Trivia / The Addams Family

For the franchise as a whole:

  • Adaptation Sequence: Newspaper Comic > TV show > Cartoon > Video Game > Movie > TV show loosely based on movie > Video Game > Sequel to movie > Broadway Musical
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Morticia is often quoted saying, "Normal is an illusion. What's normal for the spider is chaos for the fly." However, no one is sure when exactly she said that.
    • She does say the line in The Musical, but it seems to be a reference to the presumed earlier quote.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: To this day, there has never been a DVD release for the following Addams Family films and shows: The Addams Family Fun-House, Halloween with the New Addams Family, the 1992 animated series, Addams Family Reunion, and — at least in America — The New Addams Family (the latter being caught between Saban and Disney- what else would you expect from a Fox Kids/Fox Family show?).
  • Trope Namers
    • Made from Real Girl Scouts: The only Girl Scout cookies Wednesday will buy.
    • One Normal Night: From the song of the same name in the 2010 Broadway musical, where Wednesday, hoping to set a good impression with her fiance and his family, requests that the Addams clan try to behave like average human beings. As expected, they can't, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • What Could Have Been: After Illumination Entertainment obtained the rights to Charles Addams' original cartoons, there was a planned stop-motion animated film with Tim Burton calling the shots. As of July 2013, the project has been cancelled.
  • You Look Familiar: Nathan Lane, who previously had a bit part as a police officer in Addams Family Values, went on to play Gomez in the Broadway adaptation.

For the various television series:

  • Actor Allusion: The 1960s TV episode "Morticia The Breadwinner" contains one to Morticia's actress, Carolyn Jones, whereupon Morticia and Uncle Fester are deciding on a good assumed name they can use to call Gomez's stockbroker: 'Jones?' asks Morticia. 'What kind of a name is that?!' replies Uncle Fester irritably.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Though he visited the set a few times, Charles Addams considered the original series a travesty. One must wonder how he would've felt about the film adaptations had he lived long enough to see them (he died in 1988).
  • Dueling Shows: With The Munsters. The Addams family were humans that acted like monsters, but the Munsters were monsters that acted like normal humans. It was an interesting contrast.
  • Fake American: The entire cast of The New Addams Family (apart from Glenn Taranto and Nicole Fugere, who played Gomez and Wednesday, respectively) were Canadian.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • A sort-of example from the series: the man playing Thing occasionally used his left hand just to see if anybody would notice.
    • Jane Rose replaced the ailing Blossom Rock as Grandmama for Halloween with the New Addams Family.
  • The Other Marty: In the original series, Thing was usually performed by Ted Cassidy; whenever a scene required both Thing and Lurch to appear together, a stagehand (usually associate producer Jack Voglin) would take Cassidy's place while he performed instead as Lurch.
  • Recycled Script: Most of the episodes of The New Addams Family were recycled from the original series. In fact, the episode "Thing is Missing" is a twofer. Not only is it a remake of an episode from the original show, but it also borrows two plot elements from the 1992 animated series episode "Itt's Over" (though this time, Uncle Fester starts growing hair because he's stressed over the mistaken belief that Thing is dead rather than Cousin Itt).
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Composer Vic Mizzy, who couldn't afford singers, triple-overdubbed his voice for the theme song to simulate a trio.
  • Throw It In!: Ted Cassidy ad-libbed "You rang?" in the pilot, and the producers kept it — and changed Lurch from a mute to allow for it.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The series was originally going to be from Lurch's perspective (though he wasn't named at the time), and John Astin was actually called upon to audition for the role, leading to him almost backing out of the series until the idea was reworked.
    • Charles Addams, who provided names for the characters when his creation went to series (they were unnamed in his cartoons, even lacking the "Addams" surname), initially submitted the name "Pubert" for the family son. Producers rejected it on the basis that it was too vulgar, leading him to come up with "Pugsley" instead. The name Pubert would, of course, go on to appear elsewhere in the franchise (see Development Gag below).
    • Chaz came up with two different names for the family patriarch, and left the final choice up to the character's actor, John Astin. Imagine how different the show could've been had Gomez instead been named "Repelli".
    • Halloween with the New Addams Family was intended as a quasi-pilot for a TV series revival, but for one reason or another the idea never got off the ground.

For the films:

