Saturday 7 January 2012

Daddy Addams 100 *click click* (no not Gomez)

They're creepy and they're kooky, 
Mysterious and spooky, 
They're all together ooky, 
The Addams Family. 

Today is the centenary of daddy Addams, that is Charles Addams the man who drew Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Pugsley, Wednesday, Lurch, Grandmama and Thing. He was born in Westfield, New Jersey on this day 100 years ago. He father who had studied to be an architect encouraged him to draw.

In 1933 he joined the layout team of True Dectective magazine and spent his time touching up pictures of dead corpses, removing the blood from them. He complained (quite correctly) that a lot of the corpses were more interesting as they were. In this day  no doubt somebody would point out that the title True Detective was incorrect as vital clues were missing through the blood trail and the photoshopping that would now be going on would have to seize.

However, he started to contribute cartoons to The New Yorker from 1933 and in 1938 the first image of what would become The Addams Family first appeared, a family based on corpses and the undead of various types. They appeared as 150 unrelated single panel cartoons in the magazine. Of them Addams said:

Gomez and Pugsley are enthusiastic. Morticia is even in disposition, muted, witty, sometimes deadly. Grandma Frump is foolishly good-natured. Wednesday is her mother's daughter. A closely knit family, the real head being Morticia—although each of the others is a definite character — except for Grandma, who is easily led. Many of the troubles they have as a family are due to Grandma’s fumbling, weak character. The house is a wreck, of course, but this is a house-proud family just the same and every trap door is in good repair. Money is no problem.

They became more widely known through their adaptation into the 1964-66 ABC TV series, during which run The New Yorker editor William Shawn refused to debase his magazine by publishing any cartoon linked to a TV show. Other Addams cartoons were published during this time.

They were brought to live in that first TV adaptation by John Astin as Gomez (the adoptive father of a certain Hobbit), Carolyn Jones as Morticia, Jackie Coogan (who had been Charlie Chaplin's The Kid) as Uncle Fester, Ted Cassidy as Lurch, Lisa Loring as Wednesday, Ken Weatherwax as Pugsley and Blossom Rock as Grandmama. And have since appeared as two animated TV series, a second TV series, a TV reunion film and the Film series, there is also now a musical.

Addams did draw other cartoons but it is the family that bears his name who he will always be remembered for. He died in 1988 in after suffering a heart attack after parking his car.

So it is only fitting to get your fingers ready to click along:

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