Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 13th, 2008
With the death of Sir Edmund Hillary and Yeti images of the photographs from that era (1950s and 1960s), insights into the evolution of how the Abominable Snowmen were viewed can be considered through the lenses of time and distance.
The first image shared here (click on Perkins Yeti) is the 1960 lifesize drawing shown by then-Lincoln Park Zoo director Marlin Perkins before the World Book expedition to the Himalayas with Sir Edmund Hillary. (This may be different than the large cutout Perkins showed on “Wild Kingdom” in 1963, or it may be the same one.)
Below is the slightly different drawing Hillary would show at his 1960′s news conference.
Other images of Yeti were in circulation too, of course. These two drawings of the more apelike, Neandertaloid hairy Yeti are from a 1952 issue of Radar magazine.
The expedition photographs of the 1950s often would concentrate on the artifacts, such as in this 1954 image of Dr. Biswamoy Biswas examining the Pangboche Yeti scalp during the Daily Mail Snowman Expedition of that year. Sherpas and porters in the background would be reflective of those drawn into the Radar images.
Tintin in Tibet, printed in 1960, had a Yeti that clearly left footprints like the Shipton photograph and had a body influenced by the period’s cryptozoological writings of what the creature looked like.
After the debunking Hillary-Perkins expedition of 1960, the Yeti began taking on unrealistic appearances. This Japanese company Marx’s Abominable Snowman (below) was produced in 1963. The model followed the mythical “white” Yeti framing that had come into existence and was seen via this toy which could walk, stop, raise its arms and let out a piercing screech.
Other images of Yeti sometimes were no more than a shadow, as shown here on the cover of Tomek na tropach Yeti by Alfred Szklarski (Wyd.III. Kat. 1968).
Thanks to Peter Pasavento for the scan of the Soule’s book photo.