View Single Post
  #1847  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2010, 4:40 PM
GaylordWilshire's Avatar
GaylordWilshire GaylordWilshire is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NYC
Posts: 3,538
Addams Found

screenmusingsdotorg
The Addams Family tv-series house--a painting-on-photograph that includes one of the
six-globe streetlamps (at right) installed in Chester Place in 1903 (the "city's first
in a residential community," according to the L.A. Times) and soon after in
other parts of West Adams. It was based on the Los Angeles house below.


Don Sloper/Los Angeles's Chester Place/Sisters of St. John of Carondelet
The Newhall house ca. 1965. I haven't found a photo of the house closer to its construction.



screenmusingsdotorg
An actual photograph of the Newhall house used early in the series, without matte
painting added.



As it turns out, the identity of the Addams Family house of the 1964-66 tv series house has, in a sense, been hiding in plain sight. You'd think it was practically unknown if you Googled even recently, what with all sorts of off-the-mark speculation on various websites--it seems that there is a claim for just about every Victorian in America being the model for the tv house. One or two sites mention that it might have been "on West Adams Boulevard"--well, turns out that it was in West Adams, the district, a block from the Boulevard, at 21 Chester Place. I've discovered that Don Sloper, the expert on the street and author of the excellent Los Angeles's Chester Place in the "Images of America" series, includes in his 2006 book pictures of the house unavailable via the LAPL and USC etc and the information that it was built by Walter S. Newhall, son of the man for whom Newhall, Calif., was named. Walter Newhall had quite a major piece of property, and it actually predates the 1899 subdivision of Chester Place. Its original address was West 25th Street. The Dohenys moved into Chester Place in 1901 and proceeded to buy up almost all of the street's houses, and somehow even gained control of the short piece of 25th Street between Chester and St. James Park--including the Newhall house in 1915. The Dohenys rented out their many houses, including the Newhall. One couple, the Grafes, rented it from 1935 until 1969, according to their grandson, Joe Nesbitt, writing on a vintage-tv website that was puzzling over the mystery of the Addams house. (It seems Nesbitt should know, and the Grafes are indeed listed at 21 Chester Place in the 1939 Los Angeles phone book.) The house was demolished soon after the Grafes left to make way for a high school. I can't imagine Mrs. Doheny allowing the use of one of her houses for television--she was by all accounts a woman maniacal when it came to controlling her environment (her atrocious taste in interior decoration, gaudy even by Victorian nouveau-riche standards, is something else...but I digress)--but she was resting comfortably in Calvary Cemetery by then. (It seems that Mount St. Mary's College, which inherited Chester Place, didn't mind tv's use of the house, and, after all, it wasn't really the same house after the art department worked on it. And no doubt a little donation was involved.) Anyway, the Filmways art department found 21 Chester, and, after some tweaking, gave us the house you see in the series--at least a painting of it, with some altered windows, added third-floor mansard and tower, and other Addamsesque details. (The actual house only appeared in the first episode, I've read.)


UPDATE 3-28-2017: For more information, please see http://adamsboulevardlosangeles.blog...-also-see.html, part of an ongoing inventory of the houses lining Adams Boulevard.

And for a page wholly devoted to the house, see https://21chesterplace.com/

Last edited by GaylordWilshire; Mar 28, 2017 at 5:27 PM.
Reply With Quote