Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “The Munsters

Peanut Sculpture – By Steve Casino

Steve-Casino_Creature_Bride-Frankenstein_MunstersCheck out these exquisitely made pieces of art… from peanut shells by artist Steve Casino. I’ve posted some of his horror-themed art here, there is much more at his website HERE

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Fred Gwynne

Frederick Hubbard “Fred” Gwynne (July 10, 1926 – July 2, 1993) was an American actor. Gwynne was best known for his roles in the 1960s sitcom The Munsters, as well as his later roles in Pet Semetary and My Cousin Vinny. 

Gwynne was born in New York City, a son of Frederick Walker Gwynne, a partner in the securities firm Gwynne Brothers, and his wife Dorothy Ficken. Gwynne attended the Groton School, and graduated from Harvard University, in 1951. At Harvard, he was a cartoonist for the Harvard Lampoon (eventually becoming its president), and acted in the Hasty Pudding Theatricals shows. During World War II, Gwynne served in the U.S. Navy.

Gwynne joined the Brattle Theatre Repertory Company after graduation, then moved to New York City. To support himself, Gwynne worked as a copywriter, resigning in 1952 upon being cast in his first Broadway role, a gangster in a comedy called Mrs. McThing. Phil Silvers was impressed by Gwynne from his work in Mrs. McThing and sought him for his television show. As a result, in 1955, Gwynne made a memorable appearance on The Phil Silvers Show. 

This led to him being cast in the sitcom Car 54, Where Are You? as Patrolman Francis Muldoon, opposite Joe E. Ross. During the two-season run of the program he met longtime friend and later co-star, Al Lewis. Gwynne was 6 ft 5 in tall, an attribute that contributed to his being cast as Herman Munster, a goofy parody of Frankenstein’s Monster, in the sitcom The Munsters. For his role he had to wear 40 or 50 lbs of padding, makeup, and 4-inch elevated shoes. His face was painted a bright violet because it captured the most light on the black-and-white film. Gwynne was known for his sense of humor and retained fond recollections of Herman, claiming in later life, ” … I might as well tell you the truth. I love old Herman Munster. Much as I try not to, I can’t stop liking that fellow.” After his experience in The Munsters, however, he found himself typecast. In 1969, he was cast as Jonathan Brewster, a Frankenstein monster-like character, in a television production of Arsenic and Old Lace. 

Gwynne’s performance as Jud Crandall in Pet Semetary (1989) was based on author Stephen King himself, who is also quite tall, only an inch shorter than the actor, and uses a similarly thick Maine dialect. Gwynne also had roles in the movies On The Waterfront (1954), The Littlest Angel (1969), Simon (1980), The Cotton Club (1984), Fatal Attraction and Ironweed (both 1987). In his last film, Gwynne was hilariously straight-faced as Judge Chamberlain Haller opposite Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny (1992).

Gwynne died of pancreatic cancer in Taneytown, Maryland, on July 2, 1993, at the age of 66, eight days before his 67th birthday. Gwynne was survived by his second wife, Deborah, and four children. He is interred at the Sandymount United Methodist Church graveyard in Finksberg, Maryland, in an unmarked grave.


New Dracula Series at NBC

NBC is giving the classic vampire tale of Count Dracula a contemporary spin. The network has teamed with producers Tony Krantz and Colin Callender and writer Cole Haddon for a Dracula series eyed for both the U.S. and international marketplace. The project, developed for NBC and NBCU’s international channels, has a “script-to-series” commitment, meaning that it won’t go through a pilot stage but straight to series if NBC brass like the script, which is currently being written by Haddon. Set in the 1890s, it is described as “Dangerous Liaisons meets The Tudors” and as a big, sweeping international soap opera that is young, sexy and supernatural. Frequent collaborators Krantz and Callender are executive producing, with Flame’s Reece Pearson co-executive producing.

