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Last Updated: Friday, 17 September, 2004, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Addams maestro tackles Spider-Man
By Peter Bowes
In Los Angeles

Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of quirky sitcom The Addams Family's debut on US TV.

Vic Mizzy
Vic Mizzy is still writing music at the age of 82
Based on a spooky cartoon family, the show starred memorable characters like Morticia, Gomez, Uncle Fester and Lurch.

Cartoonist Charles Addams created the dysfunctional family, first seen as drawings in the New Yorker magazine.

With a total of 64 episodes made, the show, with its snappy theme tune, has endured as a television classic.

And the 52-second Addams Family song is one of the most memorable parts of the show - instantly recognisable with its catchy intro and lyrics.

The tune was written and performed by songwriter Vic Mizzy. The series was already in production in 1964 when Mr Mizzy was hired to compose the theme by executive producer David Levy.

"My mind was clicking," recalls Mr Mizzy, now 82.

I went: 'Da-da-da-dum' and snapped my fingers - the minute I did that they started smiling
Vic Mizzy
"They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They're altogether ooky,
The Addams Family."

The words apparently flowed easily but when it came to auditioning his song to the producers, Mr Mizzy says the studio was ill-prepared.

"The only piano was in a big storage room where all the sets were. I couldn't sit down. I stood up and just had to look busy," he explained.

Short supply

"I went 'da-da-da-dum' and snapped my fingers. The minute I did that, they started smiling."

Mr Mizzy was also responsible for creating the show's opening sequence. "I told them the way it should be done. The lens should iris in on the cast and then separately."

The assembled executives were impressed but money was clearly in short supply.

Spider-Man
Mizzy's Spider-Man song will feature on the DVD
"The studio didn't want to pay for singers. So I recorded it," he says. "I sang it and I overdubbed myself three times so it sounds like a group. When you hear the Addams Family on TV or any place, that's me singing it."

It is an achievement that Mr Mizzy is rightly proud of. Sitting in his luxury home in the upmarket Bel Air district of Los Angeles, the shrewd businessman reflects on the impact The Addams Family had on his life.

"First, it meant money,' he explains. "The second thing was money and the third thing was money."

Mr Mizzy never had an agent and always negotiated his own contracts - crucially holding on to the publishing rights for his work.

"The Addams Family is the number one song performed in the United States at sporting events - baseball games. I get performance money."

"The organist goes 'da-da-da-dum' and I get paid for that," he says, with a smile.

Catchy hook

Now 40 years on from The Addams Family, Mr Mizzy has struck another potentially lucrative songwriting deal. Earlier this year, he was asked by film director Sam Raimi to compose a new theme tune for Spider-Man.

The lyrics, which are also performed by Mr Mizzy, obviously take a leaf out of the Addams Family songbook.

"Zoom-zoom, ba-da-ba-da-boom," goes to catchy hook to the chorus.

I've got a positive attitude and I'm always working, I'm always thinking
Vic Mizzy
"Spider-Man, Spider-Man see him fly, Spider-Man,
See the sticky, icky goo that's shooting from his fingers,
He spins his silver web around the villain's sleazy zingers."

"They sent me a video cassette of the first picture, and just from looking at it I could see certain things that would be great," he says.

To Mr Mizzy's disappointment, the song did not appear on the soundtrack to the big screen version of Spider-Man 2 - but will be heard on the forthcoming DVD over a section featuring the film's outtakes and bloopers.

Once again, Mr Mizzy secured publishing rights. The Spider-Man 2 DVD is one of the year's most anticipated releases and is expected to sell well.

That will put another smile on Mr Mizzy's face.

Joggers

The feisty 82-year-old is still composing songs and remarried three years ago.

He walked down the aisle to the tune of The Addams Family.

His first solo CD, released recently, features Songs for the Jogging Crowd and was inspired by elderly joggers he sees shuffling past his front door at the crack of dawn.

It also includes a comedic track, Name Dropping, which pokes fun at Hollywood.

"I've got a positive attitude and I'm always working, I'm always thinking," he says.

"I stay vibrant because I think young."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Vic Mizzy
The Addams Family theme tune


Vic Mizzy
Spider-Man 2 theme tune



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Review: Spider-Man 2
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