Lion of the Blogosphere

Addams Family ahead of its time

I watched the first episode from 1964, in which a truancy officer visits the Addams family house because they are not sending their kids to school. Gomez explained that the kids didn’t need to go to school because Grandmama was in taking care of their education. This was apparently absurd in 1964, but today homeschooling has become, if not normal, common enough that it would no longer seem absurd to anyone.

Morticia decides to let them go to school so that they can make friends with other children. But after the first day of school, little Wednesday comes home crying, upset that she was read a story in which a dragon was killed by a knight. Gomez and Morticia deplore the violence of killing an innocent dragon, so they complain to the school and request that Grimm’s Fairy Tales be removed from the curriculum. This must have also seemed absurd in 1964, but today traditional fairy tales are out of favor. As reported by the Telegraph:

Favourites such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Rapunzel are being dropped by some families who fear children are being emotionally damaged.

A third of parents refused to read Little Red Riding Hood because she walks through woods alone and finds her grandmother eaten by a wolf.

One in 10 said Snow White should be re-named because “the dwarf reference is not PC”.

Rapunzel was considered “too dark” and Cinderella has been dumped amid fears she is treated like a slave and forced to do all the housework.

The Addams Family was obviously way ahead of its time.

* * *

This is a much better show than The Munsters which is simply a Leave It to Beaver/Honeymooners type of show. Herman Munster is a Ralph Kramden archetype who happens to be a monster (with the running joke being that he doesn’t realize he’s a monster). Gomez and Morticia aren’t like anyone from any other show from the early days of TV.

Gomez and Morticia are more interesting because they are wealthy. Wealthy people are able to be their own selves and are not forced to conform to society in order to make a living. And because he doesn’t need to earn a living, Gomez is able to self-actualize within the confines of his spooky mansion.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Television

31 Responses

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  1. When I was about 9 I found an old Grimm’s Fairy Tale book in my family’s bookcase. Wow those stories were REALLY dark. There was one called the Little Boy in the Grave, or something, about a kid who’s been so badly behaved that he digs his own grave and climbs in. Also wasn’t there an old Poe story about a guy being sealed alive behind a brick wall? There was a movie made of it and that really freaked me out, along with all the stories that used quicksand as a plot device. And movies showing the End of the World by atomic war.

    I was some kind of freaked out kid! Who can I sue – ?

    Mrs Stitch

    August 21, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    • The Poe story to which you refer, “Cask of Amontillado,” was in our reading book in school. (I went to school in the ’70s and ’80s)


      August 21, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      • Same here. Mid 80s in a NJ public school.

        Copperhead Joe

        August 22, 2015 at 11:31 am

  2. Gomez is able to self-actualize

    Yes, I would certainly say that marrying someone 17 years your junior qualifies as self-actualizing.


    August 21, 2015 at 7:02 pm

  3. “Give me a kiss / give me a twenty.”

    Best movie lines ever. I’ve even used it on my husband.

    slithy toves

    August 21, 2015 at 7:13 pm

  4. are the addams family TOOS?

    james n.s.w

    August 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm

  5. SOOS (spooky out of sight)

    james n.s.w

    August 21, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    • They’re COOS and KOOS, MOOS and SOOS, altogether OOOS.

      (Snap, snap)


      August 22, 2015 at 9:08 am

  6. “A third of parents refused to read Little Red Riding Hood because she walks through woods alone and finds her grandmother eaten by a wolf.”

    And I guess the part about the woodchopper chopping open the wolf, so Red and Grandma can get out, pisses off the PETA crowd and the feminists who don’t need no phallis-bearer saving them.


    August 21, 2015 at 8:49 pm

  7. Lion! Donald Trump just endorsed HBD in his speech. He was talking about the smart people in his family and said “Do we believe in the gene thing? I do.”


    August 21, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    • There is an enormous difference between on the one hand accepting that in general behavioural traits have a genetic component and on the other believing that any differences between races are genetic. One of those views is unavoidable for anybody has considered the issue the other is extraordinarily reductive.


      August 22, 2015 at 7:53 pm

  8. Munsters joke that niece Marilyn Monroe look-alike looks like a monster to them. Ahead of its time in that we have celebrity women with thick spray-tan color, tatted, pierced, breast and butt implanted being normal. In this environment, a 50s era fashion pretty blonde like Marilyn Monroe would stand out.

