1985's Niece of Frankenstein

I'm not ashamed to say I'm a fan of the old 1985 TV series Niece of Frankenstein. Sure it was campy and stupid, but that's what made it great. How could you not enjoy the implausible premise of a trendy, lovable orphan from the big city being raised by her two old world uncles in Transylvania?

I was in a vintage book and poster shop the other day and discovered a bunch of old magazines and publicity stills featuring the show. I just had to buy them. Thought I'd scan and share for those who remember the series or just love 80's nostalgia.

TV Guide from Oct. 1985. The cover features the original cast: Neecy Devdell as Goofy D, Teddy Edwards III as Uncle Frank(enstein) and David Lowenthal as Uncle Monstro. In the final 1989 season Lowenthal was unceremoniously replaced by the network with a puppet to compete with ALF in a failed effort to improve ratings.

Show Star Neecy Devdell became a huge pop culture sensation, especially among kids and tweens. The shows success made Neecy indistinguishable from her character Goofy D. She faded into acting obscurity after Niece of Frankenstein was cancelled. According to a recent People magazine Where Are They Now article, Neecy is in her late thirties working as a bowling shoe cleaner and runs an injured squirrel sanctuary out of her kitchen somewhere in Toronto. 

A bit of trivia. Director Kenneth Branagh was also a huge fan of the show! The left ear of Robert DeNiro's prosthetic monster make up in the 1994 Frankenstein film was sculpted to resemble Goofy D's left ear in homage. 

A classic publicity shot. How many times did we see this shtick from Uncle Monstro exasperated by Goofy D's wacky shenanigans?

Here's a similar publicity photo from the '89 season with the new puppet Uncle Monstro. Lifeless. No wonder the show was cancelled that year.

Episode 407: Rum Tum Raven! Goofy D goes on a trip with Uncle Frank to the Fringe Science Con in New York. While there they see CATS on Broadway. Goofy is inspired to write, produce and direct her own musical... RAVENS, based on the Edgar Allan Poe story.

Show 107: What's Wrong With Cousin Jason? Typical of many sitcoms at the time, the Just Say No campaign was worked into the storyline in a not too subtle, heavy cleaver handed way.

Episode 201: Cross Walk Conundrum. The new overly strict crossing guard at school, Patrick O'Treaty, makes life difficult for Goofy D and her friends.

Episode 410: This Really Sucks! Goofy D befriends a vampire boy named Orlock, who is afraid that his undead-ism will get in the way of making friends. With a little patience and effort, Goofy helps the other kids at school learn to accept Orlock for who he is. 

 Episode 113: Grave Matters. To get out of a test she never studied for, Goofy D fakes an illness but the scheme backfires and escalates. Needing to cover the lie, she's forced to stage her own funeral. Goofy learns her lesson though having to pretend to be a zombie for the rest of the school year.

Episode 111: Auntie Elsa's World.  When Uncle Monstro's glamorous and globetrotting pop star ex-wife comes to visit, Goofy D soon finds her usual haunted castle life boring. Zaniness ensues as the Uncles go overboard trying to make themselves just as hip and cool in Goofy D's eyes.

Episode 109: Arm I want For Christmas. This heart warming holiday themed episode featuring cousin Mikey needing a new arm never aired. It was preempted by the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton 'Ol Fashioned Country Christmas Live in Las Vegas Spectacular TV special.

Episode 302: Bow Wow What Tha?! Uncle Frank's experiments to create a winning breed at the Transylvania Dog Show are hilariously disastrous!

Here are a few rarely seen backstage pictures...

The original photo of the Uncles later made famous by urban artist Shepard Fairey.

Like the well known Andre the Giant OBEY and Obama HOPE posters, Fairey's stylized image of the Uncles can still be found papered on many city walls.

Rehearsing the RAVENS musical episode.

Legendary stuntman Yacky Kanutmous doubling for Cousin Mikey from the un-aired Holiday episode. The saddest thing about this show being preempted was that the public never saw Kanutmous perform his final gag falling two stories into a moat filled with piranha (Photo by James Goethals).

Teddy Edwards III and Neecy Devdell rehearsing on set. Many credit the shows success to Edwards' improvisation channeling his grandfather, famous vaudeville comedian Teddy "Jim Jam" Edwards Sr.

The rarest of all sights... Uncle Monstro unmasked! David Lowenthal, an actor with no ego, wanted the public to believe the character was real. He waived his own credit letting it read "Uncle Monstro as Himself" to help keep the illusion. Even on set Lowenthal only took the the mask off in extreme circumstances. There where veteran crew members who, for years, never knew what he really looked like.

After being replaced by the puppet Uncle Monstro, a brokenhearted Lowenthal returned to England and his acting roots. He performed in numerous Royal Shakespeare Company productions until his tragic death in 1997. Ironically, he was run over by a speeding delivery truck from a marionette and puppet supply company.


  1. Haha! Yes!! So glad you did something with that joke

  2. LOL... love the pics, the TV Guide cover, and especially Devin's beautiful smile in the pic with you. That says it all! :)

  3. I don't remember this show at all. Was this on CBS? A summer replacement?

  4. Dave, what a great way to share the Hallows photos.
    I swear, Niece Devin gets more gorgeous every time I see a pic!

    Great job, as always!

  5. Mr. Chicken, as soon as I had posted that one pic on FB I had to expand on it. Especially when I saw pics my sister had taken of Devin being goofy posing with stuff in the display.

    Tracy, ahhh thanks. I like that pic of us too. The annual electric chair photo has almost become an yearly tradition.

    Anonymous, oh boy, I hope you're just playing along with the joke. If not, sorry...not a real show, just having fun.

    Shelly, thanks. I thought a fun way to remember this year. I'll pass the compliment along

  6. Mr. Jim Jams11/13/2011 5:51 PM

    Awesome post!!! I loved that show!!!!

  7. If this HAD been a real show, I would have watched it every week...religiously!!!

  8. Loved the show! A case of perfect casting if ever there was one!

  9. Ok, I'll admit I am slow. I was wracking my brain trying to remember this show. It was driving me nuts! I caught on about halfway through the post. Very nice! That's one lucky niece!