Grandpa (The Munsters)

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Count Sam Dracula
The Munsters character
Grandpa.Dracula.jpg
Al Lewis as Grandpa.
First appearance"Munster Masquerade"
Last appearance"A Visit from the Teacher"
Portrayed byAl Lewis (1964–1966; 1973; 1981)
Howard Morton (1988–1991)
Robert Morse (1995)
Sandy Baron (1996)
Eddie Izzard (2012)
Information
Nickname(s)Grandpa
Specieshuman (vampire)
Gendermale
Occupationformer voivode
Spouse(s)166, all unnamed (see Grandma)
ChildrenLily Munster, Lester Dracula, and Marilyn's mother
RelativesMarilyn Munster (granddaughter)
Eddie Munster (grandson)
Ronald (cousin)
Humphrey (cousin)
Boris (uncle; deceased)
George (uncle; deceased)
NationalityAmerican (formerly Romanian)
age597[note 1]
born1367
residence1313 Mockingbird Lane, Mockingbird Heights
 
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Count Sam Dracula
The Munsters character
Grandpa.Dracula.jpg
Al Lewis as Grandpa.
First appearance"Munster Masquerade"
Last appearance"A Visit from the Teacher"
Portrayed byAl Lewis (1964–1966; 1973; 1981)
Howard Morton (1988–1991)
Robert Morse (1995)
Sandy Baron (1996)
Eddie Izzard (2012)
Information
Nickname(s)Grandpa
Specieshuman (vampire)
Gendermale
Occupationformer voivode
Spouse(s)166, all unnamed (see Grandma)
ChildrenLily Munster, Lester Dracula, and Marilyn's mother
RelativesMarilyn Munster (granddaughter)
Eddie Munster (grandson)
Ronald (cousin)
Humphrey (cousin)
Boris (uncle; deceased)
George (uncle; deceased)
NationalityAmerican (formerly Romanian)
age597[note 1]
born1367
residence1313 Mockingbird Lane, Mockingbird Heights

Sam Dracula, Count of Transylvania (known as "Grandpa"), is a fictional character in the CBS sitcom The Munsters, originally played by Al Lewis.[1] The doting, irritable, and sarcastic father of Lily Munster, Grandpa is an undead vampire.[2] The role was later played by Howard Morton in the 1980s television series The Munsters Today.

Origins[edit]

A running gag in the television series is his extreme age - his car, the DRAG-U-LA bearing his gravestone reading "born 1367–?" - and he talks of having personally known various figures through history, including Nero, King Arthur, Richard the Lionheart and Jack the Ripper. Grandpa declares his age as 378 years old in the episode "Grandpa's Lost Wife" (airdate: February 3, 1966), placing his date of birth in the year 1588. In the episode "Munster Masquerade", he describes having been married 167 times, and although his wives are all dead, he still keeps in touch with them.

His identity as Count Dracula is also alluded to in the series. For example, in the episode "The Musician", Mr. Gateman refers to him as "Count Dracula" when he comes to dinner. In "The Fregosi Emerald", Grandpa refers to himself as Count Dracula to an operator in Transylvania.

Description[edit]

Grandpa keeps a laboratory in the cellar of the house, and often refers to "going down to the lab." The potions and magic spells he devises there are central to many of the show's stories. Many of his inventions are less than successful, but he never stops thinking up new ones.

Grandpa can transform himself into a wolf or a bat, as per Bram Stoker's Dracula. In "Herman's Sorority Caper" and Munster, Go Home! it is revealed that he takes special pills to turn himself into these creatures.

Grandpa has an extremely sarcastic personality, and often insults his son-in-law Herman. Despite this, Grandpa and Herman are quite close; in one episode, Lily says that if not for Herman, Grandpa would be "living in a cave picking fleas out of his wings". Most of the Munsters episodes revolve around the zany schemes Grandpa and Herman concoct, which either end successfully or result in Lily scolding the two for their failure.

While Grandpa is generally considered the wisest member of the family, he also has a decidedly stubborn streak. If he feels he isn't getting his due respect, he will let everyone know it, and often sulk or go to extreme lengths to demonstrate his offense at a perceived slight. While generally a successful mad scientist and magician, he shows a somewhat sloppy approach to his craft, often proceeding with unwise experiments, without taking sensible precautions.[citation needed]

Grandpa has a pet bat named Igor who "hangs around" in Grandpa's lab. And much like a bat, Grandpa sleeps hanging upside down from the ceiling: usually in the living room, the attic, or the lab (the interior of his bedroom was never shown on the series).

Grandpa doesn't always display the traits that are commonly associated with vampires. For example, in one episode he looks in the mirror and casts a reflection. Traditionally, vampires do not cast reflections. However, a running gag on the show is Grandpa's attempts to bite someone on the arm which usually end in failure. Instead, Grandpa is depicted as a goofish yet loveable mad scientist.

Other media; cultural references[edit]

In The Munsters Today, Grandpa's name was Vladimir Dracula (reflecting Vladislav Dracula).

In an episode of The Simpsons, when Marge Simpson exclaims that she can see "grandpa", Homer Simpson responds expectantly "Grandpa Munster?", only to be disappointingly told "no, Grandpa Simpson". In the intro of a "Treehouse of Horror" episode, Grandpa was parodied as the similar character.

Robert Prosky as Grandpa Fred, in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, is dressed in a similar outfit, hairstyle, and makeup.

In 1987, Al Lewis reprised the character as the host of TBS's Super Scary Saturday movie. The program aired each Saturday at noon from October of 1987 to the fall of 1989. The name "Munsters" was never referred to in the show or its promotion and Lewis's character was simply referred to as "Grandpa".

Atari licensed the likeness of Al Lewis for the video game Midnight Mutants. However, as with the "Super Scary Saturday" movie, the name "Munster" does not appear anywhere in the game.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ His age at the beginning of Season 1.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Al Lewis, 95, Is Dead; Played Grandpa on 'The Munsters'". The New York Times. 2006-02-05. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  2. ^ King, Susan (1991-06-16). "Old Munsters Never Die". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-09.