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The Addams Family
The Addams Family in the 1964 TV series.
Created byCharles Addams
Original workThe New Yorker cartoons
Owner
Print publications
Comic strip(s)See below (1938)
Films and television
Film(s)
Short film(s)The Addams Family Fun-House (1973)
Television series
Television special(s)
Direct-to-videoAddams Family Reunion (1998)
Theatrical presentations
Musical(s)
Games
Video game(s)List of video games
Audio
Soundtrack(s)The Addams Family

The Addams Family is a fictional family created by American cartoonist Charles Addams. They originally appeared in a series of 150 standalone single-panel comics, about half of which were originally published in The New Yorker between 1938 and their creator's death in 1988. They have since been adapted to other media, such as television, film, video games, comic books, a musical, and merchandise.

The Addamses are an odd, old-money clan who delight in the macabre and are seemingly unaware or unconcerned that other people find them bizarre or frightening. The family members were unnamed until the 1960s. Matriarch Morticia and daughter Wednesday received their names when a licensed doll collection was released in 1962; patriarch Gomez and son Pugsley were named when the 1964 television series debuted.[1] The Addams Family consists of Gomez and Morticia Addams, their children, Wednesday and Pugsley, and close family members Uncle Fester[b] and Grandmama,[c] their butler Lurch, and Pugsley's pet octopus, Aristotle. The dimly seen Thing (later a disembodied hand) was introduced in 1954, and Gomez's Cousin Itt, Morticia's pet lion Kitty Kat and Morticia's carnivorous plant Cleopatra in 1964. Pubert Addams, Wednesday and Pugsley's infant brother, was introduced in the 1993 film Addams Family Values.[d]

The live-action television series premiered on ABC on Friday, September 18, 1964, and ran for two seasons.[1] It subsequently inspired a telefilm titled Halloween with the New Addams Family and cameos from the cast in other shows. An unrelated animated series aired in 1973. The franchise was revived in the 1990s with a feature film series consisting of The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993). The films inspired a second animated series (1992–1993) which is set in the same fictional universe. The series was rebooted with a 1998 direct-to-video film and a spin-off live-action television series (1998–1999). In 2010, a live musical adaptation featuring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth opened on Broadway with tepid reviews, but it was nominated for two Tony Awards[3] and eight Drama Desk Awards, winning one Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design.[4] The series was rebooted again in 2019 with the animated film The Addams Family, which led to a sequel in 2021. In 2022, Netflix debuted the original series Wednesday, which is a spin-off from the original 1964 series.

The franchise has spawned a video game series, academic books and soundtracks, which are based around its Grammy-nominated theme song. A staple in pop culture for eight decades, The Addams Family has influenced American comics, cinema and television. Some say that goth subculture and its fashion have also been influenced by The Addams Family.[citation needed]

History

Origins & The New Yorker cartoons (1933–1964)

Charles Addams began as a cartoonist in The New Yorker with a sketch of a window washer that ran on February 6, 1932.[5] Addams first drew the then-unnamed Morticia some years before her first published appearance in The New Yorker. Some sources give a date of 1933, while Addams himself when asked in interview suggested "around 1937".[6] Media speculation at the time often connected Morticia to Charles Addams' first wife Barbara Jean Day, but he had yet to meet her.[7] In an interview in 1981 he acknowledged that Morticia reflected the qualities he was attracted to, and because of that his wives resembled the character. He described Morticia as "not patterned after anyone in particular, although I’ve often thought there was a little Gloria Swanson in her."[6]

The first Addams Family cartoon was published in 1938, in a one-panel gag format. Charles Addams became a regular contributor to The New Yorker, and drew approximately 1,300 cartoons between then and his death in 1988. 58 of these would feature the Addams Family, almost all of which were published in the 1940s and 1950s. Members of the family were introduced one by one, with Morticia first, Gomez (based on Thomas E. Dewey) joining four years later, Pugsley, and finally Wednesday and Fester shortly after. Addams indicated that Fester resembled himself, "plus a little more hair."[6] A Christmas 1946 strip, showing the family pouring boiling oil on carolers, was well received and was later sold on Christmas cards.[8] Outside of The New Yorker, Addams also published several collections, the most notable being Dear Dead Days: A Family Album in 1959. The family members were initially not named; Wednesday was first given a name in 1962 for a licensed doll collection, while the others were named during the development of the television series in 1963.[9] The editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn, prevented any further Addams family cartoons from being printed after the 1964 launch of the television franchise.[9]

Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury created a series of tales chronicling a family of Illinois monsters, the Elliotts, that bear a strong resemblance to the Addams family. These stories were anthologized in From the Dust Returned (2001), with a connecting narrative, an explanation of his work with Addams, and a 1946 illustration Addams drew for Bradbury's short story "Homecoming" in Mademoiselle magazine, the first in the Elliot family series.

