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Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
November 9, 2002

Movie's stars, fans in from far away for Creaturefest Return to the Black Lagoon
Mark Hinson
Tallahassee Democrat

It's not every day you get to meet The Creature From the Black Lagoon in his natural habitat.

Fans from as far away as Michigan and California began arriving at Wakulla Springs Lodge on Friday for this weekend's Creaturefest 2002.

This year's movie festival, sponsored by The Tallahassee Film Society, became a hot ticket when "Creature from the Black Lagoon" stars Ben Chapman, Ginger Stanley and Julie Adams agreed to attend.

"I'm a fan of all the classic ones and 'Creature From the Black Lagoon' is at the top of my list," Joe DeMaria of Pennsylvania said as he chatted with Adams on the lawn of the lodge. "I never get tired of watching it. I've never seen you at any of the other ('Creature') conventions."

"This is my first one," Adams said. "I don't know why I've dragged my feet. This is fun."

In the original 1954 film, Adams starred as Kay Lawrence, the young woman who becomes the object of Gill-Man's affections during a trip down the Amazon.

Adams and Chapman, who played The Creature on land, shot all their scenes on a back lot in Hollywood. The backgrounds and underwater stunts were filmed at Wakulla Springs in November of 1953 with Ricou Browning playing The Creature.

"So, you see, Julie and I are coming back to the lagoon we've never been to," Chapman said.

Stanley served as Adams' swimming double. The two met for the first time at Creaturefest.

"Julie is charming and beautiful," Stanley said. "I've followed her career and have been watching her on reruns of 'Murder She Wrote.' We've done a lot of talking about our careers and how we ended up where we did. Our lives have both been adventures."

"She made me look great (in the film)," Adams said. "I'm a good swimmer but not like Ginger."

All three actors, who are now in their 70s, agreed that they never predicted that "Creature From the Black Lagoon" would have such staying power.

"The last thing we all expected was to be standing here talking about this movie almost 50 years later," Adams said.

"It was a B movie that took off," Chapman said. "No one was taking it seriously. We all had a good time on the set. It was like family. We also had a good director who knew what he wanted."

"Creature" director Jack Arnold, who died in 1992, is also being honored at Creaturefest. Besides screenings of his most memorable film, the Tallahassee Film Society is presenting "It Came From Outer Space," "Monster on the Campus," "Tarantula" and "Revenge of the Creature."

When asked what he thought of Universal Studios' recent announcement that it would remake "Creature From the Black Lagoon," Chapman rolled his eyes.

"Here we go again," Chapman said. "Once a movie becomes a classic, they should put it on a shelf and not bother it. This is a movie that touched people. They should leave it alone."


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