Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Ted Bergman
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Elvia Allman, Charles Lane, Adele Claire, and Mary Mitchell
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 1/27/1966
Having inherited $10,000 from Cousin Wolverine, the Munster family decides to start a small business. Unable to agree on a proposal, the Munsters are forced to reach a compromise: Marilyn and Lily use their half of the inheritance money to open a “beauty” parlor, while Herman and Grandpa develop a machine for transmitting electricity without wires.
By employing kooky antics to highlight the importance of family teamwork, “The Most Beautiful Ghoul in the World” earns its reputation as an iconic episode of The Munsters. Also worth praising are certain jokes (e.g. “the last time we got a box from the Old Country, there was somebody in it”), which will appeal to fans of classic monster movies.
The first (and probably only) patrons of the Munster beauty salon, Mrs. Harkness (Elvia Allman) and Dorothea (Mary Mitchell)—a snooty mother and daughter, respectively—are given a “special” treatment by Lily and Marilyn. Though predictable, the transformation of Dorothea and Mrs. Harkness will satisfy those with a distaste for prissy, arrogant members of society.
After receiving a “makeover” from Lily and Marilyn, Mrs. Harkness and her daughter promptly faint at the sight of one another. In response to this, Marilyn rightfully asserts that she and Lily are off to a bad start; however, upon receiving a strongly worded letter from the Harkness family attorney, Edgar Z. Holmes (Charles Lane), Marilyn is surprised to learn that Dorothea and her mother wish to undo the aforementioned makeover—a continuity error that, though somewhat minor, diminishes the impact of writer Ted Bergman’s main comedic device (i.e. disaster resulting from Lily and Marilyn’s bizarre standards of beauty).
For encouraging cooperation over competition among family members, “The Most Beautiful Ghoul in the World” should be commended. Specifically, the legal and financial troubles that befall Herman, Grandpa, Lily, and Marilyn might have been avoided, at least in part, if the four of them had simply worked together from the onset.
“The Most Beautiful Ghoul in the World” employs a one-note premise (i.e. Lily and Marilyn’s beauty parlor mishaps) to amusing effect. Especially notable are the mortified reactions toward Mrs. Harkness and Dorothea, which give two normal people a taste of the prejudice typically directed at the Munsters.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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