The Munsters

(redirected from Grandpa Munster)

The Munsters

(pop culture)

The Munsters emerged in 1964 as one of two new situation comedies in the fall television season featuring a cast of “monstrous” characters attempting to live as an otherwise normal family. Included in the Munster family were two vampires, Lily (played by Yvonne De Carlo) and Grandpa (Al Lewis), who in the course of the series was revealed to be none other than Count Dracula. The family was completed by the Frankensteinish Herman (Fred Gwynne) and the children, the wolfish Eddie (Butch Patrick) and the very “normal” Marilyn (Beverly Owens). Herman worked in a mortuary owned by classic horror actor John Carradine. The Munsters ran for two seasons. It gave birth to a comic book from Gold Key that ran for sixteen issues from January 1965 to January 1968. The original cast joined in a movie, Munster! Go Home, released in 1966, in which John Carradine assumed a different role as the family’s butler.

A second movie—The Munsters’ Revenge—was made for television and aired February 27, 1981. It included the major stars—Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, and Al Lewis. The series was revived for the 1988 season as The Munsters Today, starring John Shuck (Herman), Lee Meriweather (Lily), and Howard Morton (Grandpa). In spite of bad reviews by fans of the original series, its seventy-two episodes carried it into 1991.

Possibly the most vampiric of all The Munsters shows was the animated sequel Mini-Munsters, which played in 1973 for the Saturday Superstar Movie on ABC. The story concerned a Dracula-like relative sending two teenagers, Igor (a Frankenstein-like monster) and Lucretia (a vampire), to stay with the Munster family.

Originally, The Munsters ran opposite the ABC series The Addams Family. Both were popular in their original format and both have had numerous spin-offs in the form of movies, comic books, and other paraphernalia. The Munsters and the Addams tended to appeal to the same set of fans, and in the 1990s, some fans of the two shows banded together to form The Munsters and Addams Family Fan Club (http://www.geocities.com/tmafc/).

The mid-1990s saw a new wave of Munsters nostalgia. A trading card series, The Munsters Collection, was issued by Kayro-Vue Productions in 1996, and the following year at the annual ComicCon International in San Diego, a new Munsters comic book was launched.

As a result of this new wave of interest there were also two new Munster movies Here Come the Munsters (1995) and The Munsters’s Scary Little Christmas (1996).

A documentary on the show entitled The Munsters—America’s First Family of Fright ran on national television in 2003.

Sources:

Anchors, William E., Jr. “The Munsters.” Epi-log 37 (December 1993): 36–43, 63.

Cox, Stephen. The Munsters: Television’s First Family of Fright. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989. 174.

———. The Munsters: A Trip Down Mockingbird Lane. Back Stage Books, 2006. 204 pp.

Jones, Stephen. The Illustrated Vampire Movie Guide. London: Titan Books, 193. 144 pp.

The Munsters. Nos. 1–16. New York: Gold Key Comics, 1965–68.

The Munsters. Nos. 1–4. Bethel, CT: TV Comics, 1997–98.

Peel, John. The Addams Family and Munsters Program Guide. Virgin: London, 1996. 240 pp.

The Munsters and the Addams Family Fan Club see: Vampire Fandom: United States