Grandmama (The Addams Family)

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Grandmama
The Addams Family character
First appearanceThe New Yorker cartoons (1938)
Created byCharles Addams
Portrayed byBlossom Rock (first television series)
Jane Rose (Halloween with the New Addams Family)
Judith Malina (first film)
Carol Kane (second film)
Alice Ghostley (Addams Family Reunion)
Betty Phillips (The New Addams Family)
Jackie Hoffman (musical)
Voiced byJanet Waldo (1973 animated series)
Carol Channing (1992 animated series)

Grandmama is a fictional character in the Addams Family television and film series. First appearing in the works of cartoonist Charles Addams, she is a supporting character in series film, television and stage adaptations.

Character background[edit]

Grandmama Addams is an aged witch who concocts potions and spells, and dabbles in fortune telling and knife throwing. She is the grandmother of the Addams children, Pugsley and Wednesday, although her relationship to the other family members is less consistent. Grandmama first appeared along with the then-unnamed Addams family in Charles Addams' original cartoons published in The New Yorker, in which she was regularly illustrated with shoulder-length frizzy hair and a fringed shawl.[1] Addams described Grandmama in a 1963 character synopsis as "a disrespectful old hag" and "foolishly good-natured ... a weak character [who] is easily led."[1]

In Charles Addams' original The New Yorker cartoon strips, the character was referred to as Grandma Frump,[2] therefore making her Morticia's mother. For the original television series — as well as The New Addams Family, in which she is named Eudora Addams — her relationship to the family is retconned and she becomes Gomez's mother. However, both the feature films and animated television series conform to Charles Addams' original concept of Grandmama as Wednesday's and Pugsley's maternal grandmother. In the first film, Morticia and Fester discuss how "Mother and Father Addams" were killed by an angry mob, removing any possibility that Grandmama could be Gomez and Fester's mother. In the third film, in which she is named Esmeralda, she is again implied to come from Morticia's family. The character is simply referred to as Granny in the two animated series. In the 1992 series, Grandmama is Morticia's mother and, in the second episode, introduces herself with the line, "the name's Granny Frump".[3]

In the Broadway musical The Addams Family, Morticia refers to Grandmama as Gomez and Uncle Fester's mother (complaining that she was supposed to move in for two weeks, and it's been twelve years), to which he reacts with surprise and says that he thought she was Morticia's mother; Morticia later says that Grandmama "may not even be part of this family".

Appearances[edit]

Television and film[edit]

The character was named "Grandmama" for the 1960s television series in order to avoid confusion with Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies.[4] She was played by Blossom Rock, who won the role over actresses such as Minerva Urecal and Marjorie Bennett,[5] while Alice Pearce had been rejected after the producers deemed her too young for the part.[6] However, due to illness, Rock was the one regular cast member from the show who did not return for the 1977 reunion film Halloween with the New Addams Family, and she was replaced as Grandmama by Jane Rose.[7] The character was played by Betty Phillips in the 1998-99 television series The New Addams Family.

Janet Waldo voiced Grandmama in the 1973 animated series, and Carol Channing provided the character's voice for the 1992 animated series.

Three different actresses played Grandmama in the three Addams Family feature films. Judith Malina appeared in the 1991 film The Addams Family, and was replaced by Carol Kane for the 1993 sequel Addams Family Values. For the 1998 direct-to-video picture Addams Family Reunion, Grandmama was played by Alice Ghostley.

In other media[edit]

In the 1989 Nintendo Entertainment System game Fester's Quest, the instruction booklet says Grandmama's psychic powers foretold the alien invasion that would come and abduct all the people in the city, so she invokes a curse on the family mansion. As a result, when extraterrestrial scouts scan the Addams residence for life forms they find none, thanks to Grandmama's curse.

Grandmama was played by Jackie Hoffman in the 2010 Broadway musical, in which her relation to the family in the storyline is ambiguous.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Addams, Charles; Miserocchi, Kevin (2010). The Addams Family: An Evilution. Pomegranate. ISBN 0764953885.
  2. ^ Miserocchi, Kevin, (2010) The Addams Family: An Evilution, p.2 (online sample pages)
  3. ^ Episode 1x02, "Dead and Breakfast", (1992) The Addams Family
  4. ^ Pinkton, Edgar (February 13, 1965). "That Abnormal Addams Family Has Real Heart Year Round". The Troy Record. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  5. ^ Image gallery from Time magazine; reposted on tumblr.com
  6. ^ Humphrey, Hal (January 17, 1965). "Toothpaste to Witchery". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Cox, Stephen (1998). The Addams Chronicles: An Altogether Ooky Look at the Addams Family. Cumberland House Publishing (2nd Edition). ISBN 1888952911.