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A 'Family' with tender loving scare

It's almost Halloween, so what better time than now to ponder TV's coolest ghouls -- the macabre clan known as "The Addams Family." The comedy, inspired by Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons, ran on ABC for just two seasons (1964-66) but has a left a Lurch-size footprint on pop culture ever since. (You can catch an episode Monday night at 7:30 on Boomerang.) Here are five things you may not have known about the show:

* The theme song was written and sung by Vic Mizzy, a prolific songwriter. Mizzy sang the words (his voice was triple-tracked) because the production studio, Filmways, didn't want to pay for outside singers.

* When Lurch serenaded folks with his dulcet harpsichord playing, it was the multitalented Mizzy who was actually playing the instrument.

* Notable guest stars included fitness guru Jack LaLanne, insult comic Don Rickles and "Wicked Witch" Margaret Hamilton (who appeared three times as Morticia's mother, Grandma Frump).

* Cousin Itt's voice was provided by producer Nat Perrin. He spoke nonsense into a tape recorder and then played it back at a higher speed.

* Thing, the disembodied hand/arm limb, was usually played by Ted Cassidy, who also played Lurch. When Lurch was on camera simultaneously with Thing, viewers saw associate producer Jack Voglin's hand.


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