Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Douglas Tibbles
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Maurice Manson, Pitt Herbert, Mousie Garner, Jack Bernardi, and Audrey Swanson
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 2/11/1965
When Marilyn is incapacitated with a “high fever” of 98.6°, Herman and Grandpa volunteer to go to the bank and withdraw $618 from Lily’s tax account. Mistaking the pair for a couple of goons, the bank clerk (Audrey Swanson) gives Herman a bag containing $18,300 in cash. Disturbed by the prospect of being a rich man, Herman returns to the bank in the middle of the night and gets locked in a vault with Grandpa as a result.
The concept of a bank teller confusing Herman and Grandpa for a duo of masked robbers is an amusing one, while a clever twist ending allows this premise to reach its full potential. Though Douglas Tibbles’ narrative is stretched a tad thin at times, fans of The Munsters will nonetheless enjoy “Don’t Bank on Herman” for the hilarious antics of both main characters.
Once again, Herman demonstrates a remarkable inability to read social cues and correct any resultant misunderstandings. Fortunately, the mix-up at the bank sets the stage for another round of ridiculous shenanigans when Herman, now thoroughly ashamed by Lily’s scolding of him, decides to return the cash before his fantasies of prosperity prevent him from missing out on a good night’s sleep (he would have asked the bank teller to count the money for him earlier, but was afraid that she might yell at him). While Lily’s harsh treatment of Herman comes across as rather excessive, this motivating factor makes possible an encounter with the real bank robbers in the final scenes, thus leading to a satisfying conclusion in which Herman and Grandpa save the day, albeit unintentionally.
Though amusing in theory, Herman’s attempt to contact the police from inside the bank vault ends up falling flat due to a drawn-out execution.
As usual, Herman does the right thing by choosing to reimburse the bank for the amount that he accidentally stole. Also commendable is Herman’s decision to refuse a reward for “rendering the bank robbers unconscious,” which will appeal to viewers who admire the Munsters for their firm moral grounding.
“Don’t Bank on Herman” succeeds due to the realistic manner in which Herman and Grandpa are mistaken for criminals wearing Halloween masks. For fans of scenarios based upon classic misunderstandings, this episode will not disappoint.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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