13 Creepy, Kooky Facts About The Addams Family 

Paramount
Paramount

Starting in 1938, Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandmama, Wednesday, Pugsley, and Thing appeared in The New Yorker in a series of cartoons by Charles Addams. After two seasons in the mid-'60s as a sitcom, then two more as a Saturday morning cartoon in the '70s, the adventures of the strange, morbid Addams family seemed destined to solely exist in illustration form. Then, after Charles Addams' passing in 1988, even the cartoons stopped—but in 1991, The Addams Family movie brought the pale gang to the cinema. Here are a few things you might not have known about the film.

1. THE IDEA TO BRING BACK THE ADDAMS FAMILY CAME FROM A CAR RIDE.

Scott Rudin, head of production at 20th Century Fox, was riding in a van with other company executives one day after a movie screening. "Everyone was there—(studio chiefs) Barry Diller and Leonard Goldberg and (marketing chief) Tom Sherak—when Tom's kid started singing 'The Addams Family' theme," Rudin told the LA Times. "And suddenly everyone in the van was singing the theme, letter perfect, note for note." The next day, Rudin proposed to Diller and Goldberg that they make an Addams Family movie—and they went for it.

2. MC HAMMER WROTE AN AWARD-WINNING SONG FOR THE MOVIE.

The "Addams Groove" music video played before the film during its first few weeks in theaters. The final track on Too Legit to Quit would end up being MC Hammer's last visit to the top 10 of the Billboard singles charts in the U.S. It also won the 1991 Golden Raspberry for Worst Original Song, beating out fellow nominees "Why Was I Born (Freddy's Dead)" by Iggy Pop, and Vanilla Ice's "Cool as Ice."

3. ANTHONY HOPKINS TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF FESTER.

Hopkins instead opted to play Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs (he got the role after Sean Connery was initially approached). Hopkins would win the Best Actor Oscar for his performance.

4. TIM BURTON WAS INITIALLY SET TO DIRECT.

Burton had worked with Addams Family screenwriters Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson on previous projects, but ended up not taking the job. Almost 20 years later, Burton was rumored to be developing a 3D stop-motion animated Addams Family movie, but it was announced last year that he was off the project.

5. IT WAS BARRY SONNENFELD'S DIRECTORIAL DEBUT.

The Addams Family was Barry Sonnenfeld's directorial debut, but he had experience as a cinematographer on films like Blood Simple, Big, Raising Arizona, Misery, When Harry Met Sally..., and Miller's Crossing. After his agent told him that he would lick a carpet if he couldn't find him a directing job within one year, he found Sonnenfeld a seemingly plum first time assignment helming a high profile movie (in less than a year). As a joke, Scott Rudin let it be known to Sonnenfeld that he wasn't his first choice by putting a different director's name on the back of the director's chair every morning on set. Some of the names that replaced Sonnenfeld's were Joe Dante, Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, and Rudin's first choice, Tim Burton.

6. SONNENFELD FAINTED DURING SHOOTING.

Three weeks into directing, Sonnenfeld was talking to a studio executive who was concerned about the budget for the film when he felt a "tremendous pressure" in his chest, "as if someone was blowing up a balloon inside me," then passed out. He also dealt with sciatica during filming, and had to shut down the Los Angeles production for several days when his wife needed major surgery in New York.

7. THERE WAS A "BLACK CLOUD" HANGING OVER THE MOVIE.

Owen Roizman, the film's cinematographer, quit to work on another movie shortly after Sonnenfeld's fainting incident. His replacement, Gayl Tattersoll, stopped production for a couple of days when he needed to be hospitalized for a sinus infection, and never returned. Sonnenfeld ended up doing the job himself. In front of the camera, a blood vessel burst in the eye of Raul Julia, the actor who played Gomez. These incidents led the future Get Shorty and Men In Black director to say that he felt like there was a "pervasive black cloud" hanging over the movie.

8. THERE WAS AN ACTOR REBELLION, LED BY 10-YEAR-OLD CHRISTINA RICCI.

The actors were concerned about the ambiguity of the big Fester storyline in the script. Initially, it was going to be unknown if Gordon, the man suffering from memory loss that looked just like Uncle Fester, was actually Fester. The actors nominated Wednesday Addams herself, Christina Ricci, to give an impassioned plea to Rudin and Sonnenfeld two weeks before shooting that Fester should not be an imposter. Sonnenfeld remembered that the only actor to not care was Christopher Lloyd, the man playing Fester.

