Director: Jerry Paris
Writers: Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Jesse White, and Walter Burke
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 4/1/1965
While posing as film producers, con artists J. R. Finlater (Jesse White) and Alfred Swanson (Walter Burke) approach Herman and offer to make him a movie star. In reality, both men need a victim who can have an “accident” while shooting, thus allowing for a handsome insurance payout. Things don’t quite go as planned, however, when Herman develops a gigantic ego and refuses to film certain scenes without proper motivation.
By combining lighthearted slapstick with a clever scenario stemming from Herman’s gullibility, “Movie Star Munster” makes for a delightful viewing experience. Also worth mentioning are the numerous horror-related puns contained in this entry, which will surely appeal to fans of old monster movies.
Predictably enough, Herman’s naïve worldview prevents him from recognizing that Finlater and Swanson only wish to take advantage of his good nature (in fairness to Herman, Lily feeds into her husband’s delusion by telling him that he has the “looks” and “personality” to succeed in show business). While a similar concept had been employed in prior episodes, such a premise is especially effective in this case given that the antics of both crooks end up backfiring in every instance, with hilarious results. Notably, Swanson’s attempt to crash a vehicle into Herman will amuse audiences who enjoy this show for its ridiculous cinematography, even though the outcome of this stunt can be foreseen well in advance.
Though amusing at first, “Movie Star Munster” grows a tad repetitive by the time Finlater and Swanson try to trick Herman into walking through a door located several stories above ground.
Herman’s overconfidence in later scenes does nothing to reinforce his position as a likable and selfless role model. That being said, many viewers should at least admire the fact that Herman’s first consideration after becoming a “movie star” centers on the wellbeing of his family.
“Movie Star Munster” makes excellent use of a seemingly clichéd narrative. In addition to its well-executed slapstick, this episode will satisfy fans of The Munsters with a variety of groan-inducing puns and terrible special effects.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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