Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Sequel to "Creature From The Black Lagoon"

1955 promotional ad for Universal Studios'
second "gill-man" feature,
Revenge Of The Creature
To cash in on the success of the aforementioned 1954 film, Universal decided to make a sequel- titled Revenge of The Creature. Directed by Jack Arnold, the film featured John Agar, Lori Nelson, and John Bromfield.  In the second installment, a group of scientists capture the "gill-man", and is put on display at an ocean park in Florida (the actual location used for filming was California's Marineland of the Pacific).

Just like its predecessor, Universal released the film to cinemas in both polarized 3-D and standard 2-D versions for exhibition (most cinema venues in the nation showcased the film in 2-D).  Hoping that it would be more popular than Creature of the Black Lagoon, audiences and critics were disappointed in the sequel.  Universal produced a third (and final) installment of this film series, The Creature Walks Among Us in 1956.

Some 26 years later, Universal syndicated Revenge Of The Creature to local stations- not in polarized 3-D, but in anaglyph 3-D (the iconic red-and-blue 3-D method).  Local stations were encouraged to team up with area merchants to provide 3-D glasses to customers, in order to promote the 3-D telecast of the film.

One example would be Chicago station WFLD (an independent owned by Field Enterprises at the time), which teamed up with Chicago-area 7-Eleven stores to give away 3-D glasses to customers to promote the local telecast- hosted by Son of Svengoolie (portrayed by Rich Koz).  Examples of the July 1982 telecast can be found through archivist Rick Klein's, The Museum of Classic Chicago Television.

Nearly 32 years later, the film was seen recently (in 2-D) on MeTV Network, and their Saturday night showcase of classic Universal horror/sci-fi features- hosted by Svengoolie (Koz- whose iconic Universal horror showcase has been seen nationally since 2011- when Chicago's MeTV Network launched on television stations across the nation).  Throughout the month of July, Svengoolie showcased the entire Universal "gill-man" trilogy.

More on Svengoolie will be featured in an upcoming edition of At The Matinee.  For those who haven't seen his Saturday night MeTV show, check it out sometime (check local listings for channel).  It is also available on DVD, as part of Universal's Creature From The Black Lagoon: The Legacy Collection box set of the complete trilogy.

FUN FACT: Revenge of The Creature was lampooned on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) around 1996, when that iconic program moved from Comedy Central to the Sci-Fi Channel (unfortunately known today as "Syfy").

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