WAXAHACHIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Halloween is right around the corner, and there is no shortage of spooky houses in North Texas to visit during this time of year. But can you imagine living in one year-round? And, to take it a step further, can you imagine having that house look exactly like a famous one from an iconic 1960s television show?
Sandra and Charles McKee of Waxahachie know what it is like. In 2001, they built an exact replica of the Munster house — the home featured in all 70 episodes of the classic TV series “The Munsters.” And doing so was no easy feat.
“We didn’t actually have blueprints,” said Sandra McKee. “We went by pictures of the house, and watching every episode over and over to know about how many steps you took to get to the staircase. That’s the way we figured out how to build the house.”
Over the years, McKee has collected props from the show, and either bought or reproduced the décor. It is all identical, down to the organ, stove, coffin phone — even the family pet, Spot, who lives under the stairs.
McKee said that the decision to build the house was made on a whim, but the attention to detail has taken some serious effort. “I started thinking, if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to go all the way,” McKee said, “because if you really want to say, ‘I’ve got a house that is an exact replica,’ then you need to make it exact.”
Thousands of people wait in line for hours to tour the Munster mansion during a one-weekend charity event each October. There are midway games, a Ferris wheel, a bounce house… and the McKees even dress up as Lily and Herman Munster.
People from around the world turn out to explore a part of television’s past — even some of the show’s stars. “The first time Al Lewis (Grandpa) came in, and mind you that was in 2002 and we didn’t have half of these things, he came in and walked in and had tears in his eyes and, for me, that’s the best compliment I’ll ever have,” said McKee. “He looked at me and tapped me on the leg and said, ‘You have got a wonderful thing going here.'”
To the McKees, this is not just a one-weekend-per-year showplace — it is their home. And to the grandkids, it is paradise. “My grandkids, they think it’s fantastic,” said McKee. “My youngest one, he’s 10 now, for a long time he thought we were the Munsters. He thought that was us on TV, because he’d see us dressed up in costume and he’d say, ‘Oh, Mamaw, y’all are on TV!’ and I’d be like, ‘Okay, baby.”
To help reduce the crush of visitors wanting to tour the house at their annual charity event, the McKees hope to begin offering scheduled private tours after the New Year — proving that, while it might not be the original, to Munsters fans, it is definitely the next best thing.