Sunday, March 26, 2023

The Creature from the Black Lagoon Trilogy

He might be one of the most famous monsters of the 1950's, or perhaps THE most famous. He is THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and this is his story.


"Universal-International Pictures" had created the most iconic of Horror Movie Monsters from the 1920's into the 1940's, but with the coming of "The Cold War", a different kind of fear gripped the United States and standard horror movies were replaced with Science Fiction Tales such as 1952's, "Invasion U.S.A." and "Red Planet Mars". Two feature films based upon the fears every day American's had toward "The Second Red Scare", "Communism" and the Soviet Union attacking the United States with atomic bombs

I look at how the motion picture industry in the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom dealt with this fear in my article, "Let's Play Thermal Nuclear War: The 2nd Red Scare as Seen in 1950's Motion Pictures", to be found at:

In 1953, "Universal-International" had released a Science Fiction motion picture based upon two treatments by writer Ray Bradbury. "It Came from Outer Space" was the studios first motion picture in the Third-Dimension process and told the story of an alien space craft landing in the Arizona desert and strange happenings in a small community. The screenplay by Harry Essex had added elements of the fear American's were being told to watch out for, that your next-door neighbor might be a communist spy. In this screenplay, humans were duplicated by the aliens and seemed to have no emotions. Stories of Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union told of whole communities afraid to speak to each other out of fear the other person might report them for thinking, or saying something against the Soviet system. British author George Orwell's, "1984", come to life.

Other than three "Abbott and Costello" comedies, 1951's, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man", 1953's, "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars", and 1953's, "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", the above movie was the only other Science Fiction/ Monster movie made by "Universal International". 

However, the box office and critical response to "It Came from Outer Space", brought on a change in the studio's "Safe Direction" of "B" Westerns and Adventure films, that the "House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA)" approved of, toward a rebirth of the classic and not so classic Science Fiction/Horror tales of the previous three-decades.

For those who may be interested by article "Abbott and Costello Meet the Universal Studio Classic Monsters" will be found at:

The confirmation of that change in direction was the next pure Science Fiction/Horror entry from "Universal International":

THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON premiered in Denver, Colorado, on February 12, 1954

By the time "Universal International" released their fourth motion picture in the Third-Dimension. The country was in the middle of a 3-D craze that would include a Western starring John Wayne, and a Mystery directed by Alfred Hitchcock. For those of my readers interested the history of 3-D and that  craze my generation remembers, my article, "THIRD DIMENSION the Golden Age of 3-D Motion Pictures 1952-1955", may be read at:

On October 13, 1953, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" started filming, but our story moves back to around October 1940, during the filming of producer, director, and star, Orson Welles', "Citizen Kane". At a dinner for the in-production motion picture, future motion picture producer William Alland was an attendee. Alland, who would produce the majority of the "Universal International Pictures" Science Fiction/Horror films of the 1950's, was the first assistant to Welles and would also work with him on 1942's, "The Magnificent Ambersons" and 1948's, "Macbeth".

Attending the dinner party was Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa. Figueroa told William Allan a tale about a Mexican myth of a half-fish, half-human race of creatures living in a remote area along the Amazon River. 

After Figueroa left the dinner party, Alland made notes of the interesting tale and forgot about them for over a decade.

Moving forward to December 1952, William Alland took out his twelve-years-old notes from the conversation, and gave them to writer Maurice Zimm. Zimm was a 1930's Hollywood radio mystery and drama writer and he turned Alland's notes into a story about a half-human creature living in the waters of the Amazon. That story was turned over to writers Harry Essex and Arthur A. Ross, who turned out the screenplay.

To direct the motion picture, Willian Alland turned to Jack Arnold, who had teamed with the producer on "It Came from Outer Space", and would on 1955's, "Tarantula", and "This Island Earth". My article, "Jack Arnold 'It Came from Outer Space' to 'The Mouse That Roared': His 1950's Films", may be read at:

To have an excellent monster movie, you need an excellent looking monster. 

Although, other than approving the look, the head of the make-up department, Bud Westmore, attempted to take full credit for creating the creature. He would get that initially, but it didn't take any time for the truth to come out.

Milicent Patrick, was born Mildred Elizabeth Fulvia di Rossi, and had started working in the ink and paint department for Walter Elias Disney in 1939. For Disney's 1940 "Fantasia", Mildred Rossi, as she was known as at the time, created and painted the cells for the character of "Chernabog", for "The Night on Bald Mountain", segment.


Having changed her name once more to Milicent Patrick, she started to work for "Universal International" in the late 1940's as an uncredited actress, which he had done for Disney and other studios. However, Patrick's main work was in the studio's make-up department under Department Head, Bud Westmore. 

For 1953's, "It Came from Outer Space", Patrick submitted two designs for the aliens, one was rejected, but her design for the "Xenomorphs" was used. Her rejected design became the "Metaluna Mutant" in 1955's, "This Island Earth".

However, Milicent Patrick's most famous design was the "Gill-man".  Below, she works on the mold for the head of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon". A known fact was Westmore's jealousy over Patrick's talent and upon returning to North Hollywood and the studio after a promotional tour for the motion picture. Bud Westmore told Milicent Patrick she was no longer needed and she was "let go".

Above, Milicent Patrick touches-up the Gill-man's make-up. Below is the cover for her biography that is still available as of the time of this writing.

