Silver Screen: The Addams Family

©1962CharlesAddams
With permission Tee & Charles Addams Foundation

 

By Carla Charter

SAGAPONACK, NEW YORK- Many have seen depictions of the Addams Family throughout the years on both television and the movies.  However, fewer people may know that these iconic characters actually began as the creation of Charles Addams with the characters originally making their nameless appearance sporadically, alone and together, in his New Yorker cartoons.

Born in Westfield New Jersey, Addams dreamed of working for The New Yorker magazine, said H. Kevin Miserocchi of the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation.  Addams first cartoon of members of what would become the Addams Family appeared in the magazine in 1938, depicting a salesman trying to sell a vacuum cleaner, explaining that no well-appointed house should be without one, to Morticia and Lurch. “In that cartoon Lurch  looked like a caveman,” Miserocchi explained. Along with drawing for the New Yorker, Addams also drew comics for newspaper syndicates and published 12 books of his comics through Simon and Schuster.

In 1962 television producers were walking past a window of Doubleday in New York City when they saw one of Addams’s books   What would later become Addams Family member were on the cover and they decided that the characters would make a great television show.

Although Addams had little interest in the television show he named and described the demeanors of the characters  for producers, Miserocchi said.  He was also friendly with John Astin and Caroline Jones and travelled to California to see the set.

Originally the Addams Family show did not have a name. Not knowing what to call the show the producers decided to name them after their original creator.

The Addams Family: An Evilution, was published in 2010. A  collection of Addams’s cartoon about New York City will be published by Pomegranate  Communicatons Inc. in May of 2020.  More information on the Charles & Tee Addams Foundation can be found at www.charlesaddams.com