Hello, guys! My name is Dice Rollen. Today I thought I would review something from one of my favorite TV series, The Munsters. I watched quite a bit of The Munsters when I was younger. Now obviously I’m not a 60s kid, but come on… it’s The Munsters.
I’m sure a lot of us are familiar with The Munster family and all their quirky glory. But there was something that I was not aware of until quite a while after I got into my Munster obsession. There was an unaired pilot episode.
There’s actually quite a bit to take note of right off the bat here. Do ya get it? Bat… that’s some Munsters… humor there.
First off, as you may notice, the footage was colored instead of the familiar black and white that was used in the episodes to come after it. The reason for them switching to black and white was because they didn’t want to spend $10,000 per episode just for it to be in color.
Second, let’s talk about the Munsters themselves here. In the opening credits, you basically get a line up that was meant to be a parody of The Donna Reed Show opening.
First you’ve got the loving mother and wife of the family... Phoebe? Apparently after the idea of The Munsters was pitched to CBS a few things were changed. Like Phoebe became Lily and they switched Joan Marshall out for Yvonne De Carlo for starters. Marilyn pretty much stayed the same, Beverly Owen was just switched out by episode 14 for Pat Priest. Needless to say, they switched Happy Derman out for Butch Patrick.
However, Grandpa and Herman Munster were always played by Al Lewis and Fred Gwynne. By the way, did you know Grandpa’s full name is Count Sam Dracula? Well, now you do.Oh and here’s a fun fact: that raven in the cuckoo clock there? That’s Mel Blanc—you know the same guy who voiced Bugs Bunny, Poky Pig, etc?
Anyway, after the credits, the episode goes in to a showcase of what the average afternoon is like for the Munsters. And honestly with Joan Marshall’s performance of… Phoebe added with her appearance you can see they were going for a similar look and feel to Morticia Addams.
I think it’s about as close as you could’ve gotten without major copyright issues.
Now let’s take a look at Happy’s performance and take on Eddie, shall we?Mmmmm, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.
The rest of the episode centered around Marilyn and her apparent inability to get and keep a boyfriend, which resulted in Grandpa having to cook up a love potion. They actually kept this same plot line for the episode that aired once CBS decided to go for The Munsters, as long as changes to a couple of the actors were made.
In general the whole feel of this version of The Munsters seemed darker than The Munsters that we knew. And that’s why Yvonne De Carlo and Butch Patrick were brought in. De Carlo brought a more warm and homely appearance and personality to Lily. And Patrick brought a nicer and more childlike appearance to Eddie, which was much better than the hissing and spitting of the original.
So on September 24, 1964 the Munsters made their way into the hearts and homes of America. And people loved it enough to keep the series going for two years. Plus a couple movies were thrown in. But unfortunately, they were beat out by Batman. But uh… that’s something for a different video.
See ya later.