Director: Earl Bellamy
Writers: Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher
Cast: Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Beverley Owen, Butch Patrick, Fred Gwynne, John Hubbard, Joseph Mell, Johnny Silver, Count Billy Varga, Jimmy Lennon, Tiger Joe Marsh, Matt Murphy, The Great John L., Gene LeBell, Jay York, and Teddy Eccles
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 11/12/1964
A wrestling promoter named Duke Ramsey (John Hubbard) learns about Herman’s superhuman strength and subsequently offers him a promotional gig as “The Masked Marvel.” Herman accepts the proposal in order to earn extra money for Eddie’s college education; however, the goofy green giant soon becomes a laughing stock among his ignorant family.
Though this episode’s heavy reliance on slapstick humor grows tiresome by the final scenes, “Herman the Great” provides another clever excuse for Herman to interact with the real world while hiding his true appearance from public view. Fans of the Munster patriarch are sure to derive amusement from Herman’s gullible reactions to the sob stories of fellow wrestlers, while those who enjoy The Munsters for its awful special effects should get a kick out of the hilarious twist ending.
Once again, the writers came up with an ingenious premise that allows Herman to be the center of attention without scaring off everyone in sight. By concealing his ridiculous face with a hood, Herman successfully comes off as a “normal” wrestler and proceeds to make a fool out of himself in a most humorous fashion. Especially amusing is the fact that Lily, Eddie, and Marilyn insult and root against Herman while watching his bogus antics on television, whereas Grandpa tacitly defends the Masked Marvel after uncovering his real identity. Overall, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher made the absolute best use of their material involving Herman’s wrestling stint.
While some roughhousing is to be expected given the nature of Herman’s new job, the violent content in “Herman the Great” may be off-putting to those who admire The Munsters for its family-friendly subject matter.
Unlike many previous episodes, the Munster family dynamics are not as apparent in this entry due to Herman’s “absence” for much of the story. Some viewers may nevertheless be touched by Herman’s willingness to put himself in a degrading position for his son’s benefit, even though Eddie unwittingly mocks Herman’s wrestling persona on numerous occasions.
“Herman the Great” includes another brilliant narrative centering on the title character’s oblivious behavior. Wrestling enthusiasts will appreciate this episode’s tongue-in-cheek approach to the sport, whereas fans of ghoulish puns and typical Munster reaction shots should view this offering for obvious reasons.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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