Tuesday, October 5, 2021

1964 The Munsters and 1988 The Munsters Today Unaired Pilots

The Munsters is an American sitcom that originally aired on CBS from September 24, 1964, to May 12, 1966, and ran for 70 episodes. Produced by the creators of Leave It to Beaver, the series was a satire of both traditional monster movies and the wholesome family fare of the era. It depicts the American suburban life of benign monsters starring Fred Gwynne as Frankenstein's monster and head-of-the-household Herman Munster; Yvonne De Carlo as his wife Lily; Al Lewis as Lily's father, Grandpa, the somewhat over-the-hill vampire Count Dracula who longs for the "good old days" in Transylvania; Beverley Owen (later replaced by Pat Priest) as their teenage niece Marilyn, who was attractive by conventional standards but the "ugly duckling" of the family; and Butch Patrick as their werewolfish son Eddie, who was always respectful to his parents. After cancellation the series found a large audience in syndication. This popularity warranted a spin-off series, as well as several tv films, including one with a theatrical release, and an upcoming movie reboot by Rob Zombie.

The unaired pilot below was used to pitch the series to CBS and its affiliates and was shot in color. Except for Marilyn, the family had a blue-green tint to their skin. The cast included Joan Marshall as Phoebe (instead of Lily), Beverley Owen as Marilyn, Al Lewis as Grandpa, Fred Gwynne as Herman and Eddie was portrayed by Nate "Happy" Derman as a brat. It was later decided that Joan Marshall looked too much like Morticia Addams and that Happy Derman was too nasty as Eddie, so both were replaced. Other differences is the pilot title sequence had light, happy music borrowed from the Doris Day movie The Thrill of It All instead of the instrumental rock "The Munsters' Theme" by composer/arranger Jack Marshall. Also the same house exterior was used, but it was later changed to appear more gothic and "spooky" in the series. This included adding the tower deck and Marilyn's deck; a new coat of paint; and enlarging the living room. Although Grandpa had the same dungeon, Gwynne did not wear padding in the pitch episode, had a more protruding forehead, and was broad but thin. The pilot was reused as the basis for episode 2, "My Fair Munster," and is available on the complete first season of The Munsters DVDs.

The Munsters Unaired Pilot:

The Munsters Today is an American sitcom and a revival of the original 1964-66 sitcom The Munsters that aired in syndication from October 8, 1988, to May 25, 1991, with 73 episodes produced, giving it more first-run episodes than the original series. This color revival starred John Schuck (Herman), Lee Meriwether (Lily), Howard Morton (Grandpa), Jason Marsden (Eddie) and Hilary Van Dyke (Marilyn). It was created following a failed attempt to revive the show with most of the original cast (Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis and Yvonne De Carlo) in the 1981 NBC TV Movie The Munsters' Revenge.

The unaired pilot below was written and produced by Lloyd J. Scwartz, bridging the gap between the 1966 series and the Munster family in 1988. Mary Ellen Dunbar starred as Marilyn in the pilot and was later replaced by Hilary Van Dyke in the series. Here is the pilot synopsis:

Grandpa creates "Sleeping Chambers," coffins which make the user fall asleep for a selected amount of time, and insists the entire family try them out. After Grandpa sets the dial for 30 minutes and shuts the door, a flash of light and a falling beam change the dial to "Forever." Twenty-two years later, a developer named Mr. Preston (Dave Madden) and his assistant want to buy the Munsters' home and turn it into a parking lot. While Mr. Preston and his assistant are exploring the house, down in Grandpa's lab, the assistant gets tangled in spider webs and knocks the dial to "off." The Munster family awakens to the world of 1988 and have to figure out a way to buy back their own house which is being foreclosed upon due to 22 years of missed taxed payments and fines.

The Munsters Today Unaired Pilot - Still The Munsters After All These Years:

Here is The Munsters Today 1988 Network Promo which is basically a condensed version of the pilot above:


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