June 29, 2011

Blitzkrieg Intermission: Drawing The Addams Family House Part 1: The Research


There was a point in my life when I wanted to be an Architect. Even went so far as taking a year worth of classes in college chasing after that career. Well things went in a different, and poorer, direction for me, but I still like to draw houses as a hobby.

But drawing a 3 bedroom/ 2 bath ranch is pretty boring. No one wants to see that. Instead we need to find something different and strange to draw. And what is more strange and different then the Addams Family's Mansion. 

Now this floor plan has been done before...kinda.


The plan of the Addams Family Home by Mark Bennett appeared in the LA Times in 1995, and later in his book TV Sets: Fantasy Blueprints of Classic TV Homes, A book that I myself own. The plan is pretty good, but it does have it's problems. This blueprint is based almost solely on the interior sets. Problem was, the sets didn't match up with the exterior shots used for the show. 


The shot above is a composite shot an an actual house in LA used for the exterior shot, and matte painting used to add the "spooky" elements to the shot, like the dead trees and bent antenna. This same shot was then painted over again to make and even spookier looking version later on in the series, but it still pretty much looked like the above house. Sadly the actual house that was used for these shots has been torn down and no longer exists for us to go to and see.

One of the major problems with Mr. Bennett's plan is that the bay that makes up the base of the tower on the first floor is missing in his plan, even though it can clearly be seen on the exterior shots. Funny enough the bay is present on his second floor plan. There is of course a simple reason for this mistake, and that is that Mr. Beenett was sticking to sets more then the exterior shots and so he drew the foyer as it appeared in the show, which conflicted with how the house looked on the outside.



Above you can see the foyer and front door. Note the flat wall and window on the wall behind Gomez. This feature contradicts the exterior shots as this is where the bay should be. So Mr. Bennett had to combine the elements and used the set as the rule, instead of the location shots. 

Another problem comes in the fact that left side of the house is far to long. If you look at the plan and match the fireplace and bay window on this side of the house you'll find the wall past these two parts is far too long compared to the exterior shot. At least 2-3 times too long in fact. As I don't have the show on DVD, (Passed on them when they were 10 bucks a season at Wal-Mart and have been kicking myself since.) I don't know if this part of his plan was based on something from the show or not. I do know the playroom showed up, but that also has it's share of problems.


This was the kids "playroom" that Mr. Bennett put on the first floor. I actually have see this room in a couple of episodes of this show I caught on TV Land a few years back. It is my belief that this room is actually in the basement of the home. I base this one the brick walls, and how high the base of the window is from the floor. This just looks like a basement room, and I actually think that's is were it belongs on the plan. That would cut a lot of length off the left side, but still not enough I think.



Another source could be the model kit made at the height of the shows popularity in the 60's. Although a quick look over the kit shows that is all squashed and pushed together to make it smaller (and thus cheaper) to produce. So using the model for use in figure out dimensions of the actual house is a pretty bad idea. Although the box does give us a good look at the colors of the house (or at least the color the house was in the minds eye). Which is useful given that the show was in black and white. Doesn't help me draw the plan, but still neat never the less. 

So at the end of the day all I have is the black and white screen grabs of the exterior of the house from the show. I'm still trying to figure out the scale of those photos, but since there isn't any object of known dimensions in the shots it is making it difficult. (Man I wish they hadn't tore that house down). The rear of the house is a complete mystery. Although a member over at Paper models.com made a drawing of what he thought the back of the house would look like, and while it is not set accurate, I do really like and will be trying to use it for my own plan once I get it started.

At the end of the day I will probably be trying to draw both versions of the house. One plan based on the sets very similar to Mr. Bennett's and another based on the exterior of the house using the drawing above as the back. Keep checking here to see the progress.





3 comments:

  1. How's your progress on this? Would love to see it. I'm doing a similar project myself although based on the house from the first film.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am intrigued by the homes used in movies and how accurately they are depicted in the movies/tv. I am so happy to know that I am not the only complete geek who wonders about these things. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. well ? and blueprints yet?

    ReplyDelete