Flashback Friday: The Addams Family – Back to the origins
What started off as single-panel cartoons in The New Yorker turned out to be the biggest pop culture legacy of all times. The Addams Family originally created by Charles Addams in the early 1930s, became popular from their sitcom of the same name which was aired in 1960s on ABC. Since then, they have become a staple in the pop culture and were adapted to other media including the animated series, film franchises, video games, books and even a musical.
Although the show lasted a short while, it became so popular that it was kept alive by reruns up until the early 1990s, which also gave us the Grammy-nominated theme song by Vic Mizzy. Many years later, Netflix is all set to release Wednesday directed by Tim Burton, which will focus on Wednesday Addams’ journey at Nevermore Academy (where her parents first met and fell in love).
Ahead of the release, we thought let’s go back to the origins and see how it all began. The Addams Family are seen as an inspiration for the goth subculture and its fashion, which is no surprise from their all-year round Halloween vibes and wacky looks.
For over half a century now, the family has been entertaining audiences with their morbid mannerisms and the frightening yet friendly fondness towards each other; they are completely unaware of the fact that people find them bizarre. They may scare off ‘normal’ people with their peculiar lifestyle and a spooky mansion next to a cemetery and a swamp, but they are anything but evil. The Addams’ are very hospitable to their visitors and have always welcomed them with open arms. Moreso, their unusual and strange way to show affection is what keeps them so tightly-knit throughout (to each their own?).
Over the years, we have seen that most of their humour (or what they like to call it) derives from their shared sinister interests and immunity to dangerous things (they just love putting each other and themselves in serious danger which clearly has no effect on them). They can literally survive anything, electricity, fire, poison. This has often suggested that the family has powers, which will also be seen in Netflix’s show Wednesday, which will show Wednesday’s budding psychic powers. Similarly, Morticia can create smoke from her body and Uncle Fester can produce electricity. Is this family amazing, or what? No wonder it garnered such huge fan following.
Additionally, the family has always taught the viewers about family values in their own way and how to be supportive of the children (except in the 2019 film when Wednesday arrives home wearing a pink dress).
The audience has seen the characters in the franchise, but some of these characters like Thing, Cousin Itt, Morticia’s pet lion Kitty Kat and Pubert Addams were presented later on in 1954, 1964 and 1993 respectively. But we are so used to them being part of the family that we never realized when they were introduced. Cousin Itt was not created by Charles Addams, but rather by the sitcom producer in the 1960s, he did not communicate in a way that the audience would understand but eventually learnt it from Morticia and Gomez and has been an importance addition to the family after that. In the same way, Thing became his own character in a New Yorker comic assisting Gomez with changing the records. Although he was meant to be more than just hands, Addams kept it to that for the audience. Thus, in the TV sitcom and then the movie, he became part of the family assisting them in their shenanigans crawling, jumping up and down like a spider. With this we wait for Wednesday to premiere on Netflix on November 23, 2022.