Friday, January 06, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday, Charles Addams

It's Mr. Addams' 100th birthday -- and if there wasn't a real life Charles Addams, then Hollywood would have had to make him up!

Charles Addams with wife Barbara, an attorney, in 1955, AP Photo. "He was married three times, and in between marriages dated the likes of Greta Garbo, Jackie Kennedy and Joan Fontaine," so says the Mental Floss blog.

Happy 100th birthday to cartoonist Charles Addams, whose new ADDAMS FAMILY musical is now on Broadway.

His childhood nickname was "Chill."

During World War II, Addams made animated training films for the Army while serving served in the Signal Corps Photographic Center in New York.

He sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker at the age of 21 for $7.50. He would sell over 1,300 drawings to the magazine until his death in 1988.

In the tradition of cartoonists Sidney Smith and Sam Cobean, Addams loved cars.

Addams was a lady's man and was married three times.

Janet Maslin writes in the NY Times:

"The second Barbara [photo above], whom he married in 1954, combined Morticia-like looks with diabolical legal scheming. Ms. Davis [in her biography CHARLES ADDAMS: A CARTOONIST'S LIFE] describes the remarkable tug of war that began once Mr. Addams’s second wife, a practicing lawyer, began persuading him to sign away rights to much of what he owned. She wound up in control of the 'Addams Family' television and movie franchises and even bewitched Mr. Addams into taking out a $100,000 life insurance policy.

"'I told him the last time I had word of such a move was in a picture called ‘Double Indemnity’ starring Barbara Stanwyck, which I called to his attention,' wrote Mr. Addams’s lawyer, whom he dared to consult only on the sly. In the film, Ms. Stanwyck’s character plotted to murder her husband for insurance money."
Maslin further notes, "Addams's persona sounds cooked up for the benefit of feature writers ... was at least partly a character contrived for the public eye."

Links to all things Addams.

Fiona Murray wrote this fascinating bio of the man and his cartoons and his women for Dan's Papers here.

Michael Maslin provides even more links, including the video bit below -- it's from William Castle's THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1963). Charles Addams is credited with "specially desginign" the title house in this B-picture starring Tom Poston. Here, William Castle shows us what's in store if we DARE see THE OLD DARK HOUSE:

Via Wikipedia:

"On September 29, 1988, Addams, a sports car enthusiast, had just driven back to his apartment in Manhattan from a visit to friends in Connecticut when he parked his Audi 4000 in front of the apartment building. He was struck by a fatal heart attack while still behind the wheel."

The "Morticia doll," from the early 1960s. For sale for $19.95. I believe this is before the TV series.

Jean-Marie Bertin also has an amazing bibliography of Addams's books. Below is a portion of it: his comprehensive list of Addams's solo books.

Auteur(s) Titre Editeur Lieu

Addams, Chas

Drawn and Quartered

Random House New York
Addams, Chas

Addams and Evil

Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Chas

Monster Rally

Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Chas


Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Chas


Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Chas

Dear Dead Days. A Family Album

G.P. Putnam’s Sons New York
Addams, Chas

Chas Addams’ Black Maria

Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Charles

The Penguin Charles Addams. Penguin 1845.

{1962} Penguin Harmondworth
Addams, Chas

The Groaning Board

Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Chas

My Crowd

Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Chas

Le monde de Chas Addams. [édition française incomplète de My Crowd ]

Hachette Paris
Addams, Chas

Favorite Haunts

Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Chas

Creature Comforts

Simon & Schuster New York
Addams, Charles

The World of Charles Addams

Alfred A. Knopf New York
Addams, Charles

La famille Addams. Presses Pocket 4580.

Presses Pocket s. l.
Addams, Charles

Chas Addams Half-Baked Book

Simon & Schuster New York

My thanks to Jean-Marie Bertin for the scan of Morticia, as well as the MY CROWD and CREATURE COMFORTS covers.

-- Revised from a previous grand old blog post of mine.

1 comment:

Dan Reynolds said...

Obe of my all time favorites!