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Pugsley is the oldest child of Morticia and Gomez Addams. He is a pre-teen boy (stated to be eight years old in the pilot episode) who is almost always seen wearing a striped T-shirt and shorts. Originally unnamed (as were all of the family members), the character who was apparently the prototype for Pugsley first appeared in the Charles Addams cartoons in The New Yorker during the 1930s. In this first incarnation, he was portrayed as a deviant child with a vicious nature, shown committing deplorable acts with his sister. In all incarnations, he is overweight. In the television series, Pugsley usually eats over five pieces of cake at birthday parties.
|“||An energetic monster of a boy…blond red hair, popped blue eyes and a dedicated troublemaker, in other words the kid next door…genius in his own way, he makes toy guillotines, full size racks, threatens to poison his sister, can turn himself into a Mr. Hyde with an ordinary chemical set…his voice is hoarse…is sometimes allowed an occasional cigar.||”|
When the characters were given names for the television series, The Addams Family he was originally going to be called "Pubert" (a derivation of the word puberty, possibly a reflection of his age) but it was rejected as it sounded too sexual, and the name Pugsley was chosen instead. (The name Pubert was later used when Gomez and Morticia have a third child in the film Addams Family Values.) The Lurch Files' Addams Family Tree lists Pugsley's middle name as Pubert, probably as an homage to Charles Addams' original suggestion.
In the American television series, Pugsley is played by Ken Weatherwax. This incarnation of the character is more jovial and inventive; He displays outlandish engineering skills, including the invention of a disintegrator gun, an anti-gravity gun, and other devices. He and Gomez created a computer named Whizzo and a robot named Smiley (played by Robby the Robot). In an early episode, "Morticia and the Psychiatrist," the rest of the family is concerned that Pugsley is engaging in behavior they consider "odd", i.e. wearing a Boy Scout uniform, playing with a puppy, etc. When sent to a psychiatrist, Pugsley tells of boyhood incidents involving hangings and grenades, with no clue that others might find these accounts unusual. Pugsley and his younger sister Wednesday play together, sharing an interest in dynamite, spiders, and other dangerous "toys". At the beginning of the series, he is eight years old, two years older than Wednesday.
In the 1970s, there was an animated series about the family, in which Pugsley was voiced by actress Jodie Foster. In the second animated series, beginning in 1992, Pugsley was voiced by Jeannie Elias.
In the 1977 TV movie, Ken Weatherwax played a grown-up Pugsley, who has become a witch-doctor. In the interval between the original TV series and this movie his parents had had two more children, who look just like the original Pugsley and Wednesday. He is known as Pericles Addams in Spanish-speaking countries. He is known as "Feioso" (ugly) in Brazil.
The 1998 series The New Addams Family features Pugsley played by Vancouver native Brody Smith. He is essentially the same as his original 1960s incarnation, however the influence of director John Bell's namesake Charlie 'Edge' Bell is undeniable. Also, he is portrayed as the younger sibling, as opposed to Wednesday.
In the film The Addams Family and its sequel, Addams Family Values, Pugsley is played by Jimmy Workman. He acts as an unwitting accomplice to his sister Wednesday, who makes attempts to inflict lethal harm upon him - although he has returned the favour on occasion. He also appears to be younger than Wednesday.
In The Addams Family, Pugsley and Wednesday open a lemonade stand, but their drinks are toxic, and cause Lurch to spit flames when he tries it.
In Addams Family Values, Wednesday and Pugsley are sent to Camp Chippewa, a summer camp, where they are forced to participate in a Thanksgiving-themed play entitled A Turkey Called Brotherhood. Pugsley is cast as a dancing turkey, and leads the children in a chorus of "Eat Me"; He is later seen assisting Wednesday in overthrowing the camp counselors and setting fire to the grounds.
In the third film, Addams Family Reunion, Pugsley (now played by Jerry Messing) behaves (for the most part) similarly to his previous two film incarnations, and is the heaviest out of all other incarnations than himself. At the Addams Family's family reunion he falls for a young girl named Gina (played by Haylie Duff).