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Trivia / The Addams Family

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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 —> Animated Movie
  • 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.
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  • 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: From an exchange in the first movie, where Wednesday and Pugsley are selling lemonade and dealing with an obnoxious girl scout inquiring if they're made of real lemons. Once the girl proposes an "I'll buy yours if you buy mine" deal, Wednesday retorts with that line.
    • 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. At the same time, Wednesday's fiance Lucas is requesting they don't embarrass him in front of her family, albeit for different reasons. As expected, the two families eventually clash, and Hilarity Ensues.
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    • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: From the ending scene of the first movie, where Wednesday justifies not having a halloween costume with the line "This is my costume. I'm a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else."
  • 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. It wound up replaced by a CG cartoon instead.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Addams Family Wiki.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • Playing Their Own Twin: Carolyn Jones played both Morticia and her sister Ophelia.
  • 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).
  • Role Reprise:
    • The 1973 animated series had new actors for most of the family, but had Jackie Coogan and Ted Cassidy once again reprise their roles as Uncle Fester and Lurch. John Astin returned to his role as Gomez in the 1992 cartoon.
    • Nicole Fugere (Wednesday) was the only cast member from Addams Family Reunion to reprise her role for The New Addams Family.
  • 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:

  • Acclaimed Flop: Addams Family Values has higher critical reception than the first film, but made far less money at the box office.
  • 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 Raúl Juliá died in 1994. Since literally no one could play Gomez like him (not even, sadly, Tim Curry), the project was scrapped.
  • Breakthrough Hit: For Barry Sonnenfeld.
  • The Cast Showoff: Raúl Juliá gets a full song (The Mamushka!) in the first film and an extended tango sequence with Anjelica Huston in the second film seemingly for no real reason other than to show off Julia's Broadway-honed singing and dancing skills (which, if we're being honest, is reason enough).
  • Channel Hop: Orion Pictures originally produced the first film, but the studio's bankruptcy led to them selling the US rights and copyrights to Paramount. Orion retained the international rights, which were licensed to Columbia Pictures for distribution. The sequel was produced and released by Paramount outright.
  • Cut Song: Michael Jackson's "Is It Scary" was originally written for Addams Family Values and had most of a corresponding video shot that featured clips from the film and a closing cameo by Wednesday and Pugsley. However, contractual disputes between Paramount Pictures and Epic Records led to the song being dropped in favor of Tag Team's "Addams Family (Whoomp!)". "Is It Scary" would was released four years later on Jackson's album Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix and served as a basis for the song "Ghosts" on the same album; the video was reshot and reedited into Michael Jackson's Ghosts.
  • Deleted Role: Ophelia was originally going to have a brief scene in the first movie. She's still in the finished product, only now in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment (she's the lady dancing with a candle at Fester's party).
  • Development Gag: Baby Pubert was named for Charles Addams' original intended name for Pugsley, which the producers felt was too vulgar.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Anjelica Huston wore a corset, plus make-up that made her closer to the comic strip's Morticia.note  She described it as exhausting.
  • Enforced Method Acting: For the scene where Morticia reads Hansel and Gretel to some children, Scott Rudin wanted the child actors to cry on command. So Barry Sonnenfeld told them they would all have to get measles shots. It worked.
  • Executive Meddling: In a 2016 Yahoo! interview, Addams Family Reunion director Dave Payne claims that this was the catalyst that ended up causing the movie's downfall, as he had intended to make a darker kids movie version of the familiar universe and characters, but executive producer Haim Saban shot down every single one of his original ideas and instead told the crew to basically imitate as much of the original series and movies as possible, but excise any darker elements and satire present in the latter and aim the production squarely at children.
    • Originally, Amanda was going to be killed off during the pageant in Addams Family Values, but according to Mercedes McNab, the developers didn't want the Addams kids "to be killing off children, no matter how awful the child is", so they showed a scene of Amanda surviving being burned on a stake and making it back home on a plane with her parents.
  • 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 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.
  • No Export for You: Legal issues between Paramount and MGM (successor to Orion) explains why it took until 2013 for the first film from being reissued on video outside North America following its initial VHS release. A year before Orion sold the film to Paramount, they sold a package of 50 films, included The Addams Family, to Columbia Pictures for foreign distribution, which is why Paramount only distributed the film in North America. After Columbia's license to the film expired, neither Paramount nor MGM could determine where the foreign rights reverted to. Ultimately, it was learned that the foreign rights ended up at MGM, and the film was finally released on DVD and Blu-Ray worldwide in 2013.
