The Munsters-Complete First Season (1964)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Bonus Episode-My Fair Munster (Unaired Pilot Episode)
|Year Of Production||1964|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (6)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||
Universal Pictures Home Video
Yvonne De Carlo
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, Herman and Grandpa puff on the odd cigar|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Premiering in 1964, The Munsters, like their unconventional cousins the Addams Family, were an offbeat brood of kinfolk trying to cope with the harsh normality of suburbia.
Comfortably living in a dilapidated three-story Victorian-gothic home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Mockingbird Heights, the Munsters happily shared their surrounding environment with an abundance of weeds and a venue of vultures cosily nesting in the trees.
With their ancestral roots firmly set in Transylvania, the head of the household is Herman, a 150-year-old seven-foot tall laboratory-created lumbering man-child, who works at Goodbury & Grave Funeral Home to support his family. His fiendishly beautiful wife, Lily (nee Dracula), is 137 years young, with flowing black locks tinted with a white streak to resemble Frankenstein’s monster bride. She is also doting mother to Eddie, their werewolf son, who gets picks on at school for having fangs and being short. There’s also 400-year-old grandpa, a bungling spell-casting vampire and niece Marilyn, who is unfortunately blessed with blonde hair, blue eyes and stunning good looks.
Adding to the character appeal of the series is a shy dragon called Spike that lives under the stairs, Grandpa’s contrary pet bat, Igor, and a Raven that appears out of a cuckoo clock to tease a black cat with arbitrary quotes from Edgar Allen Poe.
Innovative props include a phone box in a coffin that emerges from beneath the stairs and the groovy Munster-Koach, an old hearse, which became a re-conditioned hotrod later in the season.
While the gags are mind-numbingly corny and the soundtrack is filled with canned laughter, the phenomenal success of the series resided in the proactive yet naïve manner in which the family dealt with discrimination and resolved their relationship problems. Just like the Addams Family, the warmth between the family members radiated beyond their physical appearances and eccentricities and demonstrated to white middle-class audiences that ideals of normality could be positively turned upside-down.
The Munsters Series 1 boxed set contains the following uncut and untampered with 38 episodes, each running for approximately 25 minutes:
Lily, Grandpa and Marilyn are shocked when Herman wins the prize for best costume at a masquerade party after he unwittingly insults the host who is dressed as Frankenstein’s monster.
My Fair Munster
Tired of Marilyn being constantly jilted by her dates, Grandpa concocts a love potion that will make her utterly desirable. However, it all goes wrong when everyone in the family except Marilyn gets a dose of the potion.
A Walk on the Mild Side
Suffering from insomnia, Herman decides to go for a walk in the park. After news reports of a ‘monster’ lurking around the area worries Lily, she insists that Herman stay home, not realizing that the ‘monster’ is in fact him.
Believing Lily was hiding her pregnancy from them, Herman and Grandpa think that Dr Dudley’s son (who has simply come to stay) is a new addition to the Munster household.
While trying to run pipes underneath the Munster home, gas company workers are mortified to discover Grandpa’s dungeon.
Herman is keen to attend a reunion with his old army buddies but is too tubby to fit into his uniform. He decides to go on a diet, but it all goes out the window on Thanksgiving.
Tin Can Man
To save Eddie from being expelled from school, Grandpa helps him build a robot for the school’s Science Fair.
Herman the Great
Showing off his strength to one of Eddie’s friends, whose father just happens to be a professional wrestling manager, Herman finds fame as the Masked Marvel.
Knock Wood, Here Comes Charlie
Herman’s con-artist brother comes to stay and tries to get Lily’s $5000.00 inheritance to invest in a contraption that extracts Uranium from seawater.
Feeling lonely and despondent Grandpa decides to contact an agency to find himself a bride. However, the woman he’s chosen turns out to be a serial killer who murders her suitors then cashes in on the life insurance.
The Midnight Ride of Herman Munster
After falling asleep in the back of the family car, Herman becomes embroiled with a group of bank robbers who steal the car for their next heist.
