On March 5, 1954, Universal Studios, which produced a multitude of famous Horror films throughout the years, premiered a 3-D movie that would become a cult classic – Creature from the Black Lagoon, It starred Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Ben Chapman (as the Creature) and Julie Adams (although in the movie she is billed as Julia Adams).
The film spotlights an expedition in the Amazon after the discovery of a skeletal hand with webbed fingers. On board the tramp steamer called the Rita is Dr David Reed, an ichthyologist who works at a marine biology institute, and his girlfriend Kay, played by Julie Adams.
Fifty-five years later, Ms Adams returned to Universal on June 30th to witness a new incarnation of the franchise, Creature from the Black Lagoon – A Raging Rockin’ Show. The 25-minute musical features an original score, re-imagining the monster classic for the 21st Century.
But before the show could begin, all the journalists were summoned to wait outside the auditorium for the arrival of the Creature in the world’s biggest traveling aquarium.
However, even though it was heavily guarded by Universal Studio Security, the monster managed to escape…
running wildly in front of the theater trying to scare the reporters – come on, we’ve seen worst things than this!
Following the show, I was able to speak with Julie Adams about her experience making the original movie in 1954…
One of her most vivid memories was when Ben Chapman, who played the Creature, was carrying her. “I was unconscious supposedly,” she recalls, “and the poor guy, he had these goggles that could only see two dots really, and so we bumped into one of the papier mache rocks and I skinned my head, so they made a big thing of it really. It wasn’t that much.”
I asked what her opinion was of the Horror films they make today, particularly movies like Alien. “I think today the Horror films are much more gruesome, they seem to get more and more so as time goes on and I think that’s a shame, because I think our picture had a kind of poignancy to it, because the Creature was not a horrible [thing]. We invaded his territory, as my friend Ben Chapman who played him on the land, use to say. And so there’s an empathy for the Creature that’s kind of been forgotten, they go for the more gruesome elements. Times change, everything changes. We had a good time making our movie, we really did.”
The actress admitted that she really was amazed how the legacy of the movie continues on. “Nobody was more surprised than all of us connected with the movie that this would have such a long life. People used to say, ‘Oh, it’s only Creature from the Black Lagoon.’ I said, ‘We’re in the entertainment business, and if this many people have been entertained and moved by this movie, who am I to say they shouldn’t? It’s my pleasure.”