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The Quick 10: 10 Facts About Charles Addams

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Happy Birthday to Charles Addams! You guys might already know that I have a love of the macabre, so old Chas is right up my alley. I loved the old show, of course, and even enjoyed the Raul Julia/Anjelica Huston revival of the "˜90s. But the original cartoons are the best, I think. Anyway, here are a few freaky facts (OK"¦ some of them are downright tame) about Mr. Addams in honor of what would have been his 97th birthday.

oil1. Many of the gags from the series and the movies are taken right from Addams' old comics. For instance, in the movie, when the family prepares to pour boiling oil on Christmas carolers instead of enjoying their cheery tunes, that's a throwback to an old cartoon that first appeared in The New Yorker.
2. Charles and his third wife, Tee, got married in a pet cemetery to reflect their ghoulish sense of humor.
3. He was close friends with Ray Bradbury. They met in New York when Bradbury was 26 and Addams was about 34. Bradbury said he saw a painting that Addams did for Mademoiselle and knew they were kindred spirits at once. And they were "“ they got on so well that they planned to do a book together, with Bradbury writing the text and Addams illustrating. Wouldn't that have been fantastic? But they couldn't find the funding for it and ended up going their separate ways career-wise. Addams created his family, and Ray Bradbury created the Elliott Family.
4. There were lots of rumors about his personal life, including that he slept in a coffin, responded to fan mail on paper with the letterhead of a mental institution, and loved to wear a monogrammed straitjacket.

But if any of this is true, you'd never know it from looking at the man. In public, he wore very dapper Brooks Brothers suits and neatly-styled silver hair and was mistaken for Walter Matthau more than once.
addams show5. Even if he didn't dress the part, he decorated his apartment in exactly the manner you would expect. He collected crossbows and had them displayed everywhere; he was also very proud of a suit of armor he had purchased for a mere $700. Other interesting objects including a "drying-out table" that had once been used for drying out bodies, a sewing basket made out of an armadillo, a human thigh bone and gilded human skulls. He said fans sent him a lot of the stuff "“ "they want me to be a man who likes shin bones," he said. "People must feel I need a skull."
6. He was quite the ladies' man. He was married three times, and in between marriages dated the likes of Greta Garbo, Jackie Kennedy and Joan Fontaine.
7. He loved to perpetuate the dark and creepy rumors about himself, whether they were true or not. He liked to tell reporters that fans gifted him with their severed fingers, human remains and cow organs. He once gave an interview and said that he woke up and felt like screaming and decided that no one would hear him. "So I let out a long, thin scream and felt much better," he said.
addams8. He opened his door one day and found Alfred Hitchcock standing there. Hitch said, "I've just come to see you in your natural balliwick." And from then on they were good friends. If you've ever noticed that the Bates house in Psycho looks suspiciously like an Addams creation, it's partially because of the friendship with Addams. It's also been said that the Edward Hopper painting House on the Railroad inspired both the Addams' house and the Bates mansion. I think the similarities are pretty clear!
9. Charles was distantly related to John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Sam Adams, even though the spelling of his name got changed over the years. He was also related to Jane Addams.

barbara10. I can't find a picture of her, but multiple descriptions say his first wife, Barbara Jean Day, was a dead ringer (pardon the pun) for Morticia. Edit! Intrepid _flosser Carolyn found this great picture of Addams' first wife here. Carolyn, I bow to your research skills! And check out the picture of his second wife as well (it's the third picture on the page). Did Addams have a "type," or what?

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Space
Google Street View Now Lets You Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View covers some amazing locations (Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and Stonehenge, to name a few), but it’s taken until now for the tool to venture into the final frontier. As TechCrunch reports, you can now use Street View to explore the inside of the International Space Station.

The scenes, photographed by astronauts living on the ISS, include all 15 modules of the massive satellite. Viewers will be treated to true 360-degree views of the rooms and equipment onboard. Through the windows, you can see Earth from an astronaut's perspective and a SpaceX Dragon craft delivering supplies to the crew.

Because the imagery was captured in zero gravity, it’s easy to lose sense of your bearings. Get a taste of what ISS residents experience on a daily basis here.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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6 East Coast Castles to Visit for a Fairy Tale Road Trip
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Lucy Quintanilla/iStock

Once the stuff of fairy tales and legends, a variety of former castles have been repurposed today as museums and event spaces. Enough of them dot the East Coast that you can plan a summer road trip to visit half a dozen in a week or two, starting in or near New York City. See our turrent-rich itinerary below.

STOP 1: BANNERMAN CASTLE // BEACON, NEW YORK

59 miles from New York City

The crumbling exterior of Bannerman Castle
Garrett Ziegler, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bannerman Castle can be found on its very own island in the Hudson River. Although the castle has fallen into ruins, the crumbling shell adds visual interest to the stunning Hudson Highlands views, and can be visited via walking or boat tours from May to October. The man who built the castle, Scottish immigrant Frank Bannerman, accumulated a fortune shortly after the Civil War in his Brooklyn store known as Bannerman’s. He eventually built the Scottish-style castle as both a residence and a military weapons storehouse starting in 1901. The island remained in his family until 1967, when it was given to the Taconic Park Commission; two years later it was partially destroyed by a mysterious fire, which led to its ruined appearance.

STOP 2. GILLETTE CASTLE STATE PARK // EAST HADDAM, CONNECTICUT

116 miles from Beacon, New York

William Gillette was an actor best known for playing Sherlock Holmes, which may have something to do with where he got the idea to install a series of hidden mirrors in his castle, using them to watch guests coming and going. The unusual-looking stone structure was built starting in 1914 on a chain of hills known as the Seven Sisters. Gillette designed many of the castle’s interior features (which feature a secret room), and also installed a railroad on the property so he could take his guests for rides. When he died in 1937 without designating any heirs, his will forbade the possession of his home by any "blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” The castle is now managed by the State of Connecticut as Gillette Castle State Park.

STOP 3. BELCOURT CASTLE // NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

74 miles from East Haddam, Connecticut

The exterior of Belcourt castle
Jenna Rose Robbins, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Prominent architect Richard Morris Hunt designed Belcourt Castle for congressman and socialite Oliver Belmont in 1891. Hunt was known for his ornate style, having designed the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, but Belmont had some unusual requests. He was less interested in a building that would entertain people and more in one that would allow him to spend time with his horses—the entire first floor was designed around a carriage room and stables. Despite its grand scale, there was only one bedroom. Construction cost $3.2 million in 1894, a figure of approximately $80 million today. But around the time it was finished, Belmont was hospitalized following a mugging. It took an entire year before he saw his completed mansion.

STOP 4. HAMMOND CASTLE MUSEUM // GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

111 miles from Newport, Rhode Island

Part of the exterior of Hammond castle
Robert Linsdell, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. built his medieval-style castle between 1926 and 1929 as both his home and a showcase for his historical artifacts. But Hammond was not only interested in recreating visions of the past; he also helped shape the future. The castle was home to the Hammond Research Corporation, from which Hammond produced over 400 patents and came up with the ideas for over 800 inventions, including remote control via radio waves—which earned him the title "the Father of Remote Control." Visitors can take a self-guided tour of many of the castle’s rooms, including the great hall, indoor courtyard, Renaissance dining room, guest bedrooms, inventions exhibit room, library, and kitchens.

STOP 5. BOLDT CASTLE // ALEXANDRIA BAY, THOUSAND ISLANDS, NEW YORK

430 miles from Gloucester, Massachusetts

It's a long drive from Gloucester and only accessible by water, but it's worth it. The German-style castle on Heart Island was built in 1900 by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt, who created the extravagant structure as a summer dream home for his wife Louise. Sadly, she passed away just months before the place was completed. The heartbroken Boldt stopped construction, leaving the property empty for over 70 years. It's now in the midst of an extensive renovation, but the ballroom, library, and several bedrooms have been recreated, and the gardens feature thousands of plants.

STOP 6. FONTHILL CASTLE // DOYLESTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

327 miles from Alexandria Bay, New York

Part of the exterior of Fonthill castle

In the mood for more castles? Head south to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where Fonthill Castle was the home of the early 20th century American archeologist, anthropologist, and antiquarian Henry Chapman Mercer. Mercer was a man of many interests, including paleontology, tile-making, and architecture, and his interest in the latter led him to design Fonthill Castle as a place to display his colorful tile and print collection. The inspired home is notable for its Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and with 44 rooms, there's plenty of well-decorated nooks and crannies to explore.

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