The Cast:

Richard Carlson
portrayed "Dr. David Reed". He had been appearing on television in the anti-Communist, spy next door, "I Led 3 Lives" since October 1, 1953 and would stay as real-life FBI Agent, Communist Party Member, and typical Eisenhower family man, through January 1, 1956. Richard Carlson had starred in "It Came from Outer Space" and director William Cameron Menzies, 1953, 3-D, "The Maze" and both producer Ivan Tors, first film in his "Office of Scientific Investigation" trilogy, 1953's, "The Magnetic Monster", and right before this feature, Tors' second film in his trilogy, 1954's, "Riders to the Stars". My article, "Richard Carlson the Academic Turned Actor", may be read at:

Julia Adams portrayed "Kay Lawrence". She started out her on-screen career as Betty Adams, her birth name, in 1949. It was changed to Julia Adams for 1950's, "For Heaven's Sake", but her scenes were deleted for that film. For 1955's, "Six Bridges to Cross", she was now Julie Adams. Note the signature on the following still.

Richard Denning portrayed "Dr. Mark Williams". At the time of this motion picture, Denning was married to "Universal Pictures" 1940's Horror star, Evelyn Ankers. The two were married from 1942 until her death in 1985. At the time of filming this feature, Richard Denning was still appearing on television with Barbara Britton, on "Mr. and Mrs. North", 1952 through 1954. Later in 1954, he would appear in the Science Fiction film, "Target Earth". Back in 1948, Richard Denning had to fight off living dinosaurs on the "Unknown Island". My article, "Richard Denning: His Science Fiction and Horror Films", is at:

Antonio Moreno portrayed "Dr. Carlos Maia". Born in Madrid, Spain, he came to the United States in 1901. Moreno started in silents in 1912 with the "Biograph Studio" in Hollywood and starred opposite popular silent leading lady Norma Talmadge in several motion pictures. During the silent era, Antonio was a serious rival of Rudolph Valentino, but with his strong Spanish accent, sound films seemed to slow his career. Antonio Moreno moved to Mexico and became a director and actor in that country's motion picture industry. He returned to the United States and had several Spanish character roles in films including director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1946, "Notorious", director Anthony Mann's, 1953, "Thunder Bay", and after this feature, director John Ford's, 1956, "The Searchers".

Nestor Paiva
portrayed "Captain Lucas". Nestor Paiva started on-screen character acting in 1937, and of his first forty-seven roles, thirty-nine are uncredited. In fact, until Paiva started to appear on television in 1952, the majority of his roles are without credit, but his face became very familiar. Fans of the "Universal International Pictures", 1950's Science Fiction features, know Nester Paiva, if not his name. For this film, it's first sequel, and 1955's "Tarantula", and 1956's, "The Mole People". My article, "NESTOR PAIVA: Skipper of the 'Rita' vs The Creature from the Black Lagoon", may be read at:

Whit Bissell portrayed "Dr. Edwin Thompson". Character actor Bissell started his on-screen acting career in the uncredited role of a "Gate Guard at Palace Entrance" in Errol Flynn's, 1940's, "The Sea Hawk". Besides this 1950's Science Fiction/Horror feature, Bissell also was seen in 1951's, "Lost Continent", 1954's, "Target Earth", 1954's, "The Atomic Kid", 1956's, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", three, 1956 episodes of televisions "Science Fiction Theatre", 1957's, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf", 1957's, "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein", 1958's, "Monster on the Campus", and a 1959 episode of the television series "One Step Beyond".

Above left to right, Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning and Whit Bissell.

The Creature:

Ricou Browning portrayed the "Gill-man in the water". As an actor, Browning is primarily known for this role. What is usually not known, is among his other work, the Second Unit Director on the 1965, "James Bond" movie, "Thunderball", for all the underwater sequences. As a Stunt Man, he was a diver on Walt Disney's, 1954, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and was actor Jerry Lewis' swimming double in 1959's, "Don't Give Up the Ship". Additionally for Ivan Tors, he was the associate producer on both movies, 1963's, "Flipper", and 1964's, "Flipper's New Adventure". He also produced 30-episodes of the "Flipper" television series, wrote 27-episodes, and directed 37 of them.

According to Will DeGravio on the website "Shot By Shot", June 25, 2018:

Guillermo del Toro once called the sequence we’re about to analyze the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He ain’t wrong. I watched Creature from the Black Lagoon last week on Blu-ray and could not believe its beauty; the way it captures the human/creature body as it moves through the water.

Above is Ricou Browning, but that is not Julia Adams. The scene contains Adams' body double, professional swimmer, Ginger Stanley, who would also double for Lori Nelson in the sequel.

Stanley was a swimmer and underwater performer in Silver Springs, Florida, and a professional underwater photographer's model. She also doubled for swimmer and actress Esther Williams in 1955's, "Jupiter's Daughter". 

Ben Chapman portrayed the "Gill-man on land". The year before this film, Chapman portrayed "a passenger", an uncredited role in 1953's, "Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki". He followed this feature by appearing on televisions "The Colgate Comedy Hour", February 21, 1954, hosted by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello as the "Gill-man".

Filming Locations:

As I mentioned the filming of the motion picture started on October 13, 1953 and completed on November 15, 1953. The locations used where:

Universal Studios, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California. 

At the time of shooting the motion picture, the above location did not exist as named. During the 1950's there was no official mailing address as Universal City, California. The studio was still located, as founded in 1912, in North Hollywood. The name change didn't occur until October 2004, as I know, because I was the supervisor of the United States Postal Service's office for the studio. For those who might be interested on the story behind the studio and others. My article, "HOLLYWOOD: Segregated Housing, Motion Picture Studios, and Movie Palaces", will be found at:

Used at the studio for this motion picture were:

The Park Lake, and the Black Lagoon on the backlot.

