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.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

10 Facts About The Blue Lagoon On Its 40th Anniversary

Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields star in The Blue Lagoon (1980).
Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields star in The Blue Lagoon (1980).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Brooke Shields was just 14 years old when she filmed The Blue Lagoon, the infamously sexy and slightly salacious island-set romance that capitalized on burgeoning hormones in a big way. The film was shocking when it debuted on July 5, 1980—but even 40 years later, it can still make jaws drop. Here’s a look at some of its more compelling tidbits, complete with undiscovered iguanas and a nifty trick to cover up nudity.

1. The Blue Lagoon is based on a trilogy of books by Henry De Vere Stacpoole.

Although the film closely follows the events of the first book in Henry De Vere Stacpoole’s series, also called The Blue Lagoon, the film’s sequel (1991’s Return to the Blue Lagoon) breaks with the storyline presented in the 1920s-era trilogy to essentially re-tell the original story (read: more tanned teens falling in love on a tropical island). Stacpoole’s books were far more concerned with the culture of the South Seas population, particularly as it was being further influenced by the arrival of European cultures.

2. The Blue Lagoon was adapted into a film twice before.

In 1923, director W. Bowden crafted a silent version of the story. More than a quarter-century later, British filmmaker Frank Launder made a very well-received version for the big screen in 1949, starring Jean Simmons and Donald Houston. The film was immensely popular, becoming the seventh-highest grossing domestic film at the U.K. box office that year.

3. The Blue Lagoon's costume team came up with a clever trick to keep Brooke Shields covered up.

Brooke Shields was just 14 years old when she filmed The Blue Lagoon, which led to some challenges for the production team, especially as Shields’s Emmeline is frequently topless. So the costume designers hatched an ingenious (and, really, just kind of obvious) way to keep her covered up at all times: they glued her long-haired wig to her body.

4. Brooke Shields’s age was an issue for a long time.

Even after The Blue Lagoon was long wrapped, completed, and released into theaters, issues related to Shields’s age at the time of filming still lingered. Years later, Shields testified before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that body doubles—of legal age—were used throughout filming.

5. The Blue Lagoon was nominated for an Oscar.

Cinematographer Néstor Almendros was nominated for his work on The Blue Lagoon. And while he lost out to Geoffrey Unsworth and Ghislain Cloquet for Tess, he already had one Oscar at home for his contributions to Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978). The skilled DP, who passed away in 1992, was also nominated for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie’s Choice (1982).

6. A new species of iguana was discovered when it appeared in The Blue Lagoon.

Parts of the film were lensed on a private island that is part of Fiji, one of the habitats of the now-critically endangered Fiji crested iguana. The iguana appeared throughout the film, and when herpetologist John Gibbons caught an early screening of the feature, he realized that the animal that kept popping up on the big screen wasn't a familiar one. So he traveled to Fiji (specifically, to the island of Nanuya Levu), where he discovered the Fiji crested iguana, an entirely new Fijian native.

7. The Blue Lagoon won a Razzie.

Despite its stellar source material and Oscar-nominated camerawork, The Blue Lagoon wasn’t beloved by everyone: The Razzies foisted a Worst Actress award on Shields. The actress won (lost? hard to tell?) over an extremely mixed bag of other nominees that somehow also included Shelley Duvall for The Shining. Come on, Razzies.

8. The Blue Lagoon director Randal Kleiser hatched a plan to get his stars to like each other.

Because the chemistry between the two leads was vital to the success of The Blue Lagoon, director Randal Kleiser (who also directed Grease) came up with the idea to get star Christopher Atkins feeling a little lovestruck with Shields by putting a picture of the young starlet over Atkins’s bed. Staring at Shields every night apparently did rouse some feelings in Atkins; the duo had a brief romance while filming. "Brooke and I had a little bit of a romantic, innocent sort of romance in the very beginning of the film," Atkins told HuffPost. “It was very nice—we were very, very close friends."

9. Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins's affection didn’t last for long.

Despite their early attachment, Shields and Atkins soon began bickering nonstop. “Brooke got tired of me,” Atkins told People in 1980. “She thought I took acting too seriously. I was always trying to get into a mood while she would be skipping off to joke with the crew.” Still, Kleiser even capitalized on that, using the tension to fuel the more frustrated scenes, lensing the tough stuff while his leads were tussling.

10. The Blue Lagoon's film shoot basically took place on a desert island.

Kleiser was desperate to capture authenticity for the film, going so far as to live like his characters while making it. "To shoot this kind of story, I wanted to get as close to nature as possible and have our crew live almost like the characters," Kleiser said. "We found an island in Fiji that had no roads, water, or electricity, but beautiful beaches. We built a village of tents for the crew to live in and had a small ship anchored in the lagoon for our camera equipment and supplies. This filming approach was quite unusual, but it just seemed right for this project."

This story has been updated for 2020.