Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Classic Reborn: The Munsters' Revenge (1981)

15 years after the original series ended, The Munsters returned, this time in a TV-movie that was meant to be a pilot for a revival of the series, and airing on NBC instead of its original network, CBS.

The original cast was not completely intact, though. Butch Patrick had long outgrown----literally---his role as Eddie, so newcomer KC Martel, from Canada, was brought in to take his place. Jo McDonnell, another newcomer, was cast as Marilyn. Unfortunately for ratings-challenged NBC, The Munsters' Revenge didn't generate enough ratings to warrant the revival, and fans would have to wait a few years before the syndicated Munsters Today would hit the air.

The plot: Herman (Fred Gwynne) & Grandpa (Al Lewis) are framed for a series of crimes committed by robot duplicates created by Dr. Dustin Diablo (Sid Caesar, at the time best known for "Grease", but better known for Your Show of Shows). The supporting cast includes one of Caesar's old cronies, Howard Morris (ex-The Andy Griffith Show), Bob Hastings (General Hospital) as Uncle Phantom (as in Phantom of the Opera; Hastings' face was completely covered in makeup), and two of Hastings' castmates from McHale's Navy, Gary Vinson & Billy Sands. This, I believe, was one of Vinson's last roles. Executive Producer Edward Montagne served in that capacity on McHale as well. Curiously, instead of recycling Jack Marshall's kickin' theme, the producers hired Vic Mizzy, who scored The Addams Family, Green Acres, The Double Life of Henry Phyfe, & Petticoat Junction, among others, for Filmways, and had scored Don Knotts' films for Universal in the 60's.

Too bad they couldn't bring in Patrick or Pat Priest for cameos.

Here's a trailer:

If memory serves, this aired on a Friday night, which back then meant Dukes of Hazzard & Incredible Hulk ruled the night over on CBS.

Rating: B.

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