The Addams Family was an iconic television sitcom that first aired in the fall of 1964. At the time, it was wildly different from any television show anyone had ever seen. The TV show was a hit from the moment it aired, and it continues to be an important part of popular culture today. After the original show ended in 1966, it would go on to inspire several reboots of the series, as well as multiple movies, and even a musical!
The Addams Family was based on a cartoon of the same name, which was created by a man named Charles Addams. He first created the cartoon in 1938, and it was a bit darker and scarier than the TV show it inspired. However, despite some creative differences between the two pieces of media, they still went hand in hand.
Even today, people still enjoy reruns of the iconic television show. It doesn’t have to be Halloween to enjoy this spooky and kooky show. It was an ingenious spin on typical sitcoms at the time, which usually revolved around average families. The members of the Addams family may have viewed themselves as normal, but to the viewers, they were anything but!
In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at some of the wild stories that went on behind-the-scenes of the original filming of The Addams Family. Make sure you stick around until the very end, where we’ll reveal a hidden romance between two of the actors! Before we get started, make sure to like this video, and don’t forget to subscribe and click that notification bell so you can stay up to date with all of our videos!
Facts Verse Presents: Creepy Behind-the-Scenes Stories from The Addams Family
The Show Almost Revolved Around the Family’s Butler
We all know and love actor John Astin for his wonderful performance as Gomez Addams, the husband of Morticia Addams. But did you know that John Astin almost played a different character entirely? In 1963, John Astin had played a role in the film The Wheeler Dealers, and crew members were so impressed with his work that he was offered another job, this time on The Addams Family. Even though John Astin had his eye on a couple of other projects at the time, The Americanization of Emily and The Loved One, he was more intrigued by the offer of The Addams Family.
Initially, the executives of the show discussed casting John Astin as the butler of the Addams Family. They wanted the butler to be the main character of the show. However, Astin had his qualms about the role. He felt that he wouldn’t do a good job portraying that character. The executives listened to his anxieties, and they eventually decided to give him the role of Gomez Addams, while shifting the main focus of the show so that John Astin was still one of the stars. Imagine how different the show would have been if John Astin had played the butler, instead!
Ted Cassidy’s Audition Changed the Role of Lurch Forever
At first, the creators of the show didn’t want the character Lurch to talk at all. They thought it would be funnier if he was silent all the time. However, John Astin wasn’t the only actor who helped to shape the show into something even the creators couldn’t fathom.
Ted Cassidy auditioned for the role of Lurch, and he decided to make a bold move. During one audition scene, he ad-libbed the line “You rang?” His deep voice fit the character so well, and the production team thought it was so funny that they decided to cast Ted Cassidy on the show. They also rewrote Lurch with a few more lines here and there, which did comedic wonders for both the character and the show. Lurch became so popular that the writers even made a few episodes that centered around his character!
Oddly enough, Lurch was especially popular among young women who adored the show. Reportedly, Ted Cassidy received a lot of fan mail from teenage girls.
Charles Addams Had Difficulty Publishing His Cartoons After the Show Aired
You’d think that the increased popularity surrounding the show The Addams Family would have helped Charles Addams’ business. Unfortunately, however, Addams struggled to get his cartoons published. He got his start selling cartoons to The New Yorker in 1932, and in 1938, his creation of The Addams Family was also included in the popular magazine.
While he didn’t intend his first Addams Family cartoon to inspire any more in the same vein, the editors thought he could get some more mileage out of the idea. As a result, Charles Addams continued to publish Addams Family cartoons in the 40s and 50s. Sadly, after the show aired, The New Yorker refused to publish any more Addams Family cartoons. Without even knowing why they rejected his work, Addams had to find another magazine who was willing to publish his cartoons. If you think The New Yorker should have continued to publish Charles Addams’ cartoons, click the like button!
