The rare rag dolls based on The Addams Family have a sweet origin story

Today the plush toys sometimes sell for thousands of dollars.

One of the most mischievous Wednesday Addams episodes of The Addams Family is "Wednesday Leaves Home."

In the episode, Wednesday first pretends to run away from home, and then really does run away from home, causing great concern twice for her family.

As Wednesday’s biggest fans know, this was part of her wicked sense of humor.

Years before The Addams Family became a hit TV show, kids had already come to love Wednesday Addams, even embracing her as a part of their own families, once she was introduced in rag doll form.

In 1962, the cartoonist Charles Addams partnered with a small Manhattan toy company called Aboriginals Ltd. to produce dolls based on his cartoon character versions of Morticia, Wednesday and the young boy who later became known on TV as Pugsley.

Addams said this wasn’t the first time someone had attempted to make a Wednesday Addams doll.

His first wife Barbara had the idea to make a rag doll version of Wednesday, but she never actually followed through on producing the dolls, only stitching a mock-up version that was never mass produced.

It happened then that when Aboriginals Ltd. reached out to Addams to see if he wanted to make action figures based on his New Yorker comic characters, he mentioned the dolls Barbara had tried to make.

The toy company loved it, instantly deciding to sell rag dolls, not figurines.

When the rag dolls were introduced in the Sixties, it was Christmastime in 1962, and The Guardian reported, "Numberless self-assured American children are going to tear open their bulging Christmas stockings next month and get the shock of their lives: inside, palely pretending to be dolls, will be Morticia and Pubert and Wednesday."

At that time, Pugsley was known to Charles Addams as Pubert, but apparently Aboriginals Ltd. found that name as unpalatable as the TV network that rejected the name, too.

Instead, Addams was forced to give his Pugsley character a third name, selling the doll as "Irving" Addams.

These dolls only sold for a few years in the Sixties, priced around $20. But today, they sell at auction for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.

Inside the box, the rag doll came with a little card introducing each character. According to one auction site, the card for Wednesday Addams read:

"This Is Wednesday, The Charles Addams Doll. One Look At Her Face, And You May Recall That Rhyme That Began 'Monday's Child Is Fair Of Face, Tuesday's Child Is Full Of Grace, Wednesday's Child Is Full Of Woe.' She Is Romantically Pale Because She Was Brought Up In The Cellar Of A Creaky Old Addams Mansion. Imagine Her Childhood - The Black Magic Lessons... The Sunday Suppers Of Two-Headed Roast Pig... The Pet Octopus. Nice People Adore Wednesday. Nasty People Think She's A Gleefully, Evilly, Shivery Little Companion For All Their Wicked Schemes. Since It's Evident That Wednesday Might Fall Into The Wrong Hands, Do Not Hesitate An Instant. Take Her And Live Woefully Ever After With Wednesday The Charles Addams Doll."

Later when The Addams Family premiered, TV audiences would understand what was meant by the card describing Wednesday as a good companion for "wicked schemes."

In episodes like "Wednesday Leaves Home," we got to see the delightfully dark little darling pull one over on her family, not once, but twice.

The Addams Family creator Charles Addams never had any kids, but he liked the idea of making toys out of his characters because he said he always identified with how kids saw the world.

"I’m not a great baby enthusiast, but I like children who can talk and if I had one of my own to talk to, I might get some inspiration, a new approach," Addams said. "I’m a child myself."

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trickortreat 26 months ago
That was a cool little article. Not only did I not know the origin of those dolls I also learned a little bit more about Wednesday Addams. I love that little bio that came with each doll and I think that's some good information to have.
RichLorn 26 months ago
Merchandising. It's the reason behind Looney Tunes cartoons being replaced on TV with "action heroes".
trickortreat RichLorn 26 months ago
I can understand the disdain for merchandising, but I have to admit I would have loved to own one of those dolls as a kid. I don't care to line the pockets of evil corporate jerks, but I do like to show off a little of my fandom on a bookshelf every now and again. So sue me.
vinman63 27 months ago
Adaams family was scripted for adults
trickortreat vinman63 26 months ago
I feel like many things were, including Saturday morning cartoons. Looney Tunes had a lot of jokes that flew over kids' heads, and they enjoyed them anyway.
vinman63 trickortreat 26 months ago
Rocky and Bullwinkle especially
TlorDagama 27 months ago
We have enough creepy kids in this world without adding more, yuck!
KawiVulc 27 months ago
Hard to imagine they actually sold for $20 some 60 years ago... that's over $160 today. People willing to happily fork over enough cash to feed a family of four for a week for a piece of crap and then another wad for each and every variant of each and every piece of crap spun off from the latest mediocrity are a more recent development. $2 in the early 60s sounds more likely. Not that the Wednesday dolls are crap, not at all, they surely were a quality toy. Toy as in child's plaything (AKA future nostalgic collectible - heh - provided the toy survives the child).
vinman63 KawiVulc 27 months ago
Shop at Niemas Marcus for over price junk
Catman 27 months ago
I just found an Aboriginal Wednesday doll on ebay going for 350 bucks. Not in great condition, but it's the only one there. Lots of later versions of the character, but only one Aboriginal.
Catman 27 months ago
I loved this story. It's so nice and gloomy.
harlow1313 27 months ago
Well, I for one would like to see the fabulous Wednesday Addams kick Cindy Brady's sorry a**. That would be a pleasure to watch in a METV cage match special. I would love to see Cindy's golden braids pile driven into the mat.
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nd1irish harlow1313 27 months ago
Harlow1313…umm…have you considered therapy…you seem to have some anger issues.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 27 months ago
Caution: off topic tidbit for today!

Researchers that we are, you know how we end up going down rabbit holes!? I asked a simple question about Carolyn Jones. And came across such an in-depth article. Well beyond the story MeTV featured, including Aaron Spelling. She was such a complicated, driven person. Reminding me of ET, but with incredibly fewer opportunities, more missed connections and no studio support. Watching her now, in that straight-forward, very-much-fun character of Morticia, it's hard to imagine the depth of her soul, she must've put into pulling off that role so well. Beyond her beauty. Such a shame the series didn't last more than two years. It was deserving of at least one more year. But perhaps the premise was wearing thin. I'm glad the producers didn't cheapen the effect.

Just a thought ....
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 27 months ago
Kind of topic related and just a share with a few interesting pics and comments on Charles Addams.
vinman63 harlow1313 27 months ago
Have her decapitate miss kitty carryall
Andybandit 27 months ago
The Addams family is a good show. Too bad it didn't have more seasons.
vinman63 Andybandit 27 months ago
Wonder what another Halloween episode would have been like
Pacificsun 27 months ago
Great story. We always love the Addams Family. A very special Series that *always* maintained its originality. We can thank Charles Addams for his integrity!
GOOSEYGOOSE9 27 months ago
I Will Have The Addams Family View Master Reels,B486 From Sawyers.
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