The Munsters Episode 3: A Walk on the Mild Side

General Information

Director: Norman Abbott

Writers: Norm Liebmann and Ed Haas

Cast: Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Beverley Owen, Butch Patrick, Fred Gwynne, Barry Kelley, Cliff Norton, Larry Blake, Harrison Lewis, Kate Murtagh, Almira Sessions, Mike Gordon, and Jim Gruzal

Composer: Jack Marshall

Air Date: 10/8/1964

 

Overview

Hoping to cure his insomnia, Herman begins taking short, nighttime walks in Midcity Park. Before long, reports of a gigantic, green-skinned, red-eyed creature the-munsters-a-walk-on-the-mild-sidebegin to surface. Concerned for the safety of her husband, Lily suggests that Herman avoid the park lest he encounter the fiend in question.

“A Walk on the Mild Side” is a clever, if extremely silly, episode of The Munsters. Especially worth praising is the climactic scene, which indicates that Herman—a caricature of the Frankenstein monster—may possess a nobler, more easygoing temperament than do the majority of “normal” people.

 

Pros

Herman’s late-night stroll in the park elicits a variety of terrified (and therefore hilarious) facial expressions from nearby onlookers, including an old womanthe-munsters-a-walk-on-the-mild-side whose pigtails stand erect when the “monster” walks in front of her. It should also be noted that the hysterical reactions prompted by Herman’s appearance are never overplayed, quite unlike many similar gags featured in later episodes.

Also amusing is the B story contained in this narrative, which establishes the Grandpa character as a second-rate mad scientist. The highlight of this subplot occurs when Grandpa—now ready to test his magnifying device on a live subject—attempts to drastically increase Eddie’s size, with a predictable but humorous outcome.

 

Cons

the-munsters-a-walk-on-the-mild-sideThe antics of Chief Harris (Cliff Norton)—a goofy, incompetent police officer who disguises himself as a woman in order to bait the monster—are occasionally cringe-inducing.

 

Analysis

By (supposedly) risking his life to rescue Marilyn from danger, Herman proves himself to be a loving, dedicated father figure with heroic tendencies—an ironic contrast to the police officers stationed in Midcity Park, most of whom recoil in horror instead of apprehending their target.

 

Concluding Comments

A well-written episode, “A Walk on the Mild Side” will no doubt appeal to fans of the kooky, intentionally bad special effects commonly showcased in The Munsters. There are times, however, when the hijinks of Chief Harris detract from the main comedic device (i.e. commotion resulting from Herman’s walk in the park) employed by Ed Haas and Norm Liebmann.

 

Overall Quality: 8/10

 

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