So we’ve gone down a bit of a
bottomless pit rabbit hole here at Castle Blogferatu. It started with The 10th Victim which led to The 7th Victim which led to Jean Brooks which brings us, obviously, to Carolyn Jones–raven-haired, pouty-lipped, wasp-waisted, curvy-hipped Carolyn Jones, hands down the best Morticia Addams ever. I had Such. A. Crush.
In the interest of full disclosure, this was not my first crush. That most dubious of honors goes to Pattie Schwartzmiller, my brother’s babysitter. Not mine of course. Every inch the fine fellow at age 9, I was plenty self-sufficient, just not quite self-sufficient enough to supervise my 7-year-old brother. Oh the stories I could tell, and have told. All for another time and/or another blog.
Pattie was also one of several individuals pivotal to my indoctrination into the horror world (well before such indoctrination may have been emotionally and psychologically healthy). If my parents were going to be out late, Pattie would let me stay up and watch Chiller Theater hosted by WIIC’s (channel 11) Chilly Billy Cardille.
To be completely aboveboard, Morticia was not my first crush on a fictional character either. See, my uncle Dave, another of those pivotal individuals, had a truly impressive comic book collection. Not so much in terms of numbers as much as titles.
So while most of my friends were filching copies of Penthouse from the dark recesses of their fathers’ closets (or in one guy’s case, his old man’s toolbox), I was reading pre-Comics Code issues of Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror along with Vampirella (fictional character crush #1).
Yeah, I was that weird kid.
There were two other horror shows in the ‘burgh as well, Thing Theater and Ghost Host, both hosted by dudes. Okay, Chiller would eventually add the hair-tastic Terminal Stare, and Scorpio was mildly androgynous, but let’s stay focused here, shall we?
My point is, while my hormone-addled peers drooled over their ill-gotten booty (so to speak), there was nary a siren whose song struck the somber chords of my already shadowy heart. Vampira was before my time. Elvira was still a few years off. Vampirella was, sadly pen and ink. Where was I to turn?
Thank all that is dark and unholy for WPTT, the UHF station that ran The Addams Family. Morticia Addams right there in my living room every afternoon (right after Ultraman). Swoon. Morticia, however, was far more than her appearance, and my fascination transcended the merely physical.
Morticia was witty. She was charming. And she was, gasp, smart–something practically unheard of in many 60s sitcoms which added that much more to her already abundant allure. This was a woman in total control. Her cool tolerance of Gomez’s amorous advances, her almost amused detachment, her croon of “Thank you, Thing,” all irresistible.
Not bad for a character Charles Addams drew in the 1930s (making her the longest running of the wisecracking pop culture Queens Of Darkness).
Much, in fact, is owed to Morticia in general. Without her there’s no Vampira. No Vampira, no Elvira. And really, what is Vampirella but a scantily clad, voluptuous, ass-kicking superhero Tish? And I defy anyone to prove that Anne Hathaway didn’t learn a thing or two about hand position from Ms. Jones.
So, Daryl Hannah? Stick with the eye patch. Anjelica Huston? Close, but no cyanide. Charlize Theron? Surprisingly not bad but, again, not flesh-and-blood either. No, it seems a small part of me will always cling the televised Morticia Addams of the 1960s in all of her crystal black and white clarity. And even though I started reading Baudealaire at 13, Morticia was the real reason I took French in high school.