Today’s Halloween Horrors entry features a look at The Munsters. Although the show only lasted 2 seasons in its initial run, the show found a fanbase in reruns and has since become a beloved classic, but has also carried on its legacy with multiple reboots and re-imaginings. Granted, the majority of those have failed horribly, which proves that sometimes you just can’t duplicate an original.
You can thank Michael Ramsey for this look at our favorite family of monsters. Since making his Halloween Horror series debut back in 2018, Michael has not only returned for each consecutive year, but he has become one of the series’ most vocal supporters and champions. So, while I thank him for the following piece, I’ll be thanking him for helping make this series a success, too.
While we are at it, let’s also wish he and his wife a very Happy Anniversary…. which just happens to be today!
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 24th, 1964
We all have that list. The list of movies and T.V. series that we have been meaning to watch, but things keep coming up, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting farther and farther away. Then, BANG! 2020 and COVID hits, and you are (for the most past) stuck at home with more time on your hands than you can possibly know what to do with.
So, you start in on that list, and you find that you are burning through it fairly quickly. Then, your cable box dies! You jump through all of the over-the-phone hoops that they want you to, but you still can’t get it to work! You finally relent and set up an appointment for the dreaded cable guy to come out. After about an hour of awkwardly socially distancing with the cable guy, he announces: “I’m gonna give you an upgraded box with a voice remote. This P.O.S. they sent you is like a thousand years old!” He sets it up and leaves.
Over the next few days, my wife and I say everything that you can possibly think of into that remote! Yes, we said that. That too. Yep, and that! Then, one night, my wife says… The Munsters. They have both seasons and the movies! So, we buy them and our odyssey begins.
I have always been more of a Munsters guy than The Addams Family. Maybe I just liked the slapstick nature of the show more, or as a kid it was just more my speed. Whatever the case, it has been a favorite for a very long time!
As it turns out, The Munsters premiere episode, “Munster Masquerade”, also serves as its Halloween episode. The episode starts with Marilyn, the Munster’s “plain” niece, on their front porch, smooching with her boyfriend, Tom. Right off, my wife notices that Marilyn is “not right”… and she’s correct! Before Pat Priest was brought in and became the “Marilyn” that we all know and love, she was portrayed by Beverley Owen for the first 13 episodes.
Anyway, kissing on the porch…
Marilyn wants Tom to come inside to meet her aunt and uncle. Instead, Tom suggests that they should come to a party that his parents are having the following week. Tom leaves and Marilyn goes inside. Before going to bed, she tells Herman and Lily that they are going to be invited to a party held by Tom’s parents, and.. oh, by the way.. it’s a masquerade party! Marilyn leaves, and Herman and Lily lament the fact that it is a masquerade party. There’s nothing that disturbs Herman more than grown people, like themselves, dressing up in costumes and looking ridiculous!
The hi-jinks begin with Tom’s mother worrying about the “social papers” misspelling “Munster” to “Monster”. Lily is concerned about “this Daly family” as they, the Munsters, are such an “old family”. As it turns out, Grandpa is not invited, and has “never been so insulted since the day he was dug up!” Grandpa ends up getting an invite after complaining and suggesting that he would turn himself into chopped liver and show up as an hors d’oeuvre.
The night of the party arrives, and Marilyn is showing off her “Priscilla” costume to Eddie, explaining that Mrs. Morton (a friend’s mother) would be watching him while everyone else goes to the party. Herman shows up in all his splendor, dressed as King Arthur in full plate armor. When Lily shows up dressed as “Little Bo Peep”, Herman gets scared because she looks “positively awful”! Tom shows up dressed as John Alden to pick up Marilyn. He meets Lily and Herman, but Herman is completely covered up in his armor. Meanwhile, Grandpa is still “working” on his costume down in the laboratory.
Mrs. Morton arrives to watch Eddie. After some Munster-like instructions, Herman, Lily, and Grandpa leave for the party. Upon arriving, they meet Mrs. Daly, dressed as “Juliet”, at the front door. The scene then cuts back to the Munster house, Mrs. Morton getting acquainted with the surroundings. Cut back to the party in full swing, where Marilyn suggests that Herman go over and meet Mr. Daly. Herman just can’t place where he has seen Mr. Daly before.
I’ll leave it there. No spoilers, but (needless to say) Munster hi-jinks ensue both at the party and back at the Munsters’ house! And really, don’t all children howl when the moon comes out?
Confession: I was more of an Addams Family fan than the Munsters. On the other hand, I love the premise that the Munsters are blissfully unaware that they’re somehow “different”. Herman dressing up in armor and being taken aback at Lily as Lil’ Bo Peep is inspired!
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