Halloween Month-Vintage Television

Barnabus Collins Quote

Lux Punk is dedicating all blog posts for the month of October to Halloween.
Specifically the kitschy cool of horror and the macabre. This week we look at television shows.

Fun fact: All three of the shows featured below are from the 1960’s.
Two are family sitcom spoofs and one is about vampires and werewolves and time travel and everything else they could throw into the cauldron.

The Munsters

I think my favorite is The Munsters. It still makes me laugh. The Munsters was a monster version of the numerous “perfect family” t.v. shows that were popular in the 1950’s. The family included a Frankenstein husband, an undead wife, werewolf son and vampire grandpa. Not to mention the beautiful niece, Marilyn, who was considered by the family to be homely and unfortunate looking.



Stylistically, this show had a great impact on me. The home decor, although a little more cobwebby than I prefer, was great, like a haunted house. Lily’s clothes were very elegant, or at least, Yvonne De Carlo made them seem that way. She was graceful and poised and knew how to rock a white streak in her jet black hair. That’s still a good look, right Stacy London?


There’s also something very dashing about Eddie’s outfit. It’s a Little Lord Fauntleroy type suit that he still managed to make seem a little bad ass. I think this would actually look good today. It’s rah-ther vintage Yves Saint Laurent, no? I can see some young fashionista wearing this while drinking vanilla latt├ęs at a hipster cafe. Right? Huh? Anybody?

Looks like Marilyn is wearing Eddie's (1)

The best thing was the family car. Because of this show, in the mid-1990’s, I owned a hearse. It was a 1970 classic silver bullet with wall sconces and curtains in the back. Not everybody got it. Some people were infuriated that a person would rehabilitate an old car and give it a new job. Others just freaked out and ran away. I knew just how the Munsters felt.


The Addams Family

the addams family cartoon


The Addams family was another spooky family sitcom which ran in the mid-60’s at the same time as The Munsters. In a similar vein, it portrayed a happy American family who just happened to be ghoulish. Morticia’s look is faultless. If you’ve only seen the movie version, you must watch the TV series. Carolyn Jones was perfection as Morticia. She seemed to just drip the color black and moved with a grace most women would die for. Ha ha. Get it?

addams family(Source)

As for the children, what was considered outlandish behavior at the time is now fairly common place. The daughter, Wednesday, was a typical modern tween, moody, slightly unhinged. You can’t fault her dress though. It looks like something straight out of Modcloth.

The patriarch, Gomez, was a dapper man, as passionate and defiant as Herman Munster was goofy and eager to please. Gomez was dashing and the whole family (except for the son, Pugsly, who looked like his clothes came from Gap) had an Edgar Allen Poe-ish quality that portrayed a dark beauty. (And yes, I know I’m leaving out Lurch and Thing and a bunch of others)

My favorite thing about the Addams Family is that it’s based on the New Yorker cartoons created by Charles Addams. These cartoons, in my opinion, make the television show and movies a million times cooler.

I love this guy. There’s an anthology of his work here:

The World Of Charles Addams

Great Holiday gift if you’re into that sort of thing.


Dark Shadows

The last featured television show from the 1960’s is quite different from the other two and by no means a family sitcom. In fact, this show scared the living shit out of me. When I got out of elementary school, my sister and I walked to Mrs. Kaufold’s house for a felt board Bible story. For the half hour between school and the sacred felt board we could choose among playing outside, playing a board game or watching t.v. I watched t.v. and the show that was on at that time was…

It was about a stoic, mysterious vampire, Barnabus Collins, who was released from his coffin after 200 years. Imagine Dr. House only less warm and fuzzy and with a thirst for blood instead of drugs.

There was one episode where a guy turned into a werewolf that gave me recurring nightmares. I think I tried playing outside for a while after that before the Bible story, but surprisingly, outside was worse. It turns out, that’s where all the mean kids were.

The show slipped back and forth through time from the 1960’s to the 1700’s with the same cast and started to get a little unwieldy. It was very low budget. According to Katherine Leigh Scott, in her book, Dark Shadows Memories, they used fake fingernails for fangs to save money.

Unfortunately, the movie Dark Shadows is silly and not creepy cool like the t.v. show. The television Barnabus Collins is more like Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd than Johnny Depp’s Barnabus.

This video from You Tube shows how groovy this show was. Also, because the scenes were mostly filmed in one take, Ed Woods-style, there are also some hilarious bloopers.

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Until next time…

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