They almost used canned music for The Addams Family opening sequence
Here's everything you ever wanted to know about how this snappy opening sequence came to be.
When rewatching The Addams Family episode "Fester's Punctuated Romance," the show's biggest fans will get a kick recognizing a scene with Fester used in the opening credits.
The original opening credits of The Addams Family interspersed random clips from the show with footage of the family snapping along to the theme song, and the image of Fester with his face covered in soot always stuck out.
In "Fester's Punctuated Romance," you can watch this famous opening credits snapshot play out, as Gomez and Morticia take a photo of Uncle Fester to woo a potential love.
In the scene, Morticia directs Fester to look ookier and kookier, praising his "attractive" poses, which to the audience look hilariously wrong for romance.
When cinematographer and visual effects artist Howard Anderson Jr. was tapped to help put together the opening sequence, he worked with theme song composer and opening credits director Vic Mizzy on nailing the timing so that the snapping heard in the song matched the visuals of the cast snapping.
The additional show footage used throughout the credits helped Anderson to nail that timing. He used them as filler between the scenes that Mizzy filmed of the cast snapping, so there would be a perfect comedic build-up to the recurring snaps.
Anderson told the Television Academy that he was also responsible for the painting of the Addams house featured in the opening credits.
He accomplished it by photographing the actual set and then painting in all the background scenery to "give it the mysterious look."
While Anderson helped with the visuals, the overarching vision for the opening sequence came almost entirely from Mizzy, though.
Mizzy told the Television Academy that the network originally wanted to use canned music for the opening sequence, but series creator David Levy urged the network to bring Mizzy in instead.
At that point, the network wasn’t sold on shucking out for original music, but Mizzy already had the theme song written and he convinced them to let him play it, so they truly understood their options.
There was a piano nearby with no stool, so Mizzy had to play it while hunched over, looking somewhat like Lurch while pounding out the theme song.
Around him, everyone started smiling upon first hearing the theme’s memorable cadence.
Everybody loved the theme song, so Mizzy began pitching his idea for how the sequence would be shot to match it, and by then, the network was sold by his entire shtick and hired him to direct it.
The rest is Addams Family history.
As Mizzy remembers, the show became an overnight hit, and soon it felt like everybody in the streets was singing his theme song, and over time, every sporting event would use the music to get the crowd revved up.
When filming the famous snapping sequences, Mizzy said he enjoyed working with the cast and that he knew that he'd finally gotten the vibe of it right after giving this direction to Gomez and Morticia: "I said to Carolyn and John, be lackadaisical."
Next time you watch the original opening sequence, keep an eye out for Fester's sooted cheeks and Morticia's smirking lackadaisical snaps.