Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Gomez by Any Other Name

Something I’d always wondered about: Why do all of the members of the Addams family have names that are sinister in one way or another except Gomez? Dark associations of Morticia, Fester, Cousin Itt, Thing and Lurch’s names are obvious. Wednesday gets her name from the line in the “Monday’s Child” poem — “Wednesday’s child is full of woe” — and Pugsley’s seems like a play on pugnacious or something thereabouts. But why should Gomez get a fairly normal name? A surname for a first name is hardly sinister.


Something I did not know: the members of the Addams family did not initially have first names. Only when the original Charles Addams comics were adapted for the 1964 TV show did the characters need to refer to each other. Addams chose all the character names himself, except for that of the family patriarch. For that one, he was considering both Gomez and Repelli, the former if the character were to be played as Spanish and the latter if Italian. According to the Wikipedia page, Addams left the final decision up to the actor who first played Gomez, John Astin, who chose to play the character as Castilian. Which is too bad, really, because Repelli strikes me as a better name and a better match for the rest of the family members’ unpleasantly themed names. So that explains where the name came from, at least, but not where Gomez came from or whether Charles Addams thought it had negative associations.

One more thing: The initial suggestion for Pugsley’s name, Pubert, was nixed by ABC, presumably because the network executives at the time didn’t realize that puberty is hilarious.

6 comments:

  1. Maybe you'll find this tidbit interesting.
    This series, when dubbed for Mexico (and I am guessing Latin America) had Gomez's name changed to....
    Homer!

    That's right, Homero was the name of the character and I actually never heard of the name Gomez until the movie came out.

    On a not very relted sidenote: I loved Raul Julia,

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  2. I know Homer Simpson is also "Homero" in Spanish dubs, at least from what I've heard of the Spanish tracks on the DVD. No idea why "Gomez" would be changed to that, though.

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  3. Alice: Did not know that. How strange. I'm always interested to see how American TV characters of a certain ethnicity or nationality are translated in the rebroadcast for people of that ethnicity or nationality. Like, from The Simpsons, I think they make Uter into a Dutchman for the German dub.

    Nathan: And I did not know that, either. Although I imagine the name switch for the Spanish language Addams Family might have happened because Gomez wouldn't have seemed strange enough and his Spanish ancestry wouldn't have been as unusual or notable.

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  4. If Gomez is "Homero" in the Spanish dubs, I wonder what Wednesday's pet spider Homer is called?

    One non-naming bit of Addams Family trivia just because it blew my mind when I read about it recently: Thing was usually played by Ted Cassidy (Lurch), who would get squeezed under a small table so he could stick his arm up through the box. I have no idea why you'd pick the 6'9" tall actor to play Thing...

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  5. Wednesday is named Merlina in the Spanish dub, a female version of Merlin.

    Also Pugsley was "Pericles" like the Greek orator although I find no connection with the Addams, maybe just a funny sounding name?

    I have no idea what Merlina's tarantula's name was-

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  6. Completely unrelated to the aforementioned discussion, but the sororal folk-country-cabaret duo The Vermillion Lies have a great song called "Wednesday's Child," which uses the well-known poem.

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