October 25, 2014

THE ADDAMS FAMILY (1973)



THE ADDAMS FAMILY
(NBC, September 8-December 22, 1973)

Hanna-Barbera Productions



MAIN CAST:
Lennie Weinrib – Gomez Addams
Janet Waldo – Morticia Addams, Grandmama, various
Jackie Coogan – Uncle Fester
Cindy Henderson – Wednesday Addams
Jodie Foster – Pugsley Addams
Ted Cassidy – Lurch
John Stephenson – Cousin Itt, various


The Addams Family bonding: Fester, Pugsley, Wednesday, Lurch, Grandmama, Morticia and Gomez.


With the original sitcom version of The Addams Family doing well in syndicated reruns, the time was ripe for an animated revival. Much as they had with other newly-popular 1960s sitcom properties, Hanna-Barbera acquired the rights to the characters. Modeling the designs after the original Charles Addams cartoons, they debuted the Addamses on an episode of Hanna-Barbera’s flagship program The New Scooby-Doo Movies in 1972. Reprising their roles from the sitcom were John Astin as Gomez, Carolyn Jones as Morticia, Jackie Coogan as Fester and Ted Cassidy as Lurch.

Model sheet for the Addams' creepy camper.

Their appearance proved a hit, and demand was made for more adventures of the Addamses. Hanna-Barbera obliged, and the following year they presented the new The Addams Family developed by David Levy. While retaining the sitcom-established personalities of the characters, the show took a departure from the previous series and Hanna-Barbera’s own original presentation the Addamses left their mansion and embarked on a road trip in a creepy camper loaded with all the comforts of home; especially since considering it was basically their mansion on wheels, complete with belfry and bats. Other features included a hovering storm cloud overhead, a vulture hood ornament, and a menagerie of unusual pets including Ochy the Octopus (who doubled as the camper’s windshield wipers). A primary source of the comedy came from the ordinary people’s reactions to the weirdness of the Addamses, as well as the weirdness itself. 


Lurch and Cousin Itt get down with their bad selves.

While Coogan and Cassidy reprised their roles once again, the rest of the family received all-new actors. Lennie Weinrib came in as Gomez (doing a Reginald Van Gleason impression), Janet Waldo pulled double-duty as Morticia and Grandmama, Cindy Henderson reprised the role of Wednesday from the Scooby-Doo episode, and an 11-year-old Jodie Foster voiced Pugsley. Foster’s professionalism at such a young age was often remarked upon by her fellow castmates and helped to salvage sessions that were interrupted by Coogan’s unfamiliarity with voice work and coughing fits from his smoking habit. John Stephenson also provided vocal effects for Cousin Itt, as well as many of the guest voices. Also missing from the show was the classic theme composed by Vic Mizzy the debuted on the sitcom, although several chords from it played during the show’s theme by Hoyt Curtin. The animation was also significantly different from most other Hanna-Barbera productions as the art duties were farmed out to studios Halas and Batchelor and Rankin-Bass with the characters designed by Takashi Masunaga.

The Addams Family #1 by Gold Key.

The series only ran a single season, but continued on in reruns until 1975. As a result, the show received a minimum of tie-in marketing. In 1974, Gold Key released a three issue comic series adapting the episodes “Boola Boola,” The Addams Family in New York” and “Left in the Lurch.” Milton Bradley also produced a board game based on the show and Thermos two different lunchboxes



The same year the cartoon premiered, ABC attempted their own revival of the franchise with a pilot of a live-action musical variety show called The Addams Family Fun-House with all the roles recast. However, the pilot never made it off the ground and the project was scrapped. In 1977, NBC created a reunion television movie called Halloween with the New Addams Family which brought back the entire original sitcom cast (save Blossom Rock as Grandmama, who was ill at the time) and introduced two new Addams children: Wednesday, Jr. (Jennifer Surprenant) and Pugsley, Jr (Ken Marquis). It wouldn’t be until the 1990s that the Addamses returned to any kind of media, and Saturday morning.
 



EPISODE GUIDE:
“The Addams Family in New York” (9/8/73) – A couple of con artists attempt to bilk the Addamses by “selling” them various New York landmarks.

“Left in the Lurch” (9/15/73) – Searching for dinosaur bones in Nashville leads to Lurch becoming the lead singer and guitarist in a band.

“Boola Boola” (9/22/73) – Ocho is kidnapped when the Addams family searches for the Boola-Boola in the Black Lake.

“The Fastest Creepy Camper in the West” (9/29/73) – Fester’s new invention could end fuel shortages, but the Addamses find themselves against Count Evil and The Race Ace.

“The Mardi Gras Story” (10/6/73) – A pair of crooks masquerade as Fester and Gomez while the family enjoys Mardi Gras in costumes of their own.

“Follow That Loaf of Bread” (10/13/73) – Thing ends up baked into a prize-winning bread, setting the family searching for it to free Thing.

“Aloha, Hoolamagolla” (10/20/73) – The Addamses are mistaken for a Stone Age tribe when they visit Hawaii.

“The Reluctant Astronauts’ Trip to the Moon” (10/27/73) – The Addamses head to the moon to inspect the piece of land the won on it, but have trouble finding a place to land.

“The Great Balloon Race” (11/3/73) – The Addamses help Prof. Orville Byrd when his balloon is sabotaged by the Nasty Brothers.

“Ghost Town” (11/10/73) – The Addamses have a good time trying to out-spook the spooks haunting The Old Prospector’s Land.

“The Circus Story” (11/17/73) – A rival circus is stealing workings from Honest John’s circus, prompting the Addamses to help him.

“The Addams Family at Sea” (11/24/73) – Ali the alligator and Ocho scare everyone on the Addams’ cruise overboard, allowing two thieves to steal all the valuables onboard.

“The Voodoo Story” (12/1/73) – Madame Hoodoo’s spells all fail miserably against the Addams Family.

“The Roller Derby Story” (12/8/73) – Visiting a roller derby for Wednesday’s birthday leads to the Addamses entering the competition themselves.

“The Addams Family Goes West” (12/15/73) – Heading West in the steps of the pioneers, the Addamses end up confronting a series of outlaws.

“The Addams Family at the Kentucky Derby” (12/22/73) – Pugsley gets an emaciated horse for his birthday that is revived by Granny’s cooking and lets him win the Kentucky Derby.
 

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