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Trivia / The Munsters

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The series

  • The Cast Showoff: Yvonne de Carlo gets to show off her singing voice in a few episodes.
  • Contractual Obligation Project: Beverley Owen only appeared on the show because she was contractually obligated to do so. Having to live in Los Angeles to shoot the show kept her away from her boyfriend in New York. She was so miserable that it eventually led Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis to plead to the producers to release her from her contract.
  • Dawson Casting: 27-year-old Beverly Owen and 28/29-year-old Pat Priest as the college-aged Marilyn Munster. Averted with 17-year-old Debbie Watson in Munster Go Home.
  • Development Hell:
    • A pilot for a Darker and Edgier revival, Mockingbird Lane, was produced and aired as a TV movie, but did not lead to a new series.
    • The most recent attempt at reviving the series seems to have fallen here as well, as it was announced in 2017; nothing has been heard about it since then.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Butch Patrick, and Al Lewis all had to spend a long time getting made up each shooting day. Gwynne had it particularly rough because of the heavy padding he also had to wear. He'd need to drink large amounts of lemonade and take salt tablets throughout the day to stay hydrated and would place an air hose down his collar to try and cool off between takes.
  • Dueling Shows: With The Addams Family. The two very similar series debuted within a week of each other and were also cancelled at the same time (though The Munsters continued airing new episodes for one month longer than Addams Family).
  • I Am Not Spock: Fred Gwynne, despite being fond of the role, spent some years distancing himself from Herman until he was given a sweetheart deal to be in the 1981 TV movie The Munsters' Revenge. Nonetheless, he refused to reprise the part for the Munsters Today revival series. In another instance, Gwynne was nearly cast in Punky Brewster, but understandably stormed off the set when the casting director referred to him as "Herman Munster."
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The 1973 animated special The Mini-Munsters, the revival series The Munsters Today, and the television movie Here Come the Munsters.
  • Money, Dear Boy:
    • Originally, Yvonne de Carlo (who had always preferred working in film to television) only took the job on the show because her stuntman husband Bob Morgan was badly injured, and they had exhausted most of their savings on medical bills. She did however state she enjoyed shooting it and working with the other actors, and enjoyed gaining familiarity with a younger audience.
    • By the time of The Munsters' Revenge, Fred Gwynne was anxious to not be involved in anything to do with the Munsters in fear of being typecast - so he quoted a ridiculous sum of money to be involved. He was very surprised when Universal agreed without blinking an eye.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • The pilot featured Nate "Happy" Derman as Eddie and Joan Marshall as Phoebe, the proto-Lily. Eddie was also a lot more feral and vicious in appearance and personality, which is especially ironic given his actor's nickname.
    • Beverley Owen played Marilyn in the first 13 episodes, but she was so unhappy that Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis had to convince Universal to release her from her contract. She ultimately left for New York to get married. Pat Priest then took over the role, but she was similar in appearance that no one noticed. They were so similar, in fact, that Priest was able to wear Owen's wardrobe without any alterations. Later still, Debbie Watson was given the role for the Munster, Go Home! film. Pat Priest says she was never considered to work on it; Debbie got the part because she was under contract with Universal, and as Priest's contract was up, she would've been more expensive to re-hire. Also, the studio wanted a younger actress. Jo McDonell played Marilyn in The Munsters' Revenge.
    • Recurring character Dr. Dudley was played by Paul Lynde for his first few appearances, but in his last appearance he was played by Dom De Luise instead.
    • Al Lewis was the only original cast member to reprise their role for The Mini-Munsters.
    • Butch Patrick was replaced by K.C. Martel as Eddie for The Munsters' Revenge.
    • The entire original cast was replaced for The Munsters Today. Al Lewis was eager to reprise the role of Grandpa for the series, but lost out to Howard Morton.
      • In an example of History Repeats, the Munsters Today pilot featured Mary-Ellen Dunbar as Marilyn Munster; she was replaced by Hilary Van Dyke for the actual series.
  • The Pete Best: Marilyn was originally played by Beverley Owen, but only for the first two-and-a-half months the series was on. When she left the series, Pat Priest took over the role.
  • Playing Their Own Twin: Fred Gwynne also played Herman's ne'er-do-well brother Charlie.
  • Prop Recycling: The alien who appears briefly at the end of one episode was a costume recycled from an episode of The Outer Limits (1963).
  • Recycled Script:
    • The plot of the unaired original pilot is essentially the first half of the early first-season episode "My Fair Munster."
