Lurch (The Addams Family)
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|First appearance||The New Yorker (1938)|
|Created by||Charles Addams|
|Portrayed by||Ted Cassidy |
Ryan Jacob Wood
|Voiced by||Jim Cummings|
Lurch (whose first name is unknown) is a fictional character created by American cartoonist Charles Addams as a manservant to The Addams Family. In the original television series, Lurch was played by Ted Cassidy, who used the famous catchphrase, "You rang?" (a similar phrase was the trademark of an earlier character Maynard G. Krebs in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis).
In Charles Addams's original cartoons, Lurch is often seen accompanying the rest of the Family, sometimes carrying a feather-duster. In a couple of illustrations, the Family is seen decorating Lurch like they would a Christmas tree.
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Lurch is a 6 ft 9 in (2.05 m) tall, shambling, gloomy butler. In the original Addams Family television series, Lurch has a deep and resonant voice. Although fully capable of normal speech, Lurch often communicates via simple inarticulate moans, which, much like the dialogue of Cousin Itt, his employers have no trouble understanding.
This towering mute has been shambling around the house forever...He is not a very good butler but a faithful one...One eye is opaque, the scanty hair is damply clinging to his narrow flat head...generally the family regards him as something of a joke.
Like any butler, Lurch tries to help around the house, but occasionally his great size and strength cause trouble. He clearly takes pride in his work and is willing to do even the most arduous task.
His character often demonstrates signs of frustration towards his employers; however, his continued presence also suggests loyalty. As a result, he appears to be one of the family.
The family summons him with an ever-present bell pull (in the form of a hangman's noose). When pulled, it produces a loud gong noise that shakes the house, to which Lurch instantly appears and responds, "You rang?", even if wide-angle shots reveal that he was clearly nowhere in the vicinity before; on a few occasions Lurch arrives even before the bell pull is tugged.
Lurch largely shares the family's macabre standards, although he occasionally looks askance at some of their activities. He has a similar attitude toward visitors – almost a sixth sense. When a plainclothes policeman (played by George N. Neise) visits, Lurch pats him down and removes his service revolver from inside his suit coat. Although Lurch groans disapprovingly at the idea of someone bringing a weapon into the house, he returns the gun after the policeman shows his badge.
Much of Lurch's history, including his first name and the nature of his relationship to any other Addamses, was originally unspecified. "Lurch" was revealed during the original TV series to be a surname, as there was a "Mother Lurch" who appeared in one episode (played by Ellen Corby). She addressed Lurch as "Sonny", which could either be a parental nickname or his actual first name. As for his father, he was mentioned twice, once in the second animated series, and in an apparent reference to his Frankenstein's monster-like appearance, Lurch said, smiling, "He put me together." And another time in the original series where Lurch mentions his father wanted him to be a jockey (typically short and light people) instead of a butler.
It was stated in Addams Family Reunion that Lurch is part Addams. This plays into his being a creation similar to Frankenstein's monster. The only definite body part that is from an Addams is his heart. Lurch's mother appears to be a physically normal, elderly woman, although she does not see anything unusual about the Addams family or their home, with the exception of Thing.
In The New Addams Family, a woman comments to Morticia about Lurch, "Where did you dig him up?", to which Morticia responds, "Funny, I can't remember which cemetery it was." Lurch is also referenced as having "two left feet".
On October 30, 1965, a song and dance based on Lurch, entitled "The Lurch", were introduced on the ABC music program Shindig!. This mirrored an earlier episode of the television series, entitled "Lurch, the Teenage Idol" (which was remade in 1999 for The New Addams Family). In it, Lurch records a song on his harpsichord and becomes a pop sensation.
During the 2018-2019 NBA season, analyst and former player Shaquille O'Neal began using Lurch's catchphrase "You Rang" to refer to Philadelphia 76ers backup center Boban Marjanovic, due to a perceived physical resemblance between Marjanovic and Lurch.