Friday, October 21, 2011

Pat Priest: Memories Of Mockingbird Lane, "The Munsters" excerpt from Living Room Legends, by, Eddie Lucas

“The Munsters”

1313 Mockingbird Lane is an address I remember with great fondness. At first glance, one might grow suspect of this decrepit landmark-replete with wrought-iron gates, stone walls, howling winds, and blowing tumbleweed. But this wasn’t just any average, neighborhood haunted house.
This archaic Mockingbird Heights mansion was the gothic homestead of The Munsters; Grandpa, Herman, Lily, Eddie, and Marilyn, one of the most atypical families ever encountered on the small screen.
The intriguing interior of this unusual abode had it all--a staircase that opened to reveal Spot, the family fire-breathing pet; a casket in the hall that housed the family telephone; and a downstairs dungeon full of electricity-spitting machines and bubbling test-tubes full of Grandpa’s secret potions.
Watching The Munsters was always great fun--an escape from the “normal” TV families of the day. And in the days before computers and video games, a kid like me had to be imaginative and create some fun of his own. There were a few times when I’d pin an old beach towel over my shoulders and stomp down the steps to our family carport, pretending I was Grandpa Munster descending his dark dungeon to create new potions and spells.
One day, I grabbed a box of something from the laundry room to add to my latest concoction. After carefully administering a few drops of water, it began to fizz, bubble, and foam! Excitedly, I ran up the hill to my uncle’s house to show them my incredible new creation! But Jeannie, my wise-acre older cousin, was quick to inform me that it was just “New Tide with X-K Enzymes” that my mom had recently purchased at the local Thriftway, and “it was supposed to do that.” That startling revelation quickly knocked the air out of my bubble, but it was still entertaining, and The Munsters bring back many enjoyable memories.
Unfortunately, Grandpa, (Al Lewis), Herman (Fred Gwynne), and Lily (Yvonne DeCarlo) are no longer with us; leaving only widow-peaked, wolf-boy, Eddie (Butch Patrick) and in the words of The Munsters’ themselves, “poor, unfortunate Marilyn” (who was actually the only normal looking one of the bunch).
Beverley Owen, who played Marilyn for the first thirteen episodes, asked to be released from her contract (to move closer to her fiancé in New York) and was abruptly replaced. The mid-season switch was so sudden, and the “Marilyns” looked so much alike, that upon first glance, some viewers barely noticed the new beauty gracing the catchy Munsters melody, until a closer inspection revealed an entirely new name on the opening credits; that of lovely Pat Priest.

To read more about Pat Priest and her experiences in Hollywood, turn to Living Room Legends: Chats With TV's Famous Faces, by, Eddie Lucas

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