Google Doodle Honors Macabre Cartoonist Charles Addams on His 100th Birthday

Internet People

Before Gomez and Morticia snapped their fingers, before Thing fetched the mail, before anyone was “altogether ooky,” Charles “Chas” Addams created the Addams Family and other strange characters in his many cartoons. Over a nearly 60-year career, Addams drew more than 1,300 cartoons, most (if not all) with great creativity and a sense of humor twisted some degrees from what anyone would call normal. As it happens, Addams was born on January 7, 1912, and on what would have been his 100th birthday, Google is celebrating his memory with a Doodle done in his distinctive style (and courtesy of the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation).

Charles Addams Google DoodleCharles Addams Google Doodle

Addams‘s cartooning career took off when, in 1932, he sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker — and from 1938 until his death fifty years later, the magazine printed his cartoons regularly. During World War II, Addams served in the Army domestically, making cartoon training films for the soldiers. He was married three times, last to Marilyn Matthews Miller, who went by the nickname “Tee.” In keeping with his sense of humor, they were reportedly married in a pet cemetery and named their estate in the wealthy Long Island town of Sagaponack “The Swamp.”

Today Addams is probably best remembered for the entertainment his cartoons spawned, including two live-action TV series, two animated TV series, three movies, and a Broadway musical. While his cartoons never really had a story to them — he preferred the one-panel format — you can see the foundation for the Addams Family characters and house in many of his cartoons, and in the Doodle art above.

If you’re unfamiliar with his work, I suggest checking your local library for books of his cartoons, as many are out of print. There are two books in print that you might enjoy, though: Chas Addams Happily Ever After: A Collection of Cartoons to Chill the Heart of Your Loved One ($20 on Amazon) and Charles Addams: The Addams Family: an Evilution ($26.37 on Amazon). I highly recommend seeking his cartoons out — you’ll get the feeling that the phrase “delightfully twisted” was invented with them in mind.

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