Michelle LaRose talks with Butch Patrick for Phantom Photography
Photographs by Michelle LaRose
We all know Butch Patrick as Herman and Lily Munster’s only child, Eddie. Even forty years after the show went off the air, Butch is still embraced by fans across the globe as Eddie Munster.
Butch was also a teen idol who played Mark on Sid and Marty Kroft’s Lidsville. Remember the boy who fell into the evil Magician’s [Charles Nelson Reilly] hat?
Butch has also been in a number of films, The Sandpit Generals, Two Little Bears and The Phantom Tollbooth. Butch can also be found in numerous appearances in television shows throughout the sixties such as Adam 12, Family Affair, I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees and Mr. Ed just to name a few.
We were able to sit down with Butch and talk about music.
Butch: Well growing up in the sixties, you know I’m from the old school with The Beatles and The Stones. I guess in the ‘70’s I liked bands like Alice Cooper, 10 Years After, Black Sabbath, bands like that. It’s surprising they’re still around today.
PP: Are there any newer bands that you like?
Butch: Oh yeah. Sure. Godsmack and I like Nickelback. My friend Brandon Cruz was singing for the Dead Kennedys so I started listening to them, that was a hoot!
PP: You have a lot of musician friends; besides Brandon can you name a few of the others?
Butch: Yeah. Steve Stone with ARS would be upset if I didn’t mention Atlanta Rhythm Section. Sorry Steve. When I was living in Atlanta I got the chance to meet with the guys from Lynyrd Skynyrd and a lot of other major bands out of the Atlanta area.
PP: There is a music video, “What Ever Happened To Eddie?” with you on lead vocals. Was the video a one-time deal or were you trying to launch the band?
Butch: Well actually I’m going to let you in on a little something. I didn’t sing on that one, I lip synced. Just like I did in 1971 when we were trying to do teeny-bop records for Metro Media. In 1983 when MTV came on the air, we wanted to start doing rock videos. Since we really didn’t have a band, we created a band to do a video on which was Eddie And The Monsters. Brent Black who played guitar actually sang. His voice was so similar to my look that a lot of people don’t know that it wasn’t me.
PP: The video is the only thing you ever did with the band?
Butch: Yeah, we did just that one thing. We wrote the lyrics to Whatever Happened To Eddie? We were the first unsigned band ever to be on MTV which was back when payola was really big you had to grease the machinery to get airplay. They created The Basement Tapes from that concept because they thought there might be a lot of good talent out there making their own videos that just didn’t happen to have a record contract.
PP: Have you ever tried your hand at a musical instrument?
Butch: Yes. I’m a killer on the tambourine.
PP & Butch: [Laughing]
PP: Do you think it would be harder to be an actor or a musician?
Butch: Well for me, acting came very easily it was just a matter of reading other peoples words. Musicians actually have to learn something. Acting can just sort of be like a God given talent… For me, music was always very hard. I had a bass for twenty years and I never did master it.
Butch: Yeah Simpsons! Season eleven. It’s funny because I’ve been a big fan of The Simpsons ever since their conception in 1990. When they sent me a letter and asked me if I wanted to be a character on the show, I played myself, I was extremely excited. The list of who’s been on The Simpsons is pretty awesome.
PP: We can’t talk to Eddie Munster without a few Munster questions. Do you stay in touch with the remaining cast members?
Butch: Well, Al Lewis died earlier this year in February. Fred’s been gone fourteen years now. But the two women… I did see Yvonne DeCarlo about a month ago out in the “Old Actress’s Home.” She looks great. They’re taking good care of her and she’s doing fine. The two Marilyn’s, I haven’t seen the original Marilyn Beverly Owen since the show but Pat Priest who played the other Marilyn, I do see her occasionally.
PP: What is your fondest memory of working on the show?
Butch: I used to enjoy going up to the make up department and watching those guys create some really cool stuff, Mike Westmore and a lot of other interesting people. Also the special effects and the cars would probably be my favorite.
PP: My favorite story of yours is when Fred drove off the set. Can you recant the tale for us?
Butch: Sure. Yeah. We were basically leaving the exterior of the house. We were supposed to drive down the street. We were loosing our light; it was about 6:30 in the evening. They said, “Fred, go right down and back because we want to do it again just for safety.” Well Fred just continued to drive away. It was about a half mile from the back lot to the front gate of Universal [Studios] and he just kept cruising right along out the front gate, hung a left, went underneath the Hollywood Freeway. We were gone maybe twenty or thirty minutes. [Laughing] You know The Munster Coach is really not that safe of a car. But it was interesting to see all the people watching us. We came back a half hour later and everybody was still in place. Patiently awaiting our return.
PP: Tell us about the current projects you’re working on.
Butch: A book. We have a book right now that’s probably going to be published through iUniverse somewhere around Halloween maybe the first of the year at the latest. It’s an exposé of what it was like growing up in Hollywood from the viewer’s point of view as well as from the performer’s point of view. Lou Harrison, George Harrison’s sister is writing the Forward. The Beatles came out in ‘64; The Munsters came out in ’64 so we have a pop culture connection there. I also ship cars to Australia. I’m a representative for USA Choppers so if you need a Harley come talk to me!
PP: Thanks for you time today Butch.
Butch: Anytime Michelle now put your top back on!