10 things you never noticed in the movie Munster, Go Home!

This Svengoolie favorite features familiar TV faces, illegal coffins, record-setting boats and more!

Images: Universal

It's a Svengoolie favorite — Munster, Go Home! The summer of '66 was notable for television shows going big-screen. Batman made the leap to movie theaters. So too did The Munsters, who emulated the camp Caped Crusader by making the leap into bright, beautiful Technicolor. 

Though paired as a double feature with Don Knotts' The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Munster, Go Home! turned out to be a bit of a commercial flop at the time. It has since become a cult favorite, garnering superfans such as metal musician and horror director Rob Zombie, who even added commentary alongside Butch Patrick on a recent Blu-ray release of the movie.

Before you watch it on Svengoolie, study up on the fun slice of Sixties pop culture!

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1. They replaced Pat Priest because she was too old.


Pat Priest, the second and best-known actress to portray Marilyn Munster, was about to turn 30 years old at the time of filming the movie. The age-obsessed Hollywood producers wanted a younger performer in the role. Enter Debbie Watson, a teenager who had previously starred as the title characters on the sitcoms Karen and Tammy. It was Watson's only appearance as Marilyn.

2. Debbie Watson graduated high school during production.


Munster, Go Home! had a hurried production schedule of just a couple of weeks in the spring of 1966. In that tight window, Watson celebrated a milestone — she graduated high school. The cast and crew took time to throw a little party for the actress, including a specially made ice-cream cake from Baskin-Robbins. It was shaped like a coffin and featured three little Munster figurines (Grandpa, Herman, Lily) lying inside it.

3. The Drag-U-La was made with an illegally purchased coffin.


Reportedly, according to legend, a real coffin was used to make the awesome DRAG-U-LA hot rod seen in Munster, Go Home! The only catch that it was supposedly illegal to purchase a coffin without a death certificate in the state of California at the time. Richard “Korky” Korkes, the man who built the dragster, claimed he passed money under the table to a funeral home in North Hollywood, who left a coffin for him outside the back door.

4. Eddie got a bright new outfit.


With the bold leap to Technicolor, the production looked to make the characters pop off the screen. The television show was in black-and-white, so viewers had no knowledge of the "real" color of the Munsters wardrobe. However, Eddie (Butch Patrick) wore a dusty, greyish velvet jacket on the TV series. In the movie, he sports a bold purple look.

Image: The Everett Collection

5. Lily had a makeover, too.


Speaking of hair turning white — or the opposite, in fact — let's discuss the look of Lily Munster (Yvonne De Carlo). In the early episodes, Lily had a different look. Her original necklace, a sort of star shape, was replaced with her iconic bat pendant. Her eyebrows were given a more upward curl. Munster, Go Home! also gave us a good look at her green skin tone, which was eventually made pale white in subsequent reboots.

Image: The Everett Collection

6. It was the big-screen debut of Jack Dodson.


Dodson was a fairly fresh face to audiences. The actor had just recently made his first appearance as Howard Sprague on The Andy Griffith Show, in the March 1966 episode "The County Clerk." Munster, Go Home! gave the goofball performer his first-ever film role. Too bad he was not credited for the work! His name does not appear in the closing credits.

7. Dodson was not the only familiar Mayberry face.


Eagle-eyed fans of The Andy Griffith Show can spot other familiar faces that popped up in Mayberry. Bernard Fox (Malcolm Merriweather) is the most obvious, but there are deeper cameos. George DeNormand, uncredited as "Man at Customs," played George Bronson in the Andy episode "The Clubmen." Robert Ball, who portrayed a ship steward alongside Jack Dodson, was also Oldfield in "A Visit to Barney Fife." Cliff Norton, who has a small credited role as Herbert, turned up as Wally in "Goober's Replacement."

8. This hearse pointed out a casting inconsistency.


At the start of the movie, you will spot the names "Gateman, Goodbury & Graves" on the back door of the hearse that delivers Herman to Mockingbird Lane. This is an easter egg for Munsters fans, who will know Gateman, Goodbury and Graves Funeral Home as the place where Herman works on the sitcom. Legendary character actor John Carradine portrayed Mr. Gateman on the series. However, in Munster, Go Home! Carradine plays the role of Cruikshank.

9. This iconic ship was soon decommissioned.


The Munsters set sail for England aboard the SS United States, a historic commercial liner that set the speed record for crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was the largest ocean liner constructed entirely in the United States. Munsters, Go Home! recycled stock footage of the boat. The ocean liner was put out of service in 1969, three years after the film was released.

