The coolest part of last Saturday night's Borrow Borrowers Bash at the Enoch Pratt Central Library was the guest appearance by John Astin, the Johns Hopkins grad and acting teacher best known to a generation of Baby Boomers as Gomez Addams on ABC's The Addams Family sitcom (1964-1966). (He's probably best known to today's generation as father of Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin! By the way, both John and Sean have been in pictures given the Best Picture Oscar, John being in 1961's West Side Story and Sean being in 2004's Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King ; John also received an Oscar bid for his own film, 1968's short subject Prelude. And, like, Sean, John was also in a Peter Jackson film: 1996's The Frighteners). My girlfriend Amy brought her "Gomez Takes Morticia" card from The Addams Family Game to get autographed and Gomez was kind enough to pose for a photo with her and I.
Though best known as Gomez Addams, John Astin also portrayed The Riddler on two episodes of ABC's Batman TV series while Frank Gorshin was on a leave of absence. In fact, I was talking to a guy named Derrick at the BBB who was amazed that anyone else knew this. I told Derrick I saw John Astin's one-man Edgar Allen Poe performance at Johns Hopkins University several years ago and that afterwards at the Q&A someone asked him about his brief stint as The Riddler. Astin recalled how embarrassed his was that the one glossy photo still of him as The Riddler featured a big B.O. stain under his armpit. (You can look it up - the soiled pic is in The Official Batman Batbook, an essential tome by Joel Eisner.)
Interestingly, Astin was not the only Addams Family star to later appear on Batman; Carolyn "Morticia" Jones turned up as "Marcia The Queen of Diamonds" and Ted "Lurch" Cassidy made a cameo on a Bat Climb.