The Munsters: The Complete Series
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Have a howlingly good time with the First Family of Fright in this collectible Complete Series that includes all 70 classic TV episodes and the two frighteningly funny feature-length movies. Reunite with the wonderfully weird Munster Clan: "working stiff" Herman, mom Lily, wacky Grandpa, the unusually normal Marilyn, and little Eddie. Plus, now see the episode "Family Portrait" in spookily spectacular full color for the first time ever. With so much Munster mayhem, your whole family is sure to have a scream!
It has its own stormy weather and fire-breathing housepet named Spot, but the mansion at 1313 Mockingbird Heights is otherwise like any other American sitcom home. This is the address of the Munsters, the family that for two seasons, 1964-66, found a permanent place in pop culture--if not "monster" success. Developed by Leave It to Beaver team Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, the series was a standard sitcom (complete with the same awful canned laughter), except that the Ward Cleaver character was a reanimated corpse.
Dad Herman (Fred Gwynne) was a Frankenstein's monster, mom Lily (Yvonne DeCarlo) and Grandpa (Al Lewis) were vampires, and son Eddie (Butch Patrick) a little wolf-boy. Munster niece Marilyn was inexplicably normal, which prompted much worry from the other members of the family (she was played in early episodes by Beverly Owen, who left to get married, and then by Pat Priest). The plots revolve around typically tortured sitcom situations: Herman must lose weight to fit into his old Army uniform, Herman has insomnia, Herman takes dance lessons from a crooked instructor. (As that list would suggest, 6'5" Fred Gwynne's wonderfully agile slapstick and Borscht Belt comedy made him the center of the show.) What distinguished The Munsters from Father Knows Best was the Universal horror-movie lineage and the ghoulish one-liners (the latter growing a bit tedious after a while). The three-disc DVD has all 38 first-season episodes in excellent transfers, a 15-minute pilot with different actors as Lily and Eddie, and no extras or commentaries. High points include "Hot Rod Herman," which features the tricked-out Munster Koach and Drag-u-la (boss wagons both), and "Eddie's Nickname," the one where Grandpa gives Eddie a potion that causes the boy's beard to grow (a weirdly memorable image, if you're a kid). The show was either pure kiddie farce or a radical comment on the absurdly unreal world of sitcoms. Either way, if you grew up with them as an alternate TV family, you can't help but have warm feelings for the Munsters, as clammy as they are. --Robert Horton
The second and final season of The Munsters seamlessly carries on the sardonic picture of family life painted in the monster-comedy's first year. Family head Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) continues to vacillate between thick-headedness and intellectual posturing. His wife, Lily (Yvonne DeCarol), has her feet on the ground, even if her daughter-of-Dracula looks skew her idea of beauty and grace. Grandpa (Al Lewis), the irascible vampire, spends his time concocting mad inventions and criticizing Herman. Young Eddie (Butch Patrick) goes to school and acts like any other kid except, well, he isn't. And lovely Marilyn (Pat Priest) is still stuck with low self-esteem, convinced by her Uncle Herman, Aunt Lily and Grandpa that she's an unattractive woman who scares away potential suitors. In the opening episode, "Herman's Child Psychology," Herman disastrously attempts to convince Eddie not to run away from home by acting as if his son's behavior is no big deal. The very funny "Herman, the Master Spy" finds the big man taken aboard a Russian submarine, where the undersea comrades assume he must be some sort of strange fish. "A Man for Marilyn" concerns Grandpa's ridiculous effort to turn a frog into a handsome boyfriend for Marilyn, an experiment he assumes must have worked when a good-looking guy turns up at the Munster home. (The fellow is there because he assumes Marilyn is being held against her will by monsters.) "Big Heap Herman" is a particularly silly but enjoyable story about an Indian tribe that has been awaiting the arrival of a god who looks, of course, like Herman.
