The rare rag dolls based on The Addams Family have a sweet origin story
Today the plush toys sometimes sell for thousands of dollars.
One of the most mischievous Wednesday Addams episodes of The Addams Family is "Wednesday Leaves Home."
In the episode, Wednesday first pretends to run away from home, and then really does run away from home, causing great concern twice for her family.
As Wednesday’s biggest fans know, this was part of her wicked sense of humor.
Years before The Addams Family became a hit TV show, kids had already come to love Wednesday Addams, even embracing her as a part of their own families, once she was introduced in rag doll form.
In 1962, the cartoonist Charles Addams partnered with a small Manhattan toy company called Aboriginals Ltd. to produce dolls based on his cartoon character versions of Morticia, Wednesday and the young boy who later became known on TV as Pugsley.
Addams said this wasn’t the first time someone had attempted to make a Wednesday Addams doll.
His first wife Barbara had the idea to make a rag doll version of Wednesday, but she never actually followed through on producing the dolls, only stitching a mock-up version that was never mass produced.
It happened then that when Aboriginals Ltd. reached out to Addams to see if he wanted to make action figures based on his New Yorker comic characters, he mentioned the dolls Barbara had tried to make.
The toy company loved it, instantly deciding to sell rag dolls, not figurines.
When the rag dolls were introduced in the Sixties, it was Christmastime in 1962, and The Guardian reported, "Numberless self-assured American children are going to tear open their bulging Christmas stockings next month and get the shock of their lives: inside, palely pretending to be dolls, will be Morticia and Pubert and Wednesday."
At that time, Pugsley was known to Charles Addams as Pubert, but apparently Aboriginals Ltd. found that name as unpalatable as the TV network that rejected the name, too.
Instead, Addams was forced to give his Pugsley character a third name, selling the doll as "Irving" Addams.
These dolls only sold for a few years in the Sixties, priced around $20. But today, they sell at auction for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.
Inside the box, the rag doll came with a little card introducing each character. According to one auction site, the card for Wednesday Addams read:
"This Is Wednesday, The Charles Addams Doll. One Look At Her Face, And You May Recall That Rhyme That Began 'Monday's Child Is Fair Of Face, Tuesday's Child Is Full Of Grace, Wednesday's Child Is Full Of Woe.' She Is Romantically Pale Because She Was Brought Up In The Cellar Of A Creaky Old Addams Mansion. Imagine Her Childhood - The Black Magic Lessons... The Sunday Suppers Of Two-Headed Roast Pig... The Pet Octopus. Nice People Adore Wednesday. Nasty People Think She's A Gleefully, Evilly, Shivery Little Companion For All Their Wicked Schemes. Since It's Evident That Wednesday Might Fall Into The Wrong Hands, Do Not Hesitate An Instant. Take Her And Live Woefully Ever After With Wednesday The Charles Addams Doll."
Later when The Addams Family premiered, TV audiences would understand what was meant by the card describing Wednesday as a good companion for "wicked schemes."
In episodes like "Wednesday Leaves Home," we got to see the delightfully dark little darling pull one over on her family, not once, but twice.
The Addams Family creator Charles Addams never had any kids, but he liked the idea of making toys out of his characters because he said he always identified with how kids saw the world.
"I’m not a great baby enthusiast, but I like children who can talk and if I had one of my own to talk to, I might get some inspiration, a new approach," Addams said. "I’m a child myself."