Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Morning Special: The Original Color Pilot for “The Munsters”

The Munster Residence as we knew it from the show.
Personally, I preferred The Addams Family because, to me, at least, they seemed more realistic. However, The Munsters was not without its appeal. I always loved the façade of the Munsters’ house. That set still exists (though drastically altered) at Universal City and is used as a façade for Desperate Housewives.

As is often the case, the pilot show for The Munsters was quite different than the program that was picked up. The pilot was filmed in color with a largely different cast. The house is the same façade, however, it is in its original state—known at the time as “Maxim House.” The set was changed when the show went into production. The Second Empire tower and central gable were altered for the final show.

The Original Munster Facade
Known as "Maxim House"
Network executives felt that the unaired pilot was too similar to The Addams Family. The character of “Phoebe” was changed to “Lily.” Phoebe as played by the stunning Joan Marshall (whom we’ll take a closer look at in this week’s “Sunday Viewing”) was stylistically too close to Morticia Addams. When the show was picked up, Joan Marshall was replaced with Yvonne DeCarlo.

This clip from the unaired pilot is quite interesting, especially if you’re a fan of The Munsters. It’s always a bit startling to see pilot episodes, but they’re an integral part of the history of any production. Imagine what the show might have been like had the cast remained the same.

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