Crazy and kooky, The Addams Family’s not-so-normal yet charming dynamic was all the spooky rage in the 1960s. Still, there are some behind-the-scenes facts about the sitcom that might have crept over fans’ heads along with the family hand, Thing.
From newspapers refusing to run The Addams Family comics after the series aired to the real-life attraction between Morticia and Gomez, here are some **clap clap** Addams Family facts.
Lisa Loring Doesn’t Remember Learning Her Iconic Dance
In the episode “Lurch’s Grand Romance,” Lisa Loring’s character Wednesday Addams decided to teach Lurch how to dance to impress a lady he likes. The dance she teaches the butler went on to become one of her most iconic moments.
Even though it is a famous moment in the sitcom, Loring has no memory of who taught her the moves!
John Astin And Carolyn Jones Had Real-Life Chemistry
Watching Morticia and Gomez Addams on-screen was like witnessing a very strange yet flawless relationship. The two were perfect for one another!
As it turns out, Gomez actor John Astin and Morticia Carolyn Jones were very attracted to one another on the other side of the camera, too, making their chemistry easy to reflect onscreen.
Once The Show Started, The New Yorker Stopped Its Cartoons
The 1960s sitcom The Addams Family is based on a cartoon of the same name by Charles Addams. He sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker in 1932, with the Addams family characters appearing in 1938.
While the reason is unclear, The New Yorker opted to discontinue The Addams Family cartoon when the sitcom began to air on television.
The Cast Doesn’t Get Residuals From Reruns
According to John Astin, none of the cast benefits from The Addams Family reruns. During an interview, Astin said, “In those days, we got paid for five reruns, and that was it…”
“I want to spread whatever feeling or message or encouragement there is. Who can ask for more than that if it continues? That’s much more important than money.”
Lisa Loring Had To Laugh Between Takes
While playing the role of Wednesday Addams, young actress Lisa Loring had to channel her inner morose attitude. This isn’t exactly easy for a child.
In an interview, Loring explained how it was difficult for her never to smile on camera and that Carolyn Jones would help her get into character by making her laugh between takes.
When Kitty Kat Was On Set, The Kids Were Not
The Addams family had a pet lion (because why not?) named Kitty Kat. In reality, Kitty Kat was a retired circus lion. While the lion’s trainer was always with the animal, two cast members weren’t allowed anywhere near the set.
Lisa Loring and Ken Weatherwax, the two kids who played Wednesday and Pugsley, weren’t allowed near the set while Kitty Kat did his shots.
The Pilot Was Directed By An Academy Award Nominee
As it turns out, Arthur Hiller, a future Academy Award nominee, directed the pilot episode of The Addams Family, “The Addams Family Goes To School.”
Hiller would go on to direct the 1970 film, Love Story. The movie wound winning a Golden Globe for Best Director and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director.
Carolyn Jone’s Dog Bit Charles Addams
Before the creation of The Addams Family sitcom, actress Carolyn Jones had met cartoonist Charles Addams, the artist who created the characters. They met on a film set but, apparently, their initial meeting didn’t go too well.
Jones’s poodle, Contessa, decided it was a good idea to bite the cartoonist!
At The Time, Lisa Loring Didn’t Know How To Read
When she was cast as Wednesday Addams, Lisa Loring was only five years old and didn’t know how to read. So, how did she manage her lines for the series? Loring became very good at memorizing!
David Levy or one of the cast members would read Loring her lines, she would memorize them, and then they would film.
John Astin’s Suit Pockets Were Lined With Asbestos
The character of Gomez Addams is a heavy cigar smoker. To ensure John Astin didn’t burn holes in his pockets between takes, his go-to place to store the still-hot cigars, the costume department decided to line them with asbestos.
Asbestos is a heat-resistant material that, most likely, saved the costume department countless hours sewing up burn holes!
The Opening Credit House Was Real
In the opening credits, viewers can see a spooky-looking Victorian mansion with a tower– the Addams family house. The mansion isn’t a prop or set piece, though. It was actually a real house located at 21 Chester Place in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, the mansion was demolished sometime between 1968 and 1972.
Morticia’s Entire Look Took Two Hours To Get Out Of
Morticia Addams’s signature look was a tight black dress, straight black hair, and gothic-looking makeup. Achieving the look didn’t come easy, though. Costume designer Nolan Miller said the dress was the hardest he’d ever designed.
And actress Carolyn Jones said the entire look was no walk in the park. It took her two hours to get out of everything, with the skin-tight black dress taking 20 minutes!
Ted Cassidy Made A Short-Lived Dance Craze — “The Lurch”
When actor Ted Cassidy landed the role of Lurch in The Addams Family, a dance craze named after the character was probably the last thing on anyone’s mind. However, in 1965, Cassidy cut a track called “The Lurch.”
Preforming the song and accompanying dance during Halloween on the musical variety series Shindig!, the kooky dance became a short-lived dance craze.
John Astin Was Originally Cast As The Butler
When John Astin originally auditioned for The Addams Family, the show’s executives wanted him to play the role of the butler, not Gomez. The initial thought for the show was to have it revolve around the butler’s character.
So, in some twisted aspect, Astin would have still been one of the main characters. During a follow-up meeting with executive producer David Levy, the two decided Astin was a better fit for the role of Gomez.
Lurch Only Speaks Because Ted Cassidy Ad-Libbed
The original idea behind the character Lurch was he wasn’t going to speak, only grunt and groan. When Ted Cassidy auditioned for the role of the butler, though, he ad-libbed his iconic line, “You rang?”
The producers liked it so much that they rewrote the character to talk occasionally, including the line Cassidy made up on the fly.
Jackie Coogan Inspired Laws To Protect Working Minors
While Jackie Coogan was an adult when he played the role of Uncle Fester in The Addams Family sitcom, he was once a child actor making millions from films such as The Kid and Oliver Twist.
Unfortunately, Coogan’s mother and stepfather spent his millions, resulting in the actor suing. As a result, the California State Legislature introduced the California Child Actor’s Bill or The Coogan Law. The law states that juvenile actors’ money must be deposited in a court-administered trust fund until they’re of age.
After The Show Was Canceled, Props Were Taken From Set
The Addams family home was full of weird and quirky items, including a large stuffed bear! It was a museum, as the theme song notes.
So, when it was announced that the series was not going to be renewed for a third season, some of those funky props began to disappear… aka were taken from the cast and crew.
They Had To Come Up With Names For The Show
In the original Charles Addams cartoons, all of the characters were nameless. When David Levy and NBC began to produce the sitcom, they had to come up with names.
John Astin was actually given the choice of two names, Gomez of Repelli, while Wednesday was chosen by the novelty company Aboriginals, Ltd.
Lurch Was A Fan-Favorite Amongst Teenage Girls
Lurch, the loyal Butler and man of few words who literally speaks in grunts and groans, was actually a fan-favorite character amongst a very unassuming demographic, teenage girls!
Even though he hardly spoke on the screen, besides his signature line of “You Rang,” teenage girls loved him to the point of sending actor David Cassidy a whole lot of fan mail!
The Addams Family Were the First TV Family To Have A PC
When The Addams Family first aired in 1964, the concept of showcasing a computer onscreen was pretty much a dream. Alas, the Addams aren’t your typical TV family. They’re actually the first to have and show a PC on television.
Of course, the UNIVAC is a far cry from what people are used to in modern times!