Facts about Fred Gwynne’s Character Herman Munster from the Famous Show ‘The Munsters’
"The Munsters" revolutionized TV sitcoms and brought laughter to the hearts and homes of many. Although it was short-lived, it became syndication that led to reruns, and 53 years after it went off-air, it's still entertaining audiences around the world.
In the early 20th century, Universal Studios got licensed to produce horror and supernatural themed movies that birthed characters like "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" monster. In the '60s, they drew inspiration from the two to create "The Munsters."
"The Munsters," debuted on CBS in '64 and ran for two years, until '66. The show is best described as a dull-witted, but excellent parody. The family led by "Herman Munster" lived in a suburb; they saw themselves as "Normal" and could not understand why everyone reacted strangely to them.
The shows dynamics made it a fan-favorite while it aired, and 53 years after it went off the air, it's still entertaining audiences around the world. It owes most of its success to its patriarch, the character who dropped funny, but valuable life lessons every week, and is still remembered fondly by lovers of the show. Here are some facts about "Herman Munster" and "The Munsters:"
HE GOT TRANSFORMED FOR THE ROLE
Although the '60s saw the birth of colored television, "The Munsters" cast appeared on TV in black and white. The idea was to give an eerie feeling to the show, but behind the scenes, the actors wore heavy makeup that transformed them from their natural look.
"Herman Munster" costume involved 50 pounds of paddings in making him look thicker, and "Herman Munster's" shoes got elevated by 4 inches, making Fred Gwynne taller than his 6"6' height. The character also wore a square wig to complete his transformation and looked very similar to the "Frankenstein" monster.
"HERMAN MUNSTER'S" ACTOR RAN FROM HIM
The "Herman Munster" actor, Fred Gwynne, became stereotyped by the character. Although it brought him fame and financial stability as he admitted in a New York Times interview in the '80s, the actor tried to leave the character behind after the show ended.
Bucth Patrick, the child actor who played "Herman Munster's" son, said years later that Gwynne didn't like to talk about his days on the show. However, since the character was like his shadow, he could not run from it, and later acknowledged that he enjoyed being the patriarch of "The Munsters." The actor passed away in July '93 at the age of 66 from pancreatic cancer.
HIS WIFE GOT CHANGED
When Universal shot the pilot of the sitcom, Joan Marshall portrayed "Herman Munster's" wife, Lily. However, when the show aired, the actress got replaced by Yvonne De Carlo.
The latter rose to fame starring in "Salome, Where She Danced," and appeared on the big screen for most of her career, playing lead roles. She died of natural causes in 2007 at her home in Woodland Hills, California, at 84.
"HERMAN MUNSTER" WAS THE ORIGINAL IDEA OF CHRIS HAYWARD AND ALAN BURN
In the '60s, poaching of ideas and rewrites was the order of the day, and Chris Hayward and Alan Burn, the original creators of "The Munsters," fell victim to it. As Burn explained to the Emmy Legends TV, after they pitched the idea to an executive with Universal's comedy section, the man took their concept. He turned it into the series without any credit to them.
The Emmy-winning writers filed a complaint with the Writers Guild of America, and the latter's intervention got the men the credit they deserved, and monetary compensation. Hayward died in 2006 at his home in Beverly Hills; he was 81.
IT HAS A WORDLESS THEME SONG
Although "The Munsters" theme song was wordless, it appealed to the audience and was one of the best TV instrumentals at the time. However, one track on the album "At the Munsters" contained a few lyrics that depicted the weird lifestyle of the family.
"HERMAN MUNSTER" HAD THE BEST QUOTES
Apart from "Herman Munster's" laugh, the character had a lot of funny but sensible quotes loaded with life lessons. Some of them include:
"It is nice to know that as we go through life, we can bring a little happiness to others;" "If we can't help a young man up the ladder of success, then we are a pretty sorry excuse for a human being;" "You'll find that you'll make more headway with a little bit of love, affection, and understanding;" and "It is the duty of every citizen to protect the police."
Another noteworthy "Herman Munster" quote is that it doesn't matter the color of a person's skin, height, or looks, what matters is the size of "His heart and strength of character."
These quotes are five decades old, but they still stand true in today's world. "Herman Munster" remains an iconic character that will hopefully teach and entertain more generations.