Other Southern California locations by city:

In Chatsworth
Sierra Canyon.

Hermosa Beach:
The Hermosa Beach Aquarium.

Malibu Beach:
Paradise Cove.

In Pacific Palisades:
Will Rodgers State Beach.

In Rancho Palos Verdes: 
The Palos Verdes Peninsula. 
Palos Verdes Drive South.
Portuguese Point.

In San Bernardino:
Big Bear Lake,
in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Florida locations by city:

Marineland of Florida, in Marineland.
Green Cove Springs.
Silver Springs.
Wakulla Springs.

I want to point out Wakulla Springs as the site of  the entrance to "The Black Lagoon" in this film and the first sequel. The following are two photos that my reader could compare with both motion pictures.

Above a 2002 photo of Wakulla Springs, below the entrance to the "Black Lagoon" in the 1954 motion picture.

The Screenplay:

The story opens with the forming of the Earth and a narrator speaks to new life forming within the oceans. Next, the camera pans from the ocean over the beach sand, showing footprints of some two-footed amphibian creature moving away from the water.

Cut to "Dr. Carl Maia's" expedition in the Amazon jungle and the discovery of a fossilized hand from the Devonian period in geology.

Above, Antonio Moreno, Perry Lopez, portraying "Tomas", and Rodd Redwing, portraying "Luis".

"Dr. Maia" instructs "Tomas" and "Luis" to remain in camp and guard the area. While, he travels to the Brazilian marine biology institute with the fossilize hand. 

Next, "Carl" reunites with ichthyologist "Dr. David Reed", an old student, and his girlfriend, "Kay Lawrence". Whom he had not expected to meet in Brazil.

"Kay" is the secretary for "Dr. Mark Williams", the head of an American group working with the Brazilian marine biology institute and "David's" boss. They're joined by American scientist "Dr. Edwin Thompson" and "Dr. Maia" reveals the fossilized hand to them.

While back in the camp, "Tomas" and "Luis" are basically just relaxing in the main tent and do not notice a living hand similar to the fossil's.

The camera becomes whatever came out of the water as it approaches the main tent. 

"Tomas" and "Luis" become frightened of their visitor and attack, but it reacts by killing the two men.

Back at the marine institute, "David" is able to talk "Mark" into financing an expedition to "Carl's" dig. Taking the tramp steamer the "Rita", captained by "Lucas", "David", "Mark", "Kay", "Edwin", and "Carl" head upriver to "Dr. Maia's" campsite to search for the rest of the fossil.

Upon approaching, the campsite is strangely too quiet, and neither man answers "Carl's" calls to them.

They tell "Kay" to stay on-board the "Rita" and the men approach the burnt tent from a fire started during the attack. "Lucas" suggests the two men were killed by a jaguar. but the others are uncertain. The excavation of the area the hand was found turns up nothing and "Mark" is very angry over the money he has put out.

However, "David" speculates that perhaps a portion of the rock face the hand was found in, broke off millions of years ago, and the water, over time, moved it down stream. "Lucas" brings up the story of "The Black Lagoon", as he describes it, a paradise that no one has ever returned from. 

"Mark" decides they will follow-up on "David's" premise and go to "The Black Lagoon". The "Rita" enters and unknown to those on-board, they are being watched from under the water. "David" and "Mark" dive into the lagoon to collect rock samples to determine how old they are and could they prove that part of the rock face is there? Meanwhile, "Kay" goes for a swim and is observed.....

"Lucas" notices how far "Kay" has swam from the "Rita" and calls her back. "Mark" and "David" have returned with their rock samples and "Kay" comes up the ladder thinking something just brushed her foot.

Suddenly, something is caught in one of the "Rita's" drag lines and fighting furiously to escape. Then the line goes slack, it's pulled on-board, and the size of the hole left in it surprises everyone. Whatever did it, also left a piece of a claw that matches the fossil.


"Mark" wants to find and kill the Gill-man, but "David" argues to capture it for study. Next, "Mark" shows "Lucas" the high-powered harpoon gun he wants to use to kill the Gill-man. 

Underwater, "David" has a camera to photograph the "Gill-man" and is to be protected by "Mark". The Gill-man is spotted and "David" takes his photograph and "Mark" drives it away with a shot from the harpoon gun to its back.

Developing "David's" photography, all that is shown is seaweed, and now "Mark" pushes to kill the Gill-man and bring its body back to the marine institute as proof. "David" still argues to capture it, but as they argue below deck. 

The Gill-man comes on-board and drags "Chico", portrayed by Henry Escalante, overboard to his death.

"Lucas's" mate, "Zee", portrayed by Bernie Gozier, is shaken by the killing of his friend, "Chico".

"Lucas" suggests that they take a drug he uses to catch fish to stun the Gill-man. The Gill-man should rise to the surface and they can safely capture him. The drug is sprinkled across the lagoon and "David" and "Mark" wait.

The "Gill-man" does not come to the surface, but that night a drugged "Gill-man" goes on-board the "Rita" and attempts to grab "Kay", she screams, and he jumps back into the water. "David" and the others attempt to locate it with the large light on the boat.

"David" takes his diving gear and goes after the Gill-man to the grotto, its apparent home, afraid it will suffocate underwater. The others follow in a rowboat and reach the land side in front of the grottos above ground entrance. Seeing "Kay", the Gill-man circles around to get at her, "Zee" attempts to stop it, is killed as the Gill-man finally collapses from the drug in his system. 

"Mark" starts to kill the stunned Gill-man, but is stopped by "David". "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" is taken on-board the "Rita", placed in a cage like tank containing water while it's still in a drugged state.

