Our celebration of Frankenstein’s Monster as an honorary zombie has a twofer to cover the next two weeks. 1964 was an… odd, year for television. Both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones made their American debuts on the wildly popular, The Ed Sullivan Show, and Jackie Mason was banned from the same show for giving Ed “the finger” on air. Both Gilligan’s Island and Jeopardy premiered as well, to the eventual delight of stoners everywhere, the Rankin and Bass classic Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. British audiences witnessed the first ever interracial kiss on television. NBC began their tradition of broadcasting the Olympic games with the first ever live telecast from Japan via the brand new Syncom 3 communications satellite.
It was also the year that, for some reason, American audiences demanded competing sitcoms featuring monsters. The Addams Family debuted September 18th on ABC, and the The Munsters began six days later on CBS; both ran until mid 1966. Both featured Frankenstein monster characters. Lurch, the long-suffering Addams Family butler played by Ted Cassidy, and Herman Munster, played by Fred Gwynne, the lovable schlep at the head of the Munster’s table.
So, who wins? Herman may have the speed, but it’s hard to argue with Lurch’s single-minded determination. Herman is quite a schemer, though; he may be able to outwit the less cosmopolitan Lurch. Lurch, on the other hand is a musician; you know what they say about “hidden depths” and all? So again, who wins in a knock-down, drag-out between these two? Who will pick up the (literal) pieces? Who?!