A little girl named Wednesday became, over the decades, the flagship of the Addams Family freshly spruced up for each new generation – it must have quite a bit to do with the family success secret, the current Netflix series is named after her and finally puts them in the center. But it was special in September 1964, when the very first Addams episode aired. She’s the first member of the family you see, and she doesn’t raise any suspicions that there’s anything wrong with the family. Pigtails, little children’s voices, very devoted. So she leads the man from the office, who wants to complain to the newly arrived Addams because they don’t send their children to school, through the spooky property and proudly shows the visitor her doll, freshly decapitated to commemorate the French Revolution. Wednesday embodies, more than Gomez and Morticia and Uncle Fester, what makes the family so appealing: the perfect combination of morbid and cute.
Lisa Loring played tiny Wednesday back then. Going to school in the first episode of the comedy series leads to dramatic developments – poor little Wednesday is traumatized by a story in which a self-righteous knight has murdered a poor, defenseless dragon. The world is upside down for the Addams Family – they love the dark, the moonlight and all creatures that scare people.
Loring was only five years old when the first season was filmed. Actually, producer David Levy had imagined a child who could already read for the series – but little Lisa had very long hair and white gloves; Levy and John Astin, who played film father Gomez Addams, couldn’t resist. Later, Loring always happily talked about the two years in which she watched the 64 episodes of the originalAddams Family – Astin and Carolyn Jones, who played her mother Morticia on the show, Jackie Coogan, who starred as Uncle Fester, and with Charlie Chaplins the kid was the first child star herself during the silent film era – they were all like real family to her.
A really big acting career did not come of it, Loring did have guest appearances in television series as an adult – but Wednesday was hers, her successors Christina Ricci and Jenna Ortega formed her in Lisa Loring’s image. And one of the most famous Addams scenes is still the one in which Lisa Loring as Wednesday teaches Frankenstein’s butler Lurch how to dance. Lisa Loring died on Saturday in Los Angeles at the age of 64 after suffering a stroke.