I think we’ve finally reached the end of the current rabbit hole. Since The 10th Victim obvioulsy leads to The 7th Victim, so Morticia Addams leads us to The Addams Family. Surely you saw this comin’ right? I love almost all the iterations of The Addams Family starting way back with the Charles Addams cartoons. Even the pieces that weren’t Addams Family were still full of macabre black humor. For example:
Takes a second, but it’s so worth it. So, let’s have a look at some iterations of The AdFam over the decades.
The Addams Family (1964-66)
Wow, this was only on for 2 years? I had no idea. I mean, in syndication this was a big part of my formative years. I watched this show all the time and will still drop in on it here and there. It’s just delightfully off as so much of its source material was. Aside from Morticia, my favorite was Thing. I’ve already written extensively about Carolyn Jones, so I don’t feel there’s a whole lot I need to say here. I will, however, mention that John Astin is a hair’s breadth away from being my favorite version of Gomez. There’s just something vaguely unbalanced about his facial expression. He looks like he’s up to something, like he knows something you don’t, and not only are you not in on the joke, but that fact may very well be your undoing.
Scooby Doo Meets The Addams Family/The Addams Family (1972-1973)
The Scooby episode is generally considered the pilot of the 1-season animated series. I mean, it was fine. It was cute. It was Scooby Doo. It was animated versions of the Charles Addams characters, so that was moderately interesting. Lurch (Ted Cassidy) and Fester (Jackie Coogan) are on board from the original series. Longtime voice actor Janet Waldo (Judy Jetson, Pebbles, Penelope Pitstop, Josie from Josie And The Pussycats, etc.) is fine as Morticia, and Lennie Weinrib sounds an awful lot like John Astin.
The Addams Family (1991)
If it seems like I gave Anjelica Huston short shrift yesterday, that was not my intent. I loved Sonnenfeld’s Addams Family. I thought Huston she did a fine job of A) being Morticia and B) not being Carolyn Jones. Really, she didn’t even try to touch the TV version which is the only shrewd way to handle it. I love how cool and soft-spoken she is. And as entertaining as John Astin was, Raul Julia is a high water mark for Gomez portrayals. Where Astin looked vaguely vaguely unbalanced, Julia’s Gomez could also be more actively and gleefully so, like in the Mamushka or fencing with Tully. Plus, come on, Christopher Lloyd.
Addams Family Values (1993)
Good gods I hated this movie. I’ve heard scads of folks talk about how funny this one was, how it eclipsed the original, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell they were watching. Okay, the subplot of Wednesday at summer camp was amusing, the cameos are cute, but everything else was just tired, and Joan Cusack was straight up annoying. Too much of the macabre was played for straight laughs which is not how the source material, the TV show, or the 1991 movie worked.
Addams Family Reunion (1998)
Despite my deep and abiding love for all things Tim Curry (I’ve even slogged through Barbie Nutcracker and Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas because of the guy), I’ve never seen this and, based on the clips I’ve managed to stomach, steadfastly refuse to do so. What little I’ve seen isn’t even funny as a caricature. If I’m being honest then (which in and of itself is a crap shoot at any given moment), I can’t really comment on this. Oh, and crap CGI.
The Addams Family (2019)
Conversely, lots of people despised this which mystifies me equally as much as why people liked the god-awful Addams Family Values so damn much. I found it enjoyable, super fun, and thoroughly entertaining. As the voice of Morticia, Charlize Theron steals every second she’s in. Oscar Isaac is a fine Gomez–a little goofy without a trace of Astin or Julia. Best line, Wednesday brings home a red balloon. Morticia says, “Strange. There’s usually a murderous clown attached to the other end of these.” Yup, I’m all in. Very much looking forward to the 2021 follow-up this Halloween.