Grandmama (The Addams Family)
|The Addams Family character|
|First appearance||The New Yorker cartoon (1938)|
|Created by||Charles Addams|
|Portrayed by||Blossom Rock (first television series)
Jane Rose (Halloween with the New Addams Family)
Judith Malina (first film)
Carol Kane (second film)
Alice Ghostley (third film)
Betty Phillips (second television series)
Jackie Hoffman (Broadway musical)
|Aliases||Esmeralda (third film)
Eudora (second television series)
|Occupation||Witch and fortune teller|
Grandmama, also known as Grandma Frump, Grandmama Addams, Mama or Granny, is a fictional character within The Addams Family, created by American cartoonist Charles Addams. Her first name is sometimes given as Esmeralda or Eudora.
Grandmama first appeared in Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons, sometimes with the rest of the family, sometimes solitarily. She is usually shown stirring potions and doing other witch-like things.
Grandmama is the grandmother of the Addams children, Pugsley and Wednesday Addams, although her relationship to the other family members is less clear. Grandmama is known for her cynical—and sometimes morbid—sense of humor and her recreational interest in the occult. She is often shown concocting various potions, spells and hexes for a multitude of purposes, and even dabbles in fortune-telling. In the episode "Halloween, Addams Style," when a neighbor claims to have seen a witch on the family's roof, she declares this untrue as she was just up there herself and saw no one, indicating that she does not consider herself a "witch" by the standards the family follows. One of her favorite hobbies is wrestling alligators. She is probably best recognized for her gray frizzy hair and her shawl.
Grandma Frump is foolishly good-natured... A closely knit family, the real head being Morticia — although each of the others is a definite character — except for Grandma, who is easily led. Many of the troubles they have as a family are due to Grandma's fumbling, weak character.
Relationship with other characters
Grandmama is the grandmother of the Addams children, Pugsley and Wednesday Addams, although her relationship to the other family members is somewhat inconsistent in the various incarnations of the family. In Charles Addams' original The New Yorker cartoon strips, the character was referred to as Grandma Frump, 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's 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". The following episode references Gomez's parents, Mother and Father Addams. 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".
In the sitcom
Per the 1960s sitcom, Grandmama is of partially French descent; her Great-Great-Grandmother Slice was "the Belle of the French Revolution," and Grandmama sometimes regaled Pugsley and Wednesday with tales of that era, prompting Wednesday's hobby of decapitating her dolls. However, Grandmama herself was apparently born in Spain, which she later refers to as "the old country." As a teen, she attended "Swamptown High" with her friend Hester née Frump, future mother of Morticia Addams. As an adult, Grandmama and her husband (referred to only as "Mr. Addams," he never received a first name in dialogue; in the episode "Green-Eyed Gomez," Uncle Fester referred to Grandmama as "the Merry Widow," indicating that Mr. Addams was deceased by the 1960s) lived in Spain at least until Gomez was six, when Gomez was promised in marriage to a family friend's daughter, although both Gomez and Grandmama had forgotten this by the 1960s. She is the daughter of Grandpa Slurp, Gomez's maternal grandfather (Gomez's paternal grandfather, Grandpa Squint Addams, is mentioned in several episodes.). Described in the episode "The Addams Family Tree," Slurp was a two-headed man distinguished by his buck teeth and receding chin. "He was a handsome devil!" declared Gomez.
Little else is known of Grandmama's past save that she first voted in 1906. When Fester pointed out that there was no women's suffrage in 1906 (implying Grandmama lived in the U.S. at the time), she cryptically declared "That didn't stop me!"
Grandmama received neither first name nor maiden name in the 1960s series, although as a fortune teller she used the aliases "Madame Bovary," "Madame de Pompadour," and, following her arrest for fraud, "Madame X".
In other media
In various media she is known as Granny, Grandmamá, Grandma, Granny Frump, Esmerelda, Grandma Addams, and Eudora Addams.
She was given a more positive image in the 1989 Nintendo Entertainment System game Fester's Quest, where the instruction booklet says her psychic powers foretold the alien invasion that would come and abduct all the people in the city, so she invoked a curse on the Addams family mansion. As a result, when extraterrestrial scouts scanned the Addams residence for life forms they found none, thanks to Grandmama's curse.
In the first animated series, Janet Waldo voiced Grandmama just as she played Morticia. Waldo also voiced Grandmama in an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies which featured the family. In the second series, Carol Channing did her voice. In the Broadway musical, she is played by Jackie Hoffman. Here it is not entirely clear whose mother Grandmama is. Morticia explains to Gomez how, as she says, your mother came to visit and, apparently, never left. To which he replies: "I thought she was your mother!"