In the deal for Dracula, NBC employed the same model it is using for another drama project about an iconic villain, Hannibal. That project, written by Bryan Fuller and produced by Gaumont International Television, also has a commitment for a script against 13-episode order. Both shows have pre-sold titles, along with Fuller’s Munsters reboot, which was recently picked up to pilot by NBC. Vampires have been hot on the big and the small screen lately with the blockbuster Twilight movie franchise and hit series True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. In addition to Dracula, TV producer/feature director Kratz and former HBO executive-turned-producer Callender have another drama project at NBC and Universal TV, The Fixer, based on the life of top New York attorney Edward Hayes.

Cole Haddon has experience with rebooting classic dark characters. His feature script Hyde, about an allegedly rehabilitated Dr. Jekyll, landed on the 2010 Black List. The project is being developed by Dark Horse Entertainment, Mark Gordon Prods. and  Skydance Prods.


Bryan Singer to direct The Munsters

NBC’s The Munsters will be brought to you by The Bryans. X-Men and Superman Returns helmer Bryan Singer is finalizing a deal to direct and executive produce Bryan Fuller’s reboot of the 1960s comedy, which recently received a pilot order by NBC. Universal Television is producing  the project, described as an imaginative reinvention of The Munsters as a visually spectacular one-hour drama. Singer, who had been interested in the project since before it got the greenlight by NBC two weeks ago, will executive produce with Fuller.

After originally developing The Munsters last season, Fuller redeveloped it with NBC’s new executive team this summer and delivered his new script at the beginning of this month. Like Fuller’s previous series, Pushing Daisies, The Munsters calls for striking visuals mixed with all the classic Munsters archetypes, and NBC had been looking for a top director to create the world of The Munsters circa 2011. The pilot for Fuller’s Pushing Daisies also was directed by a feature helmer, Barry Sonnenfeld, who earned an Emmy for his work. The first pilot Singer directed was House, and he continues to serve as an executive producer on the long-running Fox medical drama. Singer has since directed only one other pilot, ABC’s Football Wives, and he served as an executive producer on the ABC drama series Dirty Sexy Money. Singer most recently produced X-Men: First Class. As a director, he is in post-production on Jack the Giant Killer.


Hannibal & the Munsters – New TV from NBC

Bryan Fuller may have two series on NBC; the man behing ‘Pushing Daisies’ is behind two high-profile projects, The Munsters and Hannibal, both of them on a script-to-series track. Fuller originally developed a reboot of the 1960s comedy series The Munsters last season and his was one of very few scripts new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt kept in play when he took over the network in January. Greenblatt rolled the project to get it redeveloped by his team. Fuller’s new outline submitted in September was received well (it was the talk of NBC’s pre-Emmy party), and his draft was just delivered last Friday.

Word is that NBC, which may pull the trigger on a series order as early as this week, envisions the new Munsters as a potential summer or event series. Like Fuller’s previous series, Pushing Daisies, the  project features striking visuals mixed with all the classic Munsters archetypes. Grandpa Sam Dracula is essentially Dracula who assembled Herman because no man was good enought for his daughter Lily, a sexy vamp. Lily’s niece Marilyn the freak is actually normal and Lily and Herman’s only child, Eddie, has his werewolf tendencies surface in puberty, forcing the family to relocate to their famous 1313 Mockingbird Lane address.

Separately, Fuller is writing Hannibal, a drama series for Gaumont International Television and producer Martha De Laurentiis, which NBC just bought preemptively. Fuller is writing the script about based on the iconic literary and film character Hannibal  Lecter against a 13-episode commitment, meaning that  the script will trigger a 13-episode series if NBC likes it. (NBC has a short window to decide upon receiving the draft, with a potential release triggering a penalty.) I hear the network first got interested in the project when Fuller  mentioned it casually to the network’s new entertainment president  Jennifer Salke over drinks. A well-known foodie as evidenced by Pushing Daisies, apparently Fuller was attracted to the dark, sick side of Hannibal, who tends to feast on his victims.