Boys Costumes Depicted in Television Shows: The Munsters (America, 1964-66)


Figure 1.--Fifth grader Eddie Munster always appeared in a black velvet suit worn with a Peter Pan collar and little bow. His suit had short pants which he wore with grey kneesocks.

Perhaps no character is more associated with a velvet Fauntleoy suit than Eddie Munster who has appeared countless times in sindication all over the world. The comic premise of the show was the Munsters at 1313 Mockingbird Lane considered themselves as normal and American as apple pie. The neighbors and viewers, however, saw them as a bid odd. Eddie Wolfgang Munster's costume was a good example of this. American television rarely put boys in short pants, let alone a velvet suit. But as the show was done for comic relief, it apparent was alright. The actor, Butch Patrick, was a little shy about wearing his costume, but he never got teased about it as part of the plot lines.

The Series

The Munsters had a short run of only 2 years. It was very popular, but widely dimissed by critics. It was in fact an enjoyable playful spoof of horror movies which featured a grade school boy. The program soon developed a cult-like following. One HBC reader comments, "I thought "The Munsters" were hilariou and still enjoy seeing the reruns." The show was still highly rated when it was cancelled in 1966 for reasons that weren't made known. I think CBS executives were trying to "upgrade" their programming and thougt Herman and the gang a bit beneath thre dignity of an august network. The actors in the series, despite the brief run, were forever stamped with their roles. The Munstetrs haven proven emensly popular in sindication. The series has held up much better than more popular and more respected programs. The Minsters has come to be shown on television around the world--perhaps even appearing back in Transylvania.

Butch Patrick

The role of green eared and fanged Edward Wolfgang Munster is played by Butch Patrick. Butch's real name is Patrick Lilley and was born on August 2, 1953, in Los Angeles. He made his acting debut in 1961, at age eight, opposite Eddie Albert in the film The Two Bears. While living in Illinois with his grandmother, Butch was flown to Los Angeles to test for the role of Eddie Munster at CBS Studios. "I went in and an hour later I came out with the job," he recalls. Although a telegenic little kid, he could play brat parts easily. Aside from acting, a major interest throughout his life has been baseball. (His step dad, incidentally, is Ken Hunt, who played for the Yankees and for the Washington Senators briefly.) He had numerous kid TV parts both before and after The Munsters during the 1960s. In 1971, Butch starred in the Saturday morning kid's series, Lidsville," opposite commedian Charles Nelson Reilly. This show lasted until 1973 and zoomed Patrick into a teen-idol phase of his career, with his face appearing on the covers of several teen magazines of the early 1970s. The publicity, however, did not lead to any big roles. It was The Munsters, however, that captured the public imagination. For good or bad, Patrick will be forever linked with Ediie Munster.

Eddie

Edward "Eddie" Wolfgang Munster was born 1955. He was an "ordinary" child who wears what is usually incorrectly described as a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit (he only owns one) and carries a doll. He has dark hair with widow's peak, pointed "Spocklike" ears, and minifangs: usually green around the gills. He often carries his doll, "Wolfie". He is in the fifth grade at Mocking Bird Heights Elementary School. His achievements include a writing a school composition titled "My Parents, an Average American Family" (written in blood ink) and several ribbons for track competition at school. Opens tin cans with his ears. Preferences include carrying Woof-Woof doll and sleeping in a coffin.


Figure 4.--Eddie is pictured here with his doll Wolfie. Butch Patrick now sells these dolls. Personally I preferred his pet dragon ("Spot") who especially fond of mailmen.

Costume

Eddie wore little short pants velvet suit with a wide white collar. It is not really a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. It is more like a velvet Eton suit like boys would wear to dress up at Christmas. He wears it with a large white Peter Pan collar. He also wears grey cableknit kneesocks. As strange as his outfit was for an American boy going to a suburban primary school, it was never once a topic for one of the episodes or even mentiioned during the various shows. A HBC reader comments, "Eddie Munster's suit was quite striking; maybe Eddie's supernatural physical skills (being part vampire bat, he must have been first rate at hanging from branches!) awed his fellow students somewhat. He was often depicted with friends, and his attire contrasted sharply with that of his "contemporaries". You might expect, though, that one episode treating Eddie's sense of being different would have been produced." The boys at school, however, never teased him about his outfit, but once made fun of him, calling him "shorty." Eddie usually had only small parts, but some programs were set around him. I was watching an anthology lately and I noticed that Eddie in the early shows had quite long knee length shorts. In later ones his shorts were much shorter. Presumably he wore the same suit as he got older. He almost always was in the same velvet suit, but he appeared in gym shorts and golf knickers

Make-up

Eddie's part required some considerable make up, including a green face (not apparent in blacvk and white TV), pointed ears, and fangs. For a child actor the length of time required for Eddie's make-up may have been trying.

Episodes

The various episodes did not usually center on Eddie. But a few did.

Tin Can Man (November 5, 1964)

Eddie is failing classes in school and the parents are worried. Grandpa then takes and helps Eddie build a real robot! Meanwhile, Taggard takes and goes to the Munster home and tries to get Eddie out of school. When Marilyn goes over to the principal to tell about how Eddie has been lacking in class to build a robot, the principal takes and brings Eddie's marks up and the Munsters go to the science fair. But when Mr.Taggard takes and puts a wrench into the robot making the robot short-circuit, Grandpa takes and works on the robot trying to get it running. During that time, Lily and the rest of the family wants Herman to distract the audience until Grandpa gets the robot working. The audience is surprised to think that Herman is the robot! After the robot explodes, Eddie goes and tells the principal the bad news. The whole audeince and the pricipal give Eddie a big hand! At the end, Grandpa fixes the robot, and they teach it how to say jokes! Classic Quote:Marilyn: "I'm so glad that they sent that Mr.Taggard back to prison service. "Herman: "It's men like him who gives prisons a bad name!" Classic Joke: Eddie:"Why did the fireman wear red suspenders?" Robot: "To keep their pants up!"

Eddie's Nickname (January 28, 1965)

In one episode the other boys teased teased him for being so short. Eddie comes home from school because the other kids call him "Shorty".


Figure 5.--Of course all kinds of kitchy murchandise appeared based on the Munsters. Everything that is except the Wolfie dolls. They probably didn't appeal to girls and boys weren't yet ready for dolls.

Herman's Child Psychology (September 25, 1965)


Herman, Coach Of The Year (October 14, 1965)


Eddie's Brother (March 24, 1966)

This may have been the robot episode.

A Visit from The Teacher (May 12, 1966)


Unknown episodes

There were several other episodes in which Eddie had a prominent part, but I do not know the titles. There was one episode where Eddie takes some of a love potion made by Grandpa. The girls at his school wound up chasing him home from school.

Sequals

There were several theatrical and movie sequals.

Theatrical Movie: Munsters Go Home

This Munster movie included the TV cast. Herman and the gang take off for England.

TV Movie: The Munsters' Revenge


TV Movie: The New Munsters









Christopher Wagner





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Created: April 28, 2000
Last updated: March 5, 2002