|Roger Patterson's Film - Under the Gun|
Hoax Of The Century
By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher
Professional Writer, a nature and wildlife enthusiast who has written for many magazines. Get Dorraine's book The Book Of Blackthorne!
[ DF's Interview with Videographer John L. Johnsen can be found HERE ]
Examining A Controversial Documentary
I’m a bigfoot believer. So when I was recently given a copy of "Hoax Of The Century – The Movie by a friend who is also a bigfoot believer, I thought seriously about NOT watching it. This movie attempts to refute the validity of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film. How ridiculous is that, I thought? Everyone knows that film is real. Right? But then I had to ask myself why I didn’t want to watch the documentary.
The Patterson-Gimlin film, the one bigfoot film that nearly everyone is familiar with, is the considered The Holy Grail of bigfoot evidence. It’s the one most in the bigfoot community believe to be the real and true film footage. It sets the standard for the appearance of this creature that nearly every bigfoot researcher uses to determine the validity of sightings reports and other video footage to this day. How many times have we heard a report and asked the storyteller, "Did it look like Patty? Did it look like the creature in the Patterson-Gimlin film?" Patty, as she is well-known, is considered the one real bigfoot that we use for our frame of reference. She’s been analyzed by National Geographic. She had to be real. Right?
This documentary, not currently available on Amazon, and now sold almost exclusively on Tom Biscardi’s website, a product of Grendel Films is about an hour long, written by Tom Biscardi, and produced by Tom Biscardi and videographer, John L. Johnsen, and goes about the task of following the investigation of Greg Long, author of The Making of Bigfoot, in a very detailed account of how they believe the film was hoaxed.
It asks the question rarely asked before. Why has so much emphasis been placed on this film and none on the maker of the film? It attacks the less-than-stellar reputation of Roger Patterson himself, a man who was described by many around him as often unemployed, often broke, and looking for ways to make a fast buck. A man who was once arrested for failing to return a camera he had borrowed from a local camera shop; a man who was known to have associated with Ray Wallace, the famous Washington State footprint hoaxer.
It claims that Patterson borrowed money from several individuals to make the film, including a lady named Vilma Radford, interviewed in the movie and now deceased, that loaned him $700.00 with the promise that profits from the film would pay her interest above and beyond that amount. Even though Radford typed up a legal contract for both parties to sign, (a document that was revealed in the documentary) and after she was warned by others not to loan Patterson the money. And incidentally, she attested to the fact that she was never repaid.
But there were a couple of things in the film that were very interesting to me personally.
A man named Bob Heironimus claims to have worn the suit that Philip Morris, a Hollywood costume designer, claimed to have designed as a gorilla suit and claimed was modified by Patterson. Heironimus claims he did the "performance" for Patterson for $1000.00, and tells his account of how the events unfolded that day in 1967. But the most interesting part of his story is his demonstration of the "Patty walk." Heironimus is seen in the documentary walking across his yard to a shed, and his normal walk is strikingly similar to Patty’s walk in the film. Striking enough to make you go "Hmmm!"
And the second thing is that I’ve always questioned why, if it was a hoax, would Patterson choose to make this creature a female? And, as the movie claims, Roger had early associations with famous pioneering researcher/author John Green from Canada. Green had collected a lot of information about bigfoot to which Patterson would have had access. This would include the very detailed, historic account of William Roe with a female bigfoot back in 1955 near Jasper, Alberta, Canada. After his encounter, Roe presented a drawing that bears an eerie resemblance to subject in the PG film. Did Patterson use Roe’s drawing to fashion a female bigfoot costume? Or was Patty real because she resembled Roe’s description? The documentary claims that Roe’s visual account could have easily been used by Patterson to refashion his gorilla suit into something more realistic.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this documentary has to say. Every other argument we’ve ever made about the film being real is challenged here. Right down to the last detail. From the walk, to the elbow break, to the eye movement, etc. And it claims the PG film was embraced by the big name researchers at the time who knew that this "proof" of bigfoot could strengthen their own claims about the subject. It claims that the main motivating factor of all these key players in the bigfoot world choosing to believe Patterson’s claims was to make money.
John L. Johnsen’s collaboration with Tom Biscardi, a reputed hoaxer, would drive many to dismiss the film altogether. Could it be a complete fabrication by one accused of hoaxing himself? Absolutely. But, to be fair, it has an equal chance of being accurate and real based on the real witness interviews that are very detailed and backed up by others in Patterson’s hometown of Yakima, Washington.
But everything else aside, this documentary is well presented and thought provoking, and very thorough in the case it makes, whether you believe it or not. And it warrants a watch from any and all skeptics or anyone wanting to be well-rounded and objective about the subject of bigfoot.
And as I hesitated to watch it, and I didn’t like the story it had to tell, I knew I needed to keep some things in mind.
If the PG film was actually faked, what impact does that have on the community, and on bigfoot? What film evidence do we really have if not that? I have to admit it shook me a little to think about it. I felt for a minute like the very foundation of my beliefs was being stolen. But it’s important to remember that if the PG film is proved to be fake beyond a shadow of a doubt, that doesn’t prove in any way that bigfoot doesn’t exist. Far from it, because it doesn’t negate all the evidence that’s been collected by researchers over all these years and all their hard work in trying to find proof. All that work is completely relevant and important and it still stands up. Nothing can take that away.
But if you have a natural curiosity about this subject and you want to be very thorough in your bigfoot research, I recommend this film highly. You don’t have to like it. And you don’t have to agree with it. It’s just another side of the story. And, no matter what you end up thinking, it’s always good to hear the other side.
Rating: 5 out of 5
[ DF's Interview with Videographer John L. Johnsen can be found HERE ]
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