creative in casting the kids. Young Jodie Foster stepped in for Ken Weatherwax to voice Pugsley in both!

Image: The Doris Day Show

13. The Addams Family gave MC Hammer his final Top 10 hit.

You probably forget just how huge Hammer was in the early '90s. The Oakland pop-rapper scored five Top 10 hits. The last of his big smashes was "Addams Groove," which was the theme song to the 1991 blockbuster The Addams Family. "They do what they wanna do, say what they wanna say, live how they wanna live…." It "won" the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song that year, but reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Image: Capitol Records

 
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audie65 8 hours ago
Wiseguy is a jackass and is usually referred to as a jackals! Ha Ha!!
Wiseguy 4 days ago
Dennis the Menace, Hazel and the Addams Family were all comic panels, not strips (although the writer does refer to the Addams Family as both).
F5Twitster 6 days ago
“The Addams were the first TV family to have a home computer.”

That’s AddamsES, plural. As for

“Jones did work together with Spelling on his creation The Lloyd Bridge Show (1962-63).”

Lloyd BRIDGES Show (the plural of which is Bridgeses).
MarkSpeck 6 days ago
With regards to #6, The Addams Family was NOT an MGM production, but a Filmways production, though through a series of mergers, MGM does now own the rights to the series.

#8...Carolyn Jones also worked with Aaron Spelling when he produced the Dick Powell Theater (the episode "Who Killed Julie Greer?", the pilot for Burke's Law, where she played the titular murder victim) and also for a pair of Burke's Law episodes, one of which, "Who Killed Sweet Betsy?", she played a FOUR-PART role as quintuplets, including that of the murder victim.
F5Twitster MarkSpeck 6 days ago
Neither was the show shot at MGM. If the above information is correct, then Filmways rented or bought sections of the Molly Brown sets from MGM, a not-uncommon practice.
ckg1 6 days ago
Regarding #4: Cassidy signed contracts for BOTH Lurch and Thing. So, yes, he got double pay.

Not a bad set-up.
Deleted 10 days ago
This comment has been removed.
scott 9 days ago
Really?



Just. Stop. It.


Name calling? Surely you can do better. Yet again, likely not.
Catman 13 days ago
Carolyn Jones first caught my eye in the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers
sputnik_57 13 days ago
Fact 4: Ted Cassidy played two roles ----Lurch and Thing. "Thing" was taken from "The Beast With Five Fingers" --- one of my favorite horror movies.
Fact 9: Astin's suit pockets were lined with asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen (but this was probably not known in the '60's) ---- Astin's still alive today...in his 90's!
Mirramanee 14 days ago
Actually, my favorite Ted Cassidy appearance outside of the Addams Family was as on Star Trek: TOS. He appeared as Rok on the episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?". John Astin had an interesting role as the dorky school dance director on "West Side Story". I do not believe that he even got a screen credit for that role. I've looked hard at the closing credits for that movie and I have never seen his name on them, but it was definitely him.
Gingergirl1 19 days ago
Yay! My favorite show in the world. It was criminal that The Addams Family was cancelled after only 2 seasons. It’s absolutely wonderful.
Both Carolyn Jones and John Astin appeared on Batman in 1966. Jones as Marsha the Queen of Diamonds, and Astin as the Riddler...but I reckon y’all already knew that ;).
* Ted Cassidy appeared as Lurch in the window in a scene where Batman & Robin were climbing the building! ☺
Joh Astin played the Puzzeler I believe, not the Riddeler. Same costume, different name.
Fuentino WilliamLAllen 6 days ago
Good memory! There WAS a guest villain caller Puzzler on Batman. He was played by Maurice Evans (Samantha's dad and Endora's ex-husband on Bewitched). John Astin did, in fact play the second Riddler on Batman. Frank Gorshin was a very hard act to follow as the first riddler.
Fuentino RedSamRackham 6 days ago
The lurch character always cracked me up. I would expect him to be mute. Then lo and behold he's as eloquent as Efraim Zimbalist Jr. Playing Alfred Pennyworth on Batman the animated series!
sputnik_57 20 days ago
Glad to see MeTV finally gets the Addams Family! By the way, fact 7, the "home computer" may have been a UNIVAC but they called it "Whizzo". I recall reading somewhere that Gomez kissing Morticia up and down her arm was controversial at the time and almost censored. They were the first (married) couple to suggest they had a hot sex life!
Mark091 20 days ago
Does METV have any plans to
Become a NATIONAL CHANNEL
In the near future like TV Land is a
National channel If METV becomes a
National channel then would METV
Still be a Sub channel to local
Channels. If METV ever becomes
A national channel maybe DIRECT
TV would carry METV. DISH carries
METV on channel 247.
If METV ever becomes a national channel they would be able to
Obtain the rights to lots of old
TV shows that are NOT on Metv yet
TheSentinel Mark091 19 days ago
MeTV already is a national network - it launched as such back in 2010.
TheDavBow3 20 days ago
A grade school friend of mine's Dad went to school with Ted Cassidy in Florida. They had some swimming/life guard course together. The other boys in the class would practice rescuing Ted out of 10 feet of water. If they could rescue Ted, they could rescue anybody 😉
Barry22 TheDavBow3 19 days ago
Ted Cassidy played basketball at Stetson University, a small private school in Central Florida.
TheDavBow3 Barry22 19 days ago
Yes, I remember him telling me it was in Florida 👍
OldTVfanatic Barry22 14 days ago
Plus Ted Cassidy was actually a Pittsburgh native.
Fuentino OldTVfanatic 6 days ago
I DID NOT know that!

