Patterson Bigfoot and Lou Wagner

    52 years later, the 16mm Patterson-Gimlin (PG) film (1967) uncut and stabilized continues to illicit “man-in-suit” jokes from skeptics or serves as definite proof of existence to Sasquatch aficionados and cryptozoologists.
    Through the years, starting in the mid-80 into the 1990’s, various special effects technicians, film historians, and directors have suggested that the PG bigfoot suit was a fabrication of Oscar-winning makeup artist John Chambers (see links below for more details). Then, in 1995, Emmy-winning Hollywood makeup artist John Vulich (The X Files) then head of Optic Nerve makeup studio, posted a message on-line, in which he wrote that the suit used in the PG Bigfoot film was supposedly modified from one used in the Lost in Space (LIS) episode The Space Croppers which features a werewolf-like creature Canis lupus first seen at 00:04:18 mark here. The episode first aired on March 30, 1966 (before the PG film in 1967). Here’s a screen shot of the LIS creature:

  • Vulich observed that the suit looked a lot like the PG bigfoot, sans the head, which was potentially replaced with a simian-looking cranium and face. John Chambers was further implicated in designing the Lost in Space prop and the PG bigfoot suit (see insert on the LIS connection, first link below). Those opposing Vulich’s theory and Chambers PG Bigfoot involvement can argue that 1) no definitive proof exists that Chambers worked on LIS, and 2) Chambers was mighty busy working on ape prosthetics from 1967-1968 during development and implementation of Planet of the Apes (1969).
  • Enter Lou Wagner.
  • While attending the Cinema Wasteland fall show in October 2019, I managed to chat with Lou, who played Zira’s rebellious nephew Lucius in POTA. Lou spent many hours with Chambers and was quite familiar with his artistry and technical prowess. I asked a two-folded question: 1) Had Lou heard of any involvement of Chambers with the PG film, and 2) Would Chambers have had the technical prowess to pull off making a convincing bigfoot suit? I had to refresh Lou’s memory regarding the PG film, and he asked about the timeframe. I’m paraphrasing here, but his immediate response was “1967? No way— He was buried with Apes…. As far as technical ability, there is no doubt in my mind he could have pulled it off IF he had had the time”.
  • So, where does this leave us? I’m more inclined to believe the PG film to be a hoax —the LIS werewolf suit looks a lot like the PG bigfoot, sans breasts (watch the entire LIS episode). However, I’m not convinced that John Chambers fabricated the PG bigfoot suit. So, who made it?

John Chambers and the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Suit Link

John Landis on the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Suit Link

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