The Sleeping Cutie
When Grandpa attempts to cure Marilyn of insomnia, he inadvertently gives her a Sleeping Beauty pill. The only way to cure her is a kiss from a prince, so Lily advertises for one in the local paper.
Grandpa leaves in a huff after the Munsters are chosen by Event Magazine as being representative of the average American family. His disappearance threatens the family’s chance at winning the large cash prize.
This was also the last episode to feature Beverly Owen as Marilyn. She left the series to get married. Her replacement was Pat Priest, daughter of U.S Treasurer Ivy Baker Priest (1953-1961).
Grandpa Leaves Home
Feeling downhearted and dejected, Grandpa makes the decision to leave the Munster nest. When he fails to return, the family go out looking for him and discover that he’s performing a magic act at a local nightclub.
Worried that Lily is having an affair, Herman and Grandpa soon learn that she’s in fact making some cash out of reading tea leaves.
Grandpa’s Call of the Wild
On a family camping trip, Grandpa gets nostalgic for the old country when he hears the alluring howl of wolves in the woods. He soon disappears and Lily becomes concerned when she hears about the capture of a rare Transylvanian wolf.
All Star Munster
Herman becomes a college basketball star when he’s mistaken for a student trying out for the team.
If a Martian Answers, Hang Up
Herman believes he’s contacted Martians after playing around with Grandpa’s CB radio.
Tired of being picked on at school for being short, Eddie takes a potion made by Grandpa to make him taller. However, it makes him grow a beard and moustache instead.
Bats of a Feather
When Spot and Igor refuse to be a part of Eddie’s show-and-tell at the school pet fair, Grandpa turns himself into a bat to help him out.
Don’t Bank on Herman
Herman and Grandpa are mistaken for robbers when they go to the bank to make a withdrawal. Feeling guilty after the panicked staff give them $18,000.00 in cash, Herman and Grandpa get trapped inside the vault when they try to return the money later that night.
Dance With Me, Herman
Herman is tricked into signing an expensive contract with the Happy Havemeyer’s Dancing School after he decides to take lessons so that he can escort Marilyn to her school dance.
Follow That Munster
Suspecting Herman of having an affair, Lily hires a detective to follow him.
Love Locked Out
Staying out all night at an office party, Herman is forced to sleep on the couch after an angry Lily locks him out of the bedroom.
Come Back, Little Googie
Grandpa believes that he’s turned one of Eddie’s friends, Googie (Billy Mumy from Lost in Space), into a monkey.
Far Out Munsters
Real-life rock group, The Standells, discover the Munster mansion and pay a huge fee to stay there while playing in town. Unable to bear the cleanliness of the motel room, the Munsters soon return and join in the wild party taking place at their family home.
Munster’s on the Move
Herman decides to accept a promotion but it means selling the house and moving the family to Buffalo. However, Eddie doesn’t want to leave so Grandpa has to think of something before the wrecking crew demolish the family home.
Movie Star Munster
Posing as a pair of movie producers, two insurance scam artists coax Herman into believing he’ll become a star if he plays the part of the victim in their latest ‘film’.
Herman the Rookie
Herman gets the chance to become a baseball star after Leo Durocher, real manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is hit on the head by a baseball hit by Herman seven blocks away.
Country Club Munsters
After the Munsters win membership to the exclusive Mockingbird Heights Country Club, the snobby clientele complain that they are not up to standard.
Loves Comes to Mockingbird Heights
Uncle Gilbert (the Creature from the Black Lagoon) sends through thousands of rare gold coins to the Munsters in a crate. After depositing the money into an account, the family soon learn that Marilyn is being taken for a ride by a gold-digging banker who wants to marry her for her money.
After taking a pill to make him sleep, Herman is mistaken for an ancient Egyptian mummy when he accidentally passes out and gets trapped inside a sarcophagus at the natural history museum.
