Munster Me


Is there anything in the world GREATER than a man, dressed up like a Frankenstein, dressed up like a cowboy?  (Answer:  No.)

There was so many great things about the Munsters…from the car (DRAG-U-LA!), to the theme, to the guest stars (look, it’s Paul Lynde!).  There’s a dragon under the stairs!  Herman’s playing baseball!  (And Leo Durocher wants to sign him to the Dodgers!)  Marilyn thinks SHE’S the one scaring off the boys!  Herman’s a BEATNIK!

Fred Gwynne created one of the oddest, silliest characters in television history, but was a pretty serious guy himself.  He was a Harvard grad, who served in the Navy in World War II, and had a fairly serious stage career, before putting on the 4 inch heels (he was 6’5″ without ’em), and 40 the pounds of padding, that helped him create Herman.  Gwynne had couple of other memorable roles, in the Steven King film “Pet Sematary“, and in “My Cousin Vinny” (Costanza:  “I hate that Judge!”), but most folks identified him with Herman.  He didn’t seem bitter about it, though, and said “… I might as well tell you the truth. I love old Herman Munster. Much as I try not to, I can’t stop liking that fellow”.  How could you not like him?  That laugh!  His tantrums!  Gold.

Hate to be an old coot, (“EVERYTHING WAS BETTER BEFORE!”) but it’s a shame that despite the fact that there’s 10 or 15 networks making original programming these days, TV shows all seem to be a rehash of something else.  But the Munsters?  It was totally unique!  Except for the Addams family.  Which ALSO ran from 1964-1966.  But the Addams family sucked, so let’s move on.

Despite being on the air for just two seasons, the show was very profitable in syndication (they made 70 episodes in two seasons!), and merchandising.  

But strangely enough, it was the caped crusader that killed the Munsters.  In 1966, Batman (in color!) crushed the Munsters in the ratings, and knocked it off the air.  I could go on and on and on (there were two Marilyns…the original pilot was in colorEddie Munster/Cape FearThe Munsters Today remake…) but my cheap basic basic cable is featuring the Munsters ALL DAY on WGN, and I wanna watch it.  Happy Halloween!


One Response to “Munster Me”

  1. knucklehead Says:

    It WAS a better time. Gas was thirty cents a gallon. Foreign cars were a funny joke- something that people would laugh and point to. Television was what television SHOULD be: Men in cheap suits and bad haircuts reading the NEWS (stuff that actually matters: the economy, war, global relations; boring stuff that no “infotainment” news program would dare broadcast these days), and ENTERTAINMENT: fictional shows that were scripted and written by creative people. THIS was the “golden age” of television- when programming ran the gamut from “Mayberry RFD” to “Hawaii Five-O” to “Star Trek” to “The Munsters” to “Peyton Place” to “The Green Lantern” and EVERYTHING in-between. It was a time when “political correctness” would’ve been associated (rightly so) with COMMUNISM. It was a time when our goal was to have men walk on the moon, and the most complicated issue in the news was whether we should be involved with the conflict in Vietnam. A better time, indeed.

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