"Dr. Thompson" is on deck relaxing with his pipe---

---- but the Gill-man has awoken and is pushing on the roof of his cage tank, escapes, slashes "Thompson's" face, and jumps back into the lagoon. The following day, "David" announces they cannot risk anymore attacks and must leave.


However, "Mark" wants to stay and kill the Gill-man, but "Lucas" reminds him that he is the "Captain" of the "Rita" and has say-so over everyone.

The "Rita" heads for the opening from "The Black Lagoon", only to find out that the Gill-man has blocked it. The "Rita's" wench cannot clear the obstruction and "David" with "Mark" as his protection taking the harpoon gun go into the water. As "David" attempts to clear everything, the Gill-man attacks, "Mark" shoots and only wounds it. The Gill-man now attacks and kills "Mark", but is frightened away by "David".

"David" comes up with a plan to take the remaining drug and dilute it into a spray. With the spray he will be ready for the Gill-man as he clears the obstruction.

The diluted drug works and the "Rita" is no longer blocked in the "Black Lagoon", but the drugged Gill-man makes it on-board. He sees "Kay", grabs her, and jumps into the lagoon. "David" tells the others to enter the grotto from the shore and he will enter from underwater. The final confrontation is in place. Inside the grotto, "David" finds "Kay" but the Gill-man emerges from the water and starts to go for her and "David".

The others arrive and start shooting the Gill-man.

"David" tells them to stop shooting and the badly wounded Gill-man makes it into the "Black Lagoon" and the story ends with his lifeless body floating.

Below, Julia Adams has cut herself on the grotto set and a nurse treats her. Looking on, standing on the left is director Jack Arnold, Ben Chapman is in the "Gill-man" suit, Richard Denning kneels beside Adams and on the right, Richard Carlson is also showing his concern.

"Universal International" was shocked to find that the motion picture had a box office of $1,300,000, equal as of this writing to, $14,538,736.

REVENGE OF THE CREATURE premiered in Denver, Colorado, on March 23 1955

The motion picture was also known as "Return of the Creature", and, "Return of the Creature from the Black Lagoon" AND REMEMBER:

The motion picture was produced by William Alland. Alland had just produced the 1954 Western "Four Guns to the Border", directed by, but not acted in, Richard Carlson. He followed this feature with another Western, 1955's, "Chief Crazy Horse", starring Victor Mature in the title role.

The first sequel was directed by Jack Arnold. This was Arnold's direct motion picture that followed "The Creature from the Black Lagoon". He would follow this feature with the Lex Barker Western, 1955's, "The Man from Bitter Ridge" and the cult Science Fiction film, 1955's, "This Island Earth".

The story was written by William Alland, and the actual screenplay was by Martin Berkeley. Berkeley had just written two television dramas, but would follow this feature with the screenplay for 1955, "Tarantula" and become primarily a television writer. Although in 1957, Martin Berkeley would write the screenplay for the William Alland's, "The Deadly Mantis".

The Four Main Roles:

John Agar portrayed "Professor Clete Ferguson". Agar had just been seen in the Adventure Horror film, 1954's, "The Golden Mistress". He would follow this feature with the 1955 Western, "The Lonesome Trail", co-starring Wayne Morris. My article, "John Agar His Fall That Led to Science Fiction Cult Status", may be read at:

Lori Nelson, the professional name for Dixie Kay Nelson, portrayed "Helen Dobson". She had just appeared with fourth-billing in 1955's, "Underwater". That Adventure feature had been produced by Howard Hughes, directed by the unknown John Sturges, and starred Jane Russell, Gilbert Roland, and Richard Egan. Nelson followed this feature film with three 1955 pictures, the musical drama "Sincerely Yours", starring Liberace and Joanne Dru, co-starring with Jack Palance and Shelley Winters in the Film-Noir, "I Died a Thousand Times", and director Roger Corman's cult Science Fiction, "The Day the World Ended", co-starring with Richard Denning and Paul Birch.

John Bromfield portrayed "Joe Hayes". Bromfield had just co-starred with Gary Merrill and Wanda Hendrix in the 1954 Western, "The Black Dakotas". He followed this picture with a Film-Noir, 1955's, "The Big Bluff". Bromfield would become a popular modern-day sheriff on television, first in "The Sheriff of Cochise", 1956-1958, and then a revised version of that program as the "U.S. Marshall", 1958-1960.

Nester Pavia portrayed "Lucas", the only returning role from the previous motion picture. The time between "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Revenge of the Creature", found the actor concentrating on television roles. Among the series he appeared on are "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show", a television production of author Herman Melville's "Moby Dick", "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger" and "The Lone Ranger". His motion pictures during this period included Robert Stack's "John Paul Jones", and the Westerns "Thunder Pass" starring Dane Clark, and "Four Guns to the Border" starring Rory Calhoun. In all, the character actor had twenty-nine different roles.

The Creature:

Ricou Browning
portrayed "The Gill-man in Water" and a "Lab Technician". 

Tom Hennesy
portrayed "The Gill-man on land" and a "Marineland diver". Hennesy was the stunt double, among others, for Rock Hudson, Jeff Chandler, Randolph Scott, and Rod Cameron.

You have to start somewhere:

Clint Eastwood portrayed the uncredited role of "Jennings". This was Clint Eastwood's first on screen role and later in 1955, he was "The Squadron Leader" dropping napalm on "Tarantula". Of course, from 1959-1965, he was "Rowdy Yates", on televisions "Rawhide". My article, "CLINT EASTWOOD: 2 Monsters, 2 Ghost", may be read at:

Filming Locations:

The motion picture started filming in June 1954 and finished in August 1954. The locations used where:

Universal Studios, 100 Universal City Plaza, North Hollywood, California. 