Lily Munster – Girl Model
Feeling unappreciated at home and craving independence, Lily accepts a job as a fashion model. However, when Grandpa turns himself into a beautiful blond and tries to seduce Herman at one of the fashion shows, she becomes jealous and creates havoc.
Munster the Magnificent
Grandpa creates a pair of magic dancing shoes so that Herman can perform at Eddie’s school talent night.
Herman’s Happy Valley
After buying a ghost town from a pair of shonky real estate agents, Herman and the family go there to spend a weekend. A company wants to buy the land for a missile site, so the agents try to scare the family into giving up the property.
Hot Rod Herman
Herman reconditions the family hearse so he can take part in a drag race. After losing the race and the car, Grandpa decides to build a hotrod – the Dragula - to win it back.
The family are peeved that Herman’s job at the funeral parlour is taking up too much of his time. Lily insists that Herman ask for a raise, but when he does, he’s fired. Herman then has to secretly look for another job. Look out for a guest appearance by John Carradine as Mr Gateman.
Yes, Galen, There is a Herman (AKA My Friend Herman)
Herman rescues a young boy, Galen, who gets his head caught in an iron fence when playing in his yard. Galen’s family think he’s making the story up after describing Herman’s physical appearance until they send a psychiatrist to the Munster home.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1 (which is close to its original 1.33:1) this is an excellent rendering for a black and white TV series that’s over 40 years old.
On widescreen monitors the slightly stretched images are for the most part crisp and clean. The occasional thin hair line or blemish materialise now and again, but are fleeting.
Considering the age of the source materials, shadow detail offers remarkable clarity, with only a slight softness intermittently cropping up to dampen the visuals. Although black levels tend to be a bit faded looking, there is virtually no low level noise or grain to hamper one's viewing pleasure.
My only other issue with this set is that in many episodes the transfers appeared a little too bright. However, this was easily solved by manually adjusting the contrast downwards a little.
The English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix is perfectly adequate. Clichéd sound effects like baying dogs, howling wind and creaky doors flow out of the front channels with comic gusto.
Jack Marshall’s fast-paced, immediately recognisable Munsters theme and its variations light-heartedly set the tone for each adventure.
Dialogue and canned laughter come through loud and clear without any hiss or distortion.
Being a mono mix, there is no surround or subwoofer activity.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Munsters theme over a static menu screen.
My Fair Munster (Unaired Pilot Episode) (13:10)
Filmed in colour, this unaired pilot was produced to convince studio executives to bankroll the series. It is of particular fascination to fans as it highlights a number of modifications that were made before it officially went to air.
To start, there were two major cast changes: Joan Marshall as Herman’s lithe, sexy wife Phoebe (who was later replaced by the more maternal-looking Yvonne De Carlo as Lily) and Happy Derman as bratty werewolf son from Hell Eddie (who was later substituted by a less Attention Deficit Disordered Butch Patrick), were dropped as they did not fit the wholesome Leave it to Beaver tone needed to persuade audiences to come on board.
Another significant amendment was in the opening title sequence. In the unaired pilot Grandpa goes to bite Phoebe on the neck, but the final outcome shows him attempting to nip Lily on the wrist. The father/daughter sexual implication was perhaps too strong for a family show.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 2 UK Edition is identical to our own.
The only significant difference between Region 4 and Region 1 is that the Region 1 release contains Spanish and French subtitles. So unless subtitles would sway you to import, then Region 4 should suffice.
Although the humour is as stale as a 40-year-old muffin and the storylines quaintly clichéd, there is an irresistible charm flowing through each of these episodes. Whether it be the simple messages promoting tolerance and understanding or the marvellous characterisations brought to life by a group of talented actors, the Munsters holds a special place in the heart and minds of an entire generation.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S200 (it came free with the plasma), using S-Video output|
|Display||Yamaha 106cm Plasma. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||get a marshall stack, and crank it up.|
|Speakers||2 x Bose Speakers and 4 NX-S200 Yamaha mini-speakers.|