    • Both the original 1960's show and the 1980's revival series The Munsters Today had an episode titled "Just Another Pretty Face". Both episodes involved Herman getting struck by lightning and turned into a human - who was portrayed by Herman's normal actor sans makeup.
    • Munster, Go Home seemed to have been stitched together out of parts from several episodes of the series:
      • Herman and Lily's exchange about Marilyn early in the movie was lifted word-for-word from My Fair Munster.
      • Grandpa getting stuck as a wolf and being snuck past guards by posing as a fur stole was taken from Grandpa's Call of the Wild
      • The Drag-U-La and the attempted sabotage at the road race came from Hot Rod Herman.
      • Herman sneaking out at night by making a dummy out of a bucket and a mop, and Lily's subsequent discovery came from Operation Herman.
    • Both the Munsters and Leave It to Beaver were created by the team of Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly. Amazingly, scripts and plots from Leave it to Beaver were sometimes adapted into episodes of the Munsters. The most striking example is the second season opener, "Herman's Child Psychology", half the episode is a virtual reshoot of the first season Leave it to Beaver episode "Beaver Runs Away". A bit of Lampshade Hanging by Herman Munster, as he remarks his technique of reverse psychology "always worked on Leave it To Beaver". Herman actually didn't do the research well — Ward Cleaver tried reverse psychology on the Beaver only to goad him into running away.
    • The show's opening credits are also a parody of Leave It to Beaver. The staircase opening in the first season, imitates the opening of the second season of Leave It To Beaver. The door-crashing opening in the second, is a parody of the Cleavers standing at the front door in the fourth season of the earlier program.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Marilyn was played by Beverly Owen, but was recast with Pat Priest after Owen was released from contract due to being miserable from living in Los Angeles. Pat Priest was so similar in appearance no one noticed and was able to wear Owen's costumes without alteration.
  • Short-Lived, Big Impact: Lasted only two seasons but has become a staple of American pop culture thanks to its viability in syndication reruns.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Marilyn Munster is obviously named after beauty icon Marilyn Munster.
  • Vindicated by Reruns: For a number of years during the Turn of the Millennium, WGN annually aired Munster Marathons on Halloween, hosted by Alice Cooper. By 2011, they've since stopped.
  • Wag the Director:
    • Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis attempted to convince the producers to recast Yvonne DeCarlo, afraid that they'd be upstaged by a genuine movie star, but were shot down by the producers. They came to agree that the casting was a good choice once they actually began working with her.
    • Gwynne and Lewis went to the producers again, asking to release Beverley Owen from her contract. Owen was miserable, because she was forced to live in Los Angeles to be available to shoot episodes, rather than be in New York with her boyfriend. This time, the producers relented and recast Pat Priest as Marilyn.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Fred Gwynne was offered to reprise his role as Herman in The Munsters Today, but he declined. In an interesting inverse, Al Lewis offered eagerly to reprise his role as Grandpa, but he was turned down in favor of Howard Morton.
    • The 13-minute proof-of-concept "pilot" episode, which contained an early version of half of "My Fair Munster", features a number of striking differences from the series that would have made the show quite different:
      • First and foremost, it was shot in color, as The Munsters was originally envisioned as a color series.
      • Joan Marshall, not Yvonne De Carlo, played Mrs. Munster, and the opening titles named her Phoebe, not Lily. Marshall's take on the character was more creepy than De Carlo's and displayed more sensuality, and in the pilot she and Herman have a more tense, abrasive relationship. Marshall's costuming and hair is also more striking in that she wears almost all-black rather than the "Dracula's Daughter" inspired dress Lily was known for - overall, Phoebe Munster was much more similar to Morticia Addams, her counterpart on The Addams Family.
      • Nate "Happy" Derman, not Butch Patrick, played Eddie. His werewolf inspiration is far more pronounced, with more wolflike facial makeup and behavior. Eddie is shown hunched and snarling, and his portrayal emphasizes a feral theme by being genuinely nasty and bratty and disrespectful to his parents—far from his friendly all-American kid portrayal in the aired show. He's also shown playing with a noose, a far darker joke tonally than the show ended up having.
      • Herman is less goofy in the pilot, and Fred Gwynne's naturally skinny physique is more evident as he doesn't wear as much padding in this version.
    • Munster, Go Home! was originally supposed to be a TV-movie, before they decided to give it a theatrical release; however the budget wasn't raised when the plans changed.
    • The Mini-Munsters was in fact a pitch for a full Munsters animated TV series, though it never took off.
    • After Beverley Owen left the role of Marilyn Munster, Dawn Wells was considered for her replacement. Coincidentally, Pat Priest (who won the part) was later considered for Welles' role of Mary Ann in Gilligan's Island.

