Old School Americana & Nostalgia


How Batman Led to ‘The Munsters’ Cancellation

How Batman Led to ‘The Munsters’ Cancellation

The Munsters is part of classic TV’s finest shows today, and it debuted with ratings that seemed sure to help keep it on air for several seasons. But when Batmania took over, the ghoulish family became a memory. 

The series hit television in 1964 as creators Ed Haas and Norm Liebmann tribute to the Universal classic monster trend that had been captivating audiences for decades. While talking to Remind Magazine, Eddie Munster actor Butch Patrick shared that the producers worked hard to give it the same cinematic feel as “the old Dracula and Wolf Man movies.” 

Initially, fans appreciated getting their monster fix on the small screen. The Munster’s freshman season ranked in the top 20 highest-rated network series that year, and it moved into Season 2 with high hopes. 

The show returned to the CBS primetime lineup in Sept. 1965 and got off to a good start. But four months later, the original Batman series reached the airwaves with twice-weekly cliffhanger installments. Enthralled with the new superhero trend, fans tuned out of The Munsters and into Batman. 

‘The Munsters’ Star Butch Patrick Said ‘It Was the Right Time to Go’

The Munsters concluded on May 12, 1966, after falling off the top 20 list. During a separate interview with Daily Mail, Patrick said he thinks the masked hero and his trusty sidekick Robin were entirely to blame for the demise. 

Batman just came along and took our ratings away,” he said. 

Fortunately, Patrick doesn’t have any hard feelings over the situation. He admitted that “it was the right time to go,” and his costars Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis felt the same. 

“[They] were also ready to go home,” he continued. “We were OK with it.”

The Munsters did not die with the times, either. The series became even more popular in syndication and remains a favorite today. It also launched seven spinoffs in the form of series and both Silver Screen and made-for-TV movies. The most recent hit theaters just last year.

Patrick believes the lasting popularity comes from The Munsters’ evergreen uniqueness. 

‘Look,” he told Fox News, “we had a good two-year run putting out something that was so different and unlikely to become a success.”