The Addams are my favorite cartoon/TV family. And why not. Gomez and Morticia are radiantly in love, have two intelligent, lively and well behaved kids, a complex and loving extended family, loyal servants, cool pets, and a great house. And plenty of money to basically sit around all day enjoying the whole range of domestic experiences.
To Addams family fans, their house is a familiar place. We think of it as delightfully crowded and cluttered, a Victorian cabinet of curiosities with a Gothic twist. But the first version of the house, as seen in the original New Yorker cartoons was actually rather bare and desolate– a half abandoned “haunted house” rather than a luxuriously furnished one. (I won’t suggest that this simple set was easier to draw– Addams was a fine draftsman and could draw details like nobody’s business, so we can safely assume this was an artistic decision.)
It was in the first the Addams Family TV show that the familiar, heavily dressed version of the house was added to the original Addams canon. Here, the family butler Lurch plays the harpsichord for the family gathered in the living room in a scene from the show.
And this is a photograph of the same set, from a different angle and with the props in different positions, from a “backstage” point of view.
Today, rather suddenly, a different version of this photograph has been circulating on the internet, rather to everyone’s shock. Because, really, who thinks about the fact that the sets of black and white movies and television shows were in color in real life?
And of course they are. It’s not like television production companies went around buying props and painting them in shades of grey. A common reaction to this photograph is to comment about the walls and rugs being pink, or the colors scheme in general being heavily loaded with pastels. But the more I looked at this image (it really is fascinating) the more sure I was that it was overexposed. So I’ll leave you with this tweaked version, where I lowered the shadows a bit and the highlights a little bit more. I see the colors of the old Oriental rugs as a little bit truer to examples I’ve know in real life, and the rest of colors just snap into place.
Just add a sketchbook, a big screen TV and a couple of corgis and I’m there.