Tuesday, August 3, 2010
MUNSTERS AND ADDAMS AND SPAWNS..OH MY!
Most of you know about the conspiracy/controversey regarding the Addams Family/Munsters scheduling. Both premiered in fall of 1964 and ran two seasons on different networks (ABC and CBS respectively). The Addams, however, had a long history. The macabre family was started as a single panel comic strip in the New Yorker by Charles Addams many years before. The Munsters, a throwback to the Hammer Monster films, was a relatively new creation.
After six years of being rerun, Hanna-Barbera animated the Addams Family (based on their original comic look) for an episode of Scooby Doo Movies in 1972 which led to their own cartoon series the following year on NBC. And there was a barely remembered reunion special with most of the original cast on NBC in 1976. After that, more animated versions appeared and two financially successful feature films were produced. As for The Munsters, the original run was followed by a feature film, "Munsters Go Home". The only animated version was called "The Mini-Munsters" produced by Fred Calvert for a one time special run on the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie in 1972.
But there has been massive confusion regarding the proliferation of monster "families" during the sixties in cartoonland. For instance, Hanna-Barbera had "The Gruesomes" (almost a cross between the Addams and Munsters) featured in a Snooper and Blabber cartoon.
They would later be prehistorisized and become regulars in episodes of "The Flintstones".
Also, Hanna-Barbera created "Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist". This more sophisticated gruesome family appeared in a "Snagglepuss" episode. Although they never had their own cartoon series, they were featured in their own four issue Gold Key Comic in the sixties.
Strangely, around this same time (1964...also then the Munsters and Addams started TV sitcoms) Gold Key created their own monster family "The Little Monsters" which ran succesfully through the seventies. This was never animated.
Similar looks and styles abounded on Saturday morning: Hal Seeger's "Milton the Monster", "Frankenstien Jr."(Hanna-Barbera), the Gruesome Twosome on "Wacky Races" (also Hanna-Barbera), and, of course, Sabrina's friends "The Groovy Goolies" (Filmation).
And also, in 1967, Rankin-Bass created a feature film using their puppet-style animation (see "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" for "The Mad Monster Party". They animated a sequel to this, also for the Saturday Superstar Movie' the same year as "The Mini-Munsters".