Addams Family Mansion - This gloomy old gothic
mansion inspired by the macabre mind of cartoonist Charles Samuel Addams
(1912-1988) featured on the sitcom THE ADDAMS FAMILY/ABC/1964-66.
Located next to a graveyard at 001 Cemetery Lane, the museum-like Addams'
mansion with a mansard tower was filled with a variety of bizarre items.
They included ancient instruments of torture (iron maiden, rack, bed-of-nails
chaise lounge, stocks inscribed "Hers," and a flogging table), a huge two-headed
sea turtle, an Eskimo totem pole, a giant brown (and later) white bear; the
hastate head of a swordfish stuffed with a human leg (Cousin Ferook's); a suit
of samurai armor, a harpsichord; a king cobra candle holder; a steer-horn-girded
armchair, an elephant's hoof filled with popcorn; a moosehead (named Pierre)
over the fireplace with one whimsically drooping left antler; and a bearskin rug
that growled when stepped upon.
The creepy mansion was inhabited by Gomez Addams (John Astin), an eccentric
cigar-smoking millionaire lawyer; his slender wife, Morticia (Carolyn Jones);
their portly son Pugsley Addams (Ken Weatherwax); their somber little girl
Wednesday Thursday Addams (Lisa Loring); Grandmama "the witch" Addams (Blossom
Rock); the bald Uncle Fester Frump (Jack Coogan); the hairy Cousin Itt (Felix
Silla); and Lurch, the family's towering zombie butler who answered the family
gong with "You Rang?" Other residents were Thing, a disembodied hand; Kit Kat, a
cowardly lion; and Cleopatra, an African strangling plant.
The first episode of THE ADDAMS FAMILY "The Addams Family Goes to School"
(9-18-64) used exterior footage of a real house to depict the Addams mansion.
This house (now demolished) was coincidentally located on Adams Boulevard in Los
Angeles. For the rest of the series, however, the producers used a matte
painting created by artist Louis McMannus (the designer of the Emmy Award) for
exterior footage scenes of the mansion.
To create the matte painting, the artist took the photograph of the original
house on Adams Boulevard and had it enlarged to a thirty-by-forty inch
black-and-white portrait. The photograph was then custom painted with various
shades of colored oils. Details such as the bent television antenna on the
mansion's tower and the leafless trees flanking the house were added for mood.
The painting created for the series has long since disintegrated according to
Howard Anderson II, a film and special effects expert who was responsible for
the commissioning the matte painting.
Years later the Addams mansion resurfaced on the videotaped special HALLOWEEN
WITH THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY broadcast on Sunday, October 30, 1977 (as part of
NBC's BIG EVENT). Unfortunately, the Los Angeles mansion used for the program
was an inferior replica and lacked the uniqueness of the original.
The animated Hanna-Barbera cartoon remake of THE ADDAMS FAMILY/NBC/1973-75
replaced the gothic mansion with a haunted trailer (a reduced version of the
mansion) complete with a piranha-filled moat and bats in the belfry, that
traveled about America visiting such dubious destinations as Death Valley, The
Great Dismal Swamp, and of course, ghost towns.
The New Addams Family
For the 1991 motion picture remake The Addams Family: The Movie, a full-scale
facade of the house (which slightly resembled the original) was built in the
Burbank Hills. The main interior sets (built on the same studio site of the
original series) included Morticia's solarium of dead plants, Gomez's playroom,
a library, and a portrait gallery of Addams ancestors. The interior of the
Addams' home returned to TV in 1998 on the Fox Family Channel revival series THE
NEW ADDAMS FAMILY.
Charles Addams Illustration
TRIVIA NOTE: Charles Addams, the creator of the Addams Family characters was
fascinated with medieval paraphernalia. His Manhattan apartment was filled with
instruments of torture, a collection of crossbows, battle armor, as well as
human skulls, a collection of brass lizards, fragments of tombstones, and
eighteenth-century embalming table which he converted into a coffee table. The
items no doubt fueled his macabre sense of humor.
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