TV adaptations and rise to popularity (1964–1977)

The cast of the 1977 TV film

In the early 1960s, NBC executive David Levy stumbled across one of Addams' books in a New York bookstore, and realized that the tone would be perfect for television. He purchased the book and met with Addams in the Plaza Hotel, and the topic of a television adaptation was raised. Addams had been approached about television adaptations by others in the past, but he was inclined to take Levy up on the offer because of their shared friend in the author John O'Hara. At the next meeting, at Addams' apartment, Levy indicated the characters would need to be named, and Addams came up with a list for the third meeting. According to Levy, Addams had little involvement with the series after those three meetings. He retained the right to veto casting decisions and other choices, but did not make use of the power.[6] Some rights to the franchise were given to Filmways, the production company for the show.[10]

The 1964 television adaptation brought the series to a much wider audience and was well received publicly. Producer Nat Perrin took a "less evil" approach to the characters and stories than Addams had in the cartoons, emphasizing lighter, more comedic elements. Stephen Cox later referred to the series as "more zany than spooky". The popular series, broadcast on the ABC network, ran only two seasons. No official reason was given for the cancellation, though Smithsonian Magazine speculated that it was due to the adoption of colour programming on the network the following year.[9] Charles Addams himself was less happy with the series, criticising the characters for being "half as evil" as in the comics.

The sudden cancellation in 1966 also brought issues for Charles Addams, as he faced a sudden drop in income with the show no longer in development, the rights to future television and film adaptations were owned by his second wife Barbara Barb following their divorce,[11] and Shawn would not allow any further strips to be printed in The New Yorker. He became bitter towards the magazine "for disowning his family".[8] Barb would ultimately remain in possession of adaptation rights until she sold it to allow the development of the 1991 film.[10] The franchise remained in the popular consciousness even after the series concluded, with the "Lurch" dance move remaining popular through the 1960s. The television series was often re-run through television syndication for years afterward, particularly in Australia.

Hanna-Barbera parodied the show in November 1964 by introducing a family named "The Gruesomes" to The Flintstones, and the Gruesomes appeared occasionally in Flintstones media into the early 1970s.[6] The studio later animated a 1972 Addams Family crossover with Scooby-Doo, which led to a 1973 animated series. The animated incarnation featured a new cast except for Felix Silla, who returned as Cousin Itt. The show had good ratings and spawned a line of children's merchandise, but only aired 16 episodes. A pilot was also produced that year for a new live action series entitled The Addams Family Funhouse, using a different cast. The pilot was aired in 1973 but never picked up for a full series.[6]

A 1977 special, Halloween with the New Addams Family, reunited most of the original cast from the 1964 series, with Blossom Rock absent due to her health. The made-for-TV movie faced issues during production and was poorly received. It was shot using a house set that had been constructed for the horror film Ben, which didn't resemble the original Addams mansion and caused technical issues with lighting. The film was widely criticised for the script, direction, and the performances of some of the actors. Jackie Coogan in particular was recovering from a mild stroke during filming.[6][9]

Wave of interest in Australia (1980-1989)

Charles Addams married Marilyn Matthews Miller in 1981, in an Addams family themed ceremony conducted in a cemetery.[7] Filmways, the production company of the 1964 series and holder of some franchise rights, was purchased in 1982 by Orion Pictures. The 1987 retirement of William Shawn allowed a brief return of the cartoons to The New Yorker, though Addams himself died only a year later. While largely inactive in the United States, the franchise did however see a wave of popularity in Australia, brought on by widely watched reruns on TCN-9. New merchandise was released in Australia and a "Morticia Boutique Dress Shop" opened in Melbourne in 1988. A satellite-linked interview with surviving members of the original cast was also aired on Australian television. A fan quoted by Cox credited the tone of the Addams family for its success in 1980s Australia, noting that the characters were "less American" than the Munsters, and that Australians had a different life-style. Astin reprised his role as Gomez for a 1989 episode of Nick at Nite's Sitcom Zone, in which he introduced reruns of shows for a two-hour programming block. A 1989 video game Fester's Quest was developed by Sunsoft, and is now considered among the worst games of all time. To promote the game some black-and-white advertisements were filmed using the characters.[12][6]

Film series and The New Addams Family (1991–2001)