Along with seasons one and two on The Munsters: The Complete Series are a couple of post-TV series, theatrical movies of differing quality. In Munster, Go Home, Herman discovers he's the new lord of Munster Hall in England. Crossing the Atlantic with his family to claim his inheritance, Herman is met with hostility by the would-be heirs (played by Terry-Thomas and Hermione Gingold) and a plot to eliminate him from a car race. While the film takes something away from The Munsters by placing them in foreign territory, Munster, Go Home is still a lot of fun. Less so is the cheap-looking The Munsters' Revenge, a 1981 potboiler in which Herman and Grandpa are charged with crimes committed by robot monsters from a wax museum. Hard to watch and kind of greasy-looking, Revenge is instantly forgettable, even with Sid Caesar's participation. --Tom Keogh
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Top Customer Reviews
The episodes in the second season became even more bizarre. They also featured more physical comedy, especially with regards to Herman's super-human strength, and his ability to take punishment. In the episode "John Doe Munster," a huge safe falls on Herman's head. Herman isn't physically injured, but he does develop amnesia. In "Just Another Pretty Face," due to an accident in Grandpa's lab, Herman's face becomes disfigured, at least by Munsters' standards. Fred Gwynne appears without the Munster makeup on his face, for most of the episode. Near the end of the episode, Herman is hit by lightning, which restores his original facial features. Due to the rigors of applying that makeup, and wearing the heavy boots and bulky clothes, playing Herman took a physical toll on Fred Gwynne. In addition to that, Fred was wary of being typecast as Herman Munster for the rest of his career. The success of "Batman" caused a ratings drop for "The Munsters," which led to their cancellation after the second season. Fred, Al and Yvonne did appear in the theatrical movie "Munster, Go Home!" (1966), and the made-for-TV movie "The Munsters' Revenge" in 1981. Fortunately, both of those movies are included as bonus features in this box set. In addition, biographies of Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis and Yvonne De Carlo are also included in disc 6 of season two. Also included is the best bonus feature about the Munsters, "America's First Family Of Fright." After watching this box set, it's easy to see why a TV show that debuted fifty years ago, and only lasted two seasons, is so fondly remembered.
The Munsters are the best! One of my favorite TV shows! And this set includes every hilarious minute of Herman, Lily, Eddie, Marilyn, and good ole Grandpa living life at 1313 Mockingbird Lane!
Previously released as separate season sets, each with its own history of issues Munsters fans are all too familiar with, The Munsters Complete Series doesn't just simply repackage the episodes but also attempts to do the fans proud by righting the wrongs that haunted the previous sets.
Remember the dual-sided discs? Gone. Remember the flimsy, gimmicky, craptastic "Herman's Head" box you had to fight with to get the discs out of? Gone. Instead you'll find...
For your convenience and viewing pleasure, Universal has repackaged from the Season 1 and Season 2 sets every classic episode from the series (and respective special features) on 12 single-sided DVDs (including two bonus features) all in an exclusive collectible box set with nice package art for hours of eerie Munsters fun, and for a very reasonable price!
Special Features include:
* "America's First Family of Fright"
* "Fred Gwynne: More Than a Munster"
* "Yvonne De Carlo: Guilded Lily"
* "Al Lewis: Forever Grandpa"
* The Munsters Unaired Pilot
* The Munsters "Family Portrait" Episode (Color Version)
(Note: If you own the original separate season sets then you already have The Munsters - Complete Series episodes and special features minus the previously unreleased The Munsters "Family Portrait" episode (color version), and should consider The Munsters - Family Portrait separate single disc release which also features both the color and original B&W version before deciding.)
* Munster, Go Home! (1966)
* The Munsters' Revenge (1981)
My Fair Munster
A Walk on the Mild Side
Tin Can Man
Herman the Great
Knock Wood, Here Comes Charlie
The Midnight Ride of Herman Munster
The Sleeping Cutie
The Munsters' Family Portrait
Grandpa Leaves Home
Grandpa's Call of the Wild
If a Martian Answers, Hang Up
Bats of a Feather
Don't Bank on Herman
Dance With Me, Herman
Follow That Munster
Love Locked Out
Come Back, Little Googie
Far Out Munsters
Munsters on the Move
Movie Star Munster
Herman the Rookie
Country Club Munsters
Love Comes to Mockingbird Heights
Lily Munster, Girl Model
Munster the Magnificent
Herman's Happy Valley
Hot Rod Herman
Yes, Galen, There Is a Herman (aka My Friend Herman)
Herman's Child Psychology
Herman, the Master Spy
Bronco Bustin' Munster
Herman Munster, Shutter Bug
Herman, Coach of the Year
Happy 100th Anniversary
Lily's Star Boarder
John Doe Munster
The Man for Marilyn
Herman's Driving Test
Will Success Spoil Herman Munster?
The Treasure of Mockingbird Heights
Herman's Peace Offensive
Herman Picks a Winner
Just Another Pretty Face
Heap Big Herman
The Most Beautiful Ghoul in the World
Grandpa's Lost Wife
The Fregosi Emerald
Cyrano de Munster
A Visit from Johann
Herman the Tire Kicker
A House Divided
Herman's Sorority Caper
A Visit from the Teacher
That's a LOT of Munsters!
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