Posted by: Craig Woolheater on October 17th, 2006
While I don’t delve into the UFO phenomena in regards to cryptozoology, I found this press release interesting. As I grew up not that far from Fouke, AR, the Fouke Monster and The Legend of Boggy Creek made quite an impression on me as a youth.
October 15, 2006 — Charles B. Pierce may not be a filmmaker on par with the great Orson Welles, but his first movie made a lot more money than "Citizen Kane." In 1972, Pierce, an advertising executive from Texarkana, made "The Legend of Boggy Creek," a cheesy, truth-or-hoax documentary about a Bigfoot-type monster who roamed the areas surrounding Fouke, a tiny Arkansas town. The film, now a cult classic, is the subject of parody in "The Top Secret UFO Project," filmmaker R. J. Thomas’ valentine to 1970s low-budget docudramas in general and UFOs in particular.
"The Legend of Boggy Creek" put Fouke on the map, and the town took it all to heart. There are monster T-shirts and stuffed dolls on sale and a yearly event called "Monster Days" to celebrate the sightings of the mysterious creature. In "The Top Secret UFO Project," the town of Jasper takes advantage of its’ own truth-or-hoax legend, with local businesses working UFO themes into their merchandizing and annual events honoring the strange encounters.
In 1972, Charles B. Pierce made "The Legend of Boggy Creek" with a borrowed 16mm camera, a handful of high school students, and some non-thespian locals as actors. He opened the film himself in Texarkana, and its’ instant popularity lead to distribution across the country and a gross of $22 million.
"My film is a tribute to Charles B. Pierce and people like him," Mr. Thomas said. "I saw ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ at 15 in a theater full of teenagers and everyone was screaming, especially the girls."
Mr. Thomas visited Fouke himself the following year, amused by all the monster-sighting news articles pinned to the local gas station bulletin board. The owner of the station told Mr. Thomas’ father, in a very serious tone, that the monster had been seen the week before near the town church.