Creature From the Black Lagoon - Thursday, February 4, 2016

We are back in the Omrod Giant World of Miniatures today, with one of the more whimsical dioramas Bob ever made, certainly a favorite for fans of scary movies.  Connected to the diorama is a sign that reads:  "Can You Find 40 of the Greatest Horror Films?"  Below is a chaotic, but small (under three feet long) display that incorporates all sorts of horror tropes - the mad scientist, the monster, the mansion on the hill.  We had the opportunity to ask Mr. Omrod what were his forty films.  He wouldn't tell us, explaining that we needed to figure them out on our own.  We think we did, and we intend to share them with you.  Of course, it will take a little while to do it.  We will start in the lower left quadrant.  We have enlarged it today.  Of course, we spoiled it with the heading for today's blog:  The Creature From the Black Lagoon!

So here's a question:  how does Citizen Kane, critically considered one of the best movies ever made, connect to The Creature from the Black Lagoon?  The year was 1941, and film producer William Alland was attending a dinner party during filming of the famous Orson Welles classic when a Mexican cinematographer told him about a legendary half man-half fish creature that supposedly roamed the Amazon River in South America.  Alland struck upon an idea that would not be realized for over a decade.  His name would be Gill Man, and he would become one of the iconic Universal studios monsters, alongside Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, the Wolfman, and the Invisible Man.

The movie, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, was filmed in the Rice Creek, located near Palatka, Florida, and Wakulla Springs, also in Florida.  The story is not complicated - a misunderstood "monster" is feared when all he wants is to be loved.  Without love, he gives people reason to fear him.  (He could be a presidential candidate!) The film was shot in 3D. It was released in 1954, and the Fifites 3D fad was already beginning to wane, so numerous theaters showed it in two dimensions as well, meaning no funny glasses.  The film did well enough to inspire two sequels:  Return of the Creature in 1955, starring the wonderful B-movie actor John Agar, and 1956's The Creature Walks Among Us.  There are rumors of a possible remake, but those rumors have been circulating for around twenty years now, so it's difficult to get excited about them.  
QUESTION:  Which of the following directors was not connected to a possible remake of The Creature from the Black Lagoon?
A)  Guillermo del Toro
B)  Stephen Spielberg
C)  Peter Jackson
D)  John Landis
ANSWER BELOW

HAIL TO THE CHIEF.  On this day in 1789, George Washington was unanimously elected President of the United States by the new Electoral College.  He was - and remains - the only man to ever be selected for the position unanimously.  Considering how venomous the election process seems to be, his record will likely never be challenged.

QUOTE:  It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company. - George Washington

ANSWER:  B)  Stephen Spielberg.  One remake was actually cancelled because of the Spielberg-inspired Jaws 3 in 3-D, so thanks a lot Mr. Spielberg!