With several different TV books under his belt, Stephen Cox has done it again with The Addams Chronicles. In this revised and expanded 2nd edition, with a foreword by John Astin, Cox has delved into the background of the Addams Family starting with its origin: Charles Addams, the creator of The Addams Family. Beginning the book with several photos of Charles Addams and examples of his comic strip panels, Cox covers The Family roots quite nicely as he examines the life of their author.
Moving on to the conception and design of the television program, Cox reveals details of the process of adapting a simple comic strip to a thirty-minute situation comedy. The producers had to come up with quite a bit of material since even the central characters of the comic strip were never given names! Once Charles Addams had submitted names for the characters, that was about all of the input he had, or apparently even wanted. Other chapters explain subjects such as the set decoration which, as you may imagine, was an undertaking in itself; the actual house in Los Angeles - on Adams Boulevard no less - that stood in for The Family manse after a bit of optical altering to give it the proper gothic appearance; lists such as the creepy meals served or mentioned during the run of the series, or some of the French words and phrases Morticia used to fire the passions of her husband.
Even character development is expounded upon such as giving Gomez the inclination for cigar-smoking. All of the main actors are given their own chapters with ample photos of the actors and their characters. Many behind-the-scenes photos are included throughout the book reflecting the research for which Stephen Cox is known. Have you ever seen cousin Itt's face, usually covered by all that hair? You will in the chapter showcasing the actor who portrayed Itt, Felix Silla, who went on to play the little robot "Twiki" in the TV show Buck Rogers In The 25th Century.
Musical composer, Vic Mizzy, gets his own chapter. The man who put together the Green Acres theme and came up with the eeriest organ music ever for the feature film "The Ghost And Mr. Chicken", was tapped to provide the whimsical theme music for the Family Addams, which has become one of the most recognizable tunes in TV sitcom history. In the middle of the book is included a color photo section, giving an additional perspective to what was only revealed in black & white on the tube.
Other interesting extras are; merchandise from the show with the ever-present supplemental photos, a section with comparisons to The Munsters TV program that are graciously embraced along with accompanying photos from their show, the two Addams Family animated series as well as the two Addams' feature films are not forgotten. Finally, the essential episode guide is presented, along with guest cast listings for each installment of the series, all of the rich, expected components of a Stephen Cox tome. Another fine job on his part.
Morris D. Sullivan