What To Know About The Legendary TV Series


The Munsters

Image via Universal/CBS

Rob Zombie’s upcoming Munsters movie has been getting a lot of attention, with every trailer going viral on social media. Rob Zombie has always been a vocal fan of the franchise, even naming one of his most famous songs, dragula, after a race car seen in one episode of the original show.

And it’s easy to see why fans are excited about Zombie’s take on the franchise. With a cast that features former Doctor Who actor Sylvester McCoy and the legendary Cassandra Peterson, better known to horror fans as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, it sounds like a horror fan’s dream.

But what is The Munsters, and why has the franchise remained so popular? Here is everything you need to know about this legendary franchise.

what is The Munsters about?

The Munsters follows a Transylvanian-American family that spends their time in a fictional American city. However, while they act like your traditional American sitcom family, they’re certainly not. Because the family is made up entirely of monsters (all of whom are based on the classic Universal movie monsters).

A parody of American family sitcoms of the time, The Munsters used this odd cast to poke fun at society at large and common sitcom cliches.

What is the broadcast history of The Munsters?

The Munsters has a fascinating broadcast history. The original series landed on screens on September 24th, 1964, and ran for 38 episodes. A second season, consisting of 32 episodes, launched on September 16th, 1965. The entire series was broadcast in black and white, and it was quickly picked up for syndication, where it would be re-run several times on local and national networks.

Once the series ended, there were several attempts to reboot or relaunch it. First was the movie Munster, Go Home! in 1966. There was also an animated made-for-TV movie based on the franchise in 1973 called The Mini Munsters. 1981 saw a movie called The Munsters’ Revenge (which featured robot versions of the original characters) hit screens. But none led to the show’s revival.

It should also be noted that Grandpa Munster, played by Al Lewis, became a breakout character. Lewis would often appear on other shows as the character (though just called Grandpa to avoid infringing on the Munsters trademark). Famously, he would host Super Scary Saturday on the TBS Superstation, which featured showings of new and classic horror movies. This show would give many American children their first exposure to Godzilla.

The most successful reboot landed in 1988. Called The Munsters Today, this show updated the setting, featured a new cast, and was in color. It ran for three seasons before finally ending in 1991. Another TV movie was made in 1995 called Here Come the Munsters. This was followed by 1996’s The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas.

The final and most notorious reboot attempt came in 2012 when Mockingbird Lane was broadcast on NBC. Developed by Bryan Fuller, the special was decently popular when it was broadcast, but it never got picked up as a series.

Who played the Munsters?

The iconic Munsters characters have been played by several actors over the years, due to the sheer number of attempted reboots and relaunches.

The Munsters (1964)

  • Herman Munster – Fred Gwynne
  • Lily Munster – Yvonne De Carlo
  • Grandpa – Al Lewis
  • Eddie Munster – Butch Patrick
  • Marilyn Munster (Episodes 1-13) – Beverley Owen
  • Marilyn Munster (Episodes 14-70) – Pat Priest

The Munsters Today (1988)

  • Herman Munster – John Schuck
  • Lily Munster – Lee Meriwether
  • Grandpa – Howard Morton
  • Eddie Munster-Jason Marsden
  • Marilyn Munster – Hilary Van Dyke

Which members of the original Munsters casts are still alive?

As of the time of writing, Butch Patrick (the original Eddie Munster) and Pat Priest (the second Marilyn Munster) are the only surviving members of the 1964 cast. Of the 1980s cast, John Schuck, Lee Meriwether, Jason Marsden, and Hilary Van Dyke survive.

What was the Munster’s address?

The Munster’s home is one of the most iconic homes in television history. In all versions of the series, the Munsters live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane in the fictional city of Mockingbird Heights. No state was ever named, allowing Mockingbird Heights to function as a parody of the American “every city” common in sitcoms of the time.

This is why the 2012 reboot attempt was named Mockingbird Lane, to freshen up the series while still connecting to the original show.

Where can I watch The Munsters?

The original 1964 Munsters can be streamed on peacock. It can also be bought on Blu-ray or on digital storefronts. The various movies are available on DVD in different combinations.

The Munsters Today is much harder to find. It was available on Hulu for a time but is currently not on the service. It has also had sporadic physical releases that are mostly out of print now, making it hard to find today.

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