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 Masunaga.
|The Addams Family #1 by Gold Key.|
The Addams Family debuted on NBC on September 8, 1973. It was written by Levy, Bud 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 Prime Video.
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.
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