Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thanks for the Laughter, Thanks for the Love

When our mother passed away this week, I was touched by the memorials my sister and brother posted on Facebook. Susan spoke of Mom's selflessness and generosity, and David mentioned her love of music. The one thing they both remarked on was Mom's wonderful sense of humor.

She came by it honestly. I'm told that her father, my Grandpa Shorter, who died when I was too young to remember, had a famously dry wit. My Grandma Shorter, who I remember well, had a wonderful, infectious laugh. As I recall, she was nearly always laughing—usually at something one of her children said. They were all funny, my mother and her siblings. When the whole family got together, the laughter would just about shake the rafters.

In my mother's family, sharing laughter was a way of sharing love.

My mother could always make me laugh. Once, when I was a kid, we were eating at a drive-in. She was in the driver's seat, and I was sitting in the passenger seat, drinking a cup of hot chocolate. I don't remember what she said, but I remember that it made me laugh, and hot chocolate came out of my nose. Have you ever had hot chocolate come out of your nose? Let me tell you, it burns. But no matter how much my sinuses were burning, I could not stop laughing.

Whatever my mother said to make me spray scalding, chocolate-flavored milk out of my nose, I'm sure it wasn't a joke. My mother did not tell jokes. With practice, anyone can be good at telling a joke. (My father, like his father before him, was a skilled joke-teller, although the jokes themselves were generally pretty corny.) The sort of spontaneous, observational humor practiced by my mother and her family can only be inherited.

For example, several years ago, when my parents were still in their house, I was trying to convince them to get someone to come in and help with the chores, especially the laundry. "Those basement stairs are dangerous," I said. "I don't think Dad should be going down there."

"Don't worry," my mother said, without missing a beat. "He hardly ever goes down there when he's been drinking."

I like to think I inherited some of that Shorter sense of humor. I have always enjoyed making people laugh, and I think I'm pretty good at it. Making my mother laugh always gave me a special joy. It made me feel like I was repaying her in some way for all of the laughter and all of the love she gave me over the years.

As if I ever could.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Who Killed Eddie Munster and Fester Addams?

This month, I've been posting excerpts from my Addams Family Mystery. If you haven't read my last two posts, I suggest you start here. Last week's installment ended with FBI agent Marilyn Munster's interrogation of the suspects. At the end of the interrogation scene, the audience are given several minutes to fill out their resolution forms. Typically, all of the actors leave the room during this time, so the audience can't badger them with more questions. When the resolution forms have been completed and collected, the actors return for the resolution scene.
As I explained in last week's post, it is the custom for victims in our mysteries to "die" near an exit, so that the "body" may be easily removed. At Dakota's Steakhouse, where An Addams Family Mystery was first performed twelve years ago, the séance table was on a raised platform on the opposite end of the dining room from the exit. Because of the logistics involved in getting a body (a heavy body) down off the platform and through the dining room to the exit, it was decided to just cover Fester with a tablecloth and leave him "onstage" for the rest of the show. This worked so well that we kept it in for future productions of the show. Director John Diesel also came up with the brilliant idea of having Wednesday give Fester a new face during the interrogation scene:

I think the biggest challenge I have ever had to face as an actor was to sit perfectly still and play a corpse for what seemed like an eternity, but was in reality about half an hour. It was particularly difficult when the other actors were out of the room, and the audience were filling out their resolution forms. (We always announced that they would be given five minutes, but it usually ended up being closer to ten or fifteen.) Audience members would come up and examine the corpse, saying things like, "He's breathing!" (What did they expect!?) Some of them even poked me. It was sheer torture, and I couldn't wait for the rest of the actors to return for the resolution scene, because then I knew that the show was almost over...

MARILYN:  Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to solve this mystery. Who killed Eddie Munster and Fester Addams? Members of the family, as I call out your names, please take the same seat you had during the séance: Gomez Addams, Morticia Addams, Grandmama Addams, Wednesday Addams. I was sitting here, on Fester's right. The seats were marked with place cards. Morticia, who was responsible for our seat assignments?

MORTICIA:  Grandmama.

