Monday, October 07, 2013

halloween marathon: the munsters

A friend suggested a Halloween movie marathon — watch a scary or spooky movie a night, during the month of October. I was more than up for it, as I grew up watching scary movies, and they are some of my favorites. I've never been much for slashers or zombies, and being the mom of a nine year-old, I have had to modify my list a bit for when the kid was watching.

The month got off to a good start, thanks to Netflix, with The Munsters, one of my favorite childhood television series. My brother and I used to watch the (syndicated) series after school a lot. It's always fun to see how my computer-literate modern kid will react to something old school from my younger days. I'm happy to report that the goofy charms of Herman (Fred Gwynne), Grandpa (Al Lewis), Lily (Yvonne De Carlo), Eddie (Butch Patrick), and even poor, plain Marilyn (Beverley Owen, and then Pat Priest) are as silly and enjoyable as ever.

What potion is Grandpa cooking up now? L-R: Eddie, Lily, Herman, Grandpa, and Marilyn

And bonus — the kid seems to get and enjoy its absurdist dialogue and sense of humor:

Lily, "Eddie! You better start dawdling, or you're going to be on time for school!" 
Lily, "Oh, Marilyn ... the circles under your eyes. How lovely you look today." 
Grandpa, "What smells so good?"
Herman, "I cut myself shaving."

Lily and Herman
I wonder what it looks like across the street: 1313 Mockingbird Lane
I always loved Lily's costume: her Shroud (gown), Cape (made from  coffin's interior fabric), and Bat Pendant

Fred Gwynne really was a hoot, with his childish temper tantrums ("I won't, I won't, I  won't!") that usually resulted in a ceiling or wall collapsing on his Frankenstein-like head. But everyone in The Munsters plays the exaggerated comedy to the hilt. It's also fun on re-viewing to see some classic comedians turn up in supporting roles — Paul Lynde as the family doctor, Harvey Korman, even Don Rickles. I was pleasantly surprised at the look of the show, especially the Munsters' house at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. The attention to detail, with cobwebs, dust, and set decorations is really pretty impressive. When I was a kid I used to wish the show was in color, so that I could see Herman's green complexion, but I am actually happy that it was filmed (to keep the costs down, at the time an extra $10,000 per episode) in black and white. It suits the show. The kid doesn't seem to mind that it's not in color, either. Now if only Netflix could get The Addams Family ...


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