Florida locations by city:

Marineland of Florida, Marineland.
St. Augustine.
Silver Springs.
St. John's River

The Screenplay:

The movie opens with two employees of Jacksonville, Florida's, "Ocean Harbor" marine center, "Joe Hayes", and "George Johnson", portrayed by Robert B. Williams, as passengers on the "Rita", captained by "Lucas". They are searching for the Gill-man, based upon reports he is still alive. Their purpose, capture the Gill-man and bring him back to "Ocean Harbor". However, "Lucas" is against their plan telling the two that the Gill-man will only harm mankind. 

"Hayes" and "Foster" counter "Lucas" explaining that the Gill-man is a prehistoric creature and may be the missing link between sea creatures and land that became man. To "Lucas", having experienced the creature before, thinks the Gill-man is not a missing link to man, but a demon.

The following morning the "Rita" enters "The Black Lagoon" and "Joe" in a full diving suit enters the lagoon's water. 

Not long after "Joe" is underwater, the "Gill-man" attacks and "Lucas", "George", and the two crew members just get "Hayes" back onto the "Rita".

"George" and "Lucas" go onto the lagoon and place dynamite on the surface to stun the Gill-man. Once back upon the "Rita", it is detonated. The Gill-man, whose body in a coma, floats to the surface, and is brought onto the "Rita", and placed in a steel cage.

Television reports about the Gill-man's capture and that it will be going to "Ocean Harbor" is heard by Animal psychologist "Professor Clete Ferguson".

"Professor Ferguson" plans to take a leave of absence from his work, but has to first solve the problem of the missing test mouse his intern "Jennings" brings to him. The answer is the missing mouse was in "Jennings" lab coat pocket all the time he had been searching the laboratory.

"Joe Hayes" oversees the removal of the Gill-man from the larger boat that carried the comatose creature to Florida. 

Meanwhile, tourists arrive to watch "Joe" work with Gill-man to bring him out of his comatose state.

Among those watching "Joe Hayes" is "Professor Ferguson", who will be working with the Gill-man, and graduate student "Helen Dobson", gathering material for her master's thesis in ichthyology. The two meet and "Clete" is attracted to "Helen", but so will be "Joe".

Hour's past, the Gill-man stirs, makes for the ladder on the side of the pool and is up and over into the crowd with "Joe Hayes" after him. 

"Ocean Harbor" employees are able to get a net over the Gill-man and he is now chained to the bottom of the tank,

"Clete" takes "Helen" to dinner and decides to put her on his research team for two reasons, foremost he can be with her, and second, it will help her on her thesis. The two will work with "Joe", who has gracelessly accepted defeat for "Helen", on how to keep the Gill-man sedated. 

Next, "Clete" and "Helen" enter the tank with an electric prod. "Clete" plans to use it on the Gill-man to teach him certain word associations starting with "No!". The two discover that the Gill-man is attracted to "Helen" and "Clete" stops saying, "No", and has her start saying the word.


"Clete" and "Helen" discover that the Gill-man's brain patterns are very similar to humans, as is his  muscular and bone structures.

After days of studying him, the two take a break at the beach and "Helen" reveals she is torn over the choice she must make between a career, or being a loving typical 1950's housewife. At which point, "Clete" kisses her and states he's for the second, but is interrupted when "Helen" dog, "Chris", that jumps on the towel with them.

That night before her dinner date, "Helen" visits the tank and looks at the Gill-man and realizes the sadness he shows for the loss of his freedom in the "Black Lagoon". She is joined by "Clete" and expresses her belief, while the Gill-man observes the two from his side of the tank.

"Clete" replies that he believes it is now to dangerous for "Helen" to enter the tank, but she argues the opposite and the Gill-man, unnoticed by the two, seems to react to her. The following day, "Helen" and "Clete" are in the tank when the Gill-man unexpectedly attacks "Clete". The Gill-man only stops his attack after "Helen" commands him to "STOP!". However, the Gill-man now pulls at his chains, breaks the hold on him, swims straight up, leaps from the tank, and the visitors start to flee in terror. "Joe" attempts to stop the Gill-man and is killed.

During the chaos this causes, the Gill-man escapes to the Atlantic ocean, or so it seems.

Four days later, the Gill-man has been reported in Maine and even back on the Amazon. In reality he is still in Florida around "Ocean Harbor" searching for "Helen". At one point, the Gill-man is actually at her motel room just observing her.

While "Helen" is taking a shower, her dog "Chris" is outside her room's door and hears something and starts to howl. "Clete" in his motel room, hears "Chris", comes out and sees the dog isn't at "Helen's" door and gets her. The two search for "Chris" without finding him. 

In an attempt to get "Helen's" mind off her dog, "Clete" arranges a private cruise for the two of them. Besides, he must return to his University shortly, for a three month period, but after that time "Helen" and "Clete" plan to get married. During their relaxing cruise, they go for swim without knowing the Gill-man is swimming, almost touching, below them. 

That night "Helen" and "Clete" are at a local dinner and dancing club and have been followed by the Gill-man. He enters and kidnaps "Helen".

"Clete" and the Coast Guard hunt for the Gill-man and "Helen", but cannot locate either or clues to their whereabouts. Then, a couple of college students find "Helen's" unconscious body, are attacked, and the searchers close in on the Gill-man.

Above is Lori Nelson, but what the following three stills at the film's climax clearly show, is Lori Nelson's body double, Ginger Stanley.

