Carolyn Jones poked fun at ex-husband Aaron Spelling with a line about cousin Itt
The famous producer encouraged her to take the role of Morticia, even though they split right before The Addams Family premiered.
In “Cousin Itt visits the Addams Family,” the funny, furry relative makes his first appearance on the classic sitcom. Before he arrives, Itt sends a note: “Arriving Tuesday. -Itt.” Gomez marvels at Itt’s incredible “talent for letter writing.”
The episode is a great introduction to one of the franchise’s most beloved characters. It also portrays Itt in a unique way compared to his other appearances and features a subtle dig at star Carolyn Jones’ ex-husband, mega-producer Aaron Spelling.
The plot of “Cousin Itt visits the Addams Family” revolves around finding Itt a job. He amuses the family with a magic show, pretending to cut off his hand with a tiny guillotine and joking about Marie Antoinette. Casual Addams Family fans might be surprised to learn cousin Itt could even perform such an act. His arms are rarely shown! But in Itt’s first appearance, actor Felix Silla’s arms and hands poke out of the furry costume.
After Itt’s amusing act, Morticia wonders if he should go into show business. Gomez laments that Itt is too short to be an actor. Morticia counters with the zinger, “Too short for an actor and too tall for a producer.”
To audiences, it is a funny line contrasting on-camera and behind-the-scenes talent. To anyone familiar with Carolyn Jones’ personal life at the time, namely the Addams Family cast and crew, it was likely a more specific insult.
The same year Jones won millions of fans as Morticia, she divorced her husband of over a decade, Aaron Spelling. The two wed in 1953 as Jones was on her way to becoming a movie star and Spelling was still a struggling writer and bit-part actor.
By the early Sixties, Spelling began taking on more and more work as a writer and producer on shows like Zane Grey Theatre and Burke’s Law. In the ensuing decades he would become one of the most prolific producers in Hollywood, working on shows like Starsky and Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy Island and The Love Boat.
But Spelling’s busy hustle came at a price. He spent too much time at the office with Jones telling gossip writer Hedda Hopper in 1965, “he’s married to the job.” Jones swore off dating any other producers, writers or actors. Their divorce was amicable, however, and Spelling even helped connect Addams Family producers with his ex-wife. They were looking for a Carolyn Jones-type, so why not have the genuine article!
Spelling and Jones’ relationship may have ended on good terms, but that doesn’t mean Jones couldn’t slip in a friendly taunt at her ex, who stood a little under five and a half feet tall.