Director: Ezra Stone
Writers: Lou Shaw, Joe Connelly, and Bob Mosher
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Frank Evans, Nolan Leary, and Gary Owens
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 12/2/1965
Goofing around with a borrowed tape recorder, Herman creates a morbid rendition of “Dry Bones” (the song is later renamed to “That’s How Herman Was Born,” accounting for references to neck bolts, spare body parts, and Dr. Frankenstein). Impressed with the cover, disc jockey Dick Willet (Gary Owens) decides to air Herman’s recording and offers a contract to the performer should he reveal himself. Herman gladly accepts the proposal, but soon realizes that fame often comes at a great personal cost.
For providing Fred Gwynne with an opportunity to showcase his rich, haunting voice, “Will Success Spoil Herman Munster?” should be commended. Observant fans will nevertheless note that Lou Shaw’s premise (i.e. Herman developing a gigantic ego from self-perceived stardom) is given a more humorous treatment in season one’s “Movie Star Munster.”
While enjoying dinner one evening, the Munsters react with disgust upon hearing Herman’s tune played on the radio (Grandpa even compares the anonymous singer to a werewolf with laryngitis). Though slightly overplayed, the family’s critical comments work to elicit amusing facial expressions from an embarrassed Herman.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Determined to ruin the singing career of his son-in-law, Grandpa propels a “nuthin’ muffin” into Herman’s mouth. After swallowing Grandpa’s concoction, Herman discovers that his smooth, baritone voice has been replaced with that of a chipmunk. In addition to being extremely silly, the gag described above is hampered by a significant flaw: Grandpa, Lily, Marilyn, and Eddie never attempt to reason with Herman before taking such a drastic measure, causing them to appear motivated by jealousy alone. (The selfless intentions of Herman’s family are, however, made clear in a final, heartwarming scene.)
“Will Success Spoil Herman Munster?” is a cute, worthwhile episode of The Munsters. That being said, certain comedic devices (e.g. Herman’s King Kong impression) are too ridiculous even by the standards of this series.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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