MARILYN:  Grandmama, was there any reason that you put us in these particular seats?

GRANDMAMA:  Not really. I usually make it boy-girl-boy-girl, but there were too many girls. Why?

MARILYN:  Well, it seems to me that who was seated where is sort of important.

MORTICIA:  Oh? And why is that?

MARILYN:  First of all, neither Wednesday nor I could have done it. We were both seated next to Fester; the trajectory would be wrong.

GOMEZ:  That's true.

MARILYN:  That leaves three people: Morticia, Gomez and Grandmama. Now, Gomez says that something tickled his nose, causing him to sneeze. Is that correct?

GOMEZ:  Yes.

MARILYN:  There's one thing that hasn't been explained: the sound Wednesday heard before Gomez sneezed. "FFFT." Morticia, you didn't hear it, did you?


MARILYN:  Grandmama, you were sitting next to Wednesday. Perhaps you can enlighten us?

GRANDMAMA:  What? All right, so I have a gas problem. That's what happens when you get old.

MARILYN:  I don't think what Wednesday heard was a gas problem. What she heard was the sound of you puffing something in Gomez's face—probably pepper.

GRANDMAMA:  That's ridiculous!

MARILYN:  I would guess the pepper was packed in a small tube of paper, which you concealed in the left corner of your mouth. After blowing it at Gomez to initiate his sneeze, you swallowed it, waited for the sneeze to give you your diversion, shot Fester, then dropped the gun.

GRANDMAMA:  You're crazy! The peroxide has affected your brain!

MARILYN:  Why don't we take a look in Gomez's mustache? I'm sure we'll find a few flakes of pepper. But only on the right side—the side you were sitting on.


GOMEZ:  Mama!

GRANDMAMA:  I'm sorry, Gomez. The bitch is right.

MARILYN:  You killed Eddie to stop him from marrying Wednesday. That much I can understand. But to kill your own son…

GOMEZ:  That wasn't very motherly of you, Mama.

GRANDMAMA:  I know, Gomez, I know. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I loved Fester. But I had to do it.

MARILYN:  Because he was about to reveal that you were Eddie's murderer?

GRANDMAMA:  You think you have all the answers, don't you, Blondie? Well, you're wrong! I would never have killed Fester to protect myself. I did it to protect him—and you.

MARILYN:  Protect me? From what?

GRANDMAMA:  From the curse!

MARILYN:  What do you mean?

GRANDMAMA:  I saw the way he was looking at you, mooning over you. I'd seen him that way before, you see—when he was in love with Lily Munster!

MARILYN:  Fester and Aunt Lily?

GRANDMAMA:  That's right. It was twenty-one years ago. Fester was young and foolish, and your Aunt Lily…

GOMEZ:  Was a fox!


GOMEZ:  Well, she was.

MARILYN:  Aunt Lily? A fox?

GRANDMAMA:  More accurately, a wolf. Lily had werewolf blood, and so naturally she was drawn to Fester, who carried the same curse.

GOMEZ:  Fester was a werewolf?

GRANDMAMA:  Not full-blooded, but he had enough of the wolf in him to be a problem when the moon was full—and during mating season.

MORTICIA:  That explains that one magical night.

GOMEZ:  What one magical night?

MORTICIA:  It's time I told you, darling. It happened about ten years ago. There was a gorgeous full moon, and I decided to go for a walk in the cemetery. I came upon Fester by the old mausoleum. The smell of deadly nightshade was in the air, and there was a strange light in Fester's eyes. Our passions ignited—we couldn't control ourselves!

GOMEZ:  Tish! How could you?

MORTICIA:  I don't know. I'm sorry darling. At that moment, there was just something about Fester that I couldn't resist. Je ne sais quoi, mais oh-la-la!

GOMEZ:  French!

MORTICIA:  Later, mon cher.

MARILYN:  Of course! Pheromones!


MARILYN:  Pheromones.

GOMEZ:  Is that French?

MARILYN:  Pheromones are chemical substances given off by an animal to attract the opposite sex. We humans have all but lost them—or covered them up with cologne, deodorants and aftershave. But in werewolves they must be much stronger. That explains why I was attracted to Fester.

GRANDMAMA:  Well, whatever you call it, no mortal can resist it. It was what drew me to Fester's father.

GOMEZ:  Papa was a werewolf?

GRANDMAMA:  Not your father, Gomez. I never told you, but you and Fester are half-brothers.

GOMEZ:  Mama, this all comes as something of a shock. Is there anything else you haven't told us?

GRANDMAMA:  There's one more thing, but I think everyone's figured it out.

GOMEZ:  I haven't. What is it?

MARILYN:  Eddie was Fester's son.

GOMEZ:  Caramba! Did Fester know?

GRANDMAMA:  Please! You know how naïve Fester was. He believed babies were delivered by the stork until he was thirty. But he had an instinctive liking for Eddie; he was always defending him. And I'm sure Eddie was a good boy. But he was a werewolf, and I couldn't allow him to marry Wednesday—not after the hell I went through with Fester's father.

MARILYN:  Did you kill him, too?

GRANDMAMA:  He begged me to. It was the only way to end the curse. He wanted me to kill Fester, too, but I couldn't do it.

MARILYN:  Until now.

GRANDMAMA:  Until now. And now the curse is finally ended.

MARILYN:  I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'll have to take you in, Mrs. Addams.

GRANDMAMA:  You do what you gotta do, Blondie. Can I speak to Wednesday first?

MARILYN:  Of course.

GRANDMAMA:  Wednesday, I'm sorry about all of this. Someday, you'll forgive me, and you'll find someone else. But please make sure he's not a werewolf.

MORTICIA:  Or an insurance salesman.

GOMEZ:  A lawyer would be good. Your grandmama could use one of those right now.

MARILYN:  Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the Addams Family Mystery!

At this point, Fester would stiffly "rise from the dead" for bows, and the winner—the person who came closest to the correct solution—would be announced.

How close did you come to solving the mystery?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Death at a Séance

Last week, I posted the first part of my Addams Family Mystery. This week, I'll continue the story...

Scene 3 opens with Fester attempting to comfort Wednesday over the loss of her boyfriend, Eddie Munster. Fester confides that he, too, has experienced true love, but it didn't work out, as she "loved someone else."

Wednesday has become a little loopy on the pills prescribed by Dr. Crane. ("The blue ones are for when I'm sad, the yellow ones for when I'm anxious, and… I forget what these little pink ones are for, but they're pretty, aren't they?") Concerned that Wednesday may accidentally overdose, Marilyn confiscates her pills.

Fester tells the family that, for Wednesday's sake, they should be trying to help Marilyn solve the mystery. Grandmama suggests the best way to help might be to contact Eddie through a séance. It seems that Fester is a professional medium, although his results can be unpredictable. (At the family's last séance, he accidentally channeled Jack the Ripper, and "it took days to clean up the mess.")

Dessert is served during the scene break. If it's your birthday or anniversary, the family will sing you their special birthday/anniversary song. Please sing along if you know it, and don't forget to snap your fingers—
Da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum.

A happy, happy birthday (anniversary).
A happy, happy birthday (anniversary).
A happy, happy birthday (anniversary).
From the Addams Family.

Da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum.
Also at this time, audience members are encouraged to bribe their favorite character for an additional clue using play money. The bribe clues are as follows:

GOMEZ:  Our family credo is: "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us."
MORTICIA:  An Addams marry a Munster—never!
WEDNESDAY:  Wednesday's inner child is full of woe.
FESTER:  I don't know anything about genetics, but Eddie seemed like a nice kid.
GRANDMAMA:  I can no longer protect my son!
MARILYN:  Doesn't Fester have the most soulful eyes you've ever seen?

At the beginning of the séance scene, the actors take their seats at a small table for six. Because the seating arrangement is somewhat important to the plot, here's a diagram:

In most of our mysteries, the victim "dies" in front of the audience (preferably next to an exit, to make it easier to remove the body), but the shots come from offstage, with all of the suspects out of the room. This time, I wanted the murder to take place with all of the suspects in the room. Of course, the only way to achieve this was to have the scene take place in the dark...

FESTER:  Quiet everyone! Would someone dim the lights, please?

MARILYN:  Should we hold hands?

FESTER:  That won't be necessary. Just place your hands lightly on top of the table. (Fester begins to make an eerie moaning sound, then says, in a memorable voice…) Eenie Meenie Chili Beanie! The spirits are about to speak!

MARILYN:  What's happening?

GRANDMAMA:  Fester is getting in touch with his spirit guide.

MARILYN:  His spirit guide is Bullwinkle?

MORTICIA:  Don't be silly! Bullwinkle was a cartoon character. Fester's spirit guide is Bill Scott.


GOMEZ:  Bill Scott. The voice of Bullwinkle.

MARILYN:  I see.

MORTICIA:  But he prefers to be addressed as Bullwinkle.


GOMEZ:  It was his greatest role.

MARILYN:  Of course.

MORTICIA:  Bullwinkle? Can you hear me, Bullwinkle?

FESTER:  Yes, I hear you.

MORTICIA:  How are you, Darling?

FESTER:  Dead.

MORTICIA:  Of course you are, dear. But your spirit will always live on.

GOMEZ:  We always look forward to your appearance in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, old boy.

FESTER:  Thank you.

MORTICIA:  Bullwinkle, darling, we're looking for a recent arrival…

GOMEZ:  He should have come in today. The name's Eddie…

FESTER:  Hold on… Is there an Eddie here?… Eddie?… (his voice changes) That's a lovely dress you're wearing, Mrs. Cleaver.

MORTICIA:  Not Eddie Haskell! Eddie Munster!

FESTER:  (Bullwinkle again) Oh. Hold on a minute… (different voice) Hello?

WEDNESDAY:  Eddie? Is that you?

FESTER:  Hi, Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  What's it like, Eddie?

FESTER:  I see dead people.

GOMEZ:  You are dead people.

WEDNESDAY:  I miss you, sweetiepateetie.

FESTER:  I miss you, too, cutiepatootie.

MORTICIA:  Ugh! I think I'm going to be sick.

GOMEZ:  This is worse than Jack the Ripper.

MARILYN:  Eddie, do you know who this is?

FESTER:  Sure! Hi, Marilyn!

MARILYN:  Eddie, what's my middle name?

FESTER:  Grizelda.

ALL:  Grizelda?

MARILYN:  It's true. It must really be Eddie. Eddie, are you still there?


MARILYN:  Do you remember being shot?

FESTER:  I'd prefer to forget it, but yes, I remember.

MARILYN:  Did you see who shot you?


MARILYN:  Who was it?

FESTER:  It was…

(Gomez sneezes loudly.)

FESTER:  Gezundheit.

(A shot is fired; Wednesday screams.)

MARILYN:  Fester! Lights! Somebody turn on the lights!

(The lights come up, revealing Fester slumped over the table. Marilyn is standing over him, checking for a pulse. Wednesday's hands are covering her mouth. Gomez holds a napkin to his face. Morticia is clutching Gomez's arm. Grandmama's hands are on the table, and she is halfway out of her chair.)

MARILYN:  Nobody move!

GRANDMAMA:  Fester! Is he…dead?

MARILYN:  I'm afraid so, Mrs. Addams. (She removes something from the back of the chair.) A silver bullet! (She quickly scans the table, then gets down on her hands and knees and looks beneath it. When she gets to her feet, she is holding a gun wrapped in a napkin. She unwraps it, examines it and sniffs the barrel.) The murder weapon—no doubt the same gun used to kill Eddie Munster. And one of you four is the killer!

(Gomez, Morticia and Grandmama begin protesting. Wednesday repeats "poor Uncle Fester, poor Uncle Fester…" Marilyn sits Fester up and covers him with the tablecloth. Wednesday becomes occupied with the cloth covering Fester. The audience can't see what she is doing.)

