Charles (Samuel) Addams Lisle Bell - Essay

Lisle Bell

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

At this date, there is little need to dwell upon Mr. Addams's eerie magic and sinister charm as artist and master of the macabre. [In Monster Rally] he has preserved the family group of fiends we have cherished since we first met them. They are wonderful people, miraculously evoked from the woodwork and cobwebs in which they live, and the essence of their appeal—it seems to me—lies in their manifest domestic harmony rather than in their methodic diablerie. If the average American home reflected this fireside felicity, courts would be less clogged with cases of juvenile delinquency, marital discord and similar manifestations of family friction.

Study the record and you will agree. Between the subnormal husband and his wan, willowy witch wife there is never a cross word. The closest he comes to nagging is when he sees his mate arranging cut flowers (probably stolen off a casket) and remarks: "You're in a strange mood today, I must say."

They are obviously doting, yet understanding, parents. When mother says to the imp of Satan they have begotten: "Now kick Daddy good night and run along to bed," the scene is almost touching. Think of the tantrums and vocal violence attendant on bedtime in homes where the rumpus room is not given over to brewing poisons or decapitating playmates.

Lisle Bell, "A Well Seasoned Banquet of Tasty Humor," in New York Herald Tribune Book Review, December 3, 1950, p. 10.∗