The Addams Family and The Munsters both ran for only two television seasons between 1964 and 1966. The Addams Family ran on ABC and (the higher Nielsen-rated) The Munsters ran on CBS—both shows airing for the same two seasons.
The cultural impact of both shows is astounding, considering they were both such short-lived programs. Legions of fans appreciate both shows 50+ years later, with individuals leaning towards one or the other as a personal favorite.
Me, personally, I’ve always been an Addams Family guy since religiously viewing both shows (in syndication) as a kid. My first crush was on Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams, and that crush basically informed my “type” until this very day. The Addams Family seemed relatable as a gaggle of offbeat weirdos with ghoulish quirks and passions—a concept which resonated with me, even as a child. The Munsters seemed like, well, some TV execs had a pitch meeting and said: “Wouldn’t it be CRAZY if a Dracula and a Frankenstein and a Wolfman LIVED TOGETHER?!”
Given the lowest-common-denominator mentality of most Americans, it’s not surprising that The Munsters was the ratings favorite.
Having a life-long obsession with all thing Addams, my curiosity was piqued when I ran across this 1964 vintage Addams Family hand-puppet.
These puppets were produced by the Ideal Toy company. Three puppets were produced in the line: Gomez Addams, Morticia Addams, and Uncle Fester. The Morticia is a bit odd with a strangely short hairdo. I guess Ideal skimped on the plastic for a full hair-length Morticia.
The rival show had a similar toy, produced by rival toy manufacturer, Mattel. Herman Munster was the only puppet produced for The Munsters, but the Mattel puppet had a string-activated voicebox, much like their G.I. Joe line. Frankly, the Herman Munster is the cooler toy.
In the showdown between the rival toys, The Munsters clearly wins the prize, even if it was the inferior show. These vintage tie-in toys are so killer, but if you want an original it’s going to cost you. Both the Herman Munster and the Addams Family hand puppets generally sell for between $100-$500 on eBay.
Here’s a video that demonstrates some of the phrases the Herman Munster puppet has recorded on its voicebox: