Monday, October 13, 2008

Bigfoot at the Frisbee Park

Truth and accuracy are very important to me. I have never made things up. I have never invented a story. Never. Ever. OK, well, I did just once.

April 1st, 2004. I produced a story about a large, ape-like creature. It had been "sighted" around the Salt Lake metropolitan area. In parks, on Main Street, in the Pioneer Day Parade, near Bar X, at a 7-11 and at the zoo. We consulted (actual) experts in their fields. An anthropologist, psychologist, forensic investigator and a local Bigfoot "expert." (He said he didn't believe it. Said he thought it was a fake.)

This creature looked surprisingly In an ape suit.

Earlier that spring, while Frisbee golfers were playing 18 holes at Creekside Park, photographer Mike Sadowski and I were hidden in the nearby woods creating our own Patterson footage on 8mm Kodachrome.

The creature was also "caught" strolling past Mr. Pawn on State Street. The barber next door poked his head out of his shop door.

"Is it safe around here?" he asked. We assured him that it was.

And Bigfoot visited his monkey cousins at the Hogle zoo.

Accompanied by a public relations representative and an animal caretaker, we went to the monkey house.

When we arrived, the monkeys were hidden indoors. That was unfortunate, since we had low-speed film and no lights. Just put the ape suit on, the zookeeper told me. I did and the monkeys magically appeared in their outdoor enclosure.

Quickly, we took our places. Mike shot no more than 30 seconds of footage. Then the zookeeper told me to immediately take off the costume. Turned out I was (literally) scaring the...monkey droppings...out of one of the older females. A visit from a large hairy primate many times her size was just a little too much excitement for her.

The public relations woman asked if I wanted to go visit the gorillas next. I declined.

In the end, the project turned into quite a production. Finding 8mm cameras and projectors that actually worked. Making multiple Plaster of Paris pours to recreate Bigfoot foot casts. Convincing local producer Gib Berry to cut the lawn, seesaw with his niece and smoke a cigarette...while wearing a gorilla suit. (Thanks, Gib.)

Maybe that's why I don't make up the news more often. It's too much work. It's much easier to tell it like it is.

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