The head of production at 20th Century Fox, Scott Rudin, pitched an Addams Family film but Fox did not have the rights to the franchise. The rights were at the time split between two parties: The late Addams' second wife Barbara Barb, and Orion Pictures. The latter were in possession of film rights in particular after purchasing Filmways in 1982. Fox attempted to purchase those rights but failed, as Orion had plans for a new TV series. The studio's plans changed however after Barb sold her rights to Orion, and the studio brought Rudin on board to produce a film. Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson wrote a script, and faced many re-writes early on. Tim Burton was considered for director, but the role ultimately went to Barry Sonnenfeld. The film featured a new cast, a necessity given that a number of the classic cast members had passed away by the early 1990s. Production on the film was troubled, with Sonnenfeld blacking out on set, and a burst blood vessel in Raul Julia's eye further delaying the shoot. Director of photography Owen Roizman quit the production three months from completion, forcing Sonnenfeld to take on the role in addition to his existing responsibilities. Orion faced financial issues and sold the project and Addams family rights to Paramount mid-production- though the deal did not include overseas home media rights, which harmed distribution after release. Orion retained those, and those rights passed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayor when the studio was bought out in 1997.[10]

While the 1991 film received mixed reviews from critics, it performed reasonably well at the box office despite its production issues. A second film in 1993, Addams Family Values was highly regarded by critics but performed poorly at the box office unexpectedly, and earned less than half the revenue of its predecessor. This, and the sudden death of Julia in 1994, prevented Sonnenfeld from producing further films.[9] Both films received nominations for Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Hugo Awards. For her role as Morticia, Anjelica Huston was twice nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, and Raul Julia (as Gomez), Christina Ricci (as Wednesday), Christopher Lloyd (as Fester), and Joan Cusack (as Fester's wife, Debbie Jellinsky, in the sequel) received multiple Saturn Award and American Comedy Award nominations for their portrayals.

Following the wave of interest in the franchise, a 1992 animated television series notably saw John Astin reprise his role as Gomez, almost thirty years after his first appearance in the role in 1964. It was nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards, including one for Astin. That year a pinball machine based on the franchise was also released, featuring original voice acting from Julia and Huston as Gomez and Morticia. It went on to become the highest selling pinball machine of all time at over 20,000 units.[13]

A direct-to-video film, The Addams Family Reunion produced by Saban Entertainment in 1998, featured the return of Carel Struycken as Lurch, but was otherwise unrelated to the Sonnenfeld films. It was very poorly received. The film was intended as the pilot for a Canadian-produced live-action television series, The New Addams Family, made with a mostly different cast and airing the following year.[14] Astin, then in his late 60s, returned as Grandpapa Addams in the TV series, rather than Gomez, who was played by Glenn Taranto.[14] The show concluded after a single season in 1999. A video game adaptation of The New Addams Family was released in 2001 for the Game Boy Color.

Musical and animated adaptations (2007-2021)

In 2007, Elephant Eye Theatrical announced that they had obtained the rights to a musical adaptation of the comic series, which at that time were held by the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation.[15] After a try-out in Chicago in 2009, the musical was performed on Broadway in 2010, and thereafter in a sequence of international tours until 2021.

The rights to the franchise were purchased by Illumination Entertainment in 2010, and the studio shortly announced a Tim Burton stop-motion led film. However, Burton withdrew from the project in 2013 over a decision to use computer animation rather than stop motion as he had intended.[16] Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired the remaining rights and announced a computer animated film the same year, and entered into production in the late 2010s. Unlike the Burton version, this would use 3D computer animation. The film was eventually released in 2019, to a moderate box-office reception. A sequel, released in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, was far less successful. The first film received mixed audience reception, while the second film received negative audience reception with the two films scoring 45% and 28% on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.

Wednesday (2022- present)

Miles Millar and Alfred Gough began work on a live action spin off series entitled Wednesday in 2019, financed by MGM. The writers room for the series took place during the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and so was conducted remotely. The project was formally announced in 2020, with Burton as executive producer. The first series was released in 2022 to critical acclaim.[17] Amazon purchased MGM in 2021, which in turn means that the Addams Family rights now rest with the company.[18]

Premise and background

Gomez and Pugsley are enthusiastic. Morticia is even in disposition, muted, witty, sometimes deadly. Grandma Frump is foolishly good-natured. Wednesday is her mother's daughter. A closely-knit family, the real head being Morticia—although each of the others is a definite character—except for Grandma, who is easily led. Many of the troubles they have as a family are due to Grandma's fumbling, weak character. The house is a wreck, of course, but this is a house-proud family just the same and every trap door is in good repair. Money is no problem.

— Charles Addams[2]

The family appears to be a branch of an extensive Addams clan with relatives all over the world. In the original television series they are said to be related to "those one-D Adamses", a fact the family are deeply ashamed of. According to the film version, the family credo is, Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc (pseudo-Latin: "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us"). Charles Addams was first inspired by his hometown of Westfield, New Jersey, an area full of ornate Victorian mansions and archaic graveyards.[19] In the original comics series they live in a gothic house on Cemetery Ridge. According to the television series, the residence is a gloomy mansion adjacent to a cemetery and a swamp located in an unspecified American town. In the musical (first shown in Chicago in 2009), the house is located in Central Park.[20] In the 2019 film, the Addamses live in an abandoned asylum located in the outskirts of the state of New Jersey which is haunted by a disembodied resident who demands the property to remain undisturbed.

