Monday, October 02, 2017

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, The Addams Family - Halloween with the Addams Family

It may still be early in this Halloween season, but I feel the distinct lack of things creepy, kooky, spooky, and definitely ooky.

We have only one choice for who to call on to fulfill our quota.

The Addams Family.

And what better day to call on the family, but on Halloween, which takes us back to 1964 and the first season of the show. But wait, do you know the Addams?

Originally created by Charles Addams as a reoccurring humorous cartoon in the New Yorker, the collection of macabre and happy outsiders took on a limited life of their own. The cartoons were reprinted and books were reprinted for years. The family were built around two parents, two kids, a grandmother, and 2 older men in the family.

When Addams was approached about a sitcom built around the characters he was asked to flesh out the characters further, and this resulted in the basic characterizations that we've been enjoying for decades now. Jovial. Iconoclastic. Contrarian. Family focused. Civic Minded.

The Addams Family.

As said, this episode is about the Addam's Halloween Day. Gomez (John Astin) has just a received a fine new knife that he's eagerly awaited. Wednesday (Lisa Loring) wouldn't mind getting to use it to play Autopsy though.

The plan is to carve the family pumpkin, with Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan) as the inspiration.

The result is satisfying for everyone.

The family is readying for the Halloween fun. The kid will be going out in frightful costumes. Then the adults will stay and greet those that come to the door. They will be happy to let them enter and visit awhile, with punch and cookies. It's not how everyone does Halloween, but it speaks to an old fashion sense of hospitality for guest.

Morticia (Carolyn Jones) begins work on the punch, very much a scientific effort, and sends Lurch (Ted Cassidy) off to prep some sandwiches.

And then gets the cookies ready for guests, with Thing giving a hand.

"Mrs. Addams has made a batch of her cookies."
"And Thing helped."
And finally it's time for the kids, Wednesday and Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax) to go out and trick-or-treat.

"I'm an ironic take on Capitalism"
"And I'm a social commentary on how we blind young girls to true equality."

But their parents find the costumes just too startling. It's all too much. A pretty little girl with weird glasses. And, a businessman. It's not right!

Grandmama (Blossom Rock) assures them the two that the costumes are perfect for "scaring the wits" out of people. Fester suggest that they tell everyone they meet, "Do not be alarmed, we are little children."

Meanwhile outside, a pair of bank robbers are hiding. The police are combing the area looking for them, so they try to hide in the front yard of the Addam's house.

And yes, that is Don Rickles. The other robber took me ages to remember (Skip Homeier), than I remember him for Star Trek, as the main villain in "Patterns of Force" (and also "The Way to Eden").

The Addams go out to see the kids off, and they spot the robbers. They just assume the pair are Halloween revelers, out going door to door seeking treats. So they welcome them in. After all, the Addams are big supporters of people of any age partaking in Halloween.

The robbers are suspicious, but the police nearby motivate them to get indoors.

Gomez then takes a look in the bag they are carrying and finds the money. He is inspired to learn that his neighbors must be handing out 100's of dollars. So he reaches into a money drawer and grabs handfuls of money and stuffs them into the bag as well. 

Though he apparently was originally going to be giving them some apples. Really, Gomez? Really? You want to be that house? I hope they were at least candied. Or maybe bedeviled.

Now is a point that we get to in some Addams Family stories. The Addams are gracious hosts. They share and give generously. The guest could take the hospitality and reciprocate with just some niceties. Or, they can be greedy (or close minded, depending on the story). And these guys are greedy.

So now they begin plotting how to rob the Addams of all their money. Hi jinks ensue. Including an attempt to hold Gomez and Morticia at gun point, except Thing already intercepted the gun, and replaced it with a banana.

Yes, that's right. Thing taught the Doctor that trick.

The family even recite their favorite Halloween poem.

"Twas Halloween evening and all through the abode not a creature was stirring, not even a toad. Jack-O-Lanters are hung on the gallows with care to guide Sister Witch as she flies through the air drawn by eight beautiful bats. And she calls out to them by name: 'Come Flitter. Come Flutter. Come Flapper and Flier. Come Chitter. Come Chatter. Come Vicious Vampire."
It is a fun little poem. Granted that poem puts me in the mood to watch Haxan.

They then go bobbing for crab. They aren't thrilled at the idea, until the police come to the door. Then they both dive in, and come up with the crab catching them.

Still trying to rob and run, they convince everyone to play Hide and Seek. It seems odd to them, but they want to humor their guest. So the Addams hide. Then the robbers grab more money, but can't find a way out. But when the kids get home they see a chance a run.

Right into the hands of the police.

Later they learn that the two robbers have been sentenced to a prison sentence. They are happy for the two, as they both seemed to need a nice rest.

The episode is always fun to come back to. It reflects a certain humor akin to the Marx Brothers which was a hallmark of the show. The series always helps to take you out of the more hectic and troubled one we live in daily. And along the way, it reminds you of the value of friends, family, fun, and finding for yourself what a good life is for you.

The Addams Family remains a classic. Really, any episode is fun at Halloween, or anytime of the year. But this episode deserves a watch at least once by everyone every Halloween. It's the Addams thing to do.

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