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Creature-blogging, essay 6 on
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Encountering the Aurora Model
You were supposed to paint them but my few experiments with color were pathetic. The Aurora Gill Man was a very respectable dark green and he stayed that way on my shelf. Color photographs of the Gill Man makeup from the 1950s always look inappropriately gaudy with their bright red lips. In my mind, a colorized Creature looks like an unpainted
My family often took vacations to
Florida and—for as long as I can remember—I
associated the Creature with the tourist attractions at Marineland, Silver
Springs, Homosassa Springs, and Weeki Wachee Springs. These were the Gill Man’s natural habitats,
where he could swim freely or run amok.
I was right, of course. The Gill
Man was never really from the Amazon. He
was a native Floridian.
|Ginger Stanley's water ballet|
in the Black Lagoon.
|Ginger Stanley, circa 1951.|
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Much as I love the Marineland scene in Revenge of the Creature, I always wish they’d figured out a way to work Weeki Wachee into the series. The Gill Man should have received at least one opportunity to swim with the mermaids.
Encountering Tom Weaver and Ricou Browning
Several years ago, I took my son to a monster convention in
friend Mark Clark, author of Smirk, Sneer and Scream and the recently published Star Trek FAQ, met me there and introduced me to some of his colleagues. That’s where I met Tom Weaver. I shook his hand. Then I awkwardly stood there star struck,
unable to find anything intelligent to
say. No one knows more about the Creature from the Black Lagoon than Tom
Weaver. He’s interviewed everyone
involved, read all the surviving production material, and, most importantly, retained his initial
monster kid enthusiasm. Cherry Hill, New
I couldn’t have written these pieces without Tom Weaver’s research. Where I’ve made errors, they’re because I neglected to proof them against Weaver’s commentaries and writings.
I met Ricou Browning at that convention, too. I thanked him for his Gill Man, his work on Sea Hunt and Flipper, and his contributions to the James Bond movie Thunderball.
In my dreams, I swim like Ricou Browning and write like Tom Weaver.
|Ricou Browning as the Creature from the Black Lagoon.|
Encountering Dave Edmunds in the Black Lagoon
On his 1979 album Repeat When Necessary, Dave Edmunds featured a song called “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” written by guitarist Billy Bremner. I listened to it a lot in college. It’s a great novelty song, perfect for Edmunds’ style (and benefiting from solid backup by his legendary Rockpile companions—Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams). Here it is:
Creature from the Black Lagoon (Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection) DVD commentary by film historian Tom Weaver
Various discussions on The Classic Horror Film Board (in my opinion, the greatest and most civilized of all film discussion boards.)
Back to the Black Lagoon documentary with film historian David Skal
When processing Creature information, it all boils down to this: If Tom Weaver says it, I believe it.
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© 2013 Lee Price