Thing T. Thing, referred to as just Thing, is a hand fictional character in the The Addams Family. Thing is a disembodied hand who performs various useful functions for the family, a "handservant" if you will.
Thing was based on a New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams that depicted a shocked mailman reacting to a sign posted on The Addams Family Mansion which warned "Beware of the Thing." While developing the television series, Charles Addams was asked what, exactly, was the "thing"? He opined that "thing" was a disembodied head that rolled through the house on various ramps and pulleys. It was decided that a hand would be a bit more palatable. This was to prove a source of some terrible puns. It should also be noted that on 20 March 1954, a cartoon was published in The New Yorker depicting the Ghould (Addams) family at rest in the den with two hands coming out of the record player, changing the records. (This image can be seen on page 125 of the book The World of Chas Addams.) The producers of the television show, perhaps aware of the image, may well have been inspired to create "Thing" in the series based on the image.
Thing's precise nature was never revealed and it is unknown whether he had once been attached to a human body or whether he had originated as an independent creature. It is clear, however, from the television show, that Thing was not unique. In episode #38, "Morticia Meets Royalty," Princess Millicent von Schlepp arrived and produced an elaborate box from which a distinctly feminine hand (played by Carolyn Jones) emerged. Thing promptly fell in love. The female Thing has an actual name, Lady Fingers; and, in episode #23, we find that Thing, too, has a full name: "Thing T. Thing", the "T" standing for "Thing". At least one other Thing appears on-screen: when Lady Fingers leaves Princess von Schlepp's service, she is replaced by "Esmeralda", a rather hideous old female claw with jewels and nasty black pointy fingernails. In the episode "Thing is Missing", a picture was shown supposedly of his parents. The picture only showed male and female hands holding hands. It would appear that "Things" are common among the family's associates.
In the 1960s television series, Thing was usually played by Ted Cassidy, who also played the lugubrious butler Lurch, although in occasional cases where the two characters appeared in the same scene, Thing would be played by a crew member. Thing customarily emerges from a series of boxes, one in each room in the Addams' mansion, although he occasionally emerged from behind a curtain, within a plant pot, or elsewhere. In the films, thanks to advances in special effects, Thing (performed by Christopher Hart) is able to emerge and run on his fingertips, much like a spider. This is also true for the 1998 revived series, The New Addams Family, where Thing is portrayed by Steven Fox. His classic box only appears in one episode of the series (the remake of "Thing's Romance"); in others, it is revealed that he lives in a closet that has been modified as his own little "house-within-a-house."
Since Cassidy was 6' 9" (2,06 m) tall, using him to depict Thing caused great technical difficulties on the set of The Addams Family. In many scenes, he lay on his back on a wheeled trolley, below the line of sight of the cameras, and inserted his arm through the bottom of the box. Thing was usually a right hand, but Cassidy sometimes played him as left, simply to see if anyone would notice. Thing is credited as "itself" at the end of each episode.
Role in the Series
Among Thing's many useful roles are fetching the mail, handing cigars to Gomez Addams and then lighting them, changing the channel on the Addams TV set, holding Morticia Addams' wool while she knits, turn grapes into wine under a single minute, and turning over records on the phonograph (particularly when Gomez and Morticia dance the tango). He accompanies the family on drives by riding in the glove compartment, and, in one episode, where Gomez appears in court, he emerged from Gomez's briefcase. Thing and Grandmama are fond of arm-wrestling. In a flashback episode on how Gomez and Morticia met, it is revealed that Thing has been with the Addams family since Gomez himself was a child, suggesting Thing is the son of an earlier generation of hand-servants (see below).
Morticia is always very appreciative of Thing's services, and her frequent "Why thank you, Thing" is one of the best known lines of the series. Thing cannot talk, but he does sometimes snap his fingers to attract attention, and is also able to communicate by signaling in Morse code, writing, or with the help of the manual alphabet. This can be very disconcerting to visitors to the Addams' mansion; in a running gag in some episodes, a visitor to the Addams home, profusely grateful for some kindness of the Addamses', enthusiastically shakes hands with everyone present---"Thank you, Mr. Addams! Thank you, Mrs. Addams!"---and is then offered a handshake by Thing. "And thank you---" begins the visitor, before realizing who and what he has been confronted with, recoiling in inarticulate shock, and fleeing the premises.
In one episode, Morticia gets goosed, initially suspecting Thing, who had been nearby moments earlier. However, Gomez immediately appears and admits responsibility, explaining: "Thing just likes to hold hands."
The Addams Family (2019)
In the 2019 film, Thing is able to evacuate due to Grandmama. The newly-married Morticia and Gomez decide to move to New Jersey, a place "no one would be caught dead in." There, Gomez, Morticia, and Thing find their "perfect" home in an abandoned asylum on a hill. They meet Lurch, an escaped mental patient whom they hit when Thing was distracted driving the car, and immediately recruit him as their butler. This version of Thing wears a wristwatch with a functional eye in it, allowing him to see and show some emotion.
On the 1960s TV series, two similar hands were introduced in the episode "Morticia Meets Royalty":
- Lady Fingers: a female "handmaiden" who was the servant of Cousin Millie, also known as Princess Millicent von Schlepp. When Millicent came to visit, Thing and Lady Fingers fell in love. Lady Fingers later returned in the 1977 Addams Family Halloween special and the 1998 series revival.
- Esmeralda: another female hand hired by Millicent after firing Lady Fingers. Esmeralda turned out to be dishonest, and Millicent rehires Lady Fingers.
In the episode "Thing Is Missing", Gomez and Morticia find a portrait of Thing's parents, a male hand and a female hand. The 1990s revived series implied the existence of other hands as well.
|The Addams Family Main Characters|
|Gomez Addams | Morticia Addams | Uncle Fester | Grandmama | Wednesday Addams | Pugsley Addams | Lurch | Thing | Cousin Itt|