It may be the sign of a sick mind, but every single time I’m asked for my address I want to say 1313 Mockingbird Lane. That address was where you’d find the ever-fabulous Munsters family featured in the classic television series of the same name, which ran from 1964 to 1966. I grew up watching the reruns of the show and would have sworn there were thousands of episodes because I watched them so often through the years. I post this as a shout-out to the show and the family, the monstrous upstanding, honest (if a bit weird) citizens working toward the American dream. One of my all-time favorites The Munsters family was made up of Herman, Lily, Grandpa, Eddie and cousin, Marilyn.
Remembering The Munsters
Here’s the series’ classic, season one opening:
Herman Munster – played by Fred Gwynn, the patriarch of the family. Created by a mad doctor, Herman had a heart of gold. He scared everyone he came in contact with, everyone who laid eyes on him, which featured very funny scenes throughout the series of people’s hair standing on end, people jumping over walls – in short, anything to get away from the monster. In “reality” Herman was a pussy-cat, as excitable as a child, oft showing it by repeatedly saying things like, “Oh, goody!” Herman Munster was ranked #19 in TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” (20 June 2004 issue).
CLIP – Herman plays baseball:
Lily Munster – devoted wife, mother and daughter. June Cleaver had nothing on her! Plus, she was always stylin’! Played by the fabulous, Yvonne De Carlo.
“Herman tried to build a ship inside a bottle. We had to break the bottle to get him out.”
CLIP – Lily sings and plays the harp:
Grandpa whose real name is Sam Dracula – Played by veteran actor, Al Lewis. As a fan of all things Dracula, it’s only natural Grandpa should be my favorite character on the show.
Lily Munster: Grandpa, if you want the ketchup, just say “Please pass the ketchup”, not “Shoot me the plasma!”
Edward Wolfgang (Eddie) Munster – played by Butch Patrick. Eddie had a favorite doll he slept with, Woof-Woof, which made him feel at home because Eddie too was a werewolf.
Marilyn – the black sheep of the family.
“Oh, Marilyn… the circles under your eyes. How lovely you look today.” – Lily
Played by Beverly Owen on the series’ first 13 episodes:
And Pat Priest for the remainder of the series:
Igor – Grandpa’s pet Transylvanian bat. He is often seen flying around the mansion, especially in Grandpa’s basement, in which he often serves as a guinea pig. His feelings are easily hurt, inducing him to fly away. On occasion, Grandpa in bat form has been mistaken for Igor.
Spot – Eddie’s pet dragon whose lair is under the stairs that face the front door of the Munster’s home. Spot would occasionally escape the dungeon through a tunnel in order to chase cars, which is a favorite activity. He spouts fire as all dragons do and when seen it’s usually Spot’s tail on camera. Like the rest of the monstrous beings on “The Munsters” Spot is harmless. As Herman would say, “he’s afraid of his own shadow.”
The Raven (voiced by Mel Blanc and occasionally by Bob Hastings) – A raven who lives in the Munsters’ cuckoo clock and repeats the word “Nevermore” in timely fashion – often so that he can get the last word in the joke. When the raven occasionally makes smart alecky remarks, Herman throws objects at him. Sometimes, the raven will come out of his clock, but often only for short breaks, or to flee when frightened.
Kitty – A black cat that roars like a lion.
Cousin Lester – Lily’s brother and Grandpa’s son:
I’m getting ready to rewatch the series and this was a lovely way to prepare, a great refresher. “The Munsters” offers an homage to horror classics in its own silly way so how anyone could resist it is beyond me. If you’ve never seen the show do yourself a favor and take a look at it. It’ll make you smile.
(On his most famous role, 1979): “Funny thing, yesterday morning I found my youngest son and daughter watching the rerun of an old (“The Munsters” (1964)) episode and I said, “My God, THAT`S not still on, is it?” Well, even so, I was very lucky and it was great fun to be as much of a household product as something like Rinso. I almost wish I could do it all over again.” – Fred Gwynne