Updated: October 07, 2017
IN MEMORY OF ACTOR - FRED GWYNNE #05
In the context of the series, Herman was created in 1815 at the University of Heidelberg by Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Work on him was finally completed in around 1850 (neither Lily nor Grandpa is quite sure when) along with his twin brother Charlie. Leaving Germany for Great Britain at a young age, Herman was adopted by the Munsters of Munster Hall, a noble family living in the fictitious Shroudshire, England.
At some point Herman moved to Transylvania (a region in Romania), where he met Lily Dracula. In 1865 (technically at the age of 15, but physically older) Herman married Lily, and eventually the couple and Grandpa (Lily's father) moved to America, where Herman joined the U.S. Army, fighting in World War II.
In The Munsters Today, he is given a younger brother named Frank. And in the 1995 movie Here Come the Munsters he is given a sister named Elsa who resembles the Bride of Frankenstein. She is also married to Mr. Hyde, who transforms into Dr. Jekyll.
In the series:
Herman is employed by Gateman, Goodbury and Graves, a funeral home in Mockingbird Heights, having started out as a "nail boy." Herman's co-workers sometimes remark on his height and strength, but otherwise do not appear to find his appearance and color (green) out of the ordinary. Occasionally, Herman is picked up by "the company car" (a hearse), which he climbs into via the back door and rides as if he were a body being delivered.
Herman is a good natured buffoon. Despite having been alive for centuries, he behaves rather childishly, often throwing temper tantrums, punctuated with thundering animal-like roaring. He is very kind to everyone, but he is also very naive, often misunderstanding situations or falling for various schemes. He occasionally has problems recognizing when someone has malicious or dishonest intentions towards him. Most people, however, flee in terror on seeing Herman's monstrous visage, which he always attributes to something else.
Herman is incredibly strong, once lifting a solid metal demolition ball casually with one hand. He is almost immovable; a number of times, cars have run into him without causing him injury. A safe fell on his head ("John Doe Munster") and gave him amnesia, although it did not hurt him. When asked how much he weighs, Herman says: "Three spins", meaning the dial on the scale goes around three times. In the episode "Herman's Lawsuit", his driver's license gives his weight as 380 pounds (170 kg), height as 7 feet 6 inches (229 cm), and eyes as brown. Herman considers himself handsome(as does the rest of his family)even though he can crack a mirror by looking at it, once even cracking a shiny frying pan he looked into. In one episode, Herman is struck by lightning, reverting to a "hideous" form (actually Fred Gwynne without any make-up). He tries to hide his appearance from all those around him until another lightning strike reverts him back to "handsome".
When frustrated (often), he tends to stamp like a child having a tantrum causing plaster to shower down from the ceiling. His strength is especially useful around "the Parlor"—he can lift occupied caskets unassisted. Herman has a very distinctive laugh... a loud braying bellow. Occasionally he is shown grunting and making guttural sounds (similar to Boris Karloff's Frankenstein monster), usually when he's hungry, impatient or getting annoyed over a minor problem (such as finding his Sunday newspaper).
Despite being of German origin and having been raised in England, Herman speaks with a cultured American accent.