Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Douglas Tibbles
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Jane Withers, and Douglas Evans
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 2/3/1966
While reading a detective magazine, Herman locates a reward advertisement from Pamela Thornton (Jane Withers)—a person claiming to be Grandpa’s long-lost wife. Grandpa initially denies having known Pamela, but later decides to humor the woman in order to access her inheritance money.
By portraying Grandpa as a despicable old man (more than usual), “Grandpa’s Lost Wife” serves to undermine the positive family relationships at the heart of this series. That being said, certain comedic devices (e.g. the explanation behind Pamela’s ruse) will no doubt satisfy fans of The Munsters.
Hoping to collect the reward on Grandpa, Herman writes a message to Pamela detailing the whereabouts of her “husband.” Despite a last-minute change of heart, Herman misplaces the letter before it can be destroyed. Infuriated, Grandpa threatens to “go right through the ceiling” if the paper is not recovered. After Eddie admits that he had mailed Herman’s letter by accident, Grandpa makes good on his promise to fly through the roof—a hilariously bad special effect that, when complemented by fast-motion cinematography, will appeal to those who enjoy the kooky, zany antics for which the Munsters are iconic.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Though hardly serious, the family values in “Grandpa’s Lost Wife” leave much to be desired. Specifically, Grandpa demonstrates no (heartfelt) remorse for abandoning his family on a whim; likewise, Herman comes across as a petty, vindictive patriarch by refusing to welcome Grandpa back into the Munster home. The final scene does, however, imply that Herman and Grandpa have set aside their differences and no longer wish to “kill” each other.
For showcasing laughable special effects, “Grandpa’s Lost Wife” should be praised by comedy enthusiasts. Grandpa’s lack of reconciliation with Herman, on the other hand, may evoke mixed feelings from audiences of a sensitive nature.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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