At 1313 Mockingbird Lane live the Munsters. Another typical
American family. Father, Herman, is a Frankenstein monster.
He lives in perfect familial harmony with his vampire wife
Lilly, werewolf son Eddie, dragon Spot and Lilly's father,
Grandpa. The only ugly misfit member of the family is their
poor blond haired, blue eyed curvaceous niece Marilyn. Herman
provides for his family by working in a mortuary and they
all live as a normal happy family, kind off...
The Munsters, like The Adams Family, only ran
for two seasons - from 1964 - the show has been successfully
rerun so many times that it can seem that the Munsters
had a much longer run. This six disc DVD box set contains
all 32 episodes from the second and last season.
of the humour comes from subverting the '60s American sitcom
format of a normal family getting into scrapes, the difference
with The Munsters is that apart from Marilyn the rest
of the family are a collection of monsters - not that they
see themselves as such. The fact that they view the obviously
attractive Marilyn as somewhat of an ugly duckling and the
rest of humanity as a little incomprehensible just adds to
course, Fred Gwynne's performance is central to making this
show a much loved and oft repeated classic. Gwynne could have
taken any aspect of Herman's personality for the show. What
he chose to highlight was Herman's childlike delight in the
most everyday simplistic things. For Herman his family is
the centre of his universe. The cast are superb; of course
Fred Gwynne, who plays Herman, and Al Lewis, who plays Grandpa,
had already worked together in Car 54, Where Are You?
Yvonne De Carlo had been a screen beauty prior to the show.
some of the writing for the second season was a little below
par, a problem that both Gwynne and Lewis highlighted, the
show still feels fresh, maybe it's the black and white photography,
or maybe it's because the show is so strange that it hasn't
dated. Regardless of the reason, The Munsters remains
as much fun today as it was in the early '60s.
are way too many episodes in the box set to go through them
all with a synopsis, as with any long running series there
are shows that are better than others and I'm sure you will
all have your favourites, but overall the quality surprisingly
extras in the box set really do the show justice with some
nice long features. First up is America's First Family
of Fright, running at forty-three minutes. This looks
at the history of the show. Included in this is colour footage
from the original fifteen minute pilot show and the Munsters
movie, a must for any true Munsters fan. Shame they
didn't include the two pilots in their entirety.
Gwynne: More than a Munster looks at Fred's life. Although
he was not the usual good looking leading man Gwynne was a
much underrated character actor and author. The main epitaph
that most people use was that Fred was a good guy. Now that
can't be bad. There is some repetition of material regarding
The Munsters, but it's only a short section in a documentary
which runs at forty-four minutes.
De Carlo: Gilded Lilly, tells the story of De Carlo's
difficult upbringing and her eventual success as a screen
actress. As much as I liked the piece on Gwynne, much of the
information was already known to me. De Carlo's featurette
was different in that although I'd been aware of her work
on the Munsters I hadn't been aware of just how many
films I'd seen her in.
last Documentary is Al Lewis: Forever Grandpa, which
like the previous two features is a look at Lewis's work and
life, a great character actor. Sadly Al Lewis who played the
grandfather passed away this February (2006), he follows Gwynne
who passed away in nineteen ninety-three.
is mono, but hey this was the early sixties, luckily it's
crystal clear as is the print of the show. If you're a fan
of the series I'm not really sure what more you could ask
for from a box set.