Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Patterson-Gimlin Film Plus Forty-Nine Years

It was forty-nine years ago today (to paraphrase The Beatles).  Yes, as far as can be determined, forty-nine years ago Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin took a camera filled with undeveloped film inside and ended up with what to this very day is STILL the best visual evidence ever to support the existence of Bigfoot.  That is both a good and bad thing.  Nearly half a century has passed and we still have not managed to find conclusive evidence that Bigfoot does or doesn't exist.  It really says something for the footage that half a century later it's not only still the best evidence out there, but also that it has never been completely exposed as a fake.  Obviously people on both sides of the issue will argue that it IS real or that it IS a fake, but I've never seen or heard anything that