I’m not really sure what happened here. I wanted to share something from ’70s television with a spooky vibe, and then I stumbled across this, and while I can describe it and comment on it, I’m just not sure what exactly it is.
Originally broadcast as a one-hour “movie” on The ABC Superstar Saturday Movie, “Mini-Munsters” re-aired as a thirty-minute episode in the ’80s – presumably as a cartoon test slot. That half-hour cut is the version in the link below. I can assume the hour-long version puts things into a more distinguishable container, but I can’t imagine that helps things much.
Past the ‘it’s the Munsters in cartoon form’ angle, there’s not a ton that’s different about the family. Well, except for the voices – Al Lewis is the only character to stick around to voice the cartoon version of himself. Eddie’s a teenager now, and forms a rock band with his cousins Igor and Lucretia – the titular “Mini Munsters”. Herman’s not a fan of the kids’ music, and gets them to play it elsewhere. He buys the Mini-Munsters a Hearse haunted by the ghost of a funeral director, for some reason, and Grandpa invents a device that makes the Hearse run on music. For some reason.
The device becomes a hit and upsets some gangsters who own an oil company, who then challenge the Munsters to a race and then steal their pet dragon Spot when they lose the race, holding him hostage in an effort to get Grandpa to destroy the device. The Mini-Munsters get the dragon back and the gangsters are thwarted. Okay!
I know that it was the trend in the ’70s to take any popular sitcom that might have appealed to kids and make an animated version of it – The Brady Kids and The New Adventures of Gilligan come to mind – but even the worst efforts at this sort of thing make more sense than Mini-Munsters. Was this really the fully-baked version of this idea? Was this hamfisted plotline where a rock band accelerating a Hearse through its tempo really the strongest way to premiere this presumably fully baked version of this idea? We’ll never know for sure, but I think the answer is yes. Yes, it was a flimsy cash grab that shouldn’t have happened, a dish cooked by dispassionate chefs that would have been best left on the kitchen floor.
Too harsh? Happy Halloween.