Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Addams Family Chronicles

1991, first edition, from Harper Perennial
Stephen Cox
The Addams Family Chronicles: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Addams Family
Original price $10.00, purchase price $2.88
Slightly worn paperback

Cox mostly focuses on the TV show, although he does pay tribute to Charles Addams and his cartoons, as well as the then soon-to-be-released first movie.  He was able to interview the surviving television cast and crew, as well as Addams's widow.  I hadn't realized that Marx Brothers writer Nat Perrin was producer of the show, and then still alive at 86.  (He died in '98.)  I thought John Astin's insights were best, but then I've always had a sort of crush on him.  It's funny to read this after Patty Duke's biography of course, especially since she was playing identical cousins at the time he was Gomez.  And, yeah, there's a very different take on Carolyn Jones's marriage to Aaron Spelling than the one of slackjawed Sopkin in Seven Glorious Days, Seven Fun-Filled Nights (1968).  The book has lots of information that felt less familiar to me than that about Sherwood Schwartz's shows-- Blossom Rock (Grandma) was Jeanette MacDonald's sister-- although ironically this is because I was much less of a fan.

I know, blasphemy.  Everyone (particularly the Australians according to Cox) loves this show because the family was so bohemian and likable, and the husband and wife were so sexy together.  Well, I'm not saying I didn't like the show, but due to quirks of syndication, I grew up watching a lot more of The Munsters.  (Cox has also written a book on that show, but I don't own it.)  When I saw AF again in my 20s, probably on Nick at Nite, it was entertaining, but it was like watching The Partridge Family, it just didn't bring back a wave of nostalgia.  Still, that crush on Astin can't be entirely attributable to Freaky Friday.  (He's cuter with a mustache.)

I will say that Cox could've used tighter editing, as there are some avoidable redundancies, but other than that it's a pretty solid book, sort of a B- and a half.  Besides, somebody had to celebrate the genius of composer Vic Mizzy!

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