When Roger Met Patty

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to send you a message?

I don’t, but if I did, it would be today.  Last night I finished Bill Munn’s exhaustive analysis of the Patterson-Gimlin film, When Roger Met Patty.  Not twelve hours later, right after I posted a book review on Goodreads (the review will be at the end of this post), this short video pops up in my Facebook news feed.  We are used to seeing the bit of film where “Patty,” the Bigfoot creature, walks across the screen and looks at the cameraman, but this is billed as the complete reel of footage that Roger Patterson took that day.  It includes the shots that Patterson intended to use as filler in his planned documentary.  Take a look.

 

 

 

Taken as a whole, we can really see what led up to the sighting, and we are with Roger behind the lens the whole way.  We can see how frantic those moments were as Roger chased the creature to get it on film.  Munns points out in his book something that is not obvious — to me, anyway — which is that the short Patty piece actually consists of several mini-segments.  Patterson was turning his camera on and off (presumably to conserve the small amount of film he knew he had left) as he ran along.

One thing I had not fully appreciated until seeing this film is how rugged the terrain is at the Bluff Creek site.  Why would someone staging a hoax do it in such a rough and remote area, when you could essentially shoot the same thing in your own backyard?

I don’t know what’s on that film.  I’ll never know.  I wasn’t there.  But Munns certainly brings up a ton of reasonable doubt that calls the hoax theory into question, and viewing the complete film brings those moments literally to life.

Here’s my review of the book as originally published on Goodreads.

I heard Bill Munns on an episode of “The Bigfoot Show” podcast a year or two ago and decided I ought to read this book. Since then, it’s been on my Amazon wish list, ’cause at 500+ pages, I simply haven’t had the wherewithal to begin to tackle it. I mean, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could possibly expend that many words discussing a few seconds’ worth of film. But since you are reading this, you know that I finally went for it, and I’m glad I did.

Munns’ story in itself is interesting. He has decades of experience in the filmmaking industry and is an accomplished sculptor and makeup artist. So this, he says, makes him uniquely suited to analyze the ever-controversial Patterson-Gimlin film. Was it a man in a suit? The greatest hoax of the twentieth century? Or something really real? Well, who better to tell us than someone who has worked on Hollywood creature costumes and special effects for thirty-odd years?

I’ve always said that Mr. Gimlin is the only person alive who truly knows what is on that film. But Munns brings up some very, very good points. Such as, if the film were a hoax it would likely require multiple “takes,” yet the shadows — which would move rapidly at that time in October — do not move during the film; if the film were a hoax, why would the filmmaker spend the first three-quarters of the roll of film shooting random stuff, leaving only a few seconds to film his hoax segment; if the film were a hoax, how does the figure appear to move its head in such a natural way, as a person in a full-face mask made in 1967 would not be able to do so? …etc. etc.

Munns acknowledges he can’t prove the reality of the figure in the film. But he does raise enough reasonable doubt that, in my mind, makes the possibility of the film being a hoax more and more remote. I was not interested in the section where the author discussed his anonymous Internet detractors (why bother?), and the book in places was repetitive, but I guess that’s just how the author emphasized his points. All in all, a good analysis, and a recommended read.

 

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2 thoughts on “When Roger Met Patty

  1. I wish I could remember this show back in the late 2000s. This one reporter had all the leading make up artist and special effects experts who all agree that the detail of the Patterson–Gimlin Bigfoot could not be made back in the 1960a

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    • Yeah, considering that Planet of the Apes was cutting-edge at the time, Patty would be one heck of a costume achievement! Munns really gets into the anatomy of it and uses human subjects to compare movement, musculature, body type, etc. Meldrum also gets into this in Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science. Good stuff!

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