The Munsters Will Star in an Auto-Tuned Rock Opera for TV
On October 31, Auto-Tune The Munsters—an all-song version of The Munsters episode “A Man for Marilyn"—will air as part of The Munsters Marathon on COZI TV. The episode features five original melodies with auto-tuned lyrics taken from the show’s dialogue. Think old-timey sitcom meets modern Internet culture—a quirky combination that will provide viewers with a contemporary twist on an iconic series.
“Yes, the shows were made a while ago, but why promote nostalgia?” asks Alan Goodman, consulting creative director at COZI TV, who helped bring the musical Munsters to life. “Nostalgia is the easiest way to promote this stuff. And the most limiting, in terms of finding new audiences. So I love what The Gregory Brothers have done, and I love stuff like Bad Lip Reading, and I love our mash-up culture. And I think TV needs to be doing a little more of what's happening on the Internet.”
While planning The Munsters Marathon, Goodman says he became “obsessed” with the viral Joe Biden “Buy a Shotgun” music video. “It occurred to me that maybe we could auto-tune an entire episode of a TV show,” he tells mental_floss. “It's never been done before.”
Along with composers Jamie Lawrence and Paul Rolnick, Goodman broke the show up into five parts, which the trio crafted into five songs that preserve the story's narrative arc. “It was tricky,” says Goodman, who’s also a composer (he helped co-create the “Nick-Nick-Nick-Nick" theme song for Nickelodeon). “Television stories are linear. Songs are cyclical. We mostly wanted these to be great songs, so we worked on that first.”
In other words: Don’t go in expecting the original “A Man for Marilyn” episode word-for-word. Not every song was taken verbatim from the 1965 version's discourse. The B-story was left out for time purposes, as were details from certain scenes. Original choruses were added in some instances, verses in others. In short, whatever made the episode work from a musical standpoint was thrown into the mix.
Don’t take the “rock opera” bit so literally, either. Goodman describes one of the episode's songs as “light pop,” whereas others range from psychedelic to Broadway-style to “boy-band”-esque. And visually, you won’t be watching the same grainy black-and-white footage that originally aired. Editors and animators jazzed up clips, adding animation and other visuals.
Goodman's goal, he says, was to remake old TV for a new generation. Did he achieve his vision?
“I showed the first number to this guy I know who's 24, and his girlfriend," he says. "She was bopping through the whole tune ... She's never heard of The Munsters. Never saw the show. But we made something out of it that's relevant to her. That's the goal. Tell her there's this show they made in 1966, is she going to watch it? But show her something that's fun, right now, and maybe she's drawn in.”
Auto-Tune The Munsters will air at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET during the The Munsters Marathon, which runs from noon to midnight on Halloween day.