‘The Addams Family’: Why the Show’s Producer Was the Only Man for the Job

by Taylor Cunningham

According to classic TV lore, only one person could convince Charles Addams to bring his comic strip, The Addams Family, to the screen. And that person was producer David Levy.

The entire concept of the 1960s series was based on Addams’ 150 single-panel cartoons, most of which were published in The New Yorker starting in 1938. But interestingly, when the family first met the world, Addams had no intention of bringing them to TV.

As soon as the Addams became a huge success, networks and producers from all over the country visited the cartoonist’s door begging him to give them a chance at turning the cartoon into a live-action series. But, Charles Addams never budged. He was determined that no one understood the gloomy group as he did. So there was no way someone could do it justice.

But eventually, Levy paid Addams a visit and convinced him to change his mind. First, Addams agreed to a pilot episode, which he oversaw. And after he witness the great care that Levy took with the story, Addams was sold. And, the rest is history.

David Levy Thought ‘The Addams Family’ Was ‘Normal’

You see, Levy didn’t look at The Addams Family like a bunch of monsters. Instead, he thought they were just “normal” people with “real hearts.” And the love and affection they had for each other set “an example of good living and togetherness seldom matched in modern society.”

And that is exactly how Charles Addams viewed his characters.

“We may assume that, at one time, the entire world was populated by Addams-type people. Our characters are the last remaining members of this once-proud clan,” Levy explained to the Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1965. Their traditions will be handed down and sustained through The Addams Family and their offspring.”

Levy, of course, managed to turn the cartoon into an iconic classic. While the series only enjoyed two years on television, it was still met with high esteem. But it is probably most enjoyed in syndication, with a generation filled with people who see the Addams clan in the same light as Levy and their creator.

But while David Levy showed a true genius for his adaptation of The Addams Family and its subsequent spinoffs and movies, he didn’t go on to celebrate many more successes in his career. The writer and producer had a failed attempt with another series called Sarge. And he also produced a TV movie named Two’s Company that was intended to segue into a series as well. But it never got the green light.

However, of all the things he could have done in his life, we’d say that convincing Charles Addams to bring the family to life was a major feat. Since the original series debut, The Addams Family has been reimagined 12 times. And soon, it will come back again as a Netflix original.