MARILYN:  Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention, please? I regret to announce that Fester Addams is dead. Like my cousin Eddie, he was shot with a silver bullet from a 22-caliber handgun—obviously by someone sitting at this table. I will now conduct my interrogation, and, when I have finished with each suspect, you will have an opportunity to ask your own questions. First, Gomez Addams.

GOMEZ:  At your service.

MARILYN:  Did you object to Wednesday's relationship with Eddie?

GOMEZ:  Naturally.


GOMEZ:  Because Mama and Morticia told me to.

MARILYN:  Let's talk about the séance. Your sneeze seemed very well-timed.

GOMEZ:  What do you mean?

MARILYN:  It created the perfect distraction for the killer. Or perhaps you faked the sneeze and shot Fester yourself?

GOMEZ:  I most certainly did not!

MARILYN:  You just coincidentally had to sneeze at that particular moment?

GOMEZ:  Yes. Something tickled my nose.

MARILYN:  I see. Well, it's an impossible shot, anyway, I suppose.

GOMEZ:  What do you mean?

MARILYN:  To fire under the table like that—without even aiming—and put the bullet straight through Fester's heart? Come on! Nobody could do that except by pure luck.

GOMEZ:  On the contrary. I could make that shot ten times in a row, without deviating a millimeter from the target.


GOMEZ:  Well, I could. It's simply a matter of feeling the relative positions of your weapon and the target. The same theory applies to blindfolded knife-throwing, a skill at which I also excel.

MARILYN:  What about Morticia? Could she do it?

GOMEZ:  She's a better shot than I am.


GOMEZ:  Now don't be modest, Querida.

MARILYN:  Wednesday?

GOMEZ:  Not quite as accurate, but I'll wager she could hit it four times out of five.


GOMEZ:  All right, maybe nine times out of ten.

MARILYN:  And what about your mother?

GOMEZ:  Are you kidding? Mama could outshoot anybody in the room.

GRANDMAMA:  Gomez, will you shut up!

GOMEZ:  I was just trying to be helpful.

GRANDMAMA:  Well don't!

MARILYN:  Are there any other questions for Gomez? (She fields questions from audience.) Thank you, Mr. Addams. Morticia Addams?


MARILYN:  You objected to Wednesday's relationship with my cousin, didn't you?

MORTICIA:  I certainly did.

MARILYN:  On what grounds?

MORTICIA:  On every possible grounds.

MARILYN:  Could you be a bit more specific?

MORTICIA:  Well, let's just say he wasn't really Addams material—no offense.

MARILYN:  None taken. I consider it a compliment.

MORTICIA:  What do you mean by that?

MARILYN:  Oh, nothing. It's just that I'd rather be a poor, working-class stiff than a spoiled, idle snob with a stick up my ass, that's all—no offense.

MORTICIA:  (through gritted teeth) None taken.

MARILYN:  Would you describe what happened during the séance, just before Fester was killed?

MORTICIA:  Gomez sneezed. I handed him a napkin.

MARILYN:  Did you hear anything else before the shot was fired?


MARILYN:  Thank you. Are there any other questions for Morticia? (Marilyn fields questions from the audience.) Thank you, Morticia. Mrs. Addams—what is your first name, by the way?

GRANDMAMA:  Babette.

MARILYN:  Babette? Do you mind if I call you Grandmama?

GRANDMAMA:  Whatever floats your boat, Blondie.

MARILYN:  Did you object to Wednesday's relationship with Eddie?

GRANDMAMA:  Of course I did.


GRANDMAMA:  He was a werewolf. Werewolves are bad news.

MARILYN:  You sound as though you speak from personal experience.


MARILYN:  What sort of experience?

GRANDMAMA:  Personal.

MARILYN:  Would you tell us what you heard before Fester was shot.

GRANDMAMA:  I heard Gomez sneeze, and I heard a shot.

MARILYN:  Anything else?


MARILYN:  Thank you. Any other questions for Grandmama? (She fields questions from the audience.) Wednesday Addams?

(No response. Wednesday is in her own world.)

MARILYN: Wednesday? What are you doing?

(Wednesday moves the cloth covering Fester, revealing a smiley face she has drawn on it over Fester's face.)

