All photos courtesy of The Official Munsters Fan Group on Facebook
Hello fellow insomniacs! We have a great treat for you all this time around. I was very luck recently to talk with one of my favorite TV stars growing up. His onscreen family brought many smiles and laughs. Butch Patrick came into our homes as Eddie Munster on the Munsters! I was nervous when I found out he’d be calling me to do the interview. He called me from the road, and I was honored that he took some time from his busy schedule to talk Munsters, Lidsville, ghost hunting and more! So, grab your Woof Woof and take Spot out for a walk. Then, settle in for my conversation with Butch Patrick…
Ed Davis: First, I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to you for a little while tonight. I was a huge, and still am a huge Monster Kid growing up in the late 70s, early 80s. The Munsters were practically on every day back then. And me being a kid named Eddie thought it was so cool that there was another monster of TV named Eddie. I really enjoyed the show and the character, thank you for that.
Butch Patrick: You’re welcome.
ED: How did you end up getting the role of Eddie?
BP: The people had already cast someone named Happy Derman. If you get a chance to buy the DVD box set, you’ll see the color pilot. And they had a different woman as Phoebe, the name of the Mother character, not Lilly. Her name was Joan Marshall and Happy Derman was playing Eddie. At the last minute before they went into full blown production, they decided to exchange…Joan Marshall for Yvonne DeCarlo. And they thought the character being played by Happy was more of an aggressive little guy. They wanted a normal, even though Eddie Munster was a werewolf, a normal kid playing him. They flew me out from Illinois to California to do a screen test. I went to the studio to do the screen test, and got the part. So, I looked at it as just being in the cards.
ED: Wow! That’s awesome. What was the atmosphere like on the set? Did the family dynamics that played so well on screen, continue off-screen?
BP: Yeah, pretty much. Everybody had kids. They all had families of their own. It worked well. When we got together on stage to do the script reading on Monday morning, it was a good, fun gig.
ED: Just watching the show was always a trip. The house and the set, it must have been a lot of fun being on it.
BP: It really was.
ED: Do you have a favorite episode?
BP: I have several! I’ll narrow it down to three for you. Zombo, Eddie’s Nickname and Hot Rod Herman.
ED: Awesome! I tried to narrow it down myself this afternoon. I got it down to two: Grandpa’s Call of The Wild and Happy 100th Anniversary. I love that one! Such a good episode.
(Butch laughing in the background)
ED: Years later, you ended up back on TV, playing Mark on Sid and Marty Krofft’s Lidsville. This was a lot of fun also. How different was that from working on The Munsters.
BP: Well, it was totally different. The Munsters were shot on film and we did a few pages a day, like seven pages a day. Lidsville was eighteen pages a day! Shot of videotape with multiple cameras, and chroma key. A whole different dynamic, Saturday morning vs. a film style series. They were literally night and day differences.
ED: Billie Holiday (Editor’s Note: Whoops!) must have been a lot of fun to work with.
BP: Billie Hayes.
ED: Billie Hayes, I’m sorry! Witchiepoo!
BP: Witchiepoo and Weenie Genie were a lot of fun. As were the little people and Sharon Baird, the former mouseketeer who played Raunchy Rabbit. She had also done some work with the Pufnstuf crew. Everyone there had been working through the Bugaloos and Pufnstuf, as well.
ED: They had quite the imagination! Those were a lot of fun!
BP: Oh yes, they were very much into the psychedelic age.
ED: I noticed when I was looking at the Munsters website (WWW.Munsters.com), that it is the 50th anniversary of The Munsters. You’re doing the Kids and Tribute Car Tour. How did you get involved with that?
BP: I started that a few years ago. September 24th, 1964 was when the show started and we started 50 years after with Munsters cars and other appearances.
ED: Are the cars still the original ones or are you using replicas?
BP: Yeah, these are called tribute cars.
ED: I was on the official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/theofficialmunstersfanpage/) last week, and one of the pictures caught my eye. You were sitting with a younger kid watching an episode of The Munsters. What do you think the appeal is still, heading back to 1313 Mockingbird Lane?
BP: I think it’s the same appeal as we had, watching it as kids for the first time. Kids will be kids, still entertained by the same things. You know, Monsters and make-up, and great sets. The same stuff that worked back then, still works now.
ED: It does! I think there’s good family values in it, as well. You don’t get to see that a lot in today’s shows.
BP: That’s one of the special things about the next generation now. Kids watching with their parents and grandparents, that’s wonderful.
ED: What can you tell me about Property Horrors and 1313 Weekends?
BP: Property Horrors is basically a show being developed and being shopped around…It’s about going to people who bought haunted property like I did, and how you come to terms and deal with you ghost tenants or your ghost roommates. Shavaun Avila is the ghost hunter that my production crew paired me up with. She’s wonderful. She lives in Bing Crosby’s haunted house, out at Toluca Lake.
ED: Oh wow.
BP: She has her own issues. She has her little dog, Tiger, who is a ghost hunting dog. A boxer, very perceptive to this kind of stuff. Her and her dog, and myself…hope to go around and visit people in the same predicament that I am in. And as far as 1313 Weekends, I wanted to have the house available for people who wanted to come spend the afternoon, do a little ghost hunting, see the town that I live in, ride around in the Munster Koach. And have a chance to have lunch or dinner with me, depending on whether you book an afternoon or evening tour.
ED: That sounds like a lot of fun.
BP: It should be!
ED: I’ve done some ghost hunting myself, not in a few years since the coming of our daughter, I went into it not believing a lot of it. But, the deeper you get into it, you think a lot of this could be paranormal activity.
BP: I am definitely a believer now. My sister told me about Miss Ruby before I got there. The people who have lived in the house in my absence are always hearing things. The professional ghost hunters who came in got all kinds of readings, I have pictures, I have videotape of the ghost that Leila (Editor’s Note: Butch’s wife) shot while I was watching TV, she went around the house very in tune with this stuff. Yeah, I am absolutely convinced there is activity going on in the house.
ED: So, where can people find you this Spring with the car tour and any other activities?
BP: The best place to go is: www.Munsters.com . You can go to the schedule on the first page and it’s all listed. From there, you can go to the store, 1313 Weekends, the Woof Woof is for sale, and anything else that is Munster related. There are also buttons for the Facebook and official Fan Group. If you get yourself to Munsters.com, you are on your way to everything else about me. The official Munsters Fan Group, my wife Leila runs that. It’s really family friendly and spam free. It’s kept to be pristine, wholesome, and we don’t let anyone in to mess with it. We give away a lot of stuff, do a lot of contests, it’s really a good group. People say it’s the greatest group on Facebook. I’m very proud of that.
ED: The page is great. I have enjoyed the pictures with Pat Priest from the previous weekend, getting the make-up back on and everything. It was a nice trip.
BP: We try to document everything we do. Hopefully, we will stay pretty busy! (Laughs)
ED: I really appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions!
BP: Thanks Ed, I appreciate it!
So, there you have it, Insomniacs and Munster fans! It was quite the honor to talk to Butch. Make sure you check out the pages mentioned above! Hopefully you can catch up with Butch and Leila as they continue to trek across the states!