The Actor Behind Uncle Fester Inspired a New Law as a Child
Uncle Fester was played by the actor Jackie Coogan. Before he played Uncle Fester, however, he was a child film star. He played the lead role in Oliver Twist, as well as several other films. His father handled all of his earnings from the movies, but he died tragically in 1935. Even though Jackie Coogan was 21 at the time of his father’s death, his mother and stepfather decided they wouldn’t give Coogan any of the money he had earned while acting. They cruelly used his well-earned money on expensive items like cars, furs, and jewelry. Coogan sued the couple two years later.
The law was on Coogan’s side, and the state of California declared a new law called The California Child Actor’s Bill. It stated that the earnings of any child actor would be deposited into court-administered trust funds until they could be properly distributed once the actor reached adulthood. Although Coogan couldn’t win back the money he had earned as a child, he helped to protect many other child actors from the same fate.
Of course, later on, Coogan would more than earn a living as he played Uncle Fester in The Addams Family.
Gomez’s Costume Was a Health Hazard
In the show, Gomez often held or smoked a cigar. John Astin himself was quite a heavy smoker, but he also felt that the trait suited Gomez’s character. The production team ran with the idea. After smoking during filming, John Astin would put the still-lit cigar back into his suit pocket. That way, he could pull it out later without having to relight it. Of course, this would be incredibly dangerous with any normal fabric. As a result, the prop masters of the show lined Gomez’s pockets with asbestos to prevent him from getting burned.
While this was a clever solution to the problem at the time, asbestos would certainly never be allowed on modern-day television sets.
Lisa Loring Memorized Lines Before She Learned to Read
Lisa Loring was the wonderful young actress behind the morose character Wednesday Adams. When she landed the role, she was only six years old, and she didn’t have much acting experience. The producers decided to take a chance by casting her, and they weren’t disappointed. They initially cast her mostly because she greatly resembled Carolyn Jones, the actor behind Wednesday’s mother, Morticia Addams.
Lisa Loring took her part very seriously. Even though she hadn’t learned how to read yet, she was still able to memorize her lines.
Even though Lisa Loring wasn’t allowed to smile while playing the melancholy role of Wednesday, Carolyn Jones always made sure to make her laugh between scenes. This kept Lisa Loring happy and upbeat throughout the entire process.
It Took Carolyn Jones Nearly 20 Minutes to Get Out of Costume
While Morticia Addams’ costume looks simple, it was actually quite complicated. The costume designers wanted it to look as close as possible to Morticia’s outfit in the comics. This meant that the dress had to be incredibly tight around the legs and feet. The costume was sealed tightly with velcro along the back. The on-screen result looks amazing, but poor Carolyn Jones had a difficult time getting in and out of it.
Jones admitted that the dress took her 20 minutes to get out of. Furthermore, it took even longer to remove her wig and heavy makeup. Overall, it took nearly 2 hours to get completely out of costume after filming. That’s some true dedication!
They Filmed a Real Lion for the Show
The Addams Family had a pet lion named Kitty Kat, who would occasionally appear for a few moments. The crew actually filmed a real lion, who was a retired circus performer. However, to ensure that everyone was as safe as possible, the crew did not allow the children, Ken Weatherwax and Lisa Loring, anywhere near the set while the lion was present. They also kept the lion’s trainer, Steve Martin, nearby at all times. The crew filmed a few shots of the lion, then reused the footage so they could minimize the danger.
John Astin and Carolyn Jones Had Feelings for Each Other
John Astin and Carolyn Jones did an amazing job portraying their chemistry as husband and wife on the show. Perhaps the reason why it looked so realistic is that there was a hint of attraction between the two. They wanted to keep their relationship professional to prevent any drama behind-the-scenes, but they did use their attraction to fuel the on-screen chemistry. The two were also close friends, and John Astin was the one to deliver the eulogy at Carolyn Jones’s funeral.
The Addams Family was a wonderful show that exceeded all expectations when it aired in 1964. Were you more surprised to learn that John Astin and Carolyn Jones had feelings for each other, or that Gomez’s costume was lined with asbestos? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!