The Addams Family may be kooky and spooky, but they are also a multi-media sensation: television series, animated series, movies, and the live Broadway musical which arrives later this month in Valdosta as part of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts Presenter Series.
But the family of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Wednesday, Pugsley, and more started as simple line-drawing, black-and-white, one-panel cartoons drawn by the man who would give his name to the characters he created.
Charles Addams lived from 1912-1988. At the age of 21, the aspiring cartoonist hit paydirt when his cartoons were published in The New Yorker, the magazine which became his cartoons’ home for the next 50-plus years.
Though he created numerous types of cartoons, his most famed are the ones that became known as the Addams Family, which started in the early 1930s. One interesting point: He didn’t name any of these familiar-looking characters until the development of the TV series in the 1960s. Another point: The Addams Family characters were in a relatively few of his cartoons.
But he created the template for the macabre family that is far better known for their portrayals in TV, movies and now stage.
In one cartoon, husband and wife Gomez and Morticia sit close on a love seat, one asking the other, “Are you unhappy, darling?” The other answering, “Oh yes, yes! Completely.”
In another famed cartoon, used decades later to open “The Addams Family” movie, Lurch, Gomez and Morticia tilt a boiling tub of oil over the parapet of their home, aimed at a crowd of unsuspecting Christmas carolers below.
The stage show develops these themes and looks to take its plot a few years in advance of the family’s usual history. In “The Addams Family” musical, Wednesday is no longer a little girl but a young woman who has fallen for “a sweet, smart, young man from a respectable family,” according to the show’s synopsis.
“A man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, she confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother.
“Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before — keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents.”
For anyone familiar with the Addams Family, there will likely be nothing normal about it.
Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts presents the professional, nationally touring production of “The Addams Family” musical.
When: 7:30 p.m., Nov. 14.
Where: Mathis City Auditorium, 2300 N. Ashley St.
Tickets, more information: Call (229) 247-2787; or visit turnercenter.org, or the arts center, 527 N. Patterson St.