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Addams Family Print Media > Addams Family DVD Vol 1 Review

27 Oct 2006

The Addams Family - Volume One
DVD Review by R.J. Carter
Published: October 23, 2006

Country: USA
Release Date: October 24, 2006
Distributor: MGM
  • John Astin
  • Carolyn Jones
  • Ted Cassidy
  • Jackie Coogan
  • Blossom Rock
  • Lisa Loring
  • Ken Weatherwax
    Related Sites:
  • IMDb: The Addams Family (1964)
  • Tee & Charles Addams Foundation

    Grade: A

  • Cara mia! Can it be? Has The Addams Family been collected onto DVD?

    Well. Sort of. This collection of 22 episodes falls a bit short of the complete 34 episode first season, but at least it isn't a randomized "best of selection", starting with the first episode and following through sequentially to the twenty-second one in order of air date.

    Born from the fertile (and often questioned) mind of cartoonist Charles Addams, The Addams Family made it to television after David Levy and Vic Mizzy saw one of Addams' books in a Doubleday bookstore. Thank heaven for bookstores with big storefront windows, because what resulted was one of the most inventive television shows ever to grace the airwaves. Bizarre and quirky even by modern standards, The Addams Family had just the right sense of gallows humor that let audiences see past the ghastly and into the gleeful.

    An Addams Family portrait. L-R (front): Gomez
    (John Astin), Wednesday (Lisa Loring), Morticia
    (Carolyn Jones), Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax);
    (back): Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan), Lurch (Ted
    Cassidy), Grandmama (Blossom Rock)
    John Astin was born to play the role of Gomez Addams, the patriarch of the family who would always surprise with his unique perspective on things. Keeping him grounded was Morticia (played to perfection by the lovely and inimitable Carolyn Jones), the center of Gomez's life and target of his passionate attentions. A word of French from Tish, and Gomez was all over her. Yes, John Astin was the luckiest rat on television in 1964!

    No family is complete, of course, without children -- in this case the inquisitive Pugsley and the morose little Wednesday (who offer commentary on three of the episodes on this set, along with Felix "Cousin Itt" Silla and Stephen Cox, author of The Addams Family Chronicles.) The children were always at home, it seemed, and after the first episode of the series, you learn why, when a truant officer comes to the house to bring the tykes in to school. He's hardly prepared to meet folks like butler Lurch (Dan Cassidy), Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan) or Grandmama Frump (Blossom Rock), nor for the trappings that decorate the Addams mansion! Of course, the tour and introductions are really for the benefit of the viewers, to introduce them to the show's concept.

    The series was far creepier than it's rival show, The Munsters, which was more of a take on the Universal Studios cadre of monsters. With the Addamses, we weren't quite sure what we were dealing with -- monsters? psychos? Simple eccentrics? What exactly was Cousin Itt? What was attached to the rest of Thing -- and did we want to know? And how did Gomez come by all those millions of dollars he squanders so giddily?

    John Astin spent much of the series kissing up
    and down on Carolyn Jones. And he then let them
    pay him cash money to boot, the scoundrel!
    Releasing this first set in time for Halloween was a no-brainer for the folks at MGM. And speaking of Halloween, this set includes the Halloween themed episode, "Halloween with the Addams Family", which co-starred Don Rickles and Skip Homeier as a pair of bank robbers who hide out on the Addams property only to become part of the holiday festivities!

    The set features a bevy of bonus features. In addition to the three audio commentaries, there is a compelling twelve-minute featurette, "You Rang, Mr. Addams", in which Kevin Miserocchi of the Tee and Charles Addams foundation recounts the life and times of Charles Addams. In "Snap, Snap", Vic Mizzy -- composer of the themes for the show and its individual characters -- explains how the show came to television and the process that went into creating the music. And in "Addams Family Portrait", Ken Weatherwax, Lisa Loring, and Felix Silla are joined by John Astin to wax eloquent about their time spent working on the show.

    In addition to the featurettes, there is a karaoke version of the theme song (hosted by Thing), and two slideshows of drawings by and photos of Charles Addams.

    So get a witch's shawl on, or a broomstick you can crawl on, and get down to your local DVD supplier. This is a black and white, full-frame series that just gets better with age.

    Audio is in English mono only, with optional subtitles in English or Spanish.

    The Addams Family Volume 1
    Relatively Freaky
    Disc 1A
    Disc 1B
    01. The Addams family Goes to School
    - optional commentary with The Addams Chronicles author Stephen Cox, with Lisa Loring, Ken Weatherwax, and Felix Silla.
    02. Morticia and the Psychiatrist
    03. Fester's Punctured Romance
    04. Gomez, the Politician
    05. The Addams Family Tree
    06. Morticia Joins the Ladies League
    07. Halloween with the Addams Family
    08. Green-Eyed Gomez
    Disc 2A
    Disc 2B
    09. New Neighbors Meet the Addams Family
    10. Wednesday Leaves Home
    11. The Addams Family Meets the V.I.P.s
    12. Morticia, the Matchmaker
    - optional commentary with The Addams Chronicles author Stephen Cox, with Lisa Loring, Ken Weatherwax, and Felix Silla.
    13. Lurch Learns to dance
    14. Art and the Addams Family
    15. The Addams Family Meets a Beatnik
    16. The Addams Family Meets the Undercover Man
    Disc 3A
    Disc 3B
    17. Mother Lurch Visits the Addams Family
    18. Uncle Fester's Ilness
    19. The Addams Family Splurges
    20. Cousin Itt Visits the Addams Family
    - optional commentary with The Addams Chronicles author Stephen Cox, with Lisa Loring, Ken Weatherwax, and Felix Silla.
    21. The Addams Family in Court
    22. Amnesia in the Addams Family
    Bizarre Bonuses!
    -- "You Rang, Mr. Addams?" (12:03)
    -- "Snap, Snap" (5:41)
    -- "The Addams Family Portrait" (14:26)
    -- Theme Song Karaoke (1:02)
    -- Still Galleries: Original Drawings & Photos