For the history of The Addams Family, check out the post here.
|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, who was responsible
for developing the original show. 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 as the Addamses left their
mansion and embarked on a road trip in a creepy camper loaded with all the uncomforts
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 reportedly helped to salvage sessions that were
interrupted by Coogan’s unfamiliarity with voice work and coughing fits from
his smoking habit. Also missing from the show was the classic theme composed by
Vic Mizzy that debuted on
the sitcom; although several chords from it played during the show’s theme by Hoyt Curtin. The animation was
significantly different from most other Hanna-Barbera productions as the art
duties were farmed out to studios Halas
and Batchelor and Rankin-Bass. The
characters were designed by Takashi
|The Addams Family #1 by Gold Key.
The Addams Family debuted on NBC on September 8, 1973. It was written by
Atkinson, Dick Conway, Jack Mendelsohn,
William Raynor, Gene Thompson
and Myles Wilder. 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
and Thermos two different lunchboxes. In 2010, the
complete series was released
to DVD by Warner
Archive as part of their Hanna-Barbera
Classics Collection. It was also made available for streaming on Amazon
The same year the cartoon premiered, ABC
attempted another revival of the franchise with a pilot for 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 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). After, it wouldn’t be until the 1990s that the Addamses returned
to any kind of media, and Saturday morning.
Originally posted in 2014. Updated in 2020.