Although most of the humor derives from the fact that they share macabre interests, such as putting each other and themselves in the way of bodily harm (none of which seems to have an effect), the Addamses are not evil. They are a close-knit extended family. Morticia is an exemplary mother, and she and Gomez remain passionate towards each other; as established in the television series, she calls him "bubbeleh",[21] to which he responds by kissing her arms, behavior which Morticia can also provoke by speaking a few words in French (their meanings are not important; any words in French will do). The parents are supportive of their children (except in the 2019 film when Wednesday arrives home wearing a pink dress). The family is friendly and hospitable to visitors; in some cases, it is willing to donate large sums of money to causes (television series and films), despite the visitors' horror at the Addamses' peculiar lifestyle. The characters were unnamed until the advent of the 1964 television adaptation, except for Wednesday and Morticia who were first named for a 1962 licensed doll collection.[9]

Adaptations

Television

SeriesSeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
Live-action series
The Addams Family134September 18, 1964 (1964-09-18)May 21, 1965 (1965-05-21)ABC
230September 17, 1965 (1965-09-17)April 8, 1966 (1966-04-08)
Halloween specialOctober 30, 1977 (1977-10-30)NBC
The New Addams Family165October 19, 1998 (1998-10-19)August 28, 1999 (1999-08-28)YTV (Canada)
Fox Family Channel (United States)
Wednesday18November 23, 2022 (2022-11-23)Netflix
2[22]TBATBA
Animated series
The Addams FamilyScooby-Doo crossoverSeptember 23, 1972 (1972-09-23)CBS
116September 8, 1973 (1973-09-08)December 22, 1973 (1973-12-22)NBC
The Addams Family113September 12, 1992 (1992-09-12)December 5, 1992 (1992-12-05)ABC
28September 18, 1993 (1993-09-18)November 6, 1993 (1993-11-06)

The Addams Family (1964–1966)

Main article: The Addams Family (1964 TV series)

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In 1964, the ABC TV network created The Addams Family television series based on Addams's cartoon characters. The series was shot in black-and-white and aired for two seasons in 64 half-hour episodes (September 18, 1964 – September 2, 1966). During the original television run of The Addams Family television series, The New Yorker editor William Shawn refused to publish any Addams Family cartoons. However, he continued to publish other Charles Addams cartoons. Shawn regarded his magazine as targeting a more refined readership and he did not want it to be associated with characters who could be seen on television by the more general public. After Shawn's 1987 retirement, the characters were welcomed back to The New Yorker.

The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)

The Addams Family's first animated appearance was on the third episode of Hanna-Barbera's The New Scooby-Doo Movies, "Scooby-Doo Meets the Addams Family" (a.k.a. "Wednesday is Missing"), which first aired on CBS Saturday morning, on September 23, 1972. Four members of the original cast (John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, and Ted Cassidy) returned for the special, which involved the Addamses in a mystery with the Scooby-Doo gang. The Addams Family characters were drawn to the specifications of the original Charles Addams cartoons. After the episode aired, fans wanted more animated adventures featuring the Addamses, and Hanna-Barbera obliged.

The Addams Family Fun-House (1973)

In late 1972, ABC produced a pilot for a live-action musical variety show which was titled The Addams Family Fun-House. The cast included Jack Riley and Liz Torres as Gomez and Morticia (the pair also co-wrote the special), Stubby Kaye as Uncle Fester, Pat McCormick as Lurch and Butch Patrick (who had played Eddie Munster on The Munsters) as Pugsley. Felix Silla reprised his role as Cousin Itt, connecting it to the original TV series. The pilot aired in 1973, but it was not picked up for a series.[23]

The Addams Family (1973)

Main article: The Addams Family (1973 animated series)

The first animated series ran on Saturday mornings from 1973 to 1975 on NBC. In a departure from the original series, this series took the Addamses on the road in a Victorian-style RV. This series also marked the point where the relationships between the characters were changed so that Fester was now Gomez's brother, and Grandmama was now Morticia's mother (though the old relationships between the characters would be revisited in the 1977 television movie, in order to retain its continuity with the original sitcom). Although Coogan and Cassidy reprised their roles as Uncle Fester and Lurch, Astin and Jones did not; their parts were recast with Hanna-Barbera voice talents Lennie Weinrib as Gomez and Janet Waldo as Morticia, while a ten-year-old Jodie Foster provided the voice of Pugsley. Again, the characters were drawn to the specifications of the original Charles Addams cartoons. The show also had appearances from Thing, Cousin Itt, Kitty Kat and Cleopatra from the original series. The show also introduces new Addams Family's animal companions, such as Ali the alligator, Ocho the octopus and Mr. V the vulture. One season was produced, and the second season consisted of reruns. The show's theme music was completely different and it had no lyrics and no finger snaps, although it retained a bit of the four-note score from the live-action show.

