Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Thing (Addams Family)
Thing was a fictional character in the television series The Addams Family (1964-66) and in the spin-off movies The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993). Thing takes the form of a disembodied hand, who performs various useful functions for the family.
In the television series Thing was played by Ted Cassidy, who also played Lurch, the lugubrious butler. In the films Thing was played by Christopher Hart . In the series Thing is confined to a box (actually a series of boxes, one in each room in the Addams mansion), but in the films, thanks to advances in special effects, he is able to emerge and run around on his fingertips like a spider.
Thing was the creation of Charles Addams, who drew the Addams Family cartoons in The New Yorker magazine in the 1930s. He first appeared in Addams's 1954 book Homebodies. One of Addams's cartoons shows the Addams mansion with a sign at the front saying "Beware of the Thing."
Since Cassidy was 210cm (six foot nine inches) tall, using him to depict Thing caused great technical difficulties on the set of The Addams Family. In many scenes he lay on his back on a wheeled trolley, below the line of sight of the cameras, and inserted his arm through the bottom of the box.
Among Thing's many useful roles are fetching the mail, handing cigars to Gomez Addams and then lighting them, changing the channel on the Addams TV set, holding Morticia Addams's wool while she knits and turning over records on the phonograph (particularly when Gomez and Morticia dance the tango). Thing and Grandmama are fond of arm-wrestling.
Morticia is always very appreciative of Thing's services, and her frequent "Why thank you, Thing" is one of the best known lines of the series. Thing cannot of course talk, but he does sometimes snap his fingers to attract attention. This can be very disconcerting to visitors to the Addams mansion.
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