Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How The Addams Family's Creator Really Felt About The Classic TV Show

The Addams Family is back, this time as a Netflix series called "Wednesday." The spin-off series, under the creative direction of Tim Burton, will follow the second youngest member of the Addams Family, played by Jenna Ortega, as she attends Nevermore Academy. Does that sound like another Hogwarts clone? Yeah, it kind of does, but apparently there's a murder mystery element thrown into the mix, too, so that'll be fun!

As it stands, this isn't even the second or third reimagining of the classic characters. By now, there are at least six movies, not including the old cartoon, the stage musical, or the original comic. At this point, the Addams Family is nearly as ubiquitous as the many movies of "Spider-Man," or James Bond, if not even more so. So, the question, is this level of fame and adaptation to the creator's preference, or is it just money talking? Let's take a look at what experts expressed about Charles Addams' opinion of the 1964 live-action series to get an idea. 

Charles Addams ... tolerated the series

In deep dive piece for the Smithsonian Magazine about the history of "The Addams Family," Linda H. Davis — author of "Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life" — said that Charles Addams had mixed feelings about the TV show that was adapted from his original comic strips.

"Charles was up-and-down on the television show," Davis said. "He certainly enjoyed what 'The Addams Family' did for his earning power, but he said the characters were 'half as evil.' To be honest, he didn't even really watch it, because on Friday nights he was usually out to dinner or on a date." 

This is kind of a unique perspective on artistic differences, as modern media is rife with examples of creators distancing themselves from art that isn't true to the original format. From this brief, tangential window into Addams' mind, it sounds as if he was content to continue creating his original comic while profiting off a different variant, even if that variation didn't fully commit to his more macabre themes. 

All things considered, it's a financially healthy mindset for artists to take on, considering how often adaptations deviate from the source material. Building on this, Stephen Cox — an author of film themed books such as "The Addams Chronicles" — said, "The TV show wasn't as dark as the strips, it was more zany than spooky, but it captured the flavor of what Charles Addams was doing in the New Yorker." Most further adaptations of "The Addams Family" gone in this vein of cherishing zaniness over spookiness, and as most of these translations took place after Addams' passing, it seems they took his approval — or at least, toleration — of the 1964 production as a carte blanche acceptance of all sillier, lighter retellings.