Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Munsterama

With Halloween only one day away, I thought I would post something that was at least a little spooky! There's no scary stuff from Disneyland in my collection, so today we'll head up north about an hour to Universal Studios.

Here's an undated slide showing the laboratory of some mad doctor. Maybe it's supposed to be Dr. Frankenstein's lab, but that is definitely Herman Munster strapped to the upright operating table. I doubt that this was the actual set that was used for the filming of "The Munsters"...instead it was a set piece built for the studio tour. Sorry about the weird color on this one!

According to Wikipedia, "The Munsters" was originally conceived by Bob Clampett (director of many classic Looney Tunes and creator of "Beany and Cecil")! The idea was shuffled around for years, and was even considered as an animated series. Who knew!


Next (courtesy of the Graziano family) we see a photo of the Munster house from April 1972. The series had ceased filming in 1966 (ratings dropped when the Batman TV show became a smash hit), but it still looks pretty "Munstery" here.



I was curious about what the house looked like today, and did a bit of searching on the internets. These aren't my photos, I stole them from various places, so my apologies to whoever they belong to! (Send me a cake when I'm in prison).

The top two pictures are neat color views showing the original series cast in front of the classic house. The first photo in the second row is from about 1994, and even here it could pass for a haunted house. To the right of that is a photo from around 2004, supposedly it was used in the series, "Murder, She Wrote". Finally, in the bottom photo, we see how it looks today as it appears on Wisteria Lane in "Desperate Housewives", a program that I am proud to say that I have never seen! Maybe it's great, I shouldn't judge without viewing it first. In any case, all traces of its classic past have been completely erased.

8 comments:

walterworld said...

Thanks for the 'now' shots...very interesting.

I always liked the Munsters more than The Adams Family...

Jim in Merced CA said...

Interesting thing about The Munsters home, and all the other houses that are now part of Wisteria Lane...

The Munsters home, along with the other house facades that were used in so many Universal movies over the years, were previously located in a different area of the Universal backlot.

It was a section of land on the lower section, not far from the other back lot sets from 'Spartacus' and 'Back to the Future' and 'The Sting' et al.

In the early 80s, when Steven Spielberg [flush from his success with 'ET'] wanted to build production headquarters for Amblin Entertainment on the Universal backlot, he had the power to get all those backlot houses moved to their new location.

To get a sense of the old neightborhood, it can be seen quite extensively in the movie 'To Kill a Mockingbird' -- a more recent movie 'The 'Burbs' used the neighborhood shortly after it was relocated.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. One web site says that the Munster's house was actually just a shell with nothing inside. Another site says that it was a real Victorian house, made "scary" for the series. Which?

Jim said...

Just surfed in. Great memories. I lived in SoCal as a kid of the sixties and often visited Universal Studios. The Munster mansion at 1313 Mockingbird Lane was one of the highlights of the tram tour. According to Stephen Cox in his definitive Munster opus, "The Munsters-A trip Down Mockingbird Lane", the house was just a facade that was used only for filming exterior shots. The interior sets were on a soundstage elsewhere on the lot. Off topic but related: the walking portion of the tour included a trip to soundstage 28 and a view of a section of the Paris opera house set from Chaney's immortal 1925 Phantom version. According to many sources, it apparently remains intact there to this day, although no longer open to the public or featured on the tour.
Oh yeah, the Munsters.
My family visited in 1966, the year the series ended. The lab set was an exhibit located back up at the plaza after the tram tour concluded. The area had a make-up show, a stunt show, animal show,the stone tower, a life size chariot and a miniature sea battle pond with ships that were controlled by the visitors. I distinctly recall walking into the set and being awed by the authenticity of the lab. It appeared to be the same size and configuration as the one from the series. Compare some stills from the dungeon in actual episodes, with the lab set and it's hard to tell the two apart. The Herman figure was on a pivoting table that could also be controlled by a series of buttons mounted outside a waist-high fence that kept visitors from wandering into the confines. There was also a mechanical bat (Igor!)that would fly on a more than obvious wire across the set when another button was pushed. Next door was a life-size standing figure of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. According to the late Forrest J. Ackerman, the gillman suit that was on display was an original from the 1954 classic SciFi epic of the same name. Unfortunately, Creech didn’t move. my parents topped it off with a Phantom nodder that now resides on a shelf in the garage. What a great time to be a Monster Kid.

chad said...

hey! have any of you heard of the Munster Mansion in Waxahachie, TX?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/scooterfox/4351703048/

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, Chad, that's a super cool house! Does somebody actually live in it? Do you know the story behind it?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

If you're still curious about the 'Munster Mansion' in Waxahachie, TX then you should try this link:-

http://subtleparticle.com/Word/?p=506

... because the guy took a vacation to Texas back in the Fall of 2008 and visited the mock-up Munsters' house (1313 Mockingbird Lane) to get some photos (and they're in color, too!).

Apparently, someone does live there and he has a brief (but funny) story to tell about the encounter.

Also worth checking out are the shots of the 'graveyard' which are included.

So, go take a look.


JJ

Anonymous said...

And while you're at it...

check out this other link:-

http://lifeat55mph.blogspot.com/2010/04/munster-mansion-in-waxahachie-texas.html


... which was posted by another visitor to the 'Munster Mansion' in Waxahachie who informs us that the owners do an 'open house' for charity every Hallowe'en.

So, if you're REALLY curious you might even get to take a look around inside as well as out !!

Please post some pictures if you do decide to visit.


JJ