  • Actor-Inspired Element: It was Christina Ricci's idea to have Wednesday Addams fold her arms on her chest like a corpse being laid out for a funeral when Wednesday was being tucked into bed. Ricci was about 10 at the time.
  • Author Existence Failure: Or, rather, Actor Existence Failure: A third film in the Paramount trilogy was prepared before Raul Julia died in 1994. Since literally no one could play Gomez like him (not even, sadly, Tim Curry), the project was scrapped.
  • Development Gag: Baby Pubert was named for Charles Addams' original intended name for Pugsley, which the producers felt was too vulgar.
  • Follow the Leader: While not the first (both Dragnet and Twilight Zone: The Movie precede it by four and eight years, respectively, plus Car 54, Where Are You? was filmed the year before the first Addams movie came out), the trend of film adaptations of boomer-era TV series throughout The '90s really took off with this movie's success.
  • Missing Trailer Scene:
    • An early teaser trailer for the first movie begins with footage of another film that's being played in a theater. The character in the film turns and screams at something in the audience. As everyone turns back to look, it is revealed that the entire family is occupying the back row, and they snap their fingers in time to the theme music before the teaser ends. This sequence was shot specifically for the teaser, and features Christopher Lloyd in early makeup for Uncle Fester.
      • This is a wonderful example of Shown Their Work: This is based off a New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams, completely unrelated to the family at that!
    • Addams Family Values' teaser trailer has a nurse examining babies in a maternity ward, all while adoring parents look on behind glass. She comes to a crib that's covered in a massive black overhang and opens it up to examine, then turns around and screams once she sees what's inside. Like the original, this clip was shot specifically for marketing purposes, and never appears in the final film.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • For unknown reasons, Carol Kane replaced Judith Malina as Grandmama for Addams Family Values.
    • The third movie did this to most of the actors playing the family. Justified, as it's intended as a separate continuity, and the only reason it exists is to have served as the Pilot Movie for The New Addams Family.
  • Playing Gertrude: Carol Kane is 26 years younger than the actress she Darrined, making her younger than either Huston or Julia.
  • Prop Recycling: To play Uncle Fester, Christopher Lloyd wore the same fatsuit worn by Bruno Kirby in The Godfather Part II.
  • Star-Making Role: Christina Ricci's beloved performance as Wednesday in the first two movies made her not only a star, but also a 90's goth icon.
  • Troubled Production: Ooooh boy, here we go;
    • Problems began with producer Scott Rudin, who at the time was head of production at 20th Century Fox, who initially pitched the film to his colleagues. However, the franchise's right were held by Orion Pictures, and Fox was unable to purchase the rights due to Orion's plans to create a new television series.
    • Pre-production finally began after Charles Addams' ex-wife sold her portion of the rights to Orion, who at that point had scrapped their idea for a series and instead decided to make a feature film. Rudin left Fox to serve as producer, and a screenplay was penned by Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson (of Edward Scissorhands fame), with additional material by an uncredited Paul Rudnick, who would go onto write the sequel Addams Family Values. Several rewrites followed, and after Tim Burton passed the director's chair, it was taken up by Barry Sonnenfeld, who at the time had only ever worked as a cinematographer and had no directorial experience. Sonnenfeld's lack of experience proved to a problem, as he repeatedly had on-set panic attacks and lost 13 pounds in less than 10 weeks. Sonnenfeld asked Rudin to let him go, but the producer refused.
    • Three months prior to the end of principal photography, director of photography Owen Roizman suddenly quit and had to be replaced by Gale Tattersall, who had to be rushed to the hospital just weeks later and was replaced by Sonnenfeld himself.
    • Raul Julia missed several days of shooting after a blood vessel in his eye burst, and Sonnenfeld had to split his time between Los Angeles and New York after his wife fell ill with several weeks of shooting left.
    • During principal photography, Orion Pictures began suffering serious financial issues after a string of expensive flops, and in an effort to recoup their losses sold the film to Paramount Pictures mid-shoot after the film went over-budget.
    • Problems followed the film after release. Orion had failed to sell the film's full foreign distribution rights to Paramount, which ended up being held by MGM, who in some territories have their properties owned by 20th Century Fox. As a result, the film didn't recieve a DVD release outside of North America or the United Kingdom until 2013.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Ophelia was originally going to have a brief scene in the first movie.
    • Tim Burton was originally set to direct.
    • Cher wanted to play Morticia. Kim Basinger was initially cast, but dropped out to do another film.
    • Orion executives wanted Anthony Hopkins to portray the role of Uncle Fester, according to some behind-the-scenes chatter. Hopkins refused, instead wanting the role of a deranged psychopath in another Orion film.
    • The 'Mamushka' dance sequence was originally intended to be much longer, but was cut down significantly after test audiences complained that it 'ground the movie to a halt.'
    • Michael Jackson was planned to write a horror-themed song for Values along with a promotional music video using clips from the film. However, plans for this were dropped due to contractual disputes between Paramount and Epic Records (it's commonly purported that these plans were dropped because of Jackson's child molestation accusations in late 1993, though there's no evidence to support this theory). The song would eventually be released four years later on Jackson's album Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix as "Is it Scary," and served as a basis for the song "Ghosts" on the same album.
  • Wag the Director: According to director Barry Sonnenfeld, in the first film, Gordon Craven wasn't supposed to have been Fester all along, but still an imposter, though the family would've accepted him as Fester anyway, as, in Sonnenfeld's words, "...family wasn't about blood, it was about love." Sonnenfeld described Anjelica Huston as "passionately against" the idea and Raul Julia as "outraged" (though funnily enough Christopher Lloyd himself didn't care either way), and in the end, the cast chose ten-year-old Christina Ricci to convince Sonnenfeld to change the ending.

For the Bally pinball game:


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