  • 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.
  • The Production Curse: The film duology is connected to the sudden decline of several careers attached to it:
    • MC Hammer tanked his career with a failed shift to Gangsta Rap, went bankrupt due to severe overspending, and retired from music to become a pastor.
    • Tag Team quickly descended into One-Hit Wonder status and survives mostly off of media appearances and corporate events.
    • Michael Jackson's song "Is It Scary" got shelved due to contractual disputes before Jackson himself became embroiled in a child molestation scandal, becoming mostly known for the latter and ultimately dying in 2009.
    • Director Barry Sonnenfeld saw his star drop considerably a few years after the second film's release with the widely-panned Wild Wild West, being relegated mostly to TV work in the aftermath.
    • Writer Paul Rudnick saw his own reputation tank with the poor reception of Marci X and the remake of The Stepford Wives, with later film scriptwriting being done anonymously as a result.
    • Gomez's actor Raúl Juliá saw his career die in the most literal sense possible: he died of cancer shortly after the second film's release.
  • Prop Recycling: To play Uncle Fester, Christopher Lloyd wore the same fatsuit worn by Bruno Kirby in The Godfather Part II.
  • Reality Subtext: Barry Sonnenfeld revealed in his memoir that aspects of his childhood influenced parts of the films. Notably, Fester's line, "You were a terrible mother!" was something he had wanted to say to his own mother. Joel Glicker's parents were also based on his own parents.
  • Role Reprise: Carel Struycken and Christopher Hart reprised their roles as Lurch and Thing, respectively, for the otherwise non-canon Addams Family Reunion.
  • Star-Making Role: Christina Ricci's beloved performance as Wednesday in the first two movies not only made her a star, but also a 90's goth icon.
  • Suppressed Mammaries: Christina Ricci tied her breasts down when she played Wednesday. Puberty did not miss her. In what was almost assuredly a reference to this fact, her opening scene of Now and Then has her duct-taping her bra.
  • Throw It In!: In Addams Family Values, Joel can't get the arrow knocked into a target with a bow, so he throws the arrow onto the ground. According to David Krumholz, who played Joel, he actually screwed up during that scene in real life, so he had to throw the arrow down onto the ground in frustration and walk out, and the directors thought it was hilarious after the scene was filmed.
  • Troubled Production: Ooooh boy; the project took a while to start, forcing producer Scott Rudin to leave his job at 20th Century Fox to get with the franchise rights' owners Orion Pictures (by virtue of their merger with Filmways in 1982); first-time director Barry Sonnenfeld repeatedly panicked at the pressure of the job, had to step in to do his old job as a cinematographer in the final stretch (the one that is credited left for another project, while his replacement got hospitalized), and was forced to split time between the LA set and his sick wife in New York; and Orion's financial woes escalated to the point that they sold the film to Paramount.
  • 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, " wasn't about blood, it was about love." Sonnenfeld described Anjelica Huston as "passionately against" the idea and Raúl Juliá 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.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Tim Burton was originally set to direct. Other candidates included Joe Dante, Terry Gilliam and David Lynch.
    • Cher wanted to play Morticia. This would have provided a nice Casting Gag, as Cher and Christina Ricci had previously played mother and daughter in Mermaids. Huston herself has said that it would have been an apt casting, although she liked it herself.
    • 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.'
    • Rebecca De Mornay was originally offered the role of Debbi Jellinsky, the idea being a parody of her role in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. She declined, feeling it was too similar. Marisa Tomei was also considered.
    • As stated above, a third film was planned, but Raul Julia succumbed to his stomach cancer in 1994, and the film never came about since Julia was deemed irreplaceable. As far as we know there wasn't any specific plot planned, just the idea of a threequel.
  • You Look Familiar: Mercedes McNab, who plays the girl scout in the first film, plays Amanda Buckman in the second film. Though as noted on the main page, they could very well be the same character.

For the Bally pinball game:

  • Hey, It's That Sound!: The sound effects played after completing a Three- and Four-Way Combo sequence are the same ones used in Funhouse.
  • Referenced by...:
  • What Could Have Been / Vapor Ware:
    • Digital Eclipse planned a digital release for the N64 and then Windows 95. However, development went to a halt, partly due to the fall of pinball in 1999. Both the original and the Gold versions of the game would be included.[1]
    • According to Larry DeMar, The Addams Family was originally designed with alphanumeric displays (instead of the then-new dot matrix displays), feeling that the dot matrix display's budget would be better spent on other parts of the game.

For the musical:

  • What Could Have Been: Alex Brightman auditioned to play Gomez, but did not get the part. At the 2018 Tony Awards, he referenced this during the Beetlejuice segment, saying, "I’ve lost roles to Nathan Lane!"


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