MARILYN:  Wednesday, could you answer a few questions for me?

WEDNESDAY: Sure, Marilyn. How are you Marilyn?

MARILYN:  I'm fine, Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  Are you sure? I know how you felt about Uncle Fester. You shouldn't keep your feelings inside, you know. Feelings are like butterflies, (beginning to sing) and butterflies are free to fly, fly away, high away…

MARILYN:  Honestly, Wednesday, I'm okay.

WEDNESDAY:  How about a pill?

MARILYN:  We took your pills away from you, remember?

WEDNESDAY:  (pulling out another pill box) Oh, I still have some herbals from Dr. Wong. (conspiratorially) Don't tell Dr. Crane; he doesn't believe in them.

MARILYN:  Give me the pills, Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  Let's see… (she begins handing out pills to guests, in a parody of Ophelia's mad scene in Hamlet) There's ginkgo, that's for remembrance—pray you, love, remember. And there is St. John's Wort, that's for thoughts.

MARILYN:  Give me the pills.

WEDNESDAY:  Oh, all right. (She hands the pills to Marilyn.)

MARILYN:  (patiently, as though talking to a small child) Now, Wednesday, I want you to think back to the séance.

WEDNESDAY:  What séance?

MARILYN:  The séance we just had—when Uncle Fester was killed.

WEDNESDAY:  Oh, yeah. That was so sad.

MARILYN:  Yes, it was. Now, do you remember what happened, just before Fester was shot?

WEDNESDAY:  You were talking to Eddie. Eddie's dead. That's so sad.

MARILYN:  Yes, it is. Then what happened?

WEDNESDAY:  Someone sneezed. I think it was Father.

MARILYN:  Yes. Then what?

WEDNESDAY:  There was a shot.

MARILYN:  Do you remember anything else unusual before the shot?

WEDNESDAY:  No….yes. There was a sound.

MARILYN:  What kind of sound?

WEDNESDAY:  (imitating the sound) FFFT!

MARILYN:  Was this before or after the sneeze?


MARILYN:  Are there any other questions for Wednesday? (Marilyn fields questions from the audience.) Thank you Wednesday. You've been very helpful. Ladies and gentlemen, I now know who the killer is. Do you? You have five minutes to fill out your resolution forms. Good luck, and may the best detective win!

Have you figured out who killed Eddie Munster and Fester Addams and the motives for their murders? Next week, I'll present the solution to An Addams Family Mystery!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Fall of Fester

This time of year, I always feel like shaving my head, donning a long black robe with a fur collar, and sticking a light bulb in my mouth.

My Fester fetish can be traced back to the spring of 2000. Several members of the Gypsy Players were hanging out in the bar at Dakota's Steakhouse in Simi Valley, trying to come up with an idea for a fall mystery dinner theater script. We were having a fairly successful run with The Last Cruise of the S.S. Minnow—a mash-up of Gilligan's Island, The Love Boat, Speed, and Titanic. "How about something with the Munsters or the Addams Family?" the bartender suggested.

An Addams Family Mystery premiered at Dakota's that fall. The show was directed by John Diesel and starred Ron Kewish as Gomez, Judie Kewish as Morticia, Roxanne Diesel as Grandmama, Mikisha Harrison as Wednesday, Tiel Kinsner as Marilyn Munster, and yours truly as Fester. I loved playing Fester, and was happy to reprise the role when the Gypsies revived the show at the Grand Vista Hotel in the fall of 2004, with Gabriel Vega as Gomez, Deborah Parsons as Morticia, Pat Newbert as Grandmama, Mallory Jordan and Kelly Murkey as Wednesday, and Lola McKenna and Marilyn Zaslow as Marilyn. The Gypsies produced the show once more at Paul's Italian Villa in 2007, with Gabriel Vega, Deborah Parsons, Pat Newbert, and I reprising our roles, and Veronica Morrow and Renee Smith as Wednesday and Marilyn.