9. ANJELICA HUSTON WATCHED "GREY GARDENS" TO PLAY MORTICIA.

Cher was interested in playing Morticia, but Huston was producer Rudin's first choice. Huston, who grew up in Ireland, was more familiar with the Charles Addams drawings than the old TV show, and decided it would be pointless to try and replicate actress Carolyn Jones' "ideal" portrayal of Morticia anyway. The future Academy Award winner turned to the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens—a movie about the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy who lived in a deteriorating mansion filled with garbage and animal waste—for inspiration instead.

10. HUSTON HAD TO GO THROUGH A LOT TO GET INTO CHARACTER.

''Morticia has a shape only a cartoonist can draw,'' Sonnenfeld told Entertainment Weekly, ''so we lashed Anjelica into a metal corset that created this hips-and-waist thing I've never seen any woman have in reality.'' The role also required Huston to get gauze eye lifts, neck tucks, and fake nails daily. ''Come afternoon, I could be prone to a really good headache from my various bondages,'' she told EW. ''And because I couldn't lie down (in the corset) or rest, it was fairly exhausting.''

11. THE COMPANY FINANCING THE MOVIE SOLD IT WHILE IT WAS BEING FILMED.

Because Orion Pictures had the rights to The Addams Family, they were the ones responsible for financing and potentially releasing the movie. Even though there were some budget concerns, selling the movie to another company was something Rudin and Sonnenfeld had not even considered. But three-quarters of the way through filming, Rudin was informed that Orion had sold the movie to Paramount by Hollywood Reporter writer Andrea King. Even though Rudin was also working on a movie at the time with Paramount, in addition with having phone conversations daily with Orion over The Addams Family, he had absolutely no idea.

12. "VALLEY BOYS" CUT THE BIG MUSICAL NUMBER.

Initially "The Mamushka" scene was much longer, and it featured Gomez and Fester singing about brotherly love. Even though Broadway veterans were hired to write the traditional Addams clan number, most of the scene was cut because a California test audience mostly composed of 16- to 32-year-old white males didn't care for it.

13. THE STUDIOS WERE SUED AS SOON AS THE MOVIE CAME OUT.

David Levy, the executive producer of the old Addams Family TV series, sued Paramount and Orion after the movie was released to surprising commercial success. Levy claimed that too many of his ideas, which were originally from his show and not from the Charles Addams cartoons, were used in the movie. Levy, who still owned the rights to the TV show, created specific character quirks and concepts that were used in the movie, such as Gomez' love of blowing up toy trains, and Thing being a disembodied hand, as opposed to being a normal background character in the cartoons. Paramount and Levy ultimately settled out of court.

14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Facts About Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt's Home

Theodore Roosevelt's Long Island home has 23 rooms and more books than you can count.
Theodore Roosevelt's Long Island home has 23 rooms and more books than you can count.
J. Stephen Conn, Flickr // CC by NC 2.0

Fleeing Manhattan for the country is a tradition that wealthy New Yorkers have partaken in for centuries—and our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, was no exception. Starting when he was a teen, TR and his family would retreat to Long Island for the summer, and as an adult, he built his own home there: Sagamore Hill, which became his permanent home after his presidency. In honor of what would be TR’s 162nd birthday, here are 10 facts about Sagamore Hill, of which Roosevelt once wrote, “there isn't any place in the world like home—like Sagamore Hill.”

1. Sagamore Hill was built near where Theodore Roosevelt spent his childhood summers.

Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York, first served as a refuge for a sickly TR in his youth. He’d hike, ride horses, row, and swim—generally engaging in the “strenuous life” and beginning his lifelong love affair with nature. The family home was known as Tranquility, and was situated two miles southwest from the future Sagamore Hill mansion.

2. Theodore Roosevelt bought the land for Sagamore Hill in 1880.

The same year he married his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, Roosevelt purchased 155 acres on the north shore of Long Island for $30,000 to build a home. Situated on Long Island Sound, the site is home to a wide variety of habitats, from woodlands to salt marshes, as well as plenty of ecological diversity, thus giving Roosevelt much to observe and document.

3. Sagamore Hill wasn't supposed to go by that name.

The home that would become Sagamore Hill was originally going to be named Leeholm, after Roosevelt's wife Alice. However, following her tragic death shortly after giving birth to their daughter, the property was renamed Sagamore—according to Roosevelt, after Sagamore Mohannis (today more commonly known as Sachem Mohannes), who was chief of a tribe in the area over 200 years earlier. Sagamore is an Algonquian word for "chieftain."

