Addams Family Tree

Fans of the 1960s television adaptation of the Addams Family may not be aware that the ghoulish family have been around for some time. In 1938 a cartoonist by the name of Charles Addams created the Addams Family in a one-panel gag format.

Addams would become a regular contributor of cartoons for the New Yorker creating 58 featuring the frightful Addams family during the 1940s and 1950s. It wasn’t until 1964 that a television adaptation of the show brought the Addams Family to a wider audience.

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Producer Nat Perrin chose to create a less ghoulish version of the Addamses as compared to the darker comic strips of Charles Addams. The emphasis was put on the comedic aspects of the family rather than their spooky illustrated counterparts.

About the Show

The short lived television show ran for just 2 seasons but its impact remained far beyond its original run. A popular dance craze during the 60s and 70s known as the “Lurch” pays testament to that. There was also a 1972 crossover episode of Scooby Doo in which the Addams Family made an appearance.

Aside from a few more appearances in the New Yorker during the 1980s the Addams Family was quiet until the 1990s. Two Addams Family feature films were made during the 90s in 1991 and 1993. The first of these movies received mixed reviews from critics, the second, Addams Family Values, was well reviewed but was not as commercially successful as the first movie.

Again the Addams Family became dormant for several decades until Tim Burton proposed the idea of a stop motion Addams Family movie in 2010. This did not come to fruition but instead in 2013 MGM announced a 3D animation Addams Family movie. This movie was finally released in 2019 and had moderate success.

The Core Addams Family

The Addams Family has always focused around Gomez and his macabrely named wife Morticia (Frump) Addams. A highly romantic couple who are deeply in love for many years and through many incarnations of the franchise they had only two children.

Their daughter Wednesday Addams is a somewhat creepy little girl with a love of all things ghoulish and disturbing. Son Pugsley is a chubby child who is often the victim of some of his sister's sinister games. Young Pugsley is not a smart lad but a willing participant in Wednesdays games.

At the conclusion of the first Addams Family feature film it is revealed that Morticia is expecting a child. The sequel Addams Family Values picks up with this story with the now infant third Addams child Pubert.

The target of murder attempts by his older siblings the plot of Addams Family Values sees Gomez and Morticia hiring a nanny to protect Pubert. In true Addams Family fashion the nanny turns out to be a serial killer who specializes in marrying rich bachelors and killing them for the inheritance.

This leads to her seducing Gomez’s bald and unusual brother Fester. The plot ultimately fails with Fester narrowly escaping being killed.

Grandmama

Through various incarnations of the Addams Family the character of Grandmama has been present and there have been differing interpretations of how she is related to the family. Most suggest that she is Morticia’s mother. Notably in the original comic strips she is known as a Grandma Frump and therefore the mother of Morticia.

In the New Addams Family TV show the character is referred to as Eudora Addams suggesting that she would be the mother of Gomez and Fester Addams.

The character herself is a witch who is often concocting potions and casting spells. She also dabbles in fortune telling and has a habit of throwing knives.

Uncle Fester

The bald barrel of a man with pale skin and darkened circles around his eyes, Fester has been referred to as uncle or great uncle to the Addams children depending on the version. This means that he is either the brother or uncle of Gomez Addams.

In the first feature film it was suggested that Fester had disappeared many years previously but suddenly had been rediscovered albeit with amnesia. Initially the film suggests that it is a scam and this is not the real Fester Addams although it finally becomes clear that the story is true.

He is a lovable character who, although not smart, is very caring of his family and falls in love easily. He briefly marries the murderess Debbie Jellinsky in Addams Family Values. Upon her death he falls in love with the governess of Cousin Itt, Dementia.

Cousin Itt

One of the most iconic characters of the show is the walking hairstyle Cousin Itt. Covered in a mop of hair that completely hides what is beneath Cousin Itt always sports a bowler hat and speaks an unintelligible language that only the Addams family can understand.

Itt is referred to as a cousin to Gomez Addams although it is unclear how closely they are related. In the first Addams Family feature film Itt falls in love with Margaret Alford, the mistreated wife of the family’s crooked lawyer Tully Alford.

Together Itt and Margaret return in the movie Addams Family values with a child who is essentially a small version of his father. The child’s name is What.

Thing

Another iconic character from the Addams family is simply known as Thing and in the original television series it was a horrible looking creature that was always in the background but was too awful to look at. The only bearable part of this creature was its human hand so this is all that we see in the show.

In the 1990’s feature films the Thing is a disembodied hand that is often very helpful to the family and in fact saved Uncle Fester's life when he was close to being killed by Debbie Jellinsky.

Lurch

Another non-family member but an important character in the Addams Family canon is the gaunt, tall, ghoulish looking butler Lurch. It has been revealed through the years that Lurch is his surname but his first name is never used.

In one episode of the original series Lurch’s mother Mother Lurch comes to visit and refers to him as Sonny. It is not clear if this is his first name or merely a term of affection.

Lurch is portrayed as monstrously tall as well as being very zombie-like in gait and his speech. He is a devoted servant of the Addams family and they all adore him.

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