FIVE-O YOUR ENTHUSIASM (8)
April 26, 2021
One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of our favorite TV shows of the Sixties (in our periodization: 1964–1973).
THE ADDAMS FAMILY | 1964–1966
I grew up in the commuter town of Westfield NJ. Charles Addams, the creator of the Addams Family, grew up in Westfield NJ. My best friend in first grade was Joan Fullerton. Her grandfather, Guy Fullerton, was Addams’s best friend. Addams’s presence and the cartoons he created for the New Yorker were part of the fabric of my early life. I sat for hours before I could read studying his published books of cartoons, trying to find the dark gags hidden in the images. (Addams liked his audiences to have to look for the gag and that was part of their allure.) And that’s where I first encountered the love story between Morticia and Gomez.
In 1964, when I was in second grade, the Addams Family show first aired. The TV Gomez and Morticia were romantic beyond my wildest dreams. You feel their fondness for each other in Addams’s cartoons, but his drawn characters were spooky, shadowy and severe. Carolyn Jones (Morticia) and John Astin (Gomez) were attractive, playful, tender… and deeply in love. Gomez was smitten with Morticia. Coyly, she’d respond to him with a twinkle in her eye and sly smile.
Men and women on TV, at that time, didn’t express their physical attraction to each other in this way; married couples, in particular, behaved decorously. But Gomez would stand near Morticia, kissing her hair. Hearing her speak French, he’d run into the room, grab her arm and kiss up her arm to her neck, nuzzling and sniffing. They were equals, loving to fence and compete with each other — and delighting in one another’s company.
During the show’s first season, I went for Halloween as Morticia. (Not as Wednesday, the little daughter who was my age.) I wore a black wig and a full length slimmed black dress (thanks to adjustments made by my mom) with a spider-ish hem, and a plunging neckline revealing my child’s chest. I wanted to be just like Morticia when I grew up!
I loved everything about the show. There was never any judgment of each other in the family. Sometimes Fester could be spiteful or sneaky but rarely mean-spirited. They wanted the best for each other. If something was wrong with one of their family, they tried to find a way to solve the situation. They were ghoulish characters with big hearts, accepting and celebrating that they were outsiders surrounded by “normal” society. Seeing them allowed children like myself to understand it is normal and wonderful to be someone who colors outside the lines of society.
I regretted, and still regret, that I never bought a Fester novelty lightbulb that would light up when placed in one’s mouth — all that was needed was a small piece of aluminum on one’s tongue as a contact. I always wanted to walked around with a lightbulb in my mouth, lit up like Fester. And it would have been handy for reading books in bed under the covers!
FIVE-O YOUR ENTHUSIASM: INTRODUCTION by Josh Glenn | Lynn Peril on DARK SHADOWS (1966–1971) | Mark Kingwell on THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (1964–1968) | Elizabeth Foy Larsen on I DREAM OF JEANNIE (1965–1970) | Luc Sante on SECRET AGENT/DANGER MAN (1964–1968 seasons) | Erin M. Routson on THE PATTY DUKE SHOW (1963–1966 run) | Gordon Dahlquist on HAWAII FIVE-O (1968–1973 seasons) | Annie Nocenti on GET SMART (1965–1970) | Sara Driver on THE ADDAMS FAMILY (1964–1966) | Carlo Rotella on MANNIX (1967–1973 seasons) | Adam McGovern on JULIA (1968–1971) | Mimi Lipson on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW (1970–1973 seasons) | Josh Glenn on BATMAN (1966–1968) | Tom Nealon on HOGAN’S HEROES (1965–1971) | Miranda Mellis on THE ODD COUPLE (1970–1973 seasons) | Peggy Nelson on GILLIGAN’S ISLAND (1964–1967) | Susan Roe on THE BRADY BUNCH (1969–1973 seasons) | Michael Grasso on UFO (1970–1973) | Richard McKenna on DOOMWATCH (1970–1972) | Adrienne Crew on BEWITCHED (1964–1972) | Michael Lewy on STAR TREK (1966–1969) | Greg Rowland on THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY (1970–1973 seasons) | David Smay on THE MONKEES (1966–1968) | Vijay Parthasarathy on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW (1964–1966 seasons) | Carl Wilson on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW (1967–1973 seasons) | Jessamyn West on EMERGENCY! (1972–1973 seasons).
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