Cousin Itt

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Cousin Itt
The Addams Family character
First appearance "Cousin Itt Visits the Addams Family" (1965)[1]
Created by David Levy
Charles Addams
Portrayed by Felix Silla (1964–66, 1977)
John Franklin (1991-93)
David Mylrea (1998–99)
Phil Fondacaro (1998)
Voiced by Tony Magro (1964-66)
John Stephenson (1972-73)
Pat Fraley (1992-93)
Paul Dobson (1998–99)

Cousin Itt is a fictional character in the Addams Family television and film series. He was developed specifically for the 1964 television series The Addams Family, and is a regular supporting character in subsequent motion picture, television, and stage adaptations.

Character background[edit]

Cousin Itt is a diminutive, hirsute being composed entirely of floor-length hair, often accompanied by a bowler hat and sunglasses, and he speaks in high-pitched gibberish that is understood only by other family members.[2] As he was created specifically for the 1960s television series,[3] illustrations of the character by cartoonist Charles Addams followed the show's debut, first in a single-panel sketch showing Itt on the telephone ("This is It speaking"),[4] and later in family-portrait artwork.[5][6]

Appearances[edit]

Television[edit]

Itt is introduced in the television series as the cousin of family patriarch Gomez Addams. He is an occasional guest in the Addams' home, entering and exiting through the chimney, though he has his own quarters which are furnished in proportion to his size. The character's role in the series is his vainly attempting a multitude of professions such as an actor,[7] a singer, a marriage counselor,[8] and a zoo curator,[1] while his physical appearance is the subject of one episode in which he begins losing his hair.[9] Cousin Itt appeared in nineteen total episodes of the original series and was played by Felix Silla, save for his last two appearances in which he was played by Roger Arroyo. Silla attended a casting call in Los Angeles and was given the role on the spot without having to audition.[3] The character's heavy costume was first constructed with real hair but later changed to a fire-retardant synthetic, as smoking on the set was common and therefore presented a fire hazard.[3] Silla's instructions were simply to walk around on the set, as Itt's voice (provided by sound engineer Tony Magro)[10] was dubbed in post-production, but he often had difficulty seeing through the costume during shooting.[11]

Cousin Itt appears with the other family members in a September 23, 1972 crossover episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, titled "Wednesday is Missing".[12] He was voiced by John Stephenson, who returned to the role in the 1973 Hanna-Barbera animated series. In the 1992 animated series, Itt (voiced by Pat Fraley) is depicted as a carefree bachelor who is often seen in the company of female companions.

Film[edit]

In the 1991 feature film The Addams Family, Cousin Itt (spelled "It" therein, and played and voiced by John Franklin)[11] has a minor role in which he becomes infatuated with Margaret Alford (Dana Ivey), the mistreated wife of the Addamses' crooked lawyer Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), when he meets her at a party and asks her to dance.[13] They are shown to be married in the 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values, and are the parents of a miniature version of It named "What".[14][note 1] In the 1998 direct-to-video film Addams Family Reunion, Itt (played by Phil Fondacaro) is pursued by a mutant dog invented by Uncle Fester and who feeds on human hair.

Legacy[edit]

Two plant species native to eastern Australia, the casuarina glauca and acacia cognata, are part of a cultivar called "Cousin Itt" due to their short size and shaggy appearance.[2][15]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tully Alford is buried alive at the conclusion of the 1991 film along with its other antagonist, Abigail Craven (played by Elizabeth Wilson).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wilson, Tony; Sharp, Henry (writers) (February 5, 1965). "Cousin Itt Visits the Addams Family". The Addams Family (Television episode). Season 01. Episode 20. ABC. 
  2. ^ a b Siskin, Joshua (August 28, 2017). "Gardening: 'Cousin Itt' is where it's at for water thrifty gardeners". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c Glionna, John M. (November 2, 2014). "Felix Silla, a.k.a. Cousin Itt, looks back on a kooky career". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ Addams, Charles. "This is It speaking". Reprinted on TV Tropes. Retrieved January 21, 2018. 
  5. ^ Addams, Charles (1991). The World of Charles Addams. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0394588223.  (book cover)
  6. ^ "The Bruce Museum to Host Original Cartoon Artworks of Charles Addams". Art Knowledge News. Retrieved January 21, 2018. 
  7. ^ Leslie, Phil (writer) (September 17, 1965). "My Fair Cousin Itt". The Addams Family (Television episode). Season 02. Episode 01. ABC. 
  8. ^ Winkler, Harry; Coons, Hannibal (writers) (May 7, 1965). "Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor". The Addams Family (Television episode). Season 01. Episode 32. ABC. 
  9. ^ Henning, Carol; Ring, Ed; Persons, Mitch (story), Leslie, Phil (teleplay) (April 30, 1965). "Cousin Itt's Problem". The Addams Family (Television episode). Season 02. Episode 06. ABC. 
  10. ^ Lentz III, Harris M. (2005). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2004. McFarland & Company. p. 220. ISBN 0786421037. 
  11. ^ a b Cox, Stephen (1998). The Addams Chronicles: An Altogether Ooky Look at the Addams Family. Cumberland House Publishing (2nd Edition). ISBN 1888952911. 
  12. ^ William Hanna, Joseph Barbera (directors); Jameson Brewer, Ruth Brooks Flippen, et al. (writers) (September 23, 1972). "Wednesday is Missing". The New Scooby-Doo Movies (Television episode). Season 01. Episode 03. ABC. 
  13. ^ Sonnenfeld, Barry (director) (1991). The Addams Family (Motion picture). 
  14. ^ Sonnenfeld, Barry (director) (1993). Addams Family Values (Motion picture). 
  15. ^ Hitchcock, Bobbie (2005). "Casuarina glauca prostrate forms — including Casuarina 'Cousin It'". Australian National Botanic Gardens. Retrieved January 20, 2018.