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"This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
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Extensively quoted in
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Robert S. Rhine's
CIRCUS OF HELL
GAHAN WILSON &
Featuring comics by
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
By the time I was old enough to know anything about THE ADDAMS FAMILY on TV, it was already cancelled and living in syndication. The Addams children, Wednesday (Lisa Loring) and Pugsly (Ken Weatherwax) were grown.
What Thing can't handle with one hand, is up to their giant and formidable butler, Lurch (Ted Cassidy). Lurch is strong, powerful, mostly silent (with the occasional introduction of the latest house guest or a disapproving "Uhhrrrrgh!"), and bashful around pretty young women. With but a ring of the house-shaking gong, and Lurch is there within the second. But when Lurch gets on his beloved harpsichord to entertain the family, he wigs out: his tombstone face lights up in madness or melts in tears as he surrenders himself to his music.
That look on a human being was possibly too much for television audiences at the time. But in characterization, Jones and Astin nailed their parts. Even better, the on-screen chemistry between the two of them appeared as warm and affectionate as it did salacious and desirous. Not an episode went by where Gomez didn't suddenly find himself overwhelmed by Morticia's charms, ravenously kissing her hand, arm, shoulders, going up to her neck and drowning in her hair before Morticia was compelled to remind Gomez of propriety.
More than a few episodes would have a moment where the two could no longer contain their desires and either rushed up to their bedroom or down to the basement "playroom". By the time the show was cancelled in 1967, the pop-culture of the U.S. entered a period of "Free Love"*. It's safe to say that nobody who engaged in "Free love" experienced the kind of Real love, romance, passion, desire, and eroticism, that was constantly alluded to in the fictional relationship of Gomez and Morticia.
It's the Addams Family's perspective on the trials and tribulations of urban America that kept and keeps the episodes fresh. From like-minded family coming to visit to issues with service people like plumbers and doctors to dealing with local courts to even locking horns with a federal government intent on spying on the citizens (all real concerns in the Kennedy/Johnson era), the old Addams Family episodes are as hysterical now as they were then. Even friends of mine from other countries, separated by distance, culture, and eras, find themselves cracking up over the unique perspective of THE ADDAMS FAMILY.
Director Sidney Lanfield (THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES ), a one time jazz musician, laid the groundwork for how the Addamses would live and interact with the world. He directed 48 episodes of THE ADDAMS FAMILY, more than all other guest directors combined. Of course, what also kept THE ADDAMS FAMILY on track and for the fans, that made the Homebodies series of Chas Addams books and comics so successful, was...
Charles Addams and David Levy would go on to create THE ADDAMS FAMILY cartoon series with the voices of many of the actors from the original series, but that wasn't the magic the fans were looking for. A number of color THE ADDAMS FAMILY TV movies were also made throughout the years, but even with many of the original cast (the children were replaced, being adults by that time), the technicolor appearance of THE ADDAMS FAMILY didn't sit well with the fans. The comics were in black and white, and the original series matched that. THE ADDAMS FAMILY wouldn't achieve success again until the advent of the Barry Sonnenfeld THE ADDAMS FAMILY movie with Raul Julia as Gomez and Anjelica Huston as Morticia.
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