A year ago, Comedy Tonight Productions revived the show at Yolanda's Mexican Restaurant in Ventura. Gabriel Vega, Renee Smith, and I reprised our roles; Kathryn Dippong Lawson and Veronica Scheyving alternated as Morticia, Heather Byhoffer was Grandmama, and Courtney Licata was Wednesday.

There have been other productions of An Addams Family Mystery all over the country. Unfortunately, for reasons I won't go into here (but which you may be able to deduce if you read last week's post), it may no longer be performed. However, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to post excerpts as "fan fiction." Do you?

Scene 2 ("Werewolf Genetics"), is my favorite scene. It follows, as is frequently the case, Scene 1, which I will first briefly summarize:

Imagine that you are a member of the Addams family. You arrive at a family reunion, to be greeted and seated by Gomez, Morticia, Grandmama, and Fester. Lurch and Thing are away at a funeral (primarily because it's extremely difficult to cast a seven foot cadaverous butler and a disembodied hand). Pugsley, who is studying to be a forensic pathologist, is in the midst of his finals at Harvard medical school. Wednesday is expected at any minute.

When Wednesday arrives, her mood is uncharacteristically cheerful. Much to the horror of her parents, she announces that she has been undergoing analysis with a certain "Dr. Crane," and is finally learning to enjoy life. Oh, and there's one more thing. She is engaged—to her boyfriend, Eddie Munster. The family—particularly Morticia and Grandmama—do not approve of the match. Not only is Eddie Munster "not Addams material," he is a werewolf. "He promised to get help," wails Wednesday. "He's going to check himself into the Lon Chaney center!"

"I don't care if he's made an appointment to be neutered," replies Morticia.

The family's objections become moot when, just before the end of the scene, FBI agent Marilyn Munster arrives to announce that her cousin, Eddie, has been murdered. Members of the Addams family—including, possibly, you—are prime suspects.

During the dinner break, Marilyn is torn between questioning the guests and pursuing Fester, for whom she seems to have developed a strange infatuation. She loses sight of him for a moment and then sees him across the room…

MARILYN:  Fester! (crosses to him) There you are! I was afraid you'd left.

FESTER:  No, I'm still here. How's the investigation going?

MARILYN:  Okay, I guess.

FESTER:  Do you really think someone in our family did it?

MARILYN:  It sure looks that way. I'm sorry.

FESTER:  You don't suspect me, do you?

MARILYN:  Of course not! Why, anyone could see that you're just a big ol' teddy bear who wouldn't hurt a fly! But the rest of your family…(looks pointedly at Morticia).

FESTER:  Oh, they're not so bad, once you get to know them. I'm sorry about Eddie. I didn't know him very well, but he seemed like a good kid. How did he become a werewolf?

MARILYN:  Oh, he was born that way.

MORTICIA:  Don't be ridiculous. There's no such thing as a born werewolf. You can only become a werewolf if you're bitten by a werewolf.

MARILYN:  Well Eddie was never bitten. Aunt Lily always said it was genetic. She said Eddie inherited it from her.

MORTICIA:  Is Lily a werewolf?

MARILYN:  Well, no…

MORTICIA:  Then I'm sorry, but your theory just doesn't make sense.

MARILYN:  Are you calling my aunt a liar?

MORTICIA:  Perhaps she had a reason for not telling you the truth.

MARILYN:  What makes you such an authority on the subject, anyway? Have you ever known a werewolf?

MORTICIA:  Heavens no! Horrible, hairy creatures!

MARILYN:  Like your cousin Itt?

MORTICIA:  Itt is not a werewolf!

MARILYN:  Well, then what is it—a dust mop?

MORTICIA:  Listen, you blonde freak of nature…

FESTER:  Morticia, please!

GOMEZ:  Perhaps you two should settle this outside—with appropriate weapons.