The TV movies:

  • Blooper: In Here Come the Munsters, the duplicate Herman that Grandpa makes is supposed to have two left hands (with Grandpa noting that was all he had left), but aside from the closeup of them in his first scene, they barely try to hide that he clearly has both a left and right hand.
  • The Other Darrin: The entire cast of Here Come the Munsters was replaced for The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas. It was originally intended for them all to reprise their roles, but Edward Herrmann requested a salary increase which the producers decided to take out of everyone else's salaries, leading to the whole cast deciding to leave the project. Because of this, whether or not they're in the same continuity is up in the air.

The pinball machine:

  • Content Leak: The game was leaked twice on Pinside before its release - first with various promotional pictures of the Premium and Limited Edition cabinets, and second with pictures of a phone displaying what appears to be a PowerPoint presentation regarding the Pro model's features.
  • The Other Darrin: Due to many of the original actors either retiring or passing away, many voice samples had to be done by soundalikes. This is spliced alongside audio from the original show, however, thus also making this a case of Two Voices, One Character in a sense.

The movie:

  • Acting for Two: Several examples, including the three main characters.
    • Richard Brake plays Dr. Henry Augustus Wolfgang and Count Orlock.
    • Jeff Daniel Phillips plays Herman Munster and Zombo.
    • Sheri Moon Zombie plays Lily Munster and Donna Doomley.
    • Daniel Roebuck plays Grandpa/The Count and Ezra Mosher.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: When Sylvester McCoy was offered the part, he wasn't familiar with Rob Zombie and so consulted his much more pop culture-savvy son Sam, who got very excited and told him in no uncertain terms that he should take the job.
  • Creator's Oddball: While it features horror movie monsters, that's about all it has in common with the rest of Rob Zombie's filmography. The trailer even lampshaded this, opening by rattling off some of the violent horror movies Rob had directed before jumping into straightforward comedy.
  • Development Hell: Rob Zombie had been trying to make this since the early 1990s, and several years ago even had the cast already chosen.
  • Executive Meddling: Universal wouldn't let the movie be Deliberately Monochrome to match the look of the original TV series - so other than the short black and white sequences he was allowed, Rob Zombie went for "the opposite of black and white" by using bright, oversaturated colors. While it didn't affect the direction of the film as much, Grandpa/The Count also couldn't be shown smoking a cigar as he often does in the original series.
    • The Count was to be called Dracula (as that's who he is in the show) but Universal would not let Rob use the name for fear of causing confusion with their other uses of the character.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • The original show was Rob Zombie's favorite growing up, and he still collects the merchandise to this day.
    • Dan Roebuck, who plays the Count, has been a fan of the show since childhood.
  • Saved from Development Hell: Attempts at a feature film adaptation dated as far back as the mid-2000s, with the Wayans Brothers attached at one point.