    Case in point, the tv show with the lady that had 14! kids are considered freaks. From youtube comments … why can’t they just dress like normal people? … we used to make fun of how weird this family was. … what the hecl are the girls wearing? … Gross … What the hell?. … whats up with the clothes?? Only white folk i swear … These kind of people make me sick

    Marilyn Munster
    “Marilyn is a fetching young blonde resembling Marilyn Monroe, and the only family member who is not ghoulish in appearance; by the Munsters’ aesthetic standards, she is distressingly unattractive. The family views Marilyn’s appearance as an affliction, but still treat her with kindness and love. Marilyn herself is all too aware of her “homeliness” and bemoans that she keeps scaring off potential boyfriends, having no clue that the young men are in fact frightened away by her monstrous family. … Marilyn was originally played by Beverley Owen, who was 27 years old at the time and had to wear a blonde wig to resemble Marilyn Monroe.”


    August 21, 2015 at 9:58 pm

  9. Good points about the Munsters – Herman had the role of a lifetime, expressing a joy in life that nobody on TV had ever expressed before while playing a husband. Yvonne de Carlo was recognized as a “Hispanic firebrand” in those innocent days, the great mystery of the Munsters was how those two had only had one kid – contraception was suspected! The Addams family were indeed rich, but they seemed to work very hard at maintaining their cultural heritage. People who read blog threads in 2015 are probably not all that good at recognizing how admirable a trait that is.

    howitzer daniel

    August 21, 2015 at 10:05 pm

  10. The Cask of Amontillado is the Poe story you’re looking for.
    Vincent Price starred in the movie version.

    Nedd Ludd

    August 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm

  11. Undoubtedly the only TV show ever based on a series of New Yorker cartoons.


    August 21, 2015 at 11:04 pm

  12. I grew up with Grimm’s Fairy Tales in my home, and they were some of the first tales I ever read.

    It is good because it gives children an insight into ye olde world which had no safety or bumper plates or 911…it’s fascinating.

    The morality was interesting….if someone wrongs you, then you fight them. If the dragon kills our village you find it and try to kill it or bargain. Evil step moms deserve to have their eyes plucked out for crimes against the innocent and pure. There really is nothing wrong with this sort of philosophy.


    August 22, 2015 at 12:35 am

  13. One of your previous posters mentioned the difference between Aristocrats and Patricians.

    The Addams are hardcore Aristocrats.

    Gomez and Morticia are very proficient fencers, they hunt, they shoot guns, Wednesday and the boy are always setting traps on each other. They do what they want and don’t care what others think. 100% Aristocrat.


    August 22, 2015 at 12:37 am

    • The boy was Pugsley.


      August 23, 2015 at 3:40 pm

  14. Its sad to say, but if the Addams family were real and alive today they would probably be the most normal family in most neighborhoods. Having a crazy uncle to shoot ’em in the back would probably make most people feel safer nowadays. I remember the episode where Gomez decides to run for Mayor, and his family uses the names of dead people to get on the ballot. They lampoon the corruption of politics that today seems all too normal. Too bad Gomez Addams isn’t real. He might be a replacement for Hillary if the passive aggressive Queen in the White House indicts her or that Ashley Madison website download leads to a huge Mt. St. Helen’s bimbo eruption for Bill. Win with Addams! He’ll tax the Rich! He’ll tax the Poor! He’ll make it fair like never before!

    Joshua Sinistar

    August 22, 2015 at 1:30 am

    • “The episode where Gomez decides to run for Mayor, and his family uses the names of dead people to get on the ballot.”

      Or as Lyndon Johnson would have called it, an instructional video.


      August 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm

  15. I’ve always though of the Addams Family as wonderful exemplars of aristocratic inherited wealth who do their own thing and are beholden to no one. Gomez probably got his law degree at Yale just for something to do. The Addams Family live in an awesome old manor with the kind of character and authenticity people today would kill for, which is much nicer than the crappy prefab mcmansions favored by bland corporate strivers. The Addams’s self actualization and “Devil may care” attitude towards the boring outside world are noble qualities.