10. Robert Pine's mother-in-law was a Universal Monster movie icon.


You might recognize Pine as the sergeant on CHiPs and father to Chris Pine, the modern Captain Kirk. Munster, Go Home! offered young Pine one of his earliest screen roles. His family had ties to Universal horror. His mother-in-law is Anne Gwynne, a "scream queen" who appeared in classics like Black Friday (1940) and House of Frankenstein (1944). And if you are wondering — no, Anne Gwynne is not related to Fred Gwynne.

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BorisK 6 months ago
I remember seeing this at the Ponderosa Theater in Camarillo California and was totally disappointed ... and I was only 8. Maybe the absence of a laugh track killed this film, but you couldn't have one in a feature film, like you could in TV. Debbie Watson was cute as Marilyn even though Beverley Owen is the hottest Marilyn ever.
HerbF 15 months ago
Debbie Watson was also a contract player at Universal, and they were VERY hot on her - they tried so hard to make her a star- but both TV series "Karen" and "Tammy" only lasted a season each! She did some guest spots on other Universal series, but never did another film for the studio.
AaronHandyIII 15 months ago
Kind of makes you wonder, don't it? How the third and final season of The Munsters on CBS might have looked in color?

Ah...what could have been... 😕
Tresix 48 months ago
First, have to say I didn’t know Chris Pine was Robert’s son! Now, a question: Was that Shelly Berman as the drunk who shows up after Pine sees Herman walk by carrying Wolf Grandpa?
ncadams27 48 months ago
Filming in B&W is not the same as color. Different lighting and color filters must be used. Sone colors show better in B&W. White tends to shine, so pure white shirts are usually not used. Bright colors come up as black, so muted colors are used. Edith Head, the famous movie clothes designer, wore sunglasses which were actually a blue filter that made everything look like it would in B&W.
Pacificsun 48 months ago
We had an original Watch Party on this movie 2 years ago and it was lots of fun! I tried watching it again, but the color of it all was too distracting. I thought the scenes were way too busy, and detracted from the interaction (and spotlight) being on the characters themselves. it's like the production was cramming too much into the movie! Instead of allowing the premise to speak for itself. (Just another way of saying ... overkill. Which is definitely something that the Munsters doesn't require!).
48 months ago
I love Munster Go Home. I watch it every time it comes on TV.Plus I never knew Debbie Watson was just a teenager. I thought she did a fine job as Marilyn. That's fun seeing the different things. Another one of my favorite scenes is when Grandpa and Herman find the English Pounds. I sure would lije to know what the words on the Fiver as the English used to call it said, the words on the bottom .
Tarakian10 48 months ago
I remember Grandpa after leaving the series ran for a city council office somewhere, but I cannot find anything on this. If known please post or email [email protected] Thank You
CaptainDunsel Tarakian10 48 months ago
Al Lewis ran for Governor of New York as the Green Party candidate in 1998.
jimmyvici 48 months ago
Addams Family always appealed to me more. I’ve always thought that The Munsters lacked that special something to put it over the top. Maybe more of Grandpa.
Moody jimmyvici 48 months ago
I liked them both & still get a kick out of The Munsters. But Addams Family is still my favorite between the two. Cousin Itt was one of my favorite characters.
Pacificsun jimmyvici 48 months ago
Quote: "The Addamses are a satirical inversion of the ideal 20th-century American family: an odd wealthy aristocratic clan who delight in the macabre and are seemingly unaware or unconcerned that other people find them bizarre or frightening." (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family )
The Addams Family ("personality") was about being subtly satirical (meaning in spite of using restrained "sight gags" the characters relied on a sense of understatement in the exchange of dialogue. While the Munsters were overtly obvious and clownish (not meant as an insult) just in the fact of a more clumsy presentation. It was the the skill of the Munster actors in those roles which elevated the comedy and brought depth to the characters! Which made them appealing and loving in their own way. Just 2 different styles being employed!
RogerClyneIsAGod Moody 48 months ago
I love them both but love The Munsters just a teeny bit more because they were classic monsters yet they were really just another family on the street. The Addams Family were just weirdos & borderline sociopaths. Great weirdos & sociopaths but not monsters really.

