On-Set Drama From 'The Munsters' That Producers Kept Under Wraps For Years
Countless TV comedies have centered on on wacky families, but one show broke the mold by featuring a much more... unusual family unit. The Munsters delighted audiences with an ordinary sitcom family who just happened to be movie monsters. But while the show became a cult classic, its unconventional approach causes more than a little chaos behind the scenes. In fact, some of these backstage secrets only came out after The Munster's surprising cancellation.
Leave it to the Munsters
Beneath its monstrous exterior, The Munsters was a classic sitcom built around the zany adventures of a single family. That actually makes sense, given the identity of the production team behind the show. The same team that produced Leave It to Beaver actually created The Munsters. On a structural level, both shows were markedly similar; that just goes to show appearances are only skin deep!
Once the show's concept was fleshed out, Universal executives needed to start casting the family. Thankfully, they could find two actors who had developed chemistry on a previous project. Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis, who played Herman and Grandpa, were co-stars on Car 54, Where Are You? But two people don't form a family; someone else was needed to fill things out.
Rough first impressions
Yvonne De Carlo was selected to play Lily Munster, a role once connected to actress Joan Marshall, but Gwynne and Lewis were skeptical about her selection at first. They feared that she was just a pretty face who lacked any comedic chops. Lewis later admitted, "She was a bona fide movie star, and we didn’t think she would fit in with our brand of comedy. We were wrong."
It goes without saying that once she was officially part of the cast, De Carlo proved to be an asset to the show. She did ruffle some feathers, however, by frequently requesting hair and makeup adjustments on the set. All these touch-ups happened in her personal trailer, which spread the feeling that the actress did not spend enough time on set.