    August 22, 2015 at 5:04 am

  16. One reason that homeschooling wasn’t common in 1964 is that deinstitutionalization was still a new concept/phenomenon. By the time the second “wave” of homeschooling (for ideological reasons) started in the 70s, deinstitutionalization had become a major thing. The first wave of homeschoolers were parents of disturbed/autistic/schizo kids that were smart enough to learn but too far gone for school.


    August 22, 2015 at 6:01 am

    • Homeschooling was widely prohibited in a wave of laws in the ’50’s. The Libertarians formed coalitions that reversed all that.


      August 22, 2015 at 8:41 pm

  17. > Favourites such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Rapunzel are being dropped by some families who fear children are being emotionally damaged.

    They’ll be much more “emotionally damaged” when they find out they were raised to be bunch of p***ies and in no way were prepared to deal with the horribleness of the real world. That is if they ever do leave their proverbial mother’s basement (most of Gen Y hasn’t yet).


    August 22, 2015 at 8:00 am

    • Realizing the “horribleness of the real world” is really the shitty thing about growing-up. When you’re a well-cared for child, everything is all smiles und sunshine. Magic is real, good guys win, adults are nice and responsible, and the world will take care of your needs and make sure you properly advance so you can have a house and kids and a family, too.


      August 23, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      • I dunno, between living near Civil War battlefields, being trained in nuclear attack drills (including trips to fall-out shelters) and being bused to a black school I kind of got the message early on that civilization was precarious. Must be a generational thing.


        August 23, 2015 at 10:36 pm

  18. While Grimm’s fairy tales were common in my childhood in the 70s/80s I cannot imagine that something like “The cask of Amontillado” would be assigned to kids below 12 or so. And by then most of them would have seen more gruesome movies. (FWIW many fairy tales are more explicitly brutal than that Poe story but they are rather “flat” in that they do not really create thrill/tension.)
    (I remember that with 10 or so I got hold of an anthology with “spooky stories” that started out with a few more funny and ironic ones but as I kept reading there came others that completely creeped me out, especially “The room in the tower” by Benson)


    August 22, 2015 at 8:27 am

  19. One of my favorites was Hansel and Gretel (German – Hänsel und Gretel) – sort of a bargain basement of dark themes. The sibling title pair are abandoned by their parents in the forest because of a famine. They are taken in by a cannibalistic old witch, who plans to eat them after a bit of fattening up. However, the kids realize what’s going on and push the old lady into the oven, where she’s roasted alive. Happy ending – Hansel and Gretel steal the dead witch’s treasure and return home to their loving father, his evil wife having passed away (he probably did her in). The kids and Dad live happily ever after. How’s that for a bedtime story, kids? No bad dreams tonight, right?

    This wonderful tale was made into an opera by Humperdinck and a delightful German movie in 2013, which grossed almost a quarter billion dollars in spite of universally bad reviews.

    Black Death

    August 22, 2015 at 11:25 am

  20. ” Herman Munster is a Ralph Kramden archetype who happens to be a monster (with the running joke being that he doesn’t realize he’s a monster). ”

    Is he a monster, Lion? Is he?

    Who’s the real monster here?!

    (sarc off)

    Fairy Tales?

    When I was in elementary school I used to read the violent and fun pulp tales of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs. My little kindergarten friends and I used to race home to watch the Hammer horror flicks, Universal monster movies, and classics like House on Haunted Hill and House of Wax, not to mention Godzilla movies and the monster-filled Ultra-Man TV show. They were scary but we loved ’em. And we would have loved them a lot less if they WEREN’T violent and scary.

    I like to think this prepared me for the horrors of the real world. : )

    Robert the Wise

    August 22, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    • Physically he’s a monster, but psychologically he’s a nice guy, even a goody-two-shoes.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 22, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      • Have you ever seen the original pilot for the Munsters? Its horrible! Instead of Yvonne deCarlo as Lily they have a Morticia ripoff who is – a Feminist! It was so poorly received it was shelved and re-tooled and only Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis came back to do the series now well known. Everybody though the pilot was destroyed but someone found half of it and posted it on Youtube. You won’t believe this:
        The woman playing Phoebe was the prosecutor for Captain James T. Kirk’s court marshall in that Finney Episode of TOS.

        Joshua Sinistar

        August 23, 2015 at 7:57 pm

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