The Addams Family Comic Book

From 1974 to 1975, Gold Key Comics produced a comic book series in connection with the show, but it only lasted three issues. Each issue was adapted from a TV episode, starting with "In Search of the Boola-Boola" (October 1974).[24]

Halloween with the New Addams Family (1977)

Main article: Halloween with the New Addams Family

A television reunion movie, Halloween with the New Addams Family, aired on NBC on Sunday, October 30, 1977. It features most of the original cast, except Blossom Rock, who had played Grandmama. She was still alive but was very ill at the time; Jane Rose replaced her. Veteran character actors Parley Baer and Vito Scotti, who both had recurring roles on the original series, also appeared in the movie. The movie has a slightly different version of the theme song; the finger snaps are used but not the lyrics.

Gomez and Morticia have had two more children, Wednesday Jr. and Pugsley Jr., who strongly resemble their older siblings. Gomez's brother, Pancho, is staying with the family while Gomez attends a lodge meeting in Tombstone, Arizona. Gomez is jealous of his brother, who once courted Morticia. Halloween is nigh, and Pancho tells the children the legend of the Great Pumpkin-like character of Cousin Shy, who distributes gifts and carves pumpkins for good children on Halloween night. Wednesday (now called "Wednesday, Sr.") is home from music academy, where she is studying the piccolo (breaking glass with it). Pugsley (now "Pugsley, Sr.") is home from Nairobi medical school, where he is training to be a witch doctor. The family's home has been bugged by a gang of crooks which intends to steal the family's fortune. Lafferty, the boss, sends a gang member named Mikey into the house to investigate. Mikey panics and flees after treading on the tail of Kitty Kat the lion. The crooks employ a fake Gomez and Morticia to help them carry out their plans, along with two strong-arm goons, Hercules and Atlas. Gomez returns home to celebrate the Halloween party and trim the scarecrow. Lafferty poses as Quincy Addams (from Boston) to gain entrance to the house during the party. He has his men tie up Gomez and Morticia, and his doubles take their places, confusing Pancho, who is still in love with Morticia, and Ophelia, who is still in love with Gomez. Gomez and Morticia escape (thanks to the "Old Piccolo Game"), and rejoin the party, only to have Lafferty use various methods to try to get rid of them. Lurch scares off the thugs and terrifies Lafferty's other assistant. Fester, trying to be nice, puts Lafferty on the rack. Lafferty tries to escape through the secret passage and steps on Kitty Kat's tail. When the police arrive, the crooks gladly surrender. The Addamses are then free to celebrate Halloween happily, ending the night by singing together in welcome for Cousin Shy.

The Addams Family: The Animated Series (1992–1993)

Main article: The Addams Family (1992 animated series)

The remake series ran on Saturday mornings from 1992 to 1993 on ABC after producers realized the success of the 1991 Addams Family movie. This series returned to the familiar format of the original series, with the Addams Family facing their sitcom situations at home. John Astin returned to the role of Gomez, and celebrities Rip Taylor and Carol Channing took over the roles of Fester and Grandmama, respectively. Veteran voice actors Jim Cummings, Debi Derryberry, Jeannie Elias and Pat Fraley did the voices of Lurch, Wednesday, Pugsley and Cousin Itt, respectively. New artistic models of the characters were used for this series, though still having a passing resemblance to the original cartoons. Two seasons were produced, with the third year containing reruns. Oddly in this series, Wednesday maintained her macabre, brooding attitude from the Addams Family movies. Still, her facial expressions and body language conveyed the happy-go-lucky, fun attitude of her portrayal in the original television show. The original Vic Mizzy theme song, although slightly different, was used for the opening.

The New Addams Family (1998–1999)

Main article: The New Addams Family

The New Addams Family was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and ran for 65 episodes (one more than the original TV series) during the 1998–1999 season on the then-newly launched Fox Family Channel. Many storylines from the original series were reworked for this new series, incorporating more modern elements and jokes. John Astin returned to the franchise in some episodes of this series, albeit as "Grandpapa" Addams (Gomez's grandfather, a character introduced in Addams Family Reunion). The cast included Glenn Taranto as Gomez Addams, Ellie Harvie as Morticia, Michael Roberds as Fester, Brody Smith as Pugsley, Nicole Fugere (the only cast member from Addams Family Reunion to return) as Wednesday, John DeSantis as Lurch, Betty Phillips as Grandmama and Steven Fox as Thing.