MARILYN:  That won't be necessary, Mr. Addams. (takes out her cell phone and begins to place a call) I have a friend at the bureau who can settle this… (to phone) Mulder? Marilyn Munster. I'm working on a case, and—listen, what do you know about lycanthropy?… Yes, I know… Yes, I know that, too… (beginning to lose patience, she does a "yak-yak" hand gesture) Yes, yes, yes—look, all I want to know is, is it hereditary?… Thanks. (to others) He's talking to his partner—she's a doctor… (back to phone) Scully? Wassup, girlfriend?… Yeah, I know you're a skeptic, but try to keep an open mind, okay?… Well, he claimed to have inherited the condition from his mother, but she's never shown any symptoms… What's that?… congenital?… recessive gene?… Okay… Yes… I think I understand. Thanks, Dana. Later.


MARILYN:  She says the gene could be recessive, which means someone could carry the disease without showing any of the symptoms. A child could inherit the disease, but only if both parents carried the recessive gene.

GOMEZ:  Then your Uncle Herman is a werewolf?

MARILYN:  No—but he doesn't have to be. He just has to carry the gene.

MORTICIA:  Or else…

MARILYN:  Or else what?

MORTICIA:  Never mind.

MARILYN:  No, what were you going to say?

MORTICIA:  I have no desire to cast aspersions on your aunt's character, but…

MARILYN:  But what?

MORTICIA:  Well…are you quite sure that Herman is Eddie's father?

MARILYN:  How dare you!

MORTICIA:  Well he certainly didn't look anything like Herman.

GOMEZ:  No one looks anything like Herman.

MARILYN:  (seething) I am going to make some more phone calls. When I get back, I will get to the bottom of this… and I will have justice for my cousin's murder!

(Wednesday enters. She is wearing her customary black dress and carrying a gun.)

MORTICIA:  Wednesday? What are you doing with that gun?

WEDNESDAY:  I was playing Russian roulette. I lost.

GOMEZ:  That's my girl! Good to see you're your old self again, Wednesday!

WEDNESDAY:  (not hearing him, in her own world) One bullet. Just one bullet. Do you think I could kill all three of us with one bullet?

GOMEZ:  If you did, it would be one hell of a shot.

(She points the gun at Gomez, Morticia and herself, in turn, and pulls the trigger. The gun does not fire.)

GOMEZ:  (pulling out a gun) My turn!

MORTICIA:  Gomez, Wednesday—remember my rule about guns in the house.

GOMEZ:  (putting gun away) Sorry, Tish—I forgot. What'll it be, Wednesday—knives or sabers?

WEDNESDAY:  You see? This is exactly what Dr. Crane was talking about! What kind of family duels with each other? (She bursts into tears.)

FESTER:  Poor kid!

GRANDMAMA:  I'll talk to her.

FESTER:  Please, Mama—be sympathetic.

GRANDMAMA:  You don't think I can be sympathetic? I can be sympathetic. (She crosses to Wednesday.) Put a sock in it, Wednesday! (Wednesday stops crying.) Still moping over wolf boy?

WEDNESDAY:  Oh, Grandmama! I miss him so much!

GRANDMAMA:  Sure you do. But it would never have worked out between you two, believe me. Oh, yes, it's wonderful at first—werewolves are wild, passionate creatures, and they make fantastic lovers. But then come the drains clogged with fur, the claw marks on the furniture—and forget about trying to housebreak them.

WEDNESDAY:  How do you know so much about it?

GRANDMAMA:  I was in love with a werewolf once.


GRANDMAMA:  It was a long time ago. He was beautiful—thick silver fur, soulful brown eyes—and that tongue…!

WEDNESDAY:  What happened?

GRANDMAMA:  Well, it's a long story, but trust me on this—werewolves are bad news.

WEDNESDAY:  Not my Eddie! (She begins crying again.)

GOMEZ:  Say, I know what will cheer Wednesday up! Cha-cha?… Mambo?… Tango! Hit it, Fester!

The scene ends with Fester singing a tango, as Gomez dances first with Wednesday, then with Morticia. My preference was The Masochism Tango, by Tom Lehrer
I ache for the touch of your lips, dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear.
You can raise welts
Like nobody else,
As we dance to the masochism tango... 
Want to know what happens next? Stay tuned for next week's episode, "Death at a Séance!"

My final appearance as Fester with the Gypsy Players,
Acton Lions Club, February 16, 2008.