4. Theodore Roosevelt had very specific ideas for the layout of Sagamore Hill.

Among his "perfectly definite views" for the home, he would later recall, were "a library with a shallow bay window opening south, the parlor or drawing-room occupying all the western end of the lower floor; as broad a hall as our space would permit; big fireplaces for logs; on the top floor a gun room occupying the western end so that north and west it [looks] over the Sound and Bay." Long Island builder John A. Wood began work on the Queen Anne-style mansion (designed by New York architecture firm Lamb and Rich), on March 1, 1884. It was completed in 1885, with Roosevelt's sister, Anna, taking care of the house (and new baby Alice) while Roosevelt was out west in the Dakota Badlands, nursing his grieving heart.

5. Theodore Roosevelt delivered campaign speeches from the porches of Sagamore Hill.

Theodore Roosevelt addresses a crowd of 500 suffragettes from the porch of his Sagamore Hill home around 1905. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It was one of Roosevelt’s greatest wishes for the Sagamore Hill home to possess "a very big piazza ... where we could sit in rocking chairs and look at the sunset," and so wide porches were built on the south and west sides of the house. Roosevelt would use the piazza to deliver speeches to the public, and it was here that he was notified of his nominations as governor of New York (1898), vice president (1900) and president (1904).

6. Sagamore Hill was Theodore Roosevelt's "Summer White House."

Roosevelt became the first president to bring his work home with him, spending each of his summers as president at Sagamore Hill. He even had a phone installed so he could conduct business from the house. But by 1905, Edith had had enough of TR usurping the drawing room—which was supposed to be her office—to hold his visitors [PDF], and of his gaming trophies and other treasures taking up space. So the Roosevelts constructed what would become the North Room. "The North Room cost as much as the entire house had," Susan Sarna, curator at Sagamore Hill, told Cowboys & Indians magazine in 2016. "It is grandiose." Measuring 40 feet by 20 feet, with ceilings 20 feet high, it was constructed of mahogany brought in from the Philippines. The addition brought the total number of rooms at Sagamore Hill from 22 to 23.

7. Theodore Roosevelt met with foreign leaders at Sagamore Hill.

Roosevelt stands between Russian and Japanese dignitaries in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1905. On September 5, they signed the Treaty of Portsmouth, ending the Russo-Japanese War and earning Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize; he was the first American to win a Nobel Prize of any kind.Photos.com/iStock via Getty Images

In September 1905, Roosevelt brokered peace talks between Russian and Japanese dignitaries, which led to end of the Russo-Japanese War. But before the peace talks (which took place on a yacht in the Navy yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire), Roosevelt met the negotiators—from Japan, Takahira Kogorō, ambassador to the U.S., and diplomat Jutaro Komura; and from Russia, diplomat Baron Roman Romanovich von Rosen and Sergei Iluievich Witte—at Sagamore Hill. TR earned a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

8. Sagamore Hill has a pet cemetery.

Roosevelt’s love of animals was passed down to his six children, who adopted a veritable menagerie, including cats, dogs, horses, guinea pigs, a bear, and a badger. A number of those beloved companions ended up in Sagamore Hill's pet cemetery; among them is Little Texas, the horse TR rode on his charge up Kettle Hill during the Spanish-American War.

9. Life at Sagamore Hill was lively.

The atmosphere at Sagamore Hill was a boisterous one. According to the National Park Service, Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge complained about how late they stayed up, how loud they talked, and how early they woke up. Eleanor Roosevelt, Roosevelt’s favorite niece, too, recalled a constant barrage of activity during her visits. The children partook in all manner of outdoor activities, and Roosevelt was known for abruptly ending his appointments in order to join them.

10. Theodore Roosevelt died at Sagamore Hill.

Roosevelt passed away on January 6, 1919 at Sagamore Hill. Edith died there on September 30, 1948, and five years later, Sagamore Hill was opened to the public. In 2015, a $10 million renovation of the house was completed; 99 percent of what can be seen at the home today is original—including thousands of books, extensive artwork, and yes, 36 pieces of taxidermy.

Shortly before Roosevelt died, he asked Edith, “I wonder if you will ever know how I love Sagamore Hill?” and thanks to the extensive work done to restore his home, we all can.