the addams family hometown

Nestled at the intersection of Elm Street and Dudley Ave., in an quiet suburban street in Westfield, New Jersey, is the house that inspired Charles Addams to create the looming, gothic Addams Family Mansion. There’s nothing very remarkable about this house, with its white wood paneling and quaint turn-of-the-century shutters. In fact, it’s as painfully normal. But stare a little longer, and maybe you can see it through Charles Addams eyes: the wood turns a deep black, the shutters slowly become more dilapidated, and a dark cloud casts a shadow over the house.

“This is the house,” longtime Charles Addams expert Ron MacCloskey declared to the group of journalists attending the Westfield junket for the upcoming animated The Addams Family movie. It’s one of several houses that allegedly provided the inspiration for the looming, Gothic mansion seen in The Addams Family TV shows, movies, and comics. “Charles Addams has said he has never drawn the Addams family the same twice. So every cartoon is a little bit different for what the family house looks like,” MacCloskey said.

The house /Film saw with the group of journalists, which we could not enter due to it being private property, was part of a short tour of Charles Addams’ old haunts in Westfield, New Jersey, which is holding its second annual AddamsFest this October. The town had only recently begun to embrace the legacy of this famous cartoonist who was born and raised in the small New Jersey town approximately 20 miles from New York City. But upon the unearthing of a skeletal chalk drawing in a wooden shack (affectionately named “Dudley Addams” after the street it was found), Westfield is becoming significantly creepier and kookier.

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In March, a story came out of Deadline that a stop-motion animated Addams Family film is being developed with Tim Burton as likely director. Burton’s reps quickly issued a denial, saying that he “has not lined up any of his upcoming projects.” When Brendon reported on the story and the denial, he surmised that Deadline’s report wasn’t incorrect, but that this project might just be a long ways off.

Now there is support for that idea, which comes from one of the film’s producers, Christopher Meledandri. He says the film is indeed being developed, but that it is in the early stages. And yes, Tim Burton is the director he has in mind. Read More »


Update: MTV have received a statement from Burton’s representation that says “There is no truth to the story. Tim has not lined up any of his upcoming projects”. I’m pretty sure this official line in no way undermines the validity of Deadline’s reporting – they won’t have just made this up. We’re obviously just a long, long way off from anything coming to fruition.

It was a popular observation that Barry Sonnenfeld’s two big-screen Addams Family films were styled and shot somewhat similarly to the movies of Tim Burton. Some even criticised Sonnenfeld quite caustically for this, which was perhaps a little unfair as this look was pretty true to the basic source material, Charles Addams‘ cartoon strips from The New Yorker – illustrations that had clearly had some impact on Burton’s aesthetic in the first place.

Adding another noodle to that spaghetti plate of inspiration and imitation, news comes today that Tim Burton is to make his own Addams Family film. Like his upcoming Frankenweenie, the Addams project is to be made as a 3D stop-motion project, pretty much roping in all of Burton’s interests at once.

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