Because the Gill-man cannot stay out of the water for a long period of time, "Clete", above, will be able to rescue "Helen". After "Helen" is safe, as the Gill-man approaches, "Clete" yells the command "STOP!", confusing the Gill-man for a moment, and the police open fire. The wounded Gill-man crawls into the water and his body sinks to the bottom of the waterway.

The United States box office was $1,100,000 equal as of this writing to, $12,347,910.

Below, "Revenge of the Creature", in Japan.

THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US released on April 26, 1956

Jack Arnold had left for "A" List motion pictures and producer William Alland promoted assistant director John Sherwood to director for this entry. Between 1936 and 1959, Sherwood was either the second unit, or assistant director on sixty-four feature films. John Sherwood's total motion pictures as a directed was only five, but they included the excellent and mostly overlooked today, 1957 cult Science Fiction, "The Monolith Monsters".

Both the original story and the screenplay were written by Arthur A. Ross, who worked on 1954's, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon". Among his motion picture screenplays that followed the basically television writer Ross, are the Lou Costello and Dorothy Provine, 1959, Comedy, "The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock", stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1960, "The Three Worlds of Gulliver", and he wrote the story that became the Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Natalie Wood, 1965 Comedy, "The Great Race".

"Universal International" made the decision, based upon the decreased audiences for the process, not to film "The Creature Walks Among Us" in the Third-Dimension.

The Cast:

Jeff Morrow
portrayed "Dr. William Barton". One of 1950's Science Fiction movie icons, he had been "Exeter" in 1955's cult Science Fiction film, "This Island Earth". Between that feature film and this one, Morrow had appeared on four television programs and co-starred with Audie Murphy and Barbara Rush in the boxing picture, 1956's, "World in My Corner". His next motion picture had Jeff Morrow co-starring with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Lori Nelson, in the Modern-Western-Comedy, 1956's, "Pardners". My article, "Jeff Morrow An Icon of 1950's Science Fiction: This Island Earth, KRONOS, and The Giant Claw", may be read at:

Rex Reason portrayed "Dr. Thomas Morgan". Rex is often confused with his acting younger brother Rhodes Reason. Among Rex Reason's other films are 1955's, "This Island Earth", Rock Hudson's, 3-D, "Taza, Son of Cochise", Maureen O'Hara's, 1955, "Lady Godiva of Coventry" with his brother Rhodes, and from 1957-1959, Rex starred in the television series, "Man Without a Gun". My article, "REX AND RHODES REASON: Acting Brothers Often Confused By the Audience", will be found at:

Leigh Snowden portrayed "Marcia Barton". Tennessee born Martha Lee Estes, like Dixie Kay Nelson, used a professional name in an attempt to keep her private life separate from her acting. Snowden first appeared in small roles on both episodes of "The Jack Benny Show", 1954, and "The Mickey Rooney Show", 1955. Her first motion picture role was in the 3-D, 1955, "Kiss Me Deadly", based upon writer Mickey Spillane's, "Mike Hammer", detective novel of that name and starring Ralph Meeker. Snowden portrayed "Cheese Cake", with twenty-second billing. Leigh Snowden moved to seventh billing behind fourth, fifth, and sixth billed, Jim Backus, Clint Eastwood, and David Janssen, in 1955's, "Francis in the Navy", starring Donald O'Connor, and Martha Hyer.

Gregg Palmer portrayed "Jed Grant". Palmer Edwin Lee started on-screen acting in 1950 as Palmer Lee. He remained with that name until 1954. When he appeared in 1954's, "Taza, Son of Cochise" as Gregg Palmer. Since appearing in the Audie Murphy biographical motion picture, 1955's, "To Hell and Back", Palmer was again appearing on television, his main source of acting.

Maurice Manson portrays "Dr. Borg". Stage actor Manson became a television character actor in  1949, co-starring with Richard Conte, and Nina Foch in "Half an Hour", a June 27th, episode of the long-forgotten television anthology series, "The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre". His first feature film came from France in 1956, "Maigret dirige l'enquete (Maigret leads the investigation)" portraying author Georges Simenon's "Inspector Maigret". 

James Rawley portrayed "Dr. Johnson". This was James Rawley's third-out-of-six motion pictures from his on-screen career of nineteen roles, thirteen on television.

The Creature:

Ricou Browning portrayed for the third-time, "The Gill-man in water". Below, Ricou Browning on March 18, 2016. He passed away on February 27, 2023.

Don Megowan portrayed "The Gill-man on land". Megowan started on-screen acting in 1951, portrayed "Sir Lancelot" in the Robert Wagner, James Mason, and Janet Leigh, 1954, "Prince Valiant", portrayed real-life, "Colonel Travis" at the Alamo, in "Walt Disney's Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier", in 1955, was real-life, "Marion A. Ross", in Walt Disney's, 1956, "The Great Locomotive Chase", and "Sheriff Jack Haines", in the excellent and overlooked, 1956, "The Werewolf". Megowan starred in the cult Science Fiction film, 1962's, "The Creation of the Humanoids". My article, "DON MEGOWAN: Portraying William Barret Travis and "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", to be read at:

For this motion picture there was a "Gill-man, stunt-man", performed by Al Wyatt, Sr. Wyatt started on-screen stunt acting by portraying a "Henchman", in the Ralph Byrd Cliff-Hanger, 1947 Western, "The Vigilante: Fighting Hero of the West", between that feature and 1988's, "Dangerous Love", Al Wyatt, Sr. performed stunts in 120-motion pictures. Before this film, he was in Kent Taylor's, 1956 Western, "Ghost Town", and followed this film with the Ben Cooper and Marla English, 1956, Film-Noir, "A Strange Adventure".

