When I was in grade school, although we lived in the middle of Blaine, Washington, we had a barn behind our house. It was a great hangout for a kid--literally, because I'd often hang out the high back window to steal apples from Ben Gaskill's tree. Ben Gaskill smoked cigars and was always a scary figure to me; yet his tree grew the best green apples--tart and juicy. For some reason, there was a bunch of stuff stored in the barn, many things in boxes, and to this day I don't know if all of it was ours or if it was left there by past residents. Anyway, one day I came upon a plain green hardcover book, with a slightly damaged spine, and the worn words, "Monster Rally." This was quite a treasure for a fairly-sheltered son of a preacher, and when I opened it to find Charles Addam's cartoons, loaded with dark humor, I was totally fascinated. I had never seen dark humor before; and to see a theatre full of people crying while watching a sad movie, and one man in the middle with a big evil grin on his face, was wonderfully funny to me. So when I heard that they were going to have a TV show of "The Addams Family," was I excited! By then I had acquired several more of Charles Addams' books and was familiar with his humor and his characters, and was a bit disappointed to find the TV show so "cleaned up." It was like the Cleaver family in black. And the same props were used over and over. They could have made it a lot better, and did, later, in the movies, which were more faithful to Charles Addams. Then again, if, at that time, they had put the unadulterated Charles Addams humor on American television, the show never would have been allowed to last its two full seasons. It was close enough to Addams, nevertheless, to have me love to watch it and now buy the entire series to watch and enjoy again and again. And I can hardly expect any TV producer to make me relive that marvelous find in a dark barn.
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