Saturday, October 05, 2013

31 Werewolves | Eddie Munster



Universal's monster movie output settled down after the '40s (with the exception of the Creature from the Black Lagoon series), but popular interest in the classic monsters didn't fade. Thanks to Hammer Studios, the '50s saw a resurgence in the genre. Though Hammer focused primarily on famous, public domain characters like Frankenstein and Dracula, they did make one werewolf movie, 1961's The Curse of the Werewolf, based on the novel The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore.

Sadly, Curse didn't make my list, but Hammer is important for keeping the love of monsters alive into the '60s where nostalgia kicked in and made the Universal monsters wildly popular again. That's when Universal's parent company MCA decided to make use of them with a TV show about humorous versions of the Universal trinity: Frankenstein-lookalike Herman Munster, his Dracula-inspired wife and father-in-law, and his werewolf son.

The origin of The Munsters actually goes back as far as the late-'40s when Looney Tunes animator Bob Clampett pitched Universal a series of cartoons about a monster family. The idea was kicked and passed around for a decade or so until MCA decided to run with it as a live-action show. When word got out that ABC had locked down a series based on Charles Addams' popular comic strip about a macabre family, MCA got moving and CBS got buying. The Munsters and The Addams Family both ran for the same two years and were cancelled within a month of each other, due to the popularity of Batman and color TV in general.

8 comments:

Caffeinated Joe said...

Was it ever explained why Eddie was a werewolf when his parents were a Frankenstein monster and a vampire?

Michael May said...

Not that I know of. I haven't seen every episode, but I've seen the pilot and it doesn't mention it.

I'm actually a much bigger Addams Family fan than the sillier Munsters and this is a decent example of why. The Munsters is funny, but I don't think we're supposed to think that hard about it. The Addams Family was the smarter show.

Caffeinated Joe said...

I guess you are right, but I have more of a nostalgic love for the Munsters than I do for the Addams. Just watched them way more, I guess.

Michael May said...

I can dig it. I hope I didn't come across as dismissive of it. It was a really funny show and I still enjoy watching it on Netflix this time of year.

Caffeinated Joe said...

Not at all! :)

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Its fascinating to learn that the series was pitched by an animator because I always thought the biggest source of humor for the series was how it was a live action world were everyone behaved like a cartoon, especially when the "fast motion" kicked in.

Paxton said...

How often did they mention that he was a werewolf on the show? Did he ever turn? I don't think I knew he was a werewolf while watching in reruns. I think I discovered that during the Age of the Internet.

Fascinating.

Michael May said...

Like everything else about The Munsters, it seems to have been a very fantasy, "just because" situation. Eddie was just a werewolf - stuck in a halfway phase - the way Casper is a ghost. We're not supposed to overthink it.

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