Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Dick Conway
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Jon Hoyt, Bartlett Robinson, and Richard Reeves
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 5/20/1965
After purchasing ten acres of land in Happy Holiday Valley—a ghost town advertised as a vacation resort—from con artists Barney Walters (John Hoyt) and Gil Craig (Richard Reeves), the Munsters immediately fall in love with the warm, cozy atmosphere of their new home away from home. Barney and Craig are initially pleased with the agreement; however, when Cunningham Aeronautics later offers $50,000 for the entire plot, the two criminals decide to “scare” the Munsters into selling back their recently purchased shares.
“Herman’s Happy Valley” should be commended for putting a clever spin on the conman trope. Especially worth praising, a late-night encounter involving Barney, Gil, and Herman leads to a frightful turn of events for only the former two involved.
Upon settling into the Happy Holiday Valley “vacation” home, Herman and the gang react to their surroundings in such a way that will amuse audiences who enjoy the kooky, zany humor typical of The Munsters. Highlights include Grandpa’s approval of the “excellent entertainment and recreational facilities” (actually a noose from which Big Billy was hanged nearly a hundred years prior) and Eddie’s “lovely” catch during a dry-land fishing trip.
Also hilarious is the fact that Barney—now desperate to convince the Munsters that their property is haunted—repeatedly knocks on an outside wall and sets in motion a self-playing piano, only for Grandpa to respond with irritation, not fear, toward what he assumes to be the spirit of his “no-good” cousin Humphrey. The shenanigans of Barney and Gil culminate in a brilliant twist ending, wherein Herman dons a cowboy outfit and is therefore mistaken for the ghost of Big Billy—the opposite of what both crooks, now sporting Halloween costumes, had expected to happen.
By choosing to sell his share of the Happy Holiday resort in order to advance a noble cause (i.e. solving the problems of everyone by blowing up the world), Herman further solidifies himself as an altruistic figure.
A delightful episode, “Herman’s Happy Valley” combines idiotic special effects with a simple, albeit wonderfully executed, misunderstanding scenario. For both casual viewers and diehard fans of The Munsters, this one will not disappoint.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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