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The Munster Mansion

Martha Stewart Living it’s not. OK, she might approve of the antiques, but the gargoyles and the electric chair probably wouldn’t appeal to her sensibilities. Then again, the secret dungeon probably would. Hey, we all know it’s true.

These accommodations aren’t for the House Beautiful crowd, anyway. They’re all part of a theme cooked up by Charles and Sandra McKee, a fairly normal couple who’ve chosen to live in an admittedly abnormal residence. They’ve spent several years now reconstructing as accurately as possible the Victorian-style mansion from the 1960s sitcom The Munsters.

They’ll admit making a fictional dwelling a reality is a bit unusual, but their results are impressive. Except for a few “gimmes” here and there, the McKees have hit the mark. 1313 Mockingbird Lane has left TV Land and materialized in Waxahachie.

Just inside the front doors descends the mansion’s signature oak staircase, where the rerun watchers will recall Lily kissing the family goodbye every morning. Not only has it been designed with the proper number of steps, but its midsection lifts up to reveal the McKees’ fire-breathing house pet.

Next to the stairs, you’ll find the Munsters’ unforgettable coffin-shaped phone booth, something Sandra originally felt was too creepy to have in her home, though she eventually relented for the sake of accuracy.

The living room, as of yet, houses no obnoxious raven, but it does boast an organ, a handmade replica of Grandpa’s electric chair and drapes that were custom ordered to match those on the original set. The McKees even incorporated the trap door that leads down into Grandpa’s laboratory, which is in actuality a storm shelter, a facility more practical for Texas.

The second floor comprises the Munsters’ bedrooms, arranged as they would have been on TV: one for Herman and Lily, one for Grandpa, one for the beautiful Marilyn, and another for young Eddie, which features a bookcase that swings back into a secret passage just for kicks.

With a bit of dusting––vacuum set on “blow” instead of “suck”––you’d think the Munsters actually live here. It’s no surprise; the McKees spent hours poring over photos and videotapes to nail down the details. Yet, they were fortunate enough that a sufficient portion of the floor plan was kept off-screen, enabling them to incorporate some personal space, too. Most importantly, as Sandra pointed out, “They never showed the bathrooms. So, we were lucky on that one.”

It’s certainly not your typical do-it-yourself, which is why the Munster Mansion has attracted unremitting attention since it was just a wooden frame. After all, a recreation of a hair-raising sitcom house sticks out in rural Texas like Herman’s forehead. However, save for a neighbor who called the house an eyesore on a local radio show and a group of churchgoers who spread rumors about the building housing a cult, the attention has been positive. So positive, in fact, that the McKees have played host to three of the original Munsters cast members and have been able to organize a growing Halloween charity event.

Sandra, who confesses to being the bigger fan of the two, says she isn’t a zealot, just an enthusiast. “Some people try to make it into something strange, but it’s not. If I’d loved Gilligan’s Island, I may have a hut out here. I just happen to be a Munsters fan.”

The McKees’ charity Halloween party benefits abused and neglected children in the area. To find out more about attending the charity Munster Mansion Halloween Party and an opportunity to tour the house in person, visit www.munstermansion.com.

Weird Texas


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