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Byron's Top 3 TV Horror Comedies of All Time

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
created 10/20/2013 - 6:22pm, updated 10/20/2013 - 9:06pm

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It’s time for we in the CBN offices to salute those things that go bump in the night … especially if, while they did, they tickled our funny bones as well.

With that in mind, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer lists his Top 3 (Why three? Ask Brewer) creepy, kooky monster mashes of television, all three of which happen to be 1960s television classics. (Hasn’t this guy heard of SyFy?)

Thus, the Top 3 TV Horror Comedies of All Time:

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3. The Munsters (1964-1966)

You are either a Munsters fan or an Addams Family fan. I was both in my young days but favored the more sophisticated (?) comedy of Gomez and Morticia. Thus, Number 3.

The Munsters depicted the home life of a family of benign monsters, Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) and his wife and probable vampire Lily (Yvonne De Carlo). The series was a satire of both traditional monster movies and the wholesome family fare of the era, and was produced by the creators of Leave It to Beaver. The series originally aired on CBS from September 24, 1964 to May 12, 1966.

The Munsters live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane in the city of Mockingbird Heights, a fictional suburb of LA. The family, while decidedly odd, consider themselves fairly typical working-class people of the era. Despite superficial similarities of horror-movie characters incongruent with their communities and a generally gothic look, this and The Addams Family were different in the style of series and characterization. Overall, the characters of The Addams Family were wealthy eccentrics with a gothic look who generally stayed at home, while the Munsters were a blue-collar and generally outgoing family of legendary monsters.

2. Bewitched (1964-1972)

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Bewitched is by far my favorite show on this list, but the slightly more supernatural atmosphere of The Addams Family sets Sam and Darrein back to second place.

The show ran for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972. It was created by Sol Saks under executive director Harry Ackerman, and starred Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York (later Dick Sargent) and the wondrous Agnes Moorehead as Endora.

It’s classic: A young looking witch named Samantha meets and marries a mortal named Darrin Stephens. While Samantha pledges to forsake her powers and become a "typical suburban housewife," her magical family disapproves of the mixed marriage and frequently interferes in the couple's lives. Episodes often begin with Darrin becoming the victim of a spell, the effects of which wreak havoc with mortals such as his boss, clients, parents and neighbors. By the epilogue, however, Darrin and Sam most often embrace, having overcome the devious elements that failed to separate them.

Aside from the main trio, memorable characters who have a place in my heart are Aunt Clara (the delightful Marion Lorne), the comical Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde) and select powerful appearances by Sam’s father, Maurice (Maurice Evans), after whom my dog was named.

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3. The Addams Family (1964-1966)

Number 1 in this category has got to be my overall favorite (I am writing it, after all), the kooky, ooky Addams Family!

The ghoulish comedy, smartly written, came about in 1964 when ABC came up on the property based on the Charles Addams’ cartoon characters. The series was shot in cool black and white and aired for two seasons in 64 half-hour episodes (September 18, 1964 - September 2, 1966).

During the original television run of The Addams FamilyThe New Yorker editor William Shawn refused to publish any Addams Family cartoons, though he continued to publish other Charles Addams cartoons. Shawn regarded his magazine as targeting a more refined readership, and did not want it associated with characters who could be seen on television by just anybody. After Shawn's 1987 retirement, the characters were welcomed back to The New Yorker.

The television series featured the great theme song, written and arranged by longtime Hollywood composer Vic Mizzy. The song's arrangement was dominated by a harpsichord, and featured finger-snaps as percussive accompaniment (Thing!). Actor Ted Cassidy in his Lurch voice punctuated the lyrics with words like “neat,” “sweet” and “petite.” Mizzy's theme was popular enough to enjoy a release as a 45rpm single, though it failed to make the national charts. The song was revived for the 1990s animated series, as well as in 2007 for a series of Addams Family television commercials for M&Ms candies.

Now get busy and let us at CBN know what your Top 3 (or 5 or 10) TV horror comedies are. Go!

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