Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!

addams11 hp Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!

250px Charles addams5001 198x300 Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!Today marks the centennial of Charles Addams, born January 7, 1912.  In celebration, Google, in cooperation with the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation has created a Google doodle, seen above!

Addams was renowned for his macabre cartoons which appeared in the New Yorker, and for his iconic “Addams Family” pictured above.  Those characters, later “fleshed out” (so to speak) for television, also inspired a cartoon series (spun off from Scooby-Doo!), a variety show (pilot only), a television reboot, two movies (and possibly a third, animated feature from Tim Burton), a Broadway musical, video games, even a pinball machine!

Like many New Yorker cartoonists, he has numerous iconic cartoons.  Unlike most, a large majority of his work is silent, which requires the reader to puzzle out the punchline, which makes it that more memorable.  Perhaps that is why he had so many New Yorker covers:

you never know Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!valentine Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!going up1 Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!butterfly Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!knock Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!tumblr lgxjex3oL21qhnnhro1 500 Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!

He served as an inspiration to many, from the Wednesday goths who also read Edward Gorey, to Gahan Wilson who continued in his footsteps.  The allegorical and magical gags in his cartoons are the predecessors of gags found later in Gary Larson’s Far Side and Mark Tatulli’s Lio.  For today’s cartoonists, he’s an example of a creator who retained control of his work and profited handsomely via the various licensees.

skier Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!rough neighborhood Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!uboat Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!l0v3 Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!audubon Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!mirror mirror Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!ark Happy Birthday, Charles Addams! Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!

everybody Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!

"I think you know everybody."

ufo Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!

"I'm sorry, sonny. We've run out of candy."

From the dust returned Happy Birthday, Charles Addams!An interesting footnote:  Charles Addams illustrated Ray Bradbury’s Homecoming for Mademoiselle magazine.  A planned collaboration for a collection of stories about the Elliott family never materialized, but Addams’ illustration was used for the cover.  (It was later adapted by Steve Leialoha in the third volume of The Ray Bradbury Chronicles.)

If you’re in New York, head (ha!) over to the New York Public Library, where a rotating exhibition of his drawings is on display outside the third floor Men’s restroom.


  1. the “new yorker” cover with the deep sea diver is creepy and cool at the same time.

  2. R. Flores says:

    One of the greatest cartoonists ever. His fascination with the sinister is legendary.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I forgot how funny Chas Addams was.


  1. […] was Charles Addams’s birthday (that link has a bunch of his classic New Yorker cartoons), and because of that someone on Facebook […]

Speak Your Mind