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Charles Addams Cartoons on View at the Library

Last night's opening reception kicked off a summerlong exhibit

Chuckles and grins marked the community's approval of the Westport Public Library's newest exhibit, "Chas Addams: Favorite Haunts."

Comprised of about 40 cartoons, the exhibit features black-and-white and color imagery by Charles Addams,  who created more than 1,300 cartoons over the course of his life (1912-1988), many of them for The New Yorker magazine.

During Friday night's opening reception,  H. Kevin Miserocchi,  the director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation, spoke briefly about the cartoonist and his work.

Addams is best known for his black humor and for his beloved Addams Family, who spawned two live and two animated television programs, three motion pictures and a new Broadway musical, which stars Westporter Adam Riegler as Pugsley.

His legacy continues, according to Miserocchi. "Tim Burton is directing working on a stop-action film based on the Addams Family cartoons."

Although these cartoons remain tremendously popular, the Addams Family characters represent a mere fraction of Addams' work. According to Miserocchi, there are only 150 drawings of the family published, and about 75 of them were in The New Yorker. 

The works at the library range from images drawn in the 1930s up to the 1980s. The exhibit includes a widely diverse range of cartoons and drawings and also nearly a dozen watercolors, most of which appeared as magazine covers.

The 1946 cartoon, titled "Boiling Oil" is among the images on view. "This is one of Charlie's favorites," said  Miserocchi. "He loved doing work that required no captions. That is among what made him happiest."

"Boiling Oil" depicts Addams Family characters perched on their roof with a vat of hot oil aimed at unsuspecting Christmas carolers on a doorstep below them.

The exhibit concludes Sept. 30.

Miserocchi will return to the library on Sept. 14 to discuss a book he wrote about Charles Addams and the Addams Family.

The Addams Family: An Evilution traces the history of the Addams Family through the many cartoons that have appeared on posters, magazine covers, book jackets, sketches and family greeting cards. 

Free and open to the public, his talk will be held in the Library's McManus Room and books will be available for purchase and signing afterwards.

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