HALLOWEEN WITH THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY (1977)
aka Halloween with the Addams Family
Article 4594 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by David Steinmetz
Featuring John Astin, Jackie Coogan, Carolyn Jones
What it is: Revival of a sixties sitcom
The Addams family plans to celebrate Halloween with a “family members only” party, unaware that certain unscrupulous individuals intend to rob them of their fortune.
You know, there’s something depressing about the attempts made during the late seventies to revive TV shows from the sixties as TV-movies; even by TV-Movie standards, they come off as singularly lame. Maybe it was that some of these shows worked much better in a half-hour format than they did when stretched to three times that length. Maybe there was something about the writing from that period of time that had been lost during the seventies; the attempts to emulate the goofiness of that period seem forced and desperate. Still, I think the primary culprit was the fact that when you revive a successful TV series from the past, it’s already been somewhat pre-sold, and it’s therefore perceived as not really necessary to do a good job or put your best foot forward; people will watch it anyway. In this one, I know a great deal of the atmosphere is lost simply due to the fact that the original series was in black-and-white, and this revival was in color. The real problem, though, is it seems amateurish and clumsy, it too often relies on running gags from the original series (especially the “Trish, you spoke French” gag which is here run into the ground mercilessly), and it’s not very funny. The best thing about it is that most of the original cast is back, and sometimes they bend over backwards to accomplish this; of course they had to replace the actor and actress playing Wednesday and Pugsley, but they also bring back to original actor and actress playing older versions of those characters. Ted Cassidy steals what there is to steal here as Lurch, who gets the best gag here when he falls for one of the (male) criminals who comes to the party dressed as Little Bo-Peep. Apparently, this was supposed to be a pilot for the revival of the series, but I’m not surprised it didn’t accomplish that purpose.