The legend of Bigfoot is one that has endured for many years. However, the word legend may not do the creature justice. Bigfoot was a pop cultural phenomenon during the 1970’s and anyone who remembers tuning in to programs like IN SEARCH OF or THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN surely felt a kinship with the misunderstood creature. However, while the 1970’s were the peak of the creature’s fame, Bigfoot had been sighted long before the Me Generation and continues to be spotted well into the modern day. Actually, there are many lesser known facts about Bigfoot that are well worth looking at:
Bigfoot did not get his name until 1957 after a newswire story reported large, humanoid footprints were found alongside a construction site. Plaster of Paris molds of the huge footprints were made and this started the rumors that an ape-man was lurking in the Pacific Northwest woods. While this story was national news, the legend of the creature dated back hundreds of years in Native American folklore. In the early 20th century, there were two tabloid reports of “ape men” throwing rocks at a miner’s cabin in the legendary “Ape Canyon” tale.
In addition, there were reports of a man kidnapped by ape creatures and then released after several days. Then, in 1945, a report of a bizarre, deformed “Grizzly Bear” also circulated through local Pacific Northwest newspapers. However, it was not until 1957 that the legend became true international news. Ironically, 1957 was also a year of great intrigue over the search for The Abominable Snowman in Tibet.
Then, in 1967, explorers Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlim filmed what appeared to be a female Bigfoot walking on a creek bed in Bluff Creek, CA. The short 16mm film became one of the most shocking film clips of its day. A black and white still of it appeared in Argosy Magazine in 1968 and this captured people’s imaginations like nothing else. In 1975, the entire film aired in the drive-in motion picture THE MYSTERIOUS MONSTERS and this further fueled interest in the creature. By the late 1970’s, hundreds of Bigfoot books, magazine, print, radio, and television news reports appeared. Eventually, this lead to burnout and the creature’s media appearances continued on a much, much smaller scale in the 1980s.
However, what was (is) Bigfoot? The late Dr. Grover Krantz put forth the notion that Bigfoot creature are the modern day survivors and the previously thought extinct pre-Cro Magnon ape-man, The Gigantopithicus. Krantz was a fixture as an interview subject on multitudes of television programs until his death from Pancreatic Cancer several years ago.
A&E’s 1990 Bigfoot special was one of its highest rated programs and its bestselling videotapes. Many people believe this program is what returned Bigfoot specials to television airwaves after a decade of relative non-presence. In 1972, the success of the film THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK helped raise the public’s awareness of the Bigfoot creatures living outside of the Pacific Northwest. However, is Bigfoot truly a relic of the past? No, hundreds upon hundreds of Bigfoot sighting have been reported over the past 10 years. Several films of alleged Bigfoot creatures have been made as well.