Filming Locations:

The motion picture started filming on August 29, 1955 and ended in September 1955. The locations used where:

Universal Studios, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California. 

All the scenes were shot at the studio, but two types.

Florida locations by city:

Fort Myers the lagoon scenes.
Wakulla Springs the underwater scenes.

The Screenplay:

In 1954's, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", the Gill-man is introduced as a half-amphibian creature and possibly half-humanoid. In 1955's, "Revenge of the Creature", it is discovered that the Gill-man's brain patterns are very close to a human and his muscular and bone structures also. Which gave writer Arthur A. Ross the obvious next step in the Gill-man's on-screen evolution.

Wealthy "Dr. William 'Bill' Barton" is financing an expedition into the Florida everglades in search of the Gill-man. It is this scientist's belief that it was not killed after "Helen Dobson" was rescued by "Professor Clete Ferguson".

Accompanying "Dr. Barton" is his young wife, "Marcia". Whom abusive "Bill Barton" never keeps his eyes off of and wants to know where and with whom she is at any moment of the day. 

"Barton's" medical team includes "Dr. Thomas 'Tom' Morgan", geneticist, "Dr. Borg", biochemist, "Dr. Johnson", lab technician, and "Dr. Barton's" everglades guide, "Jed Grant".

"Jed Grant", like "Lucas" to "Joe Hayes", in the previous motion picture, warns the group that the Gill-man is too deadly to control, regardless of the state-of-the-art equipment they have and the new sedative rotonol. The group is on-board "Dr. Barton's" private yacht, the "Vagabondia III", skippered by "Captain Stanley", portrayed by David MacMahon. 

"Bill Barton's" paranoia about his wife and "Marcia's" supposed lovers, she is actually very faithful to him, will materialize as "Jed Grant" attempts to seduce her. 

"Jed Grant" takes the group to an island in the everglades to visit "Morteno", portrayed by Paul Fiero, a man who was brutally attacked by the Gill-man. 

"Morteno" tells his story, as his wife, portrayed by Lillian Molieri, listens, and afterwards the scientists return to the "Vagabondia" to hear "Dr. William Barton" reveal the real purpose of his search. 

"Barton" plans to capture the Gill-man, take a sample of his blood, mutate the blood, and create an advanced form of life, which would be more suited for space travel. "Dr. Tom Morgan" counters "Dr. William Barton" by stating he can't bypass nature and evolution, but possibly only make it safer for humans to go into outer space. 

The "Vagabondia" arrives at the last known location of the Gill-man and "Tom" and "Jed" are going to dive and search for the him. However, "Marcia" informs the others that she plans to dive with the two men and her jealous husband objects, but "Bill" doesn't win the argument with his wife.


On the "Vagabondia" the three are being watched on sonar by "Dr. Borg". Another image appears and it is definitely the Gill-man, but he observes the others and having grown craftier from his previous experiences, avoids them.

"Marcia" gets separated from "Tom" and "Jed" and goes too deep and starts to experiences raptures from the water's depth. The two men have to break off their search to rescue "Marcia" and bring her slowly to the surface. Once on-board, "Tom" carries "Marcia" to her cabin and tells her not to take too many more risks. However, her response is that when she married "William Barton", she was still a teenager, and now it's too late to live the life she wanted. 

After "Tom" leaves, "Bill" the jealous husband, now suspecting "Dr. Morgan", demands that his wife not leave the "Vagabondia III" again without his direct permission.

That night, the "Vagabondia" is moved into a waterway and goes as far as it can, before it would be trapped from its size. A smaller group takes to the waterway in a motorized boat to continue the search for the Gill-man with diving equipment and a powerful spear gun.

They start to spread the rotonol, but the Gill-man attacks. 

The speargun is used and it pierces the Gill-man's body.

The Gill-man grabs the extra fuel container and holds it over his head, leaking gasoline.

Something happens and the gasoline catches fire engulfing the Gill-man.

The Gill-man passes out from the fire that covered his body and is taken to the "Vagabondia III" and the complete medical facility on the large yacht. The Gill-man is in a coma caused from the trauma of the fire, and he is gasping for air. X-rays shows he has small human-like lungs, a tracheotomy is performed, and the Gill-man now appears to be breathing the air in the surgery room. His body is treated for burns and covered with bandages and it is noted that the gills and scales are falling off.

The next day it is discovered that there is a layer of human flesh under what had been the Gill-man's scales. Further tests are conducted on their patient and the scientists discover that the Gill-man's metabolism is mutating and his eyes are mutating more into human eyes then those of a sea creature.

Over the next few days, both "Dr. Barton" and "Dr. Morgan" have been treating their patient with kindness and notice his hands are now forming human fingers. However, "Bill" is also noticing "Jed's" interest in "Marcia" and he is somewhat edgy over what "Barton" believes he is seeing.

The bandages have been removed and clothes placed upon the humanoid Gill-man and tests continue. The "Human-Gill-man" still appears to be in a coma.

That night is a celebration on the "Vagabondia" over their success. The scientists while enjoying themselves are warned by "Tom Morgan" that although the now Human-Gill-man's skin has changed, his nature has not. The group might be at the crossroads between the jungle and outer space, but they are still dealing with a primitive mind, when he comes out of the coma.

The celebration breaks up from "Bill Barton" showing his real-self in an extreme drunken state. Up in her room, "Bill" confronts "Marcia" and makes unsubstantiated statements about her and "Jed Grant". "Bill" calls "Marcia" untrustworthy and worthless.