I love that both families feel the rest of the people in their worlds are the real weirdos.
JohnBates 48 months ago
Cast members Butch Patrick,Bernard Fox,Jeanne Arnold,Cliff Norton,Diana Chesney,Arthur Malet,Ben Wright,and Laurie Main all later made guest appearances on "The Monkees".
JohnBates 48 months ago
Butch Patric was born Patrick Lilly. I live in North Carolina and he made an appearance in a small town near me in the heat and humidity of a Southern summer in July. He sat thete and autographed pictures all afternoon. Plus I liked him on My Three Sons as Gordon Deering.
JohnBates 48 months ago
I meant Patrick, plus this was two years ago
moax429 49 months ago
I always thought the Chicago Tribune's assessment of "Munster, Go Home" in their movie reviews appearing in their weekly TV book only made it *funnier* whenever I watched the movie again (I *totally disagree* with the following statement, however - when I first saw "Munster, Go Home" on TV for the first time in 1976, I thought it was - and *still is* - a riot):
"Spinoff of the old 'Munsters' series is strictly for the kindergarten set."
ThomasPatterson 49 months ago
The Uss United States is docked in Philadelphia rotting away, you can see it from I95 and on "Parking wars" in the back round of the DMV parking lot....

LoisGrubb 49 months ago
If any of you are interested, Butch "Eddie Munster" Patrick has a fan page on Facebook and the site was created by him and he does come in at times and will chat. It's called The Official Munsters Fan Group.
RogerClyneIsAGod LoisGrubb 48 months ago
He also has a great Youtube channel called "Koach to Koast" where he talks about the actors he'd worked with & all sorts of stuff.
harlow1313 49 months ago
I have always been attracted to undead women like Lilly, Morticia, Vampira, and Elvira. (Please note that I said undead, not dead!)
tjritter79 harlow1313 48 months ago
BTW, I have to ask. Was there really any difference between Vampira & Vampirella?
harlow1313 tjritter79 48 months ago
My familiarity with Vampira comes mostly from watching the Ed Wood film, "Plan 9 From Outer Space." She hosted horror films in the fifties.

Vampirella, per the Wikipedia, is a comic book character that came along a bit later.
Tresix tjritter79 48 months ago
Vampira was the forerunner of Elvira. In fact, she sued Elvira (Cassandra Petersen) for copyright infringement. Vampirella is character from the Warren Publishing Company. She drawn as a curvaceous woman in a skimpy red swimsuit with black leather boots.
frenchman71 49 months ago
I've always liked "The Munsters". I never realized the characters had green skin until I saw them on the cover of TV Guide back in the 60's. Grandpa Munster came to my local Walmart in 2002 when he was running for NY governor. I got to shake his hand. That was too bad about Pat Priest getting replaced for the movie. I thought the movie was kinda lame. It's strange the movie came out in 1966 when the show got the ax by CBS that year.
moax429 frenchman71 49 months ago
That also happened with "The Man Called Flintstone" - Columbia Pictures released that film on Wednesday, August 3, 1966, just as ABC was about to cancel "The Flintstones."
Joe 49 months ago
Fred Gwynne had complained about the way Universal studios handled actor's residuals after The Munsters went into reruns, or was sold to syndication.
Hollie 49 months ago
to bad there wasnt more than 2 yrs of that show ..but from what i have heard ..Herman's as well as all of them , was there make up was really hard and long to put on ..the movies are ok ,i just prefer the tv show ..
_leah621_ 49 months ago
I've been watching the Munsters lately my father got me into it a couple months ago. We're so excited for tomorrow night this movie is bound to be one of our favorites
mikehaley650 _leah621_ 48 months ago
I first saw it at the drive in movie in Clear Lake ,CA. eleven years old,a great time and movie.fond memories of a kinder and nicer times...thanks...
BrittReid 49 months ago
Pat Priest was robbed.
kingliker BrittReid 49 months ago
It's not that I am trying to say anything bad about Debbie Watson as a actress but Hollywood was wrong about her Pat Priest she should have been in the movie for sure. We missed not seeing her in the movie.
frenchman71 BrittReid 48 months ago
I liked Pat Priest. She was one hot babe...absolutely gorgeous!
Tresix kingliker 48 months ago
I find it kind of weird that they replace Priest because she was “too old”, yet they had Watson play older than her real age. After all, on the show, Marilyn was already in college while Watson was just graduating high school.
FreeBirdie 49 months ago
Completely geeking out on this excellent list. Love it.
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