The studio rejected this original name Charles Addams suggested for Pugsley
Before the show premiered, some members of the Addams family accidentally called Pugsley by yet another name.
For the character of Pugsley on The Addams Family, the child actor Ken Weatherwax had to play him with absolutely no guile. He was the kind of kid who pushed buttons just to see what happened.
But let's rewind. When The Addams Family TV show was making its debut, there was no name set in stone for the Addams son. They knew the type of unnamed boy depicted in Charles Addams' cartoons, they just didn't know what to call him yet. Remember — none of the characters had names in the single-panel comics.
According to The San Bernardino Sun in 1991, the studio asked Addams for name suggestions for the boy. The first name he wanted for Pugsley was rejected outright.
What name was deemed too offensive for Sixties audiences, you might wonder?
Charles wanted to call the Addams boy "Pubert," a play on the word "puberty."
Likely because puberty is a time associated with sexual maturation, our guess is "Pubert" was considered too adult for a family show.
According to Addams, after Pubert was rejected, the studio went with Pugsley and that was that.
However, in a 1964 story featured in The Record, there's a picture of Ken Weatherwax with a caption that claims a completely different name for the character: Pudgely.
In the interview, Weatherwax's TV mom Carolyn Jones is even quoted saying, "In one storyline, Pudgely, our little boy, is always being beaten up by a bigger child after school. To avoid these battles, Pudgely considers exchanging his favorite pet, his octopus, with the bully. But will the bully love the octopus as much as Pudgely or will he double his attacks?"
It's unclear whether Jones simply misspoke, or if the journalist misheard, or if this was the second name considered for Pugsley that people rarely hear about.
Whatever the case, the character became iconic as the closely-sounding Pugsley, not Pudgely or Pubert.
For Weatherwax, portraying Pugsley nearly sums up his acting career, as he eventually switched to behind-the-scenes work after the show ended.
While onset, he said his costars ended up teaching him everything he knew about acting, starting with John Astin who played Gomez and was on the receiving end of Pugsley's sometimes violent games. Weatherwax recalled once being asked to do a scene where he beat Astin over the head with a bowling pin.
When the young boy playing Pugsley actually brought the prop pin down on his TV dad's noggin, Astin had to clarify: When acting, you almosthit the other actor, but you never actually do. After that, Weatherwax learned to be more careful, and Pugsley roughed around much less with Gomez.
There were never any hard feelings, though, no matter what mayhem Weatherwax got into as Pugsley. "We were a very tight cast," Weatherwax told The Asbury Park Press in 2006
When one gives anything, especially children, names that they will likely have to live up to or live down, and that need explaining as to the name's origin, or how it's spelled or pronounced, one should always take a deep breath and reconsider and imagine how you'd like to go through life with such a name. Save your creativity for other endeavors.
We lived next to a soy bean field. In winter, I would throw a snowball as far as I could, and with a yelp, old Pugsley would race through the gap in the fence.
He would spend up to an hour, trying to find that darn elusive snowball. Sometimes he would look up from his rooting, his muzzle covered in snow.
I miss him greatly.