Who Wrote and Sang the ‘Spooky’ Theme Song for ‘The Addams Family’

Cartoonist Charles Addams’ creepy cartoons of a macabre family, The Addams Family, which he first drew as a freelancer for The New Yorker in 1938, became a hit over time. His humorous and spooky family of fiends would later get adapted into a popular television series in the 1960s starring John Astin as Gomez Addams, Carolyn Jones as his wife, Morticia, Lisa Loring as their daughter Wednesday, and Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester, along with more ghoulish characters.

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The show needed a theme song that would reflect all the eerie shenanigans and comedic side of The Addams Family.

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Vic Mizzy

By the time the show premiered in 1964, the theme song for The Addams Family was already written and arranged by Brooklyn, New York-born TV and film composer Victor Mizzy. He already had the iconic melody in his head, complete with harpsichord, percussion, and two-finger snaps.

“You’ve got the harpsichord, which lends this antique, sort of macabre quality to the theme,” said Jon Burlingame, author of the 1996 book TV’s Biggest Hits: The Story of Television Themes From ‘Dragnet’ to ‘Friends. “But then you add the lyrics, which make it funny. So you have the perfect combination of macabre and amusing. It was just right for that show’s sensibility.”

And then came the lyrics. Knowing the theme of the show, Mizzy wrote lyrics that were funny and slightly spine-tingling. He even sang the theme song himself and overdubbed it three times to give the impression of multiple vocalists since the production studio, Filmways, didn’t want to pay for singers.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky
Mysterious and spooky
They’re all together ooky
The Addams family

Their house is a museum
When people come to see ’em
They really are a screaming
The Addams family

Opening Scenes

In addition to composing the music, writing lyrics, and singing the song, Mizzy also directed and filmed the opening sequence for the show.

“Now here’s my idea,” said Mizzy in 2004, before starting to sing the melody to The Addams Family. “Buh-buh-buh-bump [snap-snap], buh-buh-buh-bump.’ As Mizzy was presenting his theme song, he noticed smiles on the faces of producer David Levy and others in the room. “I said, ‘My idea is to iris in like an old-time movie, and the family.”

To capture his arrangement, Mizzy directed the cast through the song—and the finger snaps.

“I told Carolyn [Jones] and John [Astin], to be lackadaisical,” said Mizzy. “That did it. Overnight, it becomes a smash show—big.”

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‘Green Acres’ and Beyond

Born on Jan. 9, 1916, in Brooklyn, New York, Mizzy learned to play the piano as a child and began writing songs and sketches for variety shows while he was studying at New York University.

He eventually began working as a songwriter, penning a number of top 20 songs in the 1930s and ’40s, including “There’s a Faraway Look in Your Eye” and “Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes,” before venturing into television and first composing the music for the 1960 anthology series Moment of Fear.

By 1964, he had written for The Addams Family, which ran through 1966. In 1965, Mizzy also composed another iconic theme song for the television sitcom Green Acres, starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, which aired through 1971.

Mizzy, who died in 2009 at 93, continued composing music for TV and film, including a song for the DVD version of the 2004 film Spider-Man 2.

Addams Adaptations

Throughout the decades, The Addams Family has been recreated in film, beginning with the 1991 movie, starring Angelica Houston as Morticia, the late Raul Julia as Gomez, Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester, and Christina Ricci as Wednesday.

A computer-animated version of The Addams Family, voiced by Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, and Allison Janney, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Finn Wolfhard, was also released in 2019.

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Nearly 60 years after Mizzy first snapped the classic theme song together, The Addams Family continues to resurface on the tube.

In the 2022 Netlfix comedy-horror series Wednesday, the code to enter the secret society of the Nightshades is to snap twice, a charming homage to the original song.

Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

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