I remember hw was considered to play the hulk. While he had the height, he lacked the physique. Enter Lou Ferrigno.

Now IF CGI had existed back in the 70's (and been as advanced as we have now) Cassidy's build might not have been an issue.
MarkSpeck Fuentino 6 days ago
He may have lost the on-screen role for the Hulk, but he got to provide both the Hulk's distinctive growls and also did the opening credits narration.

When he passed away, Charles Napier ("WE'RE the Good Ol' Boys!") was brought in to take over the growling sounds of the Hulk, but the producers honored Cassidy by keeping his opening narration in the series, intact.
Brat63 20 days ago
Happy to see the Addams coming on MET. Love the show!!
Michael 20 days ago
I'd say comic books influenced tv as much as comic strips at the time.

Superman, Batman, and then animated Fantastic Four, The Hulk, The Submariner, Thor, these were all back then
Mark091 20 days ago
I am happy that The Addams Family
Will be seen on Metv in MAY.
Does Metv have any other old TV
Shows coming to METV in MAY??
I hope that someday The Adventures of OZZIE and Harriet and ALICE
And Love American Style and
Mayberry rfd will be seen on Metv

Michael Mark091 20 days ago
Usually the summer schedule, even if it's minor, comes around US Memorial Day.

It seems odd that this is coming at the start of May.
TheSentinel Mark091 19 days ago
There's just the Pink Panther cartoons coming to Saturday Morning Cartoons, which will cut Popeye and Pals down to a half-hour.
* Better they should give us an extra 4th hour of cartoons! ☺
* Munsters parodied classic Universal studios monsters BUT Addams Family indeed Goth ahead of their time! ☺ Of course in 1964 their computer had to be a mainframe! ☺
Wiseguy Mark091 4 days ago
Alice has been on Antenna TV for quite some time.
BrittReid 21 days ago
John Astin made a much better Gomez than Riddler.
Linda BrittReid 20 days ago
Frank Gorshin was brilliant as The Riddler, so anyone, even John Astin, paled in comparison. But he was a great Gomez Addams.
Barry22 Linda 19 days ago
Frank Gorshin was unbelievable as The Riddler, really classic. The only reason Astin got to do it was that Gorshin was unavailable. Supposedly he was hard to work with on The Batman set. When the same situation happened again, they created a new villain called the Puzzler and had Maurice Evans play the part.
Moverfan Linda 18 days ago
And marvelous as Harry Anderson's father on Night Court ("But I'm much better now...')
RedSamRackham Barry22 17 days ago
* What I read is that Jerry Lewis was extremely difficult during his cameo on Batman during the wall climbing scene. He told lighting people and others how to do their job angering both the crew and the actors. ☺
SalIanni BrittReid 16 days ago
John Astin also played Grandpa Addams on the "reboot" series "The New Addams Family" which like most reboots isn't very good or funny but instead it's just simply awful!
Catman Linda 13 days ago
Linda I love your avatar.
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