Photo courtesy of freelance Artist Steven Morris
It would be easy to write another internet article in which the writer just quotes dates, times and star names from the filmography of various horror movies. But in the case of Universals most famous and last classic movie monster, its almost a waste of time. The name of the “Creature From The Black Lagoon needs no real introduction in the halls of monster fame. The Creature series, particularly the very first Creature From The Black Lagoon possess’s all the elements of sci-fi and creepy swamp monsters to stand alone in its own category.
The Creature from The Black Lagoon was released in 1953 by Universal International Studios. And is for all the Universal Monsters turned out by Universal, the Creature was most popular of all of the Universal Monster’s franchise.
The movie was produced as the cold war was heating up and sci-fi was taking hold of its lion’s share of movie profitability. But aside from that, the Creature presented a whole different “Non-classic” approach to how movie producers created scary creatures and monsters of the cinema. Staring Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, and Richard Denning. The creature suit(s) itself was occupied by Ricou Browning who played the creature when it was in the water and wore a lighter suit and Ben Chapman who played the creature when it was out of the water with a darker suit. It was apparent that filming the various underwater scenes of the movie presented some technical challenges, as SCUBA diving was fairly new and only in its very early stages of development and presented it’s own inherent risks.The movie was well shot and maintained a
good story line as it mixed science, evolution, newer technologies and the possibility of a man-fish evolutionary hybrid who stalked human prey in the jungles of the amazon. The musical score and the creatures deep guttural growl also served to add to the creatures ferocious entry onto the screen when he appeared. The creature mean spirited attitude was very much like Lon Chaney Jr’s portrayal of the wolfman, though the creatures screen presence was much stronger than the short glimpses and softer delivery than that of the wolfman.
The creature of course had to have an octopus’s grip upon the leading lady Julie Adams. The swimming scene from the Creature of the Black Lagoon were also recreated in Steven Spielberg’s JAWS, as his very first victim, an unsuspecting female ventures into the sea to her demise, we get a classic glimpse of her feminine shape on the top of the surf before the Great White shark takes her to her death. And both of those scenes remind us that there are things in the sea (and lagoon) that can get us if we aren’t careful.
I am including a link in this blogpost to IMDB so people can study the Creatures filmography. But if you have not seen the Creature on the screen, it is well woorth renting it or getting a copy to watch. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046876/
Well it sure came up quick, its time for the Rondo awards again. Named after the famed Rondo Hatton who appeared in many monster movies;
RONDO HATTON ; Filmography (credited roles)
- 1937 In Old Chicago
- 1940 Chad Hanna
- 1940 Moon Over Burma
- 1943 Sleepy Lagoon
- 1944 The Pearl of Death
- 1945 The Jungle Captive
- 1946 The Spider Woman Strikes Back
- 1946 House of Horrors
- 1946 The Brute Man
THE RONDO AWARDS
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Rondo’s. Every year, monsters kids and monsters fans get a chance to vote for their favorite monster related “Thing” …No pun intended. There are many different categories that Rondo’s award genre, this year this twenty nine separate categories. Ranging from your favorite monsters magazines to the years best monster kid.
YOU CAN FOLLOW THE LINK TO DOWN LOAD THE BALLOT, CLICK ON THE MONSTER PICTURE…
The Chicago area in the 1960’s and 1970’s was a ripe market for many different types of television programming formats. The early mornings and early afternoon was for the viewing pleasure of young stay at home housewives, and the format consisted of game shows and soap opera’s ( I hated soap opera’s YUK!). The evening programming was formatted for our Dad’s who came home after a hard day at work, so they could kick back, suck down a bottle of suds and watch the evening news and an episode of the Fugitive, Voyage to the Bottom of The Sea or Combat.But early afternoon between the news and the soap opera’s and late night programming were prime territory for the a Monster Kid.
By the mid 1960’s the television market was flooded with the monster films that originally appeared in the matinee’s in theaters all over the country. Movies such as the the Amazing Colossal Man, The Day the earth stood still, THEM, Godzilla and many more black and white horror movies showed up on local TV stations. For a Monster kid like myself this was heaven on earth.
In addition to the normal programming of movies two special programs dedicated to the “monster genre” became Chicago area icons. My favorite was “Creature Features” on WGN TV. The other was Svengoolie, with the original host Jerry G Bishop and
Jerry G Bishop as “Svengoolie”
Later “Son of Svengollie” Host Rich Koz, who’s show is still on TV and a vibrant part of the Chicago Horror host scene. I still watch Svengoolie and collect Monster Kid toys!
Son of Svengoolie, Rich Koz now “Svengoolie” or as his fans call him “Goolie”
A few years ago I happened to run into the movie “Ed Wood” which was directed by Tim Burton. The story was about an eccentric guy (Ed Wood) , a wanna-be (and almost successful at) horror movie producer. The movie reignited my love of the ancient black and white monster movie fun club. It was around that time that I tried starting up my very own monster magazine called “Monsters after Midnight”.
The magazine had a very limited life and I only produced three or four issues. A lot of good people supported me in the endeavor, with the exception of my Ex-wife. I will always consider Monsters after Midnight my own personal Ed Wood tragedy opera, as I found myself out of a job, dead broke and eventually divorced after my ex decided to have an affair with my kids little league baseball coach (you just cannot make this stuff up) and my magazine and my life became something that was the epitome of something that Ed Wood could have produced. The magazine and I both shuttered, made strange creaking noises and suffered from minor errors in grammar, minor errors in content and minor errors in judgement. But I digress… and take full accountability of myself.. because Monsters After Midnight will always be mine….. My creation, my own personal Frankenstein’s monster. …. Karloff is rolling over in his grave.
Despite the demise of Monsters After Midnight (and its still breathing a little.. just like Frankenstein’s monster). I still could not lose my love of the monster genre. So like any hobby, (or some monsters we know) it morphed into more of a voyeuristic endeavor (OH trust me my fellow dirty minded friends.. I know what your thinking… but put down that those smart phone cameras.. its not like that). As I simply went back to my own monster kid roots and became a spectator, collector of monster movie memorabilia and a not-for-profit monster movie critic / blogger.
One of the awesome aspects of being a passive monster kid not hell bent on being a millionaire gave me the opportunity to really have some fun with the hobby. I am an avid collector of monster figures and thanks to companies like Diamond Select, Jakks Pacific and Funko and many other resources (gotta love ebay) it relatively easy to find monster collectibles by the truck loads.
ONCE A MONSTER KID…. ALWAYS A MONSTER KID
Some of my own collection
Pull your mauve colored easy chairs and pop some warm and buttery popcorn because the TV (internet) has a new Horror…. Host Bobby Gammonster. I asked Bobby to write his own story for the Monsters After Midnight Blog. You can find Bobby on facebook and at his website http://monstermovienight.com Bobby also is now feaured on ROKU.