What's the most famous four-note musical phrase of all time? If you said the opening to Beethoven's Fifth, try again. The honor could arguably go to the catchy, literally finger-snapping theme song from the eccentrically eerie '60s sitcom, The Addams Family. Even so, according to its composer, the well-known melody almost didn't make it into Paramount's eagerly awaited upcoming Christmas film version of The Addams Family, starring Anjelica Huston as Morticia, Raul Julia as Gomez, and Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester.
Veteran film and television composer Vic Mizzy, who wrote the anthem back in 1964, contacted the filmmakers last November about using his music but claims they had no interest. ''The music is the thing that's most associated with The Addams Family,'' says Mizzy, ''so I was a little surprised they weren't planning on using it.''
The filmmakers felt Mizzy's cool riff didn't fit their ultracreepy comedy. ''The movie is much darker than the TV show,'' says composer Marc Shaiman (Misery, City Slickers), who's scoring the film, ''and it needs a different style of music.'' But after the enthusiastic reception given this summer to the Addams Family trailer which used the theme from the TV show to create immediate audience identification producer Scott Rudin changed his tune. Mizzy's original will now be heard at the beginning of the movie. ''If you have something that's so recognizable,'' Rudin says, ''why fly in the face of what the audience is expecting?''
In what might be the ultimate tribute, Hammer (until recently M.C.) has written ''The Addams Family Groove'' for the soundtrack, a cut that samples the Mizzy original and will play during the end titles.
Perhaps sensing an Addams Family revival in the making, RCA Records is rereleasing the television Addams Family soundtrack on Oct. 22, featuring an additional track: the vocal version of the theme, sung by Mizzy himself.