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
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 costume 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.
(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 and 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).
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 restrained 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.)
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.
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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