Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Here’s a dramatized (or “imagined”) scene between the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Julia. This diorama is composed of two separate models. The Creature was added to the beach scene with Julia.
Kit Maker: Creature: Horizon; Julia & base: Lunar Models
Producer William Alland was attending a dinner party during the filming of Citizen Kane (in which he played the reporter Thompson) in 1941. Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa told him about the myth of a race of half-fish, half-human creatures in the Amazon river. Alland wrote story notes entitled “The Sea Monster” ten years later. His inspiration was Beauty and the Beast. In December 1952, Maurice Zimm expanded this into a treatment, which Harry Essex and Arthur Ross rewrote as The Black Lagoon. Following the success of the 3-D film House of Wax in 1953, Jack Arnold was hired to direct the film in the same format.
The designer of the approved Gill-man was Disney animator Millicent Patrick, though her role was deliberately downplayed by makeup artist Bud Westmore, who for half a century would receive sole credit for the creature’s conception. Jack Kevan, who worked on The Wizard of Oz and made prosthetics for amputees during World War II, created the bodysuit, while Chris Mueller, Jr. sculpted the head.
Ben Chapman portrayed the Gill-man for the majority of the film, which was shot at Universal City, California. He was unable to sit for the 14 hours of each day he wore it, and it overheated easily, so he stayed in the back lot’s lake, and often requested to be hosed down. He also could not see very well, which caused him to scrape Julie Adams’ head against the wall when carrying her in the grotto scenes. Ricou Browning played the Gill-Man in the underwater shots, which were filmed by the second unit in Wakulla Springs, Florida. Many of the on-top of the water scenes were filmed at Rice Creek near Palatka, Florida.