Wednesday (2022)

Main article: Wednesday (TV series)

In 2021, Netflix announced a live-action TV series adaptation based on Wednesday Addams, produced by MGM Television and starring Jenna Ortega as the title character. Alfred Gough and Miles Millar were the showrunners and Tim Burton directed several episodes in his first televised directorial effort.[25] Wednesday, a student at Nevermore Academy, solves mysteries using her psychic ability. These include murders and a 25-year-old mystery involving her family.[26] Luis Guzmán stars as Gomez,[27] and Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as Morticia.[28] In addition, Fred Armisen appears as Uncle Fester, George Burcea as Lurch, Victor Dorobantu as Thing, and Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley. Hunter Doohan, Georgie Farmer, Moosa Mostafa, Emma Myers, Naomi J. Ogawa, Joy Sunday, Percy Hynes White, Riki Lindhome, Jamie McShane and Gwendoline Christie were also added to the cast as series regulars.[29][30] In March 2022, Christina Ricci, who portrayed Wednesday in The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993), joined the cast as a series regular.[31]

Feature films

Crew/detail Live action Animated
The Addams Family (1991) Addams Family Values (1993) Addams Family Reunion (1998) The Addams Family (2019) The Addams Family 2 (2021)
Director Barry Sonnenfeld Dave Payne Conrad Vernon
Greg Tiernan
Conrad Vernon
Greg Tiernan
Co-directed by:
Laura Brousseau
Kevin Pavlovic[32]
Producer Scott Rudin Mike Elliott Gail Berman
Conrad Vernon
Alex Schwartz
Alison O'Brien
Gail Berman
Conrad Vernon
Danielle Sterling
Alison O’Brien
Writer(s) Caroline Thompson
Larry Wilson
Paul Rudnick Rob Kerchner
Scott Sandin
Screenplay by:
Matt Lieberman
Story by:
Matt Lieberman
Erica Rivinoja
Conrad Vernon
Screenplay by:
Dan Hernandez
Benji Samit
Ben Queen
Susanna Fogel
Story by:
Dan Hernandez
Benji Samit
Based on The Addams Family
by Charles Addams
Composer Marc Shaiman Amotz Plessner Mychael Danna
Jeff Danna
Cinematography Owen Roizman Donald Peterman Christian Sebaldt
Editor(s) Dede Allen Arthur Schmidt
Jim Miller
J. J. Jackson David Ian Salter Ryan Folsey
Production company Paramount Pictures
Scott Rudin Productions
Scott Rudin Productions Saban Entertainment Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Bron Creative
Nitrogen Studios
Cinesite Studios
The Jackal Group
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Bron Creative
Nitrogen Studios
Cinesite Studios
The Jackal Group
Glickmania
Distributor Paramount Pictures (United States and Latin America)
Columbia Pictures (International)[33]
Paramount Pictures Warner Home Video United Artists Releasing (United States)
Universal Pictures (International)
Runtime 99 minutes 94 minutes 91 minutes 87 minutes 93 minutes
Release date November 22, 1991 November 19, 1993 September 22, 1998 October 11, 2019 October 1, 2021

The Addams Family (1991)

Main article: The Addams Family (1991 film)

In the 1990s, Orion Pictures (which by then had inherited the rights to the series) developed a film version, The Addams Family (released on November 22, 1991). Because of the studio's financial troubles at the time, Orion sold the US rights to the film to Paramount Pictures. On October 1, 2019, Paramount Pictures[34] released double feature of Addams Family and Addams Family Values on Blu-ray in the United States.

Addams Family Values (1993)

Main article: Addams Family Values

Upon the last film's success, a sequel followed: Addams Family Values (released on November 19, 1993, with worldwide distribution by Paramount). Loosened content restrictions allowed the films to use far more grotesque humor that strove to keep the Addams cartoons' original spirit (in fact, several gags were lifted straight from the single-panel cartoons). The two films used the same cast, except for Grandmama, played by Judith Malina and Carol Kane in the first and second films, respectively. A script for a third film was prepared in 1994, but was abandoned after the sudden death of actor Raul Julia that year.

Addams Family Reunion (1998)

Main article: Addams Family Reunion

Another film, Addams Family Reunion, was released direct-to-video on September 22, 1998, this time by Warner Bros. through its video division. It has no relation to the Paramount movies, being in fact a full-length pilot for a second live-action television version, The New Addams Family, produced and shot in Canada. The third movie's Gomez, played by Tim Curry, follows the style of Raul Julia, while the new sitcom's Gomez, played by Glenn Taranto, is played in the style of John Astin, who had played the character in the 1960s. The only actors in this Warner Bros./Saban Entertainment production to have played in the previous Paramount films were Carel Struycken as Lurch and Christopher Hart as Thing.

