When Chas Addams was approached to adapt “The Addams Family” into a television series, he had no names for the characters. Indeed, they were only called “Addams” because of their authorship, the implication being that Addams drew autobiographical stories. Chas, however, would have to make up first names for his family for the screen.
It just so happened that a mural that Addams had been commissioned to paint came into play. In 2018, an article in The audiovisual club printed some letters to the New Yorker written by a woman named Joan Blake. Blake tells the story of how the mural – called “An Addams Family Vacation” – reunited her with Addams, and how a subsequent kibbitz led to her invention of the Addams Daughter. Part of the letter ran as follows:
“I met Addams in New York over fifty years ago. I was living in North Carolina, but I had traveled to the city for a custody trial. I was living with my roommate from college and she threw a big party. , which Addams attended. I was so depressed I sat on the couch all evening. Addams sat down next to me and asked me what was wrong with me. was wrong. I told him. He took my arm, walked me to the elevator and took me to PJ Clarke’s.. He made me laugh and told me that the family Addams was being made into a TV show and he didn’t have a name for the little girl. I said, “Wednesday – Wednesday’s kid is full of misfortune.” And Wednesday became her name.”
The AV Club points out, however, that there was no way to directly substantiate Blake’s story.