The Addams family, from the beginnings to Burton

Here is the story of the Addams family, from the mind of cartoonist Charles Addams, to the new Netflix production.

Since the beginning the Addams family of Charles Addams, it presented itself as a concentrate of black humor and satire, to make fun of the bourgeois behavior of the average American in a decisive and ironic way. However, the extreme repugnance does not seem to come from the Addams, but rather from the people who inevitably come into contact with their reality.

The birth of a myth

Their first appearance dates back to the thirties, when cartoonist Charles Addams published in the weekly The New Yorker a series of humorous cartoons with a unique joke. The characters will be developed as they go, and initially they will not have a name. The cartoonist tells of a silent and witty Morticia, of a cold and serious Wednesday, of a Gomez and a Pugsley enthusiastic about life. In 1932, a strange character will appear in the cartoons, The Thing, what later in the Italian reinterpretations will take the name of Mano. In the Addams cartoons, Mano was not a piece of a human body at all, but a person whose upper body could only be seen.

We will have to wait until 1964 for a television series, when the US channel ABC launched 64 episodes. The series, created by David Levy, did not abandon the style and themes created by Addams. In fact, it must be said that the main theme was still the heated satire of politics and the legal system.

The question of names was much debated: the characters of the Addams family, in fact, remained for a while not perfectly characterized specks. For Gomez, before being actually recognized with that name, the name of Repelli was in fact thought of. For the son Pugsley, who in the comics was the first child, to then leave room for Wednesday, the name of Pubert was proposed, then considered excessively scandalous. However, the TV series was associated with an audience certainly not linked to the New Yorker magazine, so William Shawn refused to publish any other cartoon dedicated to the Addams family, while accepting the other works of Charles A.

The Addams Family: The Animated Series

In 1973, the first animated series was broadcast that saw the Addams family no longer in the castle next to the cemetery, but aboard a Victorian-style camper, whose interior was magically spacious. In 1991 the Orion Pictures who had inherited the rights to the franchise, decided to develop a film version. However, his fate was somewhat controversial. Due to financial problems, the rights to the film were bought by Paramount Pictures. The producer, Scott Rudin, wanted to refer to the original style of the cartoons, departing decisively from the television series. The film, starring Cristina Ricci as Wednesday, was so successful that a worldwide sequel was conceived. The script for a third film was prepared, but the project was abandoned following the death of Raul Julia, who played the role of Gomez.

In 1998 there was a new film dedicated to the Addams family, with a change of characters, yet the success of the previous films never reached the new productions.

The Addams family, the musical

We will have to wait until 2010 for a fresh and irreverent new version of the Addams family. In fact, in 2007, a musical was written with music by Andrew Lippa. The musical debuted on Broadway in 2010. The same arrived in Italy in 2014 with Elio in the role of Gomez and Geppi Cucciari in those of Morticia. In 2018 and 2019 he returned to Italian theaters with Gabrielle Cirilli and Pamela Lacerenza.

The musical sees an older family, with a grown-up Wednesday, introducing her boyfriend and his family. A series of vicissitudes will upset what should be a purely jovial encounter.

In 2019 and 2021, two new animated films about the Addams family were produced and distributed, both of which did well at the box office.

The Addams Family: The Netflix Series

It is October 2020 when a new Addams project is announced. Shooting starts in 2021 in Bucharest, Romania, and ends on March 30 the following year. A cast certainly interesting: in fact we will find Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role of Morticia, Luis Guzmàn in the pater familias Gomez, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday and Isaac Ordonez as his brother Pugsley. Tim Burton will be the executive producer, who has taken charge of the eight episodes, shaping the general appearance of the series, and in fact taking up the original style of the family and his, which winks at the macabre and the gothic.

The series was born from an idea of ​​the creators of Smallville, Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, who chose Burton for his taste in theme with the series. The two have changed the perspective of things, returning in a certain sense to the origins. In subsequent productions, in fact, as you go along over the years, you move further and further away from the original comics. Gomez, now, returns to being a less charming man, shorter than his wife, bordering on the grotesque, in fact, something has been thought of that deviates from the version of Raul Julia.

Millar sees the series as an eight-hour Burton film, rather than a fragmented series. The main theme is that of mystery and murders. On Wednesday, now a teenager and a high school student, she was in fact sent to attend the Nevermore Academy, in a town where strange bloody events happen all the time. Wednesday appears the usual sober girl, but now she is on the way to a full-blown addiction. The series is therefore a real mystery with supernatural tones, closely depicting the desire to control one’s paranormal powers and thwart a dense network of local murders. She will not miss the development of complicated relationships and adolescent affairs.

No official date yet, but the series is expected to arrive on Netflix in the fall.

A success that has changed over time and that has seen the family renew itself continuously, enriching itself with box office victories and small disappointments on the big screen. Yet the Addams family never seems to fade, revealing an ace in the hole whenever its light seems to fade. Like in 1992 when Midway Games created a pinball machine inspired by the most gothic family in history. It was the best-selling pinball machine of all time, with 20,270 copies sold like hot cakes.

In a timeless story, where their motto seems to echo again: “Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc”: “We are delighted to feast on those who would like to subjugate us”).

Featured Image: Pixabay

The Addams family, from the beginnings to Burton