Happy Birthday Patty


Today is the 44th anniversary of the Roger Patterson/Bob Gimlin film. It is the greatest blobsquatch footage ever shot of Bigfoot. Is it real? Like everything else in the Bigfoot arena there is no consensus on the films authenticity. A couple of people have come forward since it was shot claiming to be the guy in the costume. Special Effects experts have claimed that a costume that complex did not exist in 1967. And a number of computer models have been done to determine if a human could walk that way. To add to the confusion, some have said a human could, some have said a human can’t.

Real or not, it has stood the test of time as far as being a seminal piece of Bigfoot history. I never saw the film until I was well into my adulthood. In 1974, I was eight and living in a small community in central Illinois. To the delight of every kid in the area, a documentary featuring the Patterson Gimlin film was coming to the theater on Main Street. We sat in a packed theater watching this film, waiting for the moment we would see a real live Bigfoot for the first time. The anticipation was agonizing. The crowd collectively leaned in closer to the enormous screen. We all wanted to get a good look. Suddenly, in the back of the theater a woman’s voice cried out, “Tad Roberts, this is your mother! Come here right now! There’s a tornado headed straight for us!”

A second passed and then the first scream let out followed by another and then another. People ran for the exits. My friend and I sat in our seats watching the chaos, all the while hoping the movie would continue. We wanted to see Bigfoot. Our hearts sank; the picture fluttered and then went white. The projectionist stopped the film. People were pushing and shoving each other, squeezing through the doors to the lobby. Still my friend and I sat there. They would start the film again. We knew it. It was just a tornado warning. Central Illinois got dozens of tornado warnings every year. It wasn’t going to hit us.

My friend’s father walked down the aisle and told us it was time to give up hope. They weren’t going to show the rest of the film. We both stood and walked dejected to the exit. A few hours later, Main Street was decimated by more than one small tornado that touched down. Cars were flipped upside down. Windows were shattered. Businesses were crippled, including the movie theater. The film would never make it back to the area. We missed our chance.

That was then. This is now. I’ve seen the film numerous times. I’ve even watched it on my phone. M.K. Davis was the first to do an incredible enhancement of the film and stabilize the creature for better viewing. His unusual theories aside, he really is responsible for giving the film a second life. Costume designer Bill Munns has done extensive work on the film trying to determine size and other details that have been discussed for nearly 50 years now.

Christopher Noels posted this video on his Impossible Visits Facebook page, and I have to say it is probably shows the best argument I’ve seen that this is an actual creature and not a guy in a costume.

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