Cancelled film

In 2010, it was announced that Illumination Entertainment, in partnership with Universal Pictures, had acquired the underlying rights to the Addams Family drawings.[35] The film was planned to be a stop-motion animated film based on Charles Addams's original drawings. Tim Burton was set to co-write and co-produce the film, with a possibility to direct.[36] In July 2013 however, it was reported that the film was cancelled.[37]

The Addams Family (2019) and The Addams Family 2 (2021)

Main articles: The Addams Family (2019 film) and The Addams Family 2

On October 31, 2013, it was announced in Variety that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer will be reviving The Addams Family as an animated film with Pamela Pettler to write the screenplay and Andrew Mittman and Kevin Miserocchi to executive produce the film and they were in final negotiations with BermanBraun's Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun to produce it.[38] By October 2017, Conrad Vernon had been hired to direct the film, which he will also produce along with Berman and Alex Schwartz, based on a screenplay written by Pettler, with revisions by Matt Lieberman.[39] The film was released on October 11, 2019.[40] On October 8, 2020, MGM announced that a sequel is in the works with an announcement trailer.[41] The original cast set to return. Bill Hader and Javon "Wanna" Walton have also been cast to voice. Bill Hader played a new character named Dr. Cyrus Strange, while Javon replaced Finn Wolfhard as the voice of Pugsley Addams. Directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon returned as directors. The film was released on October 1, 2021.[42]

Homages and adaptations

Video games

Main article: The Addams Family (video game series)

Ten video games released from 1989 to 2021 were based on The Addams Family.

Pinball

Further information: The Addams Family (pinball)

A pinball game by Midway (under the Bally label) was released in 1992 shortly after the movie. It is the best-selling pinball game of all time.[46]

Books

The Addams Family

This first novelisation of the television series, written by Jack Sharkey, was released near the end of the show's second season. The book details the family's arrival in their new home and explains how it got its bizarre décor. The arrival and origins of Thing are explained. Each chapter reads as a self-contained story, like episodes of the television show. The novel concludes with the Addams family discovering that their lives will be the basis for a new television series. It was published in paperback by Pyramid Books in 1965.[47]

The Addams Family Strikes Back

The Addams Family Strikes Back by W.F. Miksch tells how Gomez plans to rehabilitate the image of Benedict Arnold by running for the local school board. The tone and characterizations in this book resemble the TV characters much more closely than in the first novel. Cousin Itt appears as a minor character in this story, but as a tiny, three-legged creature rather than the hairy, derby-hatted character seen on television and in the movies. The novel was published in paperback form by Pyramid Books in 1965.[47]

The Addams Family: An Evilution

Further information: The Addams Family: An Evilution

The Addams Family: An Evilution is a book about the "evilution" of The Addams Family characters, with more than 200 published and previously unpublished cartoons, and includes text by Charles Addams and H. Kevin Miserocchi, Director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. Pomegranate Press published the book in 2010.

Advertising

In 1994, the actors cast as the Addamses in the first two films (sans the recently deceased Raul Julia) were in several Japanese television spots for the Honda Odyssey.[48] The Addamses are seen speaking Japanese—most prominently Gomez (for whom a voice actor was used to impersonate Julia while footage from Addams Family Values was seen) and Morticia.[49]

In 2007 and 2008, the Addams Family appeared as M&M's in an advertising campaign for M&M's Dark Chocolate.[50]

Soundtrack

A theme song for the 1964 TV series as well as a soundtrack album the next year were released, both composed by Vic Mizzy and the latter containing all of his compositions for the series entitled Original Music From The Addams Family.[51]

Musical

The Addams Family

Main article: The Addams Family (musical)

In May 2007, it was announced that a musical inspired by The Addams Family drawings by Charles Addams was being developed for the Broadway stage. Broadway veterans Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice wrote the book, and Andrew Lippa wrote the score. Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott (Improbable theatre founders) directed and designed the production, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo.[52] A workshop and private industry presentation was held August 4–8, 2008. Featured in the cast were Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, Krysta Rodriguez as Wednesday, and Nathan Lane as Gomez. In addition, Kevin Chamberlin played Uncle Fester and Zachary James played Lurch.

The musical opened in previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway on March 8, 2010, with an official opening on April 8,[53] after an out-of-town tryout in Chicago at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts from November 13, 2009, to January 10, 2010.[54][55] The cast includes Lane as Gomez, Neuwirth as Morticia, Terrence Mann as Mal Beineke, Carolee Carmello as Alice Beineke, Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, Jackie Hoffman as Grandma, Zachary James as Lurch, Krysta Rodriguez as Wednesday, and Wesley Taylor as Wednesday's love interest, Lucas Beineke.[56] The Broadway production ran for 22 months, closing on December 31, 2011, after 35 previews and 722 performances.[57]

On September 5, 2016, it was announced that the musical would premiere in the UK, on a major UK and Ireland tour produced by James Yeoburn and Stuart Matthew Price for United Theatrical.[58] The production was directed by Matthew White and it opened at Edinburgh Festival Theatre on April 20, 2017, starring Samantha Womack, Les Dennis and Carrie Hope Fletcher.[59]

