149.1 Dear Stolf: I read in a list of “maiden names” that Lily Munster’s was “Dracula”…can that be right? …from Dusty Caraway, Grand Canyon
149.2 Dear Dust: Maiden names…Edith Baines Bunker, Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing, Alice Gibson Kramden, Wilma Slaghoople Flintstone, June Bronson Cleaver, Morticia Frump Addams, Lucille McGillicuddy Ricardo, Carol Tyler Martin Brady…and if I might play the Fan Logic Game for just a moment with Laura Meeker/Meehan Petrie…it was Meeker during the first season of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and that was Mary Tyler Moore’s husband’s name at the time. By the second season they were divorced, and her maiden name was changed to Meehan for the duration.
149.3 Fans consider this an irreconcilable inconsistency, but it occurred to me there is a way out: she is only a Meeker once in the first season, and that’s in the first flash-back episode when they meet at Camp Crowder, where Rob’s a sergeant and she’s a USO dancer…just 17 years old, we (and he) find out much later. But since she’s in show business, at least nominally, couldn’t Meeker be a stage name, perhaps in her mind easier to spell and pronounce than Meehan? Just a thought…
149.4 As to the Munsters…I’d love to do a “box set treatment” on them…that is, watch every episode, taking copious notes. Lacking that, I have gleaned quite a bit from the internet…and what kinship ties I can find are basically as silly as the show itself. I should tell you, I have always preferred the Addams Family, from that day to this, altho in all fairness their genealogy is pretty darn messy too.
149.5 But while the Addamses were a very strange and macabre clan of presumed human beings, the Munsters were supposed to be the Famous Monsters of Filmland literally in the flesh. Al Lewis as Grandpa was the Dracula…albeit, for contemporary purposes, called “Sam Dracula.” Lily, his daughter, was born in 1827…she met and married Herman in Transylvania…his “father” was the Victor Frankenstein…”He made me what I am today!”
149.6 Marilyn? Faggetaboutit…bearing in mind that the Munsters have had numerous incarnations beyond their initial 2 seasons in 1964-66, her parents either died in an explosion or are still alive in Transylvania. She is either the daughter of Lily’s sister or Herman’s sister…her father may in fact be Mr. Hyde. And that brings us to the other genealogical conceit of the show…
149.7 …that all of the Hollywood monsters are “related” to each other. Thus above, top row, we see Uncle Gilbert = Gillman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Bottom left is Herman’s “twin” brother Charlie the con man…and right, Lily’s brother Lester…whom little Eddie takes after obviously…get the picture? But you asked about her maiden name.
149.8 Given Lily’s pedigree, “Dracula” certain works as her maiden surname…did she ever actually use it as such? There was a 100th wedding anniversary episode in the 2nd season, but no flash-backs as far as I know. But I would go so far as to argue that she didn’t really have a last name, since technically, her father didn’t have one either.
149.9 In Bram Stoker’s original Dracula novel, Van Helsing believes, based on the Count’s reminiscences of the old country, that he is in reality Vlad III, Voivode of Wallachia, also known as Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) and Vlad Dracula (son of Dracul, the dragon.) This was a real life historical figure, born in Transylvania in 1431… but his father Vlad II was of Wallachian nobility, and would eventually regain his homeland from the Turks, with Vlad III ruling after him. The year Vlad III was born, his father joined a fraternity dedicated to opposing the incursion of the Ottoman Empire into the Slavic regions…the order of the Dragon.
149.10 But in those times, Romanians didn’t have surnames in the modern sense…Dracul and Dracula were honorary titles or nicknames along the lines of the Great, the Elder, the Lion-Hearted, or even Robin [who wears a] Hood. So I guess my final answer is: Dracula was sort of Lily’s maiden name, but not really…how’s that for some monster quibbling?
149.11 Dear Stolf: I enjoyed your series on the Kennedys but it got me thinking: Wasn’t JFK somehow distantly related to Gore Vidal? …from Aunt Astigmia Addams, Salem MA
149.12 My dear Madame: Short answer, they were connected, but they weren’t related. It all boils down to how permanent step-relations are…for example, if Mike and Carol Brady divorced, would the boys and the girls still be step-siblings? I suppose, based on the relationships they’ve built over the years, they very well could still be step-siblings…or even consider themselves siblings, period. But there are no hard and fast rules in this area…it would depend on the family…and in our case…
149.13 …it’s reasonably complicated. Taking it step by step, we’ll start with Hugh Dudley Auchincloss Jr. …and BTW, it always seemed to me Auchincloss was German or Slavic or something…turns out it’s actually Scottish, who knew? Nevertheless, his first marriage is to a Russian Countess and they have one son. They are divorced and he marries Nina Gore Vidal…they have 2 children, added to Nina’s son from her first marriage, the man we’d come to know as Gore Vidal.
149.14 You know, it’s funny when someone is dissatisfied with their birth name, but they keep it because they think they have no choice. They have plenty of choice…they can call themselves whatever they want, any combination of the names they were given, or other names…legally changed or not. True, their birth certificate is their birth certificate…and Gore Vidal’s reads Eugene Louis Vidal…Uncle Wiki says the Louis is the result of his father incorrectly remembering his own middle name…and that’s a story too good to check, as they say!
149.15 At some point it was corrected to Eugene Luther Vidal Jr. He wasn’t formally baptized until he was 13 years old, at which time a Gore was inserted between Eugene Luther and Vidal. A year later, this precocious lad decided he wanted a moniker that was short and snappy, thus was born Gore Vidal.
149.16 Next, Hugh D. Auchincloss Jr. divorces Nina…at this point I would assume Yusha Auchincloss is no longer Gore Vidal’s step-brother, altho Nina and Thomas Auchincloss are of course still Vidal’s half-siblings. Jackie and Caroline Bouvier’s mother divorces their father and marries Hugh, whom the girls call Uncle Hudie. He brings them 3 step-siblings from 2 different ex-wives, and in the fullness of time, 2 half-siblings as well.
149.17 All this is sketched out in Chart 519…but to attempt an answer to your question, I would say Gore Vidal was the half-brother of 2 of JFK’s wife’s step-siblings…you could say Vidal was the half-brother of 2 of JFK’s step-siblings-in-law, altho I wouldn’t. Well, and Vidal was also the ex-step-brother of another of JFK’s step-siblings-in-law. After Hugh’s death Janet married for a 3rd time, a childhood friend, investment broker Bingham “Booch” Morris…they separated 2 years later but remained married until her death in 1989. Shoot, you could even say…no, wait, you couldn’t…sorry…
Big Peanuts special next week…woo hoo, Charlie Brown. And to get you warmed up, here are the first 3 strips where Schulz drew birds…Woodstock’s 20G grandparents or something?
Even tho the internet is a huge place, it’s easy to get caught up in your own microscopic corner of it. I’m happy to announce that Related How Again? is now part of the largest collection of genealogical sites, Cyndi’s List. Good luck finding it there…but it’s there..
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