The Munsters Episode 1: Munster Masquerade

General Information

Director: Lawrence Dobkin

Writers: Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher

Cast: Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Beverley Owen, Butch Patrick, Fred Gwynne, Linden Chiles, Mabel Albertson, Frank Wilcox, Lurene Tuttle, Walter Woolf King, Nina Roman, Paul Bradley, Berniece Dalton, and Roy Darmour

Composer: Jack Marshall

Air Date: 9/24/1964

 

Overview

Enamored of Tom Daly (Linden Chiles), a charming young man with upper-class parents, Marilyn accompanies Grandpa, Herman, and Lily (Yvonne De Carlo) to a costumethe-munsters-munster-masquerade party hosted by Albert and Agnes Daly (Frank Wilcox and Mabel Albertson). Unable to display social etiquette while in the presence of their hosts, the Munsters inadvertently cause a rift in Marilyn’s relationship with Tom.

“Munster Masquerade” is a clever and worthwhile introduction to The Munsters. Exceptionally commendable are the masquerade scenes, which include the first and arguably most effective use of mix-up comedy ever featured in this series.

 

Pros

(Spoilers beyond this point)

For obvious reasons, the Munsters have a difficult time interacting with normal members of society. In order to work around this problem, writers Joe Connelly andthe-munsters-munster-masquerade Bob Mosher crafted a unique scenario in which Herman, Lily, and Grandpa are invited to a costume party, allowing them to go out in public without scaring everyone in sight. Especially terrific is the twist ending, wherein Herman wins a prize for wearing a “mask under a mask,” offending him greatly (unbeknownst to his fellow party-goers, Herman actually resembles the Frankenstein monster, thus accounting for his mask-like appearance).

 

Cons

The B story involving Eddie (Butch Patrick) and his babysitter, Mrs. Morton (Lurene Tuttle), never results in a hilarious or memorable outcome. In fact, when faced with Munster family kookiness, Mrs. Morton responds in a mostly calm and the-munsters-munster-masqueraderestrained manner—a missed opportunity for an amusing reaction from her. (The same cannot be said of Tom Daly, who runs away panicking upon discovering the truth about Marilyn’s aunt and uncle.)

 

Analysis

As opposed to “My Fair Munster,” the unaired pilot, “Munster Masquerade” does an excellent job of establishing the family relationships that would define this series.

 

Concluding Comments

The first official episode of The Munsters, “Munster Masquerade” should be viewed by sitcom enthusiasts and classic horror fans alike. Worth praising in particular is the misunderstanding humor employed by Connelly and Mosher, which gave the monster theme a then fresh and creative spin.

 

Overall Quality: 9/10

 

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