Cast and characters

Live-action media
Gomez Morticia Pugsley Wednesday Uncle Fester Grandmama Lurch Thing Cousin Itt
1964 TV series John Astin Carolyn Jones Ken Weatherwax Lisa Loring Jackie Coogan Blossom Rock Ted Cassidy Ted Cassidy / Jack Voglin Felix Silla
The Addams Family Fun-House (1973) Jack Riley Liz Torres Butch Patrick Noelle Von Sonn Stubby Kaye Pat McCormick
Halloween with the New Addams Family (1977) John Astin Carolyn Jones Ken Weatherwax Lisa Loring Jackie Coogan Jane Rose Ted Cassidy Felix Silla
1991 film Raul Julia Anjelica Huston Jimmy Workman Christina Ricci Christopher Lloyd Judith Malina Carel Struycken Christopher Hart John Franklin
Addams Family Values (1993) Carol Kane
Addams Family Reunion (1998) Tim Curry Daryl Hannah Jerry Messing Nicole Fugere Patrick Thomas Alice Ghostley Phil Fondacaro
The New Addams Family (1998) Glenn Taranto Ellie Harvie Brody Smith Michael Roberds Betty Phillips John DeSantis Steven Fox David Mylrea / Paul Dobson
2010 musical (Broadway version) Nathan Lane Bebe Neuwirth Adam Riegler Krysta Rodriguez Kevin Chamberlin Jackie Hoffman Zachary James Fred Inkley
Wednesday (2022) Luis Guzmán Catherine Zeta-Jones Isaac Ordonez Jenna Ortega Fred Armisen George Burcea Victor Dorobantu
Animated media
Gomez Morticia Pugsley Wednesday Uncle Fester Grandmama Lurch Cousin Itt
Wednesday Is Missing (1972) John Astin Carolyn Jones Jodie Foster Cindy Henderson Jackie Coogan Janet Waldo Ted Cassidy John Stephenson
1973 animated series Lennie Weinrib Janet Waldo
1992 animated series John Astin Nancy Linari Jeannie Elias Debi Derryberry Rip Taylor Carol Channing Jim Cummings Pat Fraley
2019 animated film Oscar Isaac Charlize Theron Finn Wolfhard Chloë Grace Moretz Nick Kroll Bette Midler Conrad Vernon Snoop Dogg
The Addams Family 2 (2021) Javon Walton
Video games
Gomez Morticia Pugsley Wednesday Uncle Fester Grandmama Lurch Cousin Itt
The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem (2021) Jonathan Lipow Alexa Kahn Paul Castro Jr Cristina Vee Bill Rogers Jocelyn Blue Kaiser Johnson Jonathan Lipow

Legacy

The family has had a profound influence on American comics, cinema and television,[60][61][62] and it has also been seen as an inspiration for the goth subculture and its fashion.[63][64] According to The Telegraph, the Addamses "are one of the most iconic families in American history, up there with the Kennedys".[65] Similarly, Time has compared "the relevance and the cultural reach" of the family with those of the Kennedys and the Roosevelts, "so much a part of the American landscape that it's difficult to discuss the country's history without mentioning them".[66] For TV Guide, which listed the characters in the top ten of The 60 Greatest TV Families of All Time, the Addamses "provid[ed] the design for cartoonish clans to come, like the Flintstones and the Simpsons".[67] Owing to their popularity, the first feature-length adaptation has been identified as a "cult film",[68] while Addams Family Values was listed as one of The 50 Best family films by The Guardian[69] and nominated for the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Laughs at the turn of the century.[70] Ricci's portrayal of Wednesday in the film series was ranked one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters by Empire,[71] and in 2011 AOL named Morticia one of The 100 Most Memorable Female TV Characters.[72]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ via subsidiary Orion Pictures
  2. ^ There are canonical differences between the various incarnations of Fester Addams. In the two live-action feature films, both animated series, the 1998 television film, and the 2019 animated film, he is portrayed as Gomez's brother. In the 1964 television series, however, he is portrayed as Morticia's maternal uncle (via her mother, Hester Frump).
  3. ^ Just like Fester, there are canonical differences between the various incarnations of Grandmamma Addams (Gomez's mother). In the two live-action feature films, both animated series, and the 1998 television film, Grandmamma is portrayed as Morticia's mother. In his notes for the original cartoons, Charles Addams even refers to her as Grandma Frump, rendering her Wednesday's and Pugsley's maternal grandmother.[2]: 2  In the 1964 television series and the 2019 animated film, however, she is portrayed as Gomez's mother.
  4. ^ In Halloween with the New Addams Family, Gomez and Morticia have a second son, Pugsley Jr., and a second daughter, Wednesday Jr. Meanwhile, in Addams Family Values, Gomez and Morticia welcome a third son, Pubert Addams. To this day, no released media has featured Pugsley Jr., Wednesday Jr., and Pubert together.

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