Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) wore face paint that was actually a bright violet color because it captured the most light on the black-and-white film.

8 surprising facts about the great Fred Gwynne

Image: The Everett Collection

You know him best as Herman Munster. You laughed along with him on Car 54, Where Are You? The towering Fred Gwynne (he stood at 6′ 5″) was a one-of-a-kind talent on television. He led a fascinating life offscreen, too, living a quiet life devoted to his other talents.

Let’s take a closer look at Fred Gwynne.

1. He was an illustrator and children’s book author.

Gwynne is a Harvard grad. He studied at the school on the G.I. Bill. While at Cambridge, he sang in the a cappella group the Harvard Krokodiloes and drew cartoons for The Harvard Lampoon. He put those art skills to good use later in life, writing and illustrated picture books for kids. His titles like A Chocolate Moose for Dinner and The K… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

8 thoughts on “Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) wore face paint that was actually a bright violet color because it captured the most light on the black-and-white film.”

  1. brock_lee

    “Uh, did you say yutes?”

  2. anotherkeebler

    In the black-and-white days, and even in the early color days, a lot of things you saw on your TV weren’t the color they were in real life. When you saw blood, they were using chocolate syrup. That white guitar was actually the color of a chain smoker’s fingernail. That wedding gown was a nauseating green. Like Herman Munster’s makeup, it all came down to what the camera was able to show you through a television set. I honestly suspect that the 1960s psychedelic aesthetic was what happened when the studios bought color cameras but lacked the budget to redo the sets.

  3. matt8matty

    Fun fact: I can see the cemetery in which he is buried from my house.

  4. Icelegion3000

    Vision was painted BLUE on Wanda vision because the red was too dark in black and white.

  5. kibufox

    I can’t find the image now, but there’s a photo somewhere that shows just what makeup artists had to do in order to make eyes and such look more defined on Black and White TV and movies. It is… well it’s surprising. I’ll see if I can find it, but basically the person had very dark makeup around the eye sockets and along the nose, if memory serves.

    Edit: Not the image I was thinking of, but here, this gives you an idea.

    http://www.cosmeticsandskin.com/aba/images/televison-makeup.jpg

  6. ssnoyes

    Look up color images of the sets for the Aadams Family.

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