Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rare Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film Screen Captures, the BBC X-Creatures Documentary, and THE LEAP OF SKEPTICISM

In the 1998 BBC ( production, "X-CREATURES: SHOOTING THE BIGFOOT," there is an interesting presentation of the Patterson-Gimlin film reel with John Green in his Harrison Hot Springs, Canada home. He is actually sitting beside his projector running a copy of the full film reel, not just the famous bigfoot segment. One can see how very small and brief the reel is and, though they don't show the roll from begining to end (they cut to Green talking and images of the host pondering and commenting), some of the rarely seen earlier footage taken before the famous apprx. 1-minute bigfoot segment is shown.
Here at left is Bob with the pack horse riding on a washed-out area.
This is revealing stuff, wherein one may get a larger picture of the activities of Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin in the area before the creature was filmed. Also, one sees the seasonal and landscape conditions of Bluff Creek that year pretty clearly. These bits were meant to be used as stock footage in a documentary film idea on which Patterson was working.
Here's another one, with a more rare instance of Bob filming Roger rather than the other way around. One can see the autumnal colors of the foliage probably shot that day, October 20th, 1967, or directly prior to it.
Here's an interesting screen-shot capture of Gimlin riding up the Bluff Creek creekside road. Not always known is the fact that at that time a leveled dirt logging road ran right up along the creek itself. Access to the film site from their base down by Louse Camp, about 2.5 miles away, would have been much easier than the hellish bushwhack, boulder-hopping creekwalk and bracken climb that it is today. These days it is a hike that could take one all day in the round trip, with many a scratch or twisted ankle. This image appears on the film reel just before a pan through the trees on the hillside. Then the film breaks suddenly into the famous Bigfoot sighting part. Heading upstream they, "came to an overturned tree with a large root system at a turn in the creek, almost as high as a room," and they saw the hairy hominid "crouching beside the creek to their left."
Here we show the first two clear strides the creature takes in the film, and an image of just how high the sand bar was that Roger had to bound over to get his filming spot (this crossing is seen as a frantic white blur in the film). Then we see a blurry Patty entering the most well known part of film terrain, by the long, fallen log.

BIGFOOT SCREEN CAPTURES (click to enlarge images somewhat):
One frustrating thing with the P-G film is that it is difficult to catch the first glimpses of the Sasquatch creature as it moves off from the creek side right at the start of the film (and often these are edited out from documentaries). At this point Patterson is probably in a state of shock and extreme excitement (not to mention most likely some fear of this apprx. 7-foot cryptid creature), having just gotten away from the panicking horses. At the start of the film he is running up to and across the creek to get a better filming vantage point. We have endeavored to freeze-frame these moments, otherwise nearly totally lost in blur. The first creature image above shows the first clear glimpse of the film's subject. Here we may see the wet sand at the creekside, and then in following frames a fleeting glimpse of the water of Bluff Creek, to the left.
"Cover me!" Roger yells to Bob, as he races up the bank. Bob is trying to control the horses, while bounding off and readying his rifle, just in case the creature attacks.
Here follow the first clear stride, one from the begining of the more stable part of the film, and then an obscure image of the retreat of the creature at the very end of the film, at the east side of the film site.
Just before the film reel ends one can barely distinguish the creature as it retreats into the dark forest at the big bend in the creek at the east end of the film site, right up against the canyon wall. At next frame one can see the tail-end film leader when the roll expires. This is evidence that this is a direct copy of the original camera reel, presented in its original form.
In a subsequent part of the episode we can see John Green in his cast collection room. In another a brief segment of Green's film of 6-foot 4-inch Jim McClarin walking on the film site for comparison is presented. The creature is clearly taller and more bulky by far than the human figure when the two films are shown together.
One great feature of this documentary is a brief clip of Bob Gimlin from a filmed interview John Green did in 1992. Here's Bob, transcribed as best I may: "This particular day that we got the film footage, well, starting out early in the morning, I left early in the morning and Roger slept in. And my horse loosened a shoe up, and I come back in to tack the shoe on tighter, and Roger was gone when I got back and uh after a while.... I had covered that morning and I had told him, and he said why don't we ride up in this area that we had ridden in...."
And then the host Chris Packham actually calls Gimlin on the phone. The transcription: "When I first saw this thing well it was just like the adrenaline flew, you know I was shocked, excited, like all right then, THEY DO exist, you know. [clever filmmaker edit here, making it SEEM as if Bob has changed his mind]... Well I've thought about this many, many times over the years. At one time in my life right shortly after the film footage I was totally convinced that no one could fool me. And of course I'm an older man now, and I see a lot of things, and I think there could have been a possibility. But it would have to have been really well planned by Roger, and I feel that they would have had to have been very, very careful because I had a thirty-ought-six loaded with a hundred and eighty grain bullets. And if that thing had have turned and rushed me I would have shot it. So I feel that IF that was a hoax somebody was taking an AWFUL big chance with their life."
What follows is some rather spurious logic from Packham, and a high-budgeted, but failed, BBC attempt to recreate the film for this documentary using an original Kodak Cine-100 camera and a guy in a reddish-furred ape suit.
They intentionally use obscuring trees and bushes, blurry focus and distance, all of which are to some degree in the PGF; but the end result, and especially the manner in which it is presented (attempting to debunk by assumption rather than evidence) lacks greatly in the kind of detail one may see in the P-G Film. Anyone can shoot a blurry home movie; but will it contain the fascinating and subtle details of the PGF? This one does not, and is transparently a man in a suit. The PGF film has been questioned, but never proven to be a hoax, whatever Packham thinks he's shown.

Craig Woolheater has put the two images side-by-side for comparison ( OBVIOUSLY, this recreation does not replicate the creature, and is not even worthy of being put up against the original. Certainly it is not "proof" in any way that the film WAS hoaxed, even if it COULD have been.

Packham's absurdly illogical leaps of skepticism at the end of the film are truly laughable: "There's a hell of a lot of space in America, but it's trampelled all over. And in biolgical terms there is absolutely no chance at all that there's an unknown species of giant apes stalking around California, or for that matter Canada. You see the Bigfoot phenomenon isn't based on good science, it rests upon one thing: the Patterson film. And that is a hoax. We've shown you [OH REALLY] just how easily it could have been done [YEAH, RIGHT]. And now Bob Gimlin has broken his silence and confessed that he's not entirely sure of what he saw in the first place. And to me that is incredibly significant, because it's his word that has helped keep this hoax alive for over thirty years. But now it's over. Bigfoot isn't dead because it was never alive, only in the minds of the dreamers and the schemers. But then, good on them. You know if Roger Patterson were here today I'd shake him by the hand. I'm not saying I'd load his camera, but I'd shake him by the hand." This is logic worthy of, say, a third-grader; but anyway, more on that in my next post.

The X-CREATURES show does not seem to have been released on DVD, at least not in the USA. I couldn't find it anywhere save on YouTube. Here are links:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 It was hosted by Brit, Chris Packham, and aired in a six-episode run in 1999. Check here for a list of episodes and other info.:

My own analysis will follow later. Coming up soon: THE LEAP OF SKEPTICISM!