 After "Bill" leaves, "Marcia Barton" goes out of her stateroom and in the hallway encounters "Jed Grant", who seeing her state of mind, aggressively makes a pass at her.


Below, in the medical laboratory, the "Human-Gill-man" comes out of his coma, hears "Marcia" and "Jed", as she tells him to leave her alone. The "Human-Gill-man" gets up, opens the door, and goes to "Marcia's" rescue. 

The "Human-Gill-Man" knocks "Jed Grant" out and heads for the water that he senses is outside and dives off the "Vagabondia III". "Tom" is awakened and knowing the "Human-Gill-man" cannot breathe under water goes after him.

After wrestling with the "Human-Gill-man", "Dr. Tom Morgan" is able to get him above the water line and with help, back on-board the "Vagabondia III". Everyone now treats the "Human-Gill-man" gently and he becomes more docile.

The "Vagabondia III" arrives at "Dr. William Barton's" oceanside ranch in Sausalito, California. 

(What is not made clear in the screenplay is the passage of time, and the route taken, for the "Vagabondia III" to travel from the Florida everglades, on the Atlantic Ocean, to north of San Francisco, California, on the Pacific Ocean.)

In Sausalito, the "Human-Gill-man" walks docilely from the truck at, apparently, took him from the "Vagabonia's" dock, to "Dr. William Barton's" ranch and an outside cage with views of both "Barton's" ranch style home and the Pacific Ocean.

Her abusive husband is now forcing "Marcia" to remain in her bedroom suite including eating there and not leaving it without "Bill's" permission. 

That night, "Tom" is arguing with "Bill" over the "Human-Gill-man's" capacity for change. "Barton" sneers at "Morgan's" theory that violence comes from fear not kindness. However, "Bill" answers "Tom" with an off argument reply, that loyalty is often returned with infidelity. Mixing up the caged "Human-Gill-man" with the caged, in her room, "Marcia". 

Next, "Tom" goes to "Marcia's" room to tell her that "Bill" is mentally disturbed and needs medical help. She feels helpless to change her abusive husband and admits sympathy with the now "Human-Gill-Man".

The following day, "Marcia" is leaving the house for a swim in the Pacific, "Bill" lets her go, but not before calling his wife a tramp in view of the "Human-Gill-Man". Who seems to be listening to the two.

After her husband leaves, "Jed Grant" approaches "Marcia" now at the surf line. Just then a mountain lion jumps into the "Human-Gill-man's" cage, frightens him, and he attacks it with blind fury killing the animal. 

From all over the compound everyone is running to the cage, but "Barton" notices only "Grant's" somewhat wet hair and his wife's wet bathing suit. 

Later, after everything seems to have calmed down, "Jed" approaches his employer and taunts "Bill" about "Marcia". What "Jed Grant" hadn't expected was that "Dr. William Barton" is mentally unstable as "Dr. Tom Morgan" surmised and "Barton" goes into a rage and kills the other man.

To dispose of the body, "Bill" carries "Jed" to the "Human-Gill-man's" cage and dumps the body inside.

What "Dr. William Barton" did not expect was the intelligence of the "Human-Gill-man" and after looking at "Jed Grant's" body, thinking the events over, he destroys his cage and goes after his tormentor.

"Barton" runs into the house being followed by the "Human-Gill-man", who starts searching for him, and ripping parts of the house apart. He discovers "Marcia" and "Tom Morgan", but recognizes them as a non-threat and lets them go. 

Locating "Dr. William Barton" and cornering him, the emotional "Human-Gill-Man" picks "Barton" up and throws him off the second floor balcony to his death.

Leaving the house and destroying the electrified fence that surrounds it, the "Human-Gill-man" disappears into the night.

Days have passed since the "Human-Gill-man" killed "Dr. William Barton", "Tom", "Marcia", "Dr. Borg", and "Dr. Johnson" meet with a "State Trooper", portrayed by Larry Hudson, who tells them the latest report is that the "Human-Gill-man" was spotted moving along the Pacific coast line. The group now separates and "Tom" promises to keep in touch with "Marcia".

The Different Final Ending Title Card:

The audience now sees the "Human-Gill-Man" standing on some cliffs looking at the ocean and remembering swimming safely within the waters of his "Black Lagoon", is there any different as water is water.?

Next, he starts toward the ocean leaving footprints in the soft sand in the reverse of the film's opening footprints.

When I saw the motion picture on Saturday, April 28, 1956, as the "Human-Gill-Man" walks toward the ocean, the last thing the audience sees on the screen is a "Question Mark". Leaving them wondering what will happen when he goes into the ocean and starts to dive back into the water?

Most people have seen the film end with the words, "The End"!

According to newspaper articles at the time, "Universal International Pictures" was planning a fourth film in the series to continue the story and the reason for the ambiguous ending and the original "Question Mark". 

One of the reasons given for not making that fourth entry appeared to be the lack of box office for this picture. However, that 1956 box office was $1,000,000, equal as of this writing to, $11,060,294, only a $1,000,000 less than the box office for 1955's,"Revenge of the Creature". 

It should be noted that the next Science Fiction/Horror movies from "Universal International" were the estimated $200,000 budgeted, "The Mole People", starring John Agar, on a December 1, 1956, double bill, with the $155,000 budgeted, "Curucu, Beast of the Amazon", starring John Bromfield. Perhaps money was the thing that stopped a fourth feature at the time? 

Gordon Douglas: The Little Rascals (Our Gang) - Giant Ants - and Francis Albert Sinatra

When asked to name a "Classic Film Director", depending upon how much you're into motion pictures, what's your favorite ge...