By Guy D’Astolfo
LIBERTY, Ohio – Slice of the Valley, the annual late-winter gathering of pizza, beer, music and more, will return to the Metroplex Expo Center March 1 and it should be monstrously fun. Or “Munster”-ously.
Guests can sample pizza from at least 15 local restaurants, shops and churches at the event that runs from 4 to 7 p.m.
There will also be a basket auction, raffle, performance by Sinatra-style singer Bo Wagner and his orchestra, and a host of celebrity judges including Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on the 1960s sitcom “The Munsters.”
Melanie Miller, Miss Ohio 2006 and Mrs. America 2011, will also appear, as well as Miss Pizza Hair Extraordinaire Antoinette Johnson, Jocko the Clown and Scrappy the Mahoning Valley Scrappers mascot.
Patrick was a child star who appeared in many TV shows besides “The Munsters” in the 1960s. These included “The Real McCoys,” “General Hospital” and “My Three Sons.”
In 1971, a grown-up Patrick starred in the Saturday morning kid’s series, “Lidsville,” but put acting on the shelf after that.
“Because my first 20 years were spent working in an adult world. I made up for it by being a hell raiser for the next 10 years,” Patrick says. After his money ran short, he worked odd jobs and even formed his own band, “Eddie and the Monsters,” which put out a single, “Whatever Happened to Eddie?”
Patrick didn’t talk about “The Munsters” for many years, but nowadays he embraces it. Despite his wide-ranging credits, Patrick is most closely associated with the little wolf boy who lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane on the beloved sitcom.
The Florida resident is in-demand on the comic convention circuit and makes a lot of guest appearances at which he shows off his collection of iconic hot rods from “The Munsters” (that won’t be the case at Slice of the Valley).
He has been traveling the country with the Munster family vehicle as part of a pilot for a YouTube channel show that will chronicle his lifestyle.
For a while, he had a mobile escape room that accompanied one of his vehicles.
“It had a ‘Munsters’ theme based on our address, 1313 Mockingbird Lane,” Patrick says. “It was 13 minutes for $13.”
The campy, ghoulish comedy of “The Munsters” – and its rival, “The Addams Family” – have had incredible staying power.
Patrick, who was 8 when he landed the gig as Eddie, says “The Munsters” had everything going for it.
“We had the Universal Studios monsters,” he says. “They were the monster studio and had achieved a good style of filmmaking. They took it to the producers of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ to write a family values sitcom with loveable monsters and they cast Fred Gwynne as Herman and Al Lewis as Grandpa, and that was genius.”
Both “The Munsters” and “The Addams Family” spawned an endless stream of merchandise, toys, pinball games, and film and TV reincarnations.
“The Addams Family” took the lead in recent years with a Broadway musical and a couple of hit movies. But the two shows were neck and neck when they first hit the air.
“It was a unique situation, with two similar shows running simultaneously from 1964 to 1966,” Patrick says. “Had we been head to head with them, we would have been in competition but we were on Thursday nights and they were on Fridays.”
The shows had a lot in common but also had their differences.
“We were more of a family thing, while [‘The Addams Family’] was more dark and edgy,” Patrick says. “We had great guests, cool cars, good music and scripts. It was all top notch.”
As for the pizza challenge, Patrick says he is ready to eat like a wolf.
“I told them, ‘Surprise me with some muenster cheese!,’ ” he says.
A panel of celebrity judges will decide the winners of the pizza awards. They include boxing legends Earnie Shavers of Warren and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini of Youngstown, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, former Cleveland Browns star Kevin Mack, wrestling star Preston Steele and media members.
A panel of beer judges, including Jim Cyphert and Jason Jugenheimer of The Flight Crew, will judge the beer.
Local craft brewers, including Biker BrewHouse, Birdfish, Modern Methods, Paladin, Penguin City will sell their beers by the glass.
The $10 admission fee includes three slices of pizza, water and soft drinks ($5 for children for two slices, water and soft drinks), and extra slices can be purchased for $2.
For information or advance tickets, go to SliceOfTheValley.com.
Posted Feb. 24, 2020.
Copyright 2020 AfterHoursYoungstown.com, Youngstown, Ohio.
Pictured: Butch Patrick with The Munster Koach from the TV sitcom.