Term of endearment used by slender Morticia Addams [née Frump] (Carolyn Jones) when referring to her eccentric, cigar-smoking husband Gomez Addams (John Astin) on the macabre sitcom THE ADDAMS FAMILY/ABC/1964-66.
Morticia also called Gomez “Cara Mio,” “Mon Cherie,” and “Querido” (Spanish for “The man I desire”). In turn, Gomez called Morticia “Cara Mia,” “Cara Bella” and “Querida” (Spanish for “The woman I desire”).
When Morticia speaks the French language, it drives Gomez crazy with desire. As Gomez would say, “Tish! When you speak French, it drives me wild, Cara Mia!” He would then grab her arm and plant a trail of kisses from her hand up to her waiting lips.
Morticia’s French supposedly helped clear up a sinus condition Gomez had for 22 years. One of Gomez’s love poems stated “When I first saw you from afar, My heart flamed with fierce passion. And when you spoke French, ooh-la-la!…”
Besides his loving wife, Morticia, Gomez loved a good cigar. He kept his Garcia y Vega cigars in a cigar store Indian statue that rested in his museum-like living room. When Gomez pulled the cigars from his unique holder, they were already lit. At times, Gomez lit his cigars by striking a match on his butler’s body or igniting it with a flame thrower. Gomez’s wife, Morticia also enjoyed a good smoke. Except in her case, when she smoked, her entire body emitted a milky, misty cloud of vapor.
Gomez’s other interests included dabbling in the stock market (like buying shares of Consolidated Fuzz) and playing with Lionel “O-Gauge” electric trains. While most train aficionados would be content to watch the trains go round and round, Gomez adds spice to his play time by placing explosives on the tracks and causing major pileups and derailments. Well, when you got all that money you can afford to ruin your toys.
Morticia’s hobbies included painting on canvas and spending time in the dungeon getting stretched on the rack. Her favorite color is black which translates into a one-colored wardrobe of the same dress. She chose black after Gomez admired her black honeymoon ensemble. “I’ll never wear another,” she promised. And she was true to her word.
While Gomez and Morticia have different hobbies, they do have shared interests. When it’s sunny outside, they get depressed; but a thunder and lightning storm will raise their spirits. And while the moon is full you can find them outside giving themselves a nice tan from the moonlight. And they both believe that Halloween is the most important holiday of the year.
As for family breeding, both Gomez and Morticia (who calls Gomez “Bubula”) come from notable families. Gomez’s family traces its roots back to the year 270 B.C. when his relative Maumud Kali Pashi burned down the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. Years later, during Colonial times, Gomez’s relatives changed their name from Adams to Addams to avoid being embarrassed with any association with that “other” prominent Adams family (who produced two presidents – John and John Quincy Adams).
While Morticia’s family doesn’t go back as far as Gomez, she too had some distinctive ancestors who lived in Salem, Massachusetts. Morticia once organized a séance to reach the spirit of long dead Great Great Great Aunt Singe who was burned as a witch. The incantation read “Fire of Salem, ol’ flame of Satan, Come in Aunt Singe, we’re all awaitin’.”
Gomez and Morticia’s immediate family live in a spooky Victorian mansion at 001 Cemetery Land in Greedbriar, USA. Family members include their portly son Pugsley Addams; their somber little girl Wednesday Thursday Addams who carries a headless doll named Marie Antoinette; Grandmama “the witch” Addams who conjures up love spells; the bald Uncle Fester Frump who relieves his headache by compressing his head in a vice [“POP!”]; the hairy Cousin Itt who babbles a strange language that only Gomez understands; and Lurch, the family’s towering harpsichord-playing zombie butler who answers the family gong with a deep-voiced “You rang?”
Once you enter Gomez and Morticia’s gloomy abode you are privy to a number of bizarre items including ancient instruments of torture (an iron maiden, a rack, a bed-of-nails chaise lounge, stocks inscribed “Hers,” and a flogging table); a huge two-headed sea turtle; an Eskimo totem pole; a giant brown (and later) white bear; the hastate head of a swordfish stuffed with a human leg (Cousin Ferook’s); a suit of samurai armor; a harpsichord; a king cobra candle holder; a steer-horn-girded armchair; an elephant’s hoof filled with popcorn; a moose head (named Pierre) over the fireplace with one whimsically drooping left antler; and a bearskin rug that growled when stepped upon. Also lurking within the Addams’ mansion are Thing, a disembodied human right hand; Cleopatra, an African strangling plant; and Kit Kat, the family lion.
Thing is Gomez’s childhood companion who moves about the Addams’ bizarre home via a labyrinth of tunnels which lead to the mail box, a hidden wall vault and to a myriad of small hinged-topped wooden boxes strategically placed about their bizarre gothic home. Thing’s responsibilities included delivering the family mail, answering the telephone (from his gold, nail-studded box), lighting Gomez’s cigars and sympathetically patting family members with his five fingers when they were depressed. “Beware the Thing” was posted on the iron gate in front of the Addams house. Conversation with Thing was limited, to be sure, but when hand gestures were not enough, Thing tapped out his messages with Morse Code. When Gomez went for a drive in the car, Thing rode in the glove compartment.
Cleopatra is an African strangler plant whose main diet was chunks of red, fleshy meat [Cleo’s favorite food was Zebra Burgers and Yak meatballs]. Morticia grew Cleopatra from a seed. The overly aggressive plant was always snuggling up to the family’s visitors who didn’t realize the plant’s apparent affection was really Cleopatra’s way of sizing up her next meal.. Once Cleopatra ate Morticia’s favorite photo of Gomez. Morticia’s other plants included Roses (for their thorns), hemlock, henbane, and poison Ivy. To enhance the growth of her weed garden, Morticia fertilized by sprinkling “Wonder Weed.”
As for Kit Kat, this full-grown African lion was cowardly and the family pet. It wanders through the Addams’ home and unwittingly frightens all of the family’s visitors. Kit Kat has the unique talent of walking backwards up the flight of stairs.
When the day draws to a close and the dinner bells rings at the Addams family, Morticia serves Gomez a number of strange delicacies. The family’s daily diet includes such entrees as baked iguana, breast of alligator, broiled elephant hooves, casserole of spleen (with a pinch of hemlock), dwarf’s hair pie, fricassee of toad, marinated gizzard of lizard, soufflé of aardvark, and tongue of yak. MMMM! Can’t wait for an invite to dinner.
Note: Charles Addams, the creator of the Addams Family characters was fascinated with medieval paraphernalia. His Manhattan apartment was filled with instruments of torture, a collection of crossbows, battle armor, as well as human skulls, a collection of brass lizards, fragments of tombstones, and eighteenth-century embalming table which he converted into a coffee table. The items no doubt fueled his macabre sense of humor.
The first episode of THE ADDAMS FAMILY “The Addams Family Goes to School” (9-18-64) used exterior footage of a real house to depict the Addams mansion. This house (now demolished) was coincidentally located on Adams Boulevard in Los Angeles. For the rest of the series, however, the producers used a matte painting created by artist Louis McMannus (the designer of the Emmy Award) for exterior footage scenes of the mansion.
To create the matte painting, the artist took the photograph of the original house on Adams Boulevard and had it enlarged to a thirty-by-forty inch black-and-white portrait. The photograph was then custom painted with various shades of colored oils. Details such as the bent television antenna on the mansion’s tower and the leafless trees flanking the house were added for mood. The painting created for the series has long since disintegrated according to Howard Anderson II, a film and special effects expert who was responsible for the commissioning the matte painting.
For the 1991 motion picture remake, The Addams Family: The Movie, a full-scale facade of the house (which slightly resembled the original) was built in the Burbank Hills. The main interior sets (built on the same studio site of the original series) included Morticia’s solarium of dead plants, Gomez’s playroom, a library, and a portrait gallery of Addams ancestors.
The interior of the Addams’ home returned to TV in 1998 on the Fox Family Channel revival series THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY. John Astin (who appeared as Gomez) played the role of the eccentric Grandpa Addams on the revival series.
On the original series, there were three different addresses given for the Addams residence: 001 Cemetery Lane (Greenbriar); 001 Cemetery Lane (Woodlawn); 001 North Cemetery Drive (Greenbriar). and on the remake series 1313 Cemetery Lane, Greenbriar, U.S.A. 66613 Phone: 555-1313.