Monster Mash: A Backstage Look at the Munsters

The family at 1313 Mockingbird Lane is a little, let’s just say, different. Herman looks like Frankenstein’s monster, his wife Lily and her dad Grandpa are Vampires, and their son Eddie is a werewolf. There’s only one odd one out, Marilyn, who is just a normal girl.

The Munsters, Fred Gwynne, Yvonne Decarlo, Al Lewis
The Munsters, Fred Gwynne, Yvonne Decarlo, Al Lewis. Photo By Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

The ‘60s satiric sitcom, The Munsters, was an immediate TV rating success. Although the Golden Globe Award-nominated series only ran for two seasons, it has remained on the air in some form or another ever since. Here are some behind the scenes facts about the Munster-ous family.

Black and White

When The Munsters first premiered in 1964, color TVs had just become accessible and popular. This meant that Americans around the country were experiencing TV in color in their living rooms for the first time.

The Munsters, Fred Gwynne, Yvonne Decarlo
The Munsters, Fred Gwynne, Yvonne Decarlo. Photo By Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

To cater to this new market, The Munsters’ pilot was shot in color. But network executives realized that they could save a lot of money by switching back to black and white film. Audiences didn’t mind because the black and white gave the show an appropriate gothic vibe.

One Major Struggle

One of the main tasks during filming was to keep actor Fred Gwynne cool. The show was being shot with slow speed film, which meant that a large amount of light was required to properly capture the scenes. These lamps were very hot, and they made the actor sweat profusely.

Makeup session with Fred Gwynne
Source: YouTube

This, combined with all of his heavy paddings, created a lot of limitations. Many times, Fred called the shots, not the director, because he was overheating. He also could only do two or three takes before assistants had to come and cool him down by sticking air hoses into his costume.

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