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Body Parts

Thing the HandTHE ADDAMS FAMILY/ABC/1964-66 (The Thing) - Thing is an intelligent and very alive disembodied right hand who is the faithful servant of the eccentric millionaire Gomez Addams (John Astin) and his family on the bizarre sitcom THE ADDAMS FAMILY/ABC/1964-66.

In a humorous take-off of the sci-fi movie The Crawling Hand (1963), the series scriptwriters introduced this one-handed creepy crawler whose household responsibilities included delivering the family mail, answering the telephone (from his gold, nail-studded box), lighting Gomez's cigars and sympathetically patting family members with his five fingers when they were depressed.

Thing (Gomez's childhood companion) moved about the Addams' bizarre home via a labyrinth of tunnels which lead to the mail box, a hidden wall vault and to a myriad of small hinged-topped wooden boxes strategically placed about their bizarre gothic home. "Beware the Thing" was posted on the iron gate in front of the Addams house at 001 Cemetery Lane.

Conversation with Thing was limited, to be sure, but when hand gestures were not enough, Thing tapped out his messages with Morse Code. When the Addams went for a drive in the car, Thing rode in the glove compartment.

Things sweetheart was Lady Finger, a female disembodied "handmaiden" who belonged to Princess Millicent (Elvia Allman) a distant cousin of the Addams who lived in England.

Both Jack Vogelin and Ted Cassidy (who played Lurch, the Addams' towering, zombie butler) were given credit for playing the digital domestic pet. Assistant director Jack Vogelin was a "hand-in" when Ted Cassidy was to be in the same scene as Thing.

According to an interview with Joel Eisner in Starlog magazine Ted Cassidy stated "I played the Thing. I always have. In fact, I did Thing in the reunion (HALLOWEEN WITH THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY) but it was never publicized."

Episode No. 23 "Thing is Missing" (3-5-65) found Gomez hiring a private investigator to search for Thing.

Christopher Hart's Hand as Thing the HandIn 1991, Thing reappeared in The Addams Family: The Movie starring Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston. In the motion picture version, Thing was free to roam around the house without the confinement of a box.

Actor-magician Christopher Hart who played Thing commented "I'm going to have the most famous hand in the business. Maybe it will lead to a watch or jewelry commercial or something." Speculating on Thing's marketability, he said "We'd only be able to sell it at the Pleasure Chest." (US Magazine 8/91 No. 160/161). The radio controlled robotic version of Thing used in the movie was designed by special effects man, Alan Munro.

Sign posted in front of the Addams Home
Posted in Front of Addams House

Thing merchandise has appeared  in various ways including a model toy by Poynter Products; a commercial spokeshand in a series of 1970s commercials for Bell Telephone Yellow Pages advertising the slogan "Let your fingers do the walking," and playing a Sunsoft video game in a commercial for "Fester's Quest" during the Christmas of 1989.

Thing first appeared in the 1954 book of cartoons by Charles Samuel Addams entitled "Homebodies," where Thing was seen changing records on a Victrola.

In the fall of 1998 the revival series THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY on the Fox Family channel continued the adventures of Thing and the Addams family.

In 1993, one of the original boxes used by Thing in the series was auctioned off at Sotherby's for $22,000.

3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN/NBC/1996-2001 (Big Giant Head) - This sci-fi comedy told the tale of four aliens who posed incognito as humans to observe the people and customs of Earth. They reported back their findings to a never seen but often spoken about character known as "The Big Giant Head" who was first mentioned on episode #8 "Body & Soul Dick." This mysterious galactic overlord was both respected and feared by the visiting aliens, (a.k.a. "the Solomon Family") headed by Dick Solomon, (John Lithgow), a Physic Professor at a nearby college. Harry Solomon (French Stewart) is the groups conduit for communicating with the Big Giant Head. In later episodes, the Big Giant Head visited Earth and took the form of William Shatner (of Star Trek fame).

DRAGNET/NBC/1952-59/NBC/1967-70 (The hammering hand) - At the close of each episode of the police drama DRAGNET, a burly pair of hands holding a hammer and a metal stamping device would clang together to form the production trademark "Mark VII" on a small rectangular sheet of steel. The "hands that hammered" closing was dreamed up by the series creator Jack Webb during a coffee break. He was attempting to recreate the "hammer and gong" signature trademark used at the beginning J. Arthur Rank British film productions. The DRAGNET hammer struck twice at the end of each show. The hands used for the program's closing were those attached to James Drake, one of the construction crew members.

MARTIN/FOX/1992-97 (Big Shirley) - Martin Payne's buddy Cole Brown (Carl Anthony Payne II) dated a woman referred to as "Big Shirley." She is Cole's sweetheart and although built like a refrigerator, the camera never shows the viewing audience anything above her bust-line.

Click to Enlarge - Print Ad - Old Gold Dancing CigarettesOLD GOLD CIGARETTES (Dancing cigarette boxes) - During the 1950s Old Gold Cigarettes sponsored quiz show commercials that featured models dressed in oversized replicas of Old Gold cigarette boxes. Called "The Dancing Butts," they danced across the stage during commercial spots Unseen but for their gorgeous legs, the models in these classic TV ad spots included Gloria Vestoff as "Regular," Dixie Dunbar as "King Size" and Whitey as the "Little Matchbox."

Old Gold Dancing Cigarettes
Old Gold Print Advertisement

POLICE SQUAD/ABC/1982/CBS/1991 (Tall Police Detective) - Extremely tall police character who was so tall when that he'd walk into the frame with the other actors, it only showed him from the chest down. Once Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) told the tall policeman, that he had something on his mouth and when he wiped it, a whole chicken fell down.

RICHARD DIAMOND, PRIVATE DETECTIVE/CBS/NBC/1957-60 (Sam, the operator) - Private detective Richard Diamond (David Janssen), an ex-cop turned private eye, used the Hi Fi Answering Service to field his phone messages (he had a phone in his car) for his private investigation business. Delivering his messages was the sultry, sexy-voiced telephone operator known only as "Sam" who sat next to her switchboard in the service's dimly lit office and answered Mr. D's calls on the fourth ring. Diamond once remarked "Oh that voice! And the only thing I know about her is what she tells me-and that ain't much!" The TV audience generally saw Sam from the waist down. What you could see of Sam was tantalizing (slit skirts, tight blouses and sweaters, a curvaceous 38B torpedo bra silhouette and those Ohhh! so luscious legs). Sexiness aside, Sam proved very helpful on occasion, warning Diamond just in the nick of time of impending dangers. A very young Mary Tyler Moore (1959) was cast as the first "Sam" (she was paid $80 per episode) and later replaced by the equally sexy legs and voice of Roxane Brooks (1959-60). TV Guide magazine featured Moore's legs in a photo shoot called "Sam Models the Latest in Hosiery." Her legs had previously appeared on a TV commercial spot featuring a dancing pack of Old Gold cigarettes.


 

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