‘The Addams Family’: John Astin Blamed ‘Batman’ for Show’s Cancellation

by Joe Rutland
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For classic TV fans, The Addams Family holds a special place in their hearts thanks, in part, to actor John Astin portraying Gomez Addams. As you know, Gomez is an interesting fellow who is madly in love with his wife Morticia, played by Carolyn Jones. Yet the show lasts for just two seasons. Astin would pin blame on another popular 1960s show for the cancellation of The Addams Family. Yep, the fault lies with Batman.

John Astin of ‘The Addams Family’ Says His Show, ‘The Munsters’ Were Different

“The president of the network then had a slightly different sense of humor,” Astin says in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation. “Also, you see, Batman had come on opposite The Munsters. And a lot of the programming people thought about Addams and Munsters as the same kind of show.” Astin says he didn’t see it that way. “They were very different and probably appealed to different audiences or, at least, different percentages of people,” he says.

Batman came on with a big rush, a storm,” Astin says. “And it was tough to go up against.” He adds that he believes there was some sort of thinking that The Addams Family would eventually go away. Astin talks about the show’s cancellation. He also adds a little more detail about The Addams Family itself.

David Levy Plays Major Role In Bringing Charles Addams’ Work To Life

Another thing that might have played into the onrush of success for Batman is that the show is filmed in color. The Addams Family was filmed in black and white for ABC, which also aired Batman. Besides Astin and Jones, other cast members included Jackie Coogan as freaky Uncle Fester and Ted Cassidy as Lurch. The show aired 64 episodes over its two seasons between 1964-66.

But only one show has a family that’s creepy and kooky. Meanwhile, there’s an interesting story behind how producer David Levy was the only man for the job. Levy wanted to bring the work of the artist and cartoonist Charles Addams to real life in this sitcom. Addams, though, didn’t think anyone could understand those characters as he could.

Well, Levy worked on a pilot episode. Addams oversaw it. Once he observed how carefully Levy took to his work on the story itself, then Addams agreed to let Levy oversee the TV show. And the rest is classic TV history. “We may assume that, at one time, the entire world was populated by Addams-type people,” Levy told the Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1965. “Our characters are the last remaining members of this once-proud clan. Their traditions will be handed down and sustained through The Addams Family and their offspring.”

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