- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Back Stage Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0823078949
- ISBN-13: 978-0823078943
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,253,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Munsters: A Trip Down Mockingbird Lane Paperback – October 1, 2006
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About the Author
Steve Cox has devoted his life to chronicling classic TV. A frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times and TV Guide, he has written books on The Addams Family (the old-money ghouls), .Gilligans Island, Green Acres, The Tonight Show, and many other great shows. He lives in California.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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There are hints about Patrick Lily (better known as Butch Patrick) and his behavior on the set. There is mention of Fred and Al's constant bickering with the powers-that-were, but nothing concrete. Someday I would like to read a biography that would focus on Patrick's experience as a child actor. I do not believe he was born in 1953, he looks nine (at oldest) when the show first premiers. I think his age was lied about so he could get into makeup and be on the set longer than a younger child would have been allowed (I surmise this because he still looks no older than 12 in 1968 when he does "The Phantom Tollbooth"). Although I love "The Munsters" television series, and generally believe a good experience was had by all, I would be interested in reading Lily's story; I think we would find that his grandmother used acting as some use modern-day foster care.
As for this work, it is rare that a television series receive such a loving treatment: the color photos are vivid, the black and whites are brillaint, there are several trivia features that are fun, but would not have been thought of by a lesser biographer. It is a terrific keepsake for Munsters' fans and television adhearants in general.
Cox, a fan of the show since childhood, takes a look at its history, the iconic characters, and the program's enduring legacy. With the exception of Fred Gwynne, the author was able to interview all of the primary cast, and many in the production staff, for his book. Now that Gwynne, Yvonne DeCarlo, and Al Lewis have sadly passed on, it would be very difficult for anyone to repeat what Cox has done.
With a ton of photos, "cutout" images, drawings, sketches, various lists, magazine covers and ads, and pages of various bold colors, the book has kind of a "scrapbook" appearance. The photos featured are mostly in black and white, includes many candid's, and some images that have apparently not been published before. Cox focuses almost entirely on matters related to the original cast, with an interesting episode guide for the original series, and coverage of the movies Munster, Go Home! (1966), and The Munster's Revenge (1981). There is a slight nod to the TV series, The Munsters Today (1988-91), and the briefest of glances, at other various made for TV Munster projects.
A dedicated fan of classic television, Stephen Cox has also written books about Gilligan's Island,Green Acres,The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Addams Family, among others. Cox's has an informal style, where he tries to keep things light, upbeat, and fun, and not get too heavy, or controversial. Things might seem too goofy or sugar coated at times, and the lack of "dirt", or deep critical analysis, might be the book's only fault.
The photos come alive on the glossy 8"x10" pages, although the different colored pages make some text less visible, the book is still mostly easy to read, and the quality is simply outstanding, particularly for a publication that is currently selling at Amazon for nine dollars. This book is highly recommended to any Munsters fan, and also a cool read for any lover of classic 60's TV comedies.
The author has been a fan since he was a teen and offers supporting evidence to prove that he pestered Al Lewis for years. The problem is that the book then has a very lop-sided approach to the Munsters, basically giving stories from Lewis's perspective. Since the author couldn't get Fred Gwynne to do an interview and only got short comments from Yvonne De Carlo, the book has an incomplete feel to it. There are many details lacking.
Some of the stories are interesting, but most are just average. The inside scoop as to who really created the show was fascinating (it wasn't the guys who did Leave It to Beaver, though they were the producers), but even the interviews with the real creators showed the two of them disagreeing on facts. Way too much time is spent on the make-up process (maybe because those people would talk to the author?). And there are times when totally unrelated information is included in this book.
One of the main problems is that this was really written in 1989, but it has a 2006 copyright on it, because it's a revised version of the previous book (and has a different title). Yet there are places in the book where the author hasn't updated the information from twenty years earlier!
There are also many times when people are referred to but there are no pictures to show those people. Yes, it's nice to see the great Munsters photos, but why not include others in the book?
There are factual errors. He claims that The Munsters Today was one of only two "series in television history to be exhumed from the depths of rerun status for a complete overhaul and production of an all-new version." (Wrong--he leaves out The Fugitive, Twilight Zone, Bionic Woman, etc.) He also says that The Munsters Today didn't run as long as the original show. (Wrong--it ran three years compared to two for the original.)
It's little things like that that make it frustrating to read. This is a three-star book that has a four-star design to it (beautiful color photos and nice lay-out). Yes, this revised version of an old book is better than nothing for the Munsters fan--but it falls far short of what it should have been because the author failed to do the work necessary to offer complete details and updated information.
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