They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, altogether ooky, and their TV show is turning 50 years old.
"The Addams Family" debuted on September 18, 1964. It served as a memorable introduction to the family that loved all things macabre, especially each other, and were baffled when outsiders were horrified by their unique lifestyle--despite the family's attempts to be inviting and polite.
The family was the creation of cartoonist Charles Addams, who drew them alongside other cartoons he crafted for The New Yorker starting in 1938. In the early 1960s, a producer named David Levy approached Addams about turning his single-frame family into a half-hour TV show.
So Addams fleshed out his characters, gave them names and helped the showrunners bring them to life. The mansion was also expanded upon. It was given an address on Cemetery Lane and transformed from the haunted, dilapidated, isolated home to the museum seen in the show. (Click here or on an image for a slideshow.)
The two-headed turtle, the growling bear rug, the fish with a foot on the wall, the game of "darts" with knives, Morticia's conservatory of deadly plants, Gomez's exploding train set, the playroom of medieval torture devices: All became regular parts of the show's fun.
The interior was a set, but the exterior of the mansion was real -- for about the first minute of the first episode. After that debut, producers began using a painting in the opening credits instead.
Despite lasting just two seasons, "The Addams Family" became an indelible part of pop culture, thanks in part to late-night reruns that continued decades after the show ended. A lot of lore surrounds the family's mansion--many a gothic building or Victorian home has been claimed as the homestead's inspiration.
Most of those are just legend, but a few claims do have some credibility.