Though Uncle Fester is a regular on the TV series, Charles Addams' prototype for Fester in the New Yorker cartoons was almost exclusively solitary, never shown indoors with the other family (except once as a painted portrait), and only once outdoors with the children (going fishing with dynamite).
With the start of the TV series, The New Yorker magazine stopped running any Addams-Family-themed cartoons from Charles Addams until just prior to his death in 1988, although a few familiar characters were allowed solitary appearances (the prototypes for Pugsley, Cousin Itt, and Fester).
This show and its rival series, The Munsters, both debuted within a week of one another in September 1964. At the end of that year's TV season, The Munsters ranked #18 in the Nielsens, with a rating of 24.7, while this show came in at #23, with a 23.9 rating. At the time, Nielsens indicated what percentage of American TV households tuned in to any given program. By the end of the following year, both series were canceled.
Charles Addams never named his characters, but he had to come up with names for the characters on the TV show (it was one of the few contributions he made to the series). Within a week he decided on all of them - except for Mr. Addams, who almost wound up being called Repelli (for "repellent") instead of Gomez.
Thing, the disembodied hand/arm limb, was usually played by Ted Cassidy. When Lurch had to be on camera at the same time as Thing, however, associate producer Jack Voglin lent his hand. A third actor also played Thing on occasion, but his identity is not known.
Thing was usually a right hand. Ted Cassidy (Lurch) occasionally used his left hand just to see if anybody would notice. Thing also had an arm, which was seen when it reached outside for something while in its box.
John Astin was given the choice of two names for his character, and selected Gomez over Repelli. The son's name was originally to be Pubert, but was changed to Pugsley because Pubert sounded too sexual.
Morticia's pet names for Gomez generally meaning "Darling"/"My Darling" are "Bubeleh" (Yiddish), "Mon Cherie" (French), Querido (Spanish). Gomez's pet names for Morticia also of the same affectionate meaning are "Cara Mia" (Italian), "Querida"/"Querida Mia" (Spanish), "Cara Bella" (Spanish literally for "beautiful face"; Italian for "beautiful darling").
Almost all episodes open in the Addamses' living room with the family playing and having fun. Activities included Gomez doing yoga headstands, flamenco dancing, sword fighting, bull whip practice, shooting thrown apples with crossbows and other bizarre games.
The Addamses often refer to the many cousins of their extended family. Cousins named are Blah, Bleak, Bleep, Blink, Blob, Cackle, Caliban, Clot, Creep, Crimp, Cringe, Curdle, Droop, Farouk, Fungus, Goop, Gripe, Grisly, Grope, Imar, Manuel, Melancholia, Nanook, Plato, Slimey, Slosh, Slump, Trivia, Turncoat, and Vague.
The interior decor of the Addamses's home was inspired by the producers' first sight of the eclectic furnishings of Charles Addams' own New York City apartment, which is why it does not at all resemble the run-down bare-walls interiors seen in both the original cartoons or the movies.
According to John Astin, during his first meeting with Filmways executives concerning his possible participation in the show (with executive producer David Levy in attendance), he was originally offered the role of the Butler (Lurch), being told that the show would be centered around this character. Astin left this initial meeting with many reservations, wondering if he would have to wear stilts/lifts to portray this character, etc., and finally convinced himself that this part was just not going to work for him. The very next day, he received a call directly from Levy (who, according to Astin, had said little during the previous days' meeting), inviting him to lunch at a popular Hollywood restaurant. Over lunch, after expressing his doubts about playing the butler to Levy, Levy then offered him the role of Gomez; Astin accepted, and the focus of the show was changed.
In 2007, M&M's spoofed 'The Adams Family' in a TV commercial introducing M&M's Dark Chocolate. The commercial re-created the opening of the sitcom, licensing the original tune, with the new M&M's dressed as The Addams Family cast. According to the firm IAG Research, this was the TV viewing public's favorite commercial during the month of April.
Ophelia Frump's look was based on Jean Simmons' performance as Ophelia in Hamlet. The flowers in her hair had roots that went all the way down into her feet as Gomez pulled one and it caused Ophelia's leg to lift.