Director: Norman Abbott
Writers: Norm Liebmann and Ed Haas
Cast: Joan Marshall, Beverly Owen, Happy Derman, Al Lewis, and Fred Gwynne
Air Date: Unaired
Upon returning home one evening, Marilyn Munster (Beverly Owen) blames herself for scaring away a potential boyfriend. In reality, Marilyn’s Uncle Herman (Fred Gwynn)—a benign caricature of Frankenstein’s monster—is responsible for the romantic troubles of his niece. At the urging of Herman’s wife Phoebe (Joan Marshall), Grandpa Munster (Al Lewis)—an elderly, cartoonlike version of Count Dracula—cooks up a love potion for Marilyn.
A poorly executed pilot, “My Fair Munster” should be viewed only by the most passionate fans of The Munsters. It should also be noted that Norman Abbott’s premise would be utilized more effectively in “My Fair Munster,” the same-titled episode from season one.
As Jack and Marilyn approach the front door of the Munster home, eerie sound effects (i.e. howling winds and the cries of a nearby wolf) are employed in conjunction with an ominous musical arrangement. Though hardly appropriate for a comedy show, the spooky combination outlined above may appeal to fans of the Universal Monster movies that inspired The Munsters.
Without his thick layer of chest padding, Herman may fail to convince the audience of his remarkable strength—a key aspect of the character that he would eventually become. Also worth criticizing is the facial makeup that was used to create Herman’s appearance, which does little to conceal the handsome features of a young Fred Gwynne.
Perhaps most distracting of all, the intrusive laugh track tends to overemphasize the subtle, if occasionally ridiculous, humor by which The Munsters would later be defined. (This problem can be excused, however, given that the comedic rhythm of this series had not yet been established when “My Fair Munster” was produced.)
By showcasing a number of dysfunctional attributes (e.g. the bratty behavior of Eddie and Herman’s lack of chemistry with his wife), “My Fair Munster” does a poor job of solidifying the wholesome, albeit kooky, family values with which the Munster family is typically associated.
“My Fair Munster” is a bizarre, though mildly intriguing, introduction to one of the most iconic sitcoms ever made. For series enthusiasts and casual viewers alike, this one should be avoided at all costs.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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