PHILIPPI, W.Va. (WBOY) — The town of Philippi held its second annual Lurch Fest on Saturday, a celebration dedicated to the character Lurch from the 60s sitcom The Addams Family and the actor who portrayed him, Ted Cassidy.

Though born in Pittsburgh, Ted Cassidy spent his early life growing up in the town of Philippi and even played on the high school football team at Philippi High School.

The event itself featured numerous food and art vendors, craft beer and several live music performances.

One of these art vendors was Christofer Cook, an author who is currently working on his new book “Lurching Forward,” a biography about Ted Cassidy set to come out next year, in time for Lurch Fest 2023. Cook came from Lexington, South Carolina to get to know more about the town of Philippi and the people that live there.

Christofer Cook’s art stand at Lurch Fest 2022

Channel 12 was able to interview Cook to learn more about his thoughts on the people of Philippi, as well as the festival itself.

Tell me about what surprised you about the people you came to talk to, what stuck out the most?

Well, I have to tell you that there might be some stereotypes about people in a small town not wanting to welcome somebody who’s from another town to come visit them, and that’s not true at all. The people of Philippi have been so welcoming, and so hospitable, that I just feel like I found another family here.

What did you think when you heard there was an entire festival dedicated to this one character from a TV show?

I couldn’t believe that there was a festival called Lurch Fest. I was studying and researching and working on the book, as the biographer of Ted Cassidy, and as I did my research, I found out about Lurch Fest, that it had its first year last year in Philippi. And I told my wife, I said, I really need to be there this year, because I want to meet the people. I want to become immersed in the culture, and I want to find out more about Ted Cassidy.

Tell me about your favorite part of the festival so far.

My favorite part of the festival so far is that people keep coming up to me and telling me these great stories about their grand pappies, and their nanas, their moms, uncles and dads who went to school with Ted Cassidy. And I’m getting a lot of people who say that they went to the prom with Ted Cassidy. So we know that it would have been difficult for Ted to have gone to so many proms here in Philippi. But, maybe it’s possible, who knows.

Tell me about what it’s been like to write a book about such a pivotal person in this community.

It’s been fantastic. Because the thing about writing a book about a Hollywood star is that you think that most of the book is going to be about the TV shows and about the movies and those types of things, because that’s what a lot of people are interested in. But they forget that this young man had a hometown that he came from, and came into Philippi and lived here for several years. He grew up here. He spent his formative years here, and went to high school here playing basketball, and football, going to sock hops. And, and so that’s been really exciting for me to discover the people who may have actually gone to school with Ted Cassidy.

Tell me about the artwork you’ve got behind you, is that stuff you’ve made yourself?

It is indeed. Because the book will take one more year to come out, next year, I thought, well, if I come to Lurch Fest, I do want to bring something. So I did my own art and created what I call portrait prints. And so they’re sort of in a pen and ink style. And they are Ted Cassidy playing the part of Lerch. They are exclusive only to Lurch Fest this year, so you won’t be able to get them next year. I’ll have the book next year for people to buy.

So you’re an artist and a writer as well?

It’s very funny. You know, they say that necessity is the mother of invention. So I’m really a writer who does some art on the side. So I’ve been trying to do a little bit of illustration. I have a brother who is a professional illustrator. So I guess I’ve learned a little bit from him, and am hoping to sell some of my illustrations of Lurch here at Lurch Fest.

What do you think is the most unique part about Ted Cassidy?

I think the most unique part of Ted Cassidy’s life is that even though he had some difficulties being the size that he is, and that he was bullied at times, the most amazing part of him was he was intrepid. He really had this drive to look past all of those things that would have held someone back. And he used his large size in order to become a commodity in Hollywood, and he did very well.

Last question, if there was one thing you could tell our audience about Lurch Fest, about Ted Cassidy, or about your book or yourself, what would you want them to know?

Well, first of all, I do want to say that Lurch Fest is a wonderful time. The people here are so giving and hospitable, and you’re going to find something for everyone. It is a family event. You’re going to find great food, delicious food. You’re going to find all sorts of trinkets and souvenirs that you can take with you. We’ve got the best T-shirts you’ll ever see with Ted Cassidy on them. And there’s live music, and it’s just a really good family time for everyone to come and celebrate this man that we know as Ted Cassidy, AKA, Lurch.

Cook’s book “Lurching Forward” is expected to come out in June or July of 2023, and will be available on Amazon.com. He also has an adaptation of Dracula of Transylvania available on Amazon which can be found here.