Texas Fan Builds Replica Home of TV’s The Munster’s
Some Halloween fans are content to celebrate their favorite holiday once a year. Die-hard fans, however, find ways to keep the pumpkin flame burning all year long to feed their Halloween addiction. Some keep a few select collectibles on display year-round. With each glance they feel a twinge of excitement&emdash;their Halloween fix. Others gather with their fellow fans during the year and swap stories, share ideas, and generally have a Hallow-rific good time.
Front View of Munster Mansion
Then there are fans that kick it up a few notches. They host a website. They transition from home haunter to commercial haunter. Legend has it one fan went so far as to publish a year ’round print magazine based on their passion for Halloween (can you imagine!).
By far one of the most ardent fan is Sandra McKee who lives in Waxahachie, Texas. Along with her husband Charles, she has spent the better part of a year building a replica of the Munsters Mansion in which to live. You see, not only is Sandra the ultimate Halloween, she’s the ultimate Munsters fan.
It all began when Sandra fell in love with the Munsters television show. The show debuted on September 24, 1964 on CBS and ran until September 1, 1966. There were 70 episodes.
Front Entrance to Munster Mansion
With a homestead located at 1313 Mockingbird Land in Mockingbird Heights, the Munsters were a quirky yet lovable family. Heading the household was Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) and his vampish wife, Lily (Yvonne DeCarlo). Her father, Grandpa (Al Lewis) is Transylvania’s dark-haired son, Count Dracula while their son, Eddie (Butch Patrick), is a mini-wolfman. Rounding out the family is the one misfit, niece Marilyn, who is a pretty, perky blond teenager (played by Beverly Owen and later Pat Priest).
Much of the show took place at the Munsters home. The house was a classic Victorian Mansion, circa late 19th Century. One distinctive feature was the massive front door, both welcoming and foreboding at the same time. Another distinctive feature was the dramatic staircase in the foyer that lifted to expose their resident dragon, Spot. Grandpa’s favorite hide away was his dungeon&emdash;a place to plot, scheme and generally engage in deep thoughts. And what spooky abode would be complete without a few secret passages.
Making a Dream Come True
Sandra adored Halloween for about as long as she loved The Munsters. Over time her two loves intensified, eventually uniting with her decision to build and live in her dream home, the Munster Mansion.
While the television show depicted a complete house, in reality only the façade of the house existed. With no real blueprints available, the McKee’s sought counsel from experts on the topic. One source of aide was Keith Benson, assistant to the producer of the television show. Conversations with Keith proved helpful in piecing together what, in essence, was a floor plan puzzle Tony Greco, president of the Munsters fan club shared his expertise on the show while also providing Sandra a roomful of Munster memorabilia.
Staircase inside Munster Mansion
Ground breaking for Munster Mansion took place in January 2001. Located on a two-acre plot of land, the completed Mansion stands two stories and a whopping 5,825 square feet. Fortunately Sandra already has a house of antiques that fit in perfectly. One addition she anticipates is reproducing the sofa in the television show. Being an avid collector of Munster memorabilia, Sandra will at last have the perfect showcase for her items.
As for authenticity, the front door was painstakingly built to match the one in the show. Yes, the staircase will rise, through the use of pneumatics. Yes, Spot will emerge from the staircase. No, Spot is not a dragon but rather their German shepherd canine. There were a couple of details that will not be in the mansion. While there will not be basement, a storm shelter will serve as Grandpa’s dungeon. Another detail absent will be the phone in the coffin. It’s a bit too macabre for Sandra!
Halloween at Munster Mansion
The McKee’s have always decorated them selves and their yard for Halloween and this year will be no exception. A big shindig is planned the Saturday prior to Halloween at ‘1313 Mockingbird Lane,’ with Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster) slated to appear and – hopefully – Al Lewis (Grandpa). There will be live music, refreshments, and several hundred guests.
Of course, Sandra and Charles McKee will complete their fantasy and appear in costume as their favorite host and hostess, Lily and Herman Munster.
A Star is Born
When you build a house like the McKee’s, you’re bound to attract a lot of attention. Sandra has done innumerable radio interviews from places as far away as Germany and even Australia. Mainstream magazines (People, Women’s World) have also called. Other notable contacts include Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Good Morning America.
Through all the requests for information, Sandra remains cheerful and upbeat about her new home, stating “It’s nice people like what you’re doing.” While not an easy endeavor, it is quite possible that others will follow in the footsteps of the McKee’s. Yet in the end, Sandra and Charles McKee will always be able to say that they built the first real Munster house.