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Drive-in celebrates anniversary of 'Munsters' with celebrity appearance

06/06/2024 10:42 PM | Donna Saunders


LIBERTY CENTER, Ohio — The Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater near Liberty Center is having a special showing of the comedy classic Munster, Go Home on the night of June 12 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the zany 1960s television series The Munsters.

The television show, a comedy about a family of benign monsters living in suburban America, aired on CBS for only two seasons but had 70 episodes produced. It has lived on for subsequent generations through syndicated reruns and DVD sales.

Butch Patrick, a child star who played youngster Eddie Munster, will appear in person at the drive-in that night.

He told The Blade in an interview that drive-ins have always been near and dear to his heart. He said he became a fan of them during their heyday when he traveled across rural America with his grandmother, an antique collector.

“I was always a fan of the drive-in movie community,” Mr. Patrick said.

Through a friend, he was introduced to Rod Saunders, Field of Dreams co-owner, and the two came up with an idea for the special promotion.

“The idea is literally to help the owners of these drive-in theaters establish something of an interesting draw,” Mr. Patrick said, explaining that he’s hoping to work with other drive-in movie theater owners, too.

Drive-ins were “a rite of passage” during Mr. Patrick’s youth, and he gets nostalgic about them. Those that remain “bring around some good feelings of yesteryear with a family-friendly situation,” he said.

Mr. Patrick is so fond of drive-ins that he’s toying with the idea of renting a motor home next year and spending two years on the road visiting as many left as he can.

“You know how some people go on the road and try to see every baseball stadium?” he asked. “Well, I would like to go on the road and do as many drive-in theaters as possible over two years.”

He said he would like to park the motor home and stay overnight at many of those drive-ins.

Now 70, Mr. Patrick was only 10 years old when he portrayed Eddie Munster.

But he has fond memories.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Mr. Patrick said. “There was a super amount of talent on the show.”

Little-known fact: The Munsters had the same writers, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, as a popular sitcom that preceded it, Leave It to Beaver.

That said, The Munsters didn’t hold up to competition from the action-comedy Batman after it premiered on the ABC network in 1966. The Batman television show continued until 1968.

The Munster, Go Home movie was made in 1966. It chronicles the fictional family’s misadventures in England.

Mr. Patrick will appear in person at Field of Dreams as a special guest for a two-hour meet-and-greet starting at 7:30 p.m. on the night of the event. There also will be two vehicles from The Munsters television series on site, and Munsters merchandise for sale.

Mr. Patrick and Patricia Priest, the second woman to portray his sister, Marilyn Munster, are the only two cast members still living.

Beverley Owen, who played Marilyn for the first 13 episodes, died in 2019. Fred Gwynne, who played their father, Herman Munster, died in 1993; Yvonne De Carlo, who played Herman’s wife, Lily Munster, died in 2007, and Al Lewis, who played Grandpa Munster, died in 2006.

"We are excited to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Munsters with our community and fans from afar," Rod Saunders, Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater’s co-owner, said. "Having Butch Patrick join us for this special screening of Munster, Go Home makes the event even more memorable. It's a fantastic opportunity for fans to relive the magic of the show and meet one of its beloved stars."

Mr. Patrick added in the drive-in’s announcement Monday that he’s “thrilled to be part of this 60th-anniversary celebration.”

The Munsters has had a lasting impact on so many people, and it's wonderful to see its legacy continue,” Mr. Patrick said.

Tickets are $10 a carload. Gates open at 7:30 p.m., with the movie playing at dusk. 

The Field of Dreams drive-in is at V602 County Road 6.

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