Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Dennis Whitcomb
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Louis Nye, Mike Barton, Jimmy Stiles, Jackie Minty, and Digby Wolfe
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 2/17/1966
No longer interested in emulating his father, Eddie finds a new role model in Zombo (Louis Nye)—a ghoulish, albeit comical, horror movie presenter who vaguely resembles the Hypnotist (Lon Chaney’s character from London After Midnight). Upon winning a contest to meet Zombo in person, Eddie discovers that his favorite television icon may not be so exciting after all.
“Zombo” is a clever and amusing satire on the gimmicky nature of the 1960s horror host. Especially enjoyable are the antics of Eddie, whose outburst in Zombo’s studio will induce “howling” laughter from viewers of all ages.
While eavesdropping, Herman catches Lily and Marilyn describing Zombo with a variety of flattering adjectives (i.e. lovely, handsome, and impressive). Hoping to imitate Zombo, Herman drinks a magic potion and turns out “gorgeous” according to Grandpa (in reality, Herman now looks like a cross between Frankenstein’s monster and Mr. Hyde). Unfortunately, the new guise fails to impress Eddie, who insists that Zombo is a “real guy” and not a faker like Herman. Though quite silly, the above subplot effectively encapsulates the bizarre, upside-down standards held by the Munster family.
For stressing the importance of selecting good, positive role models during childhood, “Zombo” earns its status as a classic episode of The Munsters. Notably, despite all his kooky and absurd tendencies, Herman proves himself to be an excellent father figure for Eddie—much in contrast to Zombo, who considers hosting a children’s show to be a degrading line of work.
By combining creepy hijinks with family values, “Zombo” will undoubtedly appeal to fans of The Munsters. Specifically worth praising is Eddie’s final chat with Zombo, who encourages the Munster child to become a “nice, normal human being” like his father.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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