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Addams Family Chronicles

I thought of the 1960's ABC sitcom The Addams Family for a couple of reasons today.

One is that author and researcher Tim Brooks is exiting Lifetime at the end of the year to devote himself full-time to what I always thought he devoted himself full-time to already: Writing well about TV.

To anyone who has had to quickly come up with the dates for when an old prime time show ran, as I have had to do hundreds of times, maybe thousands, particularly in my other life as an obit writer, Brooks' book (with an assist from Earle Marsh), The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, was an indispensible timesaver, which means a lifesaver in the journalism biz.

I had it at my right hand for years, used it weekly if not daily, and would have sworn on it as the most authoritative compendium around. 

The other reason is that the Addams family seems to be having a bit or a revival.

There they were last night in M&M form for a TV commercial,  about a new "dark" brand of the candy. Then this morning I heard that unforgettable theme, its harpischord and finger-snap accompaniment as easy to recall as a familiar face. It was music to report by, the news being that a Braodway play is being developed based on the Charles Addams characters that inspired the TV show.

Maybe Brooks should help them the play now that he will have some more free time. Here is how he described the family in his book:

"Morticia was the beautiful but somber lady of the house. Her husband Gomez had strange eyes and rather destructive instincts, as did Uncle Fester. Lurch, the butler, was a seven-foot-tall warmed-over Frankenstein monster whose dialogue usually consisted solely of two words,"You Rang?" The children also had a rather ghoulish quality about them. Grandmama, although a witch, was the most normal-looking one of the bunch. They all lived in a musty, castle-like home full of strange objects–such as disembodied hand, called "Thing," which kept popping out of a black box–and they scared almost everyone–except viewers–half to death."

That "except viewers" aside, and the fact that he said "Frankenstein monster" instead of Frankenstein (who was the doctor, not the creature) are the keys to what makes Brooks' book so readible. What could be a dry reference tome becomes something else when the author is amrt, has the ability to write, and has fan's affinity for his subject, or a convincing facsimilar thereof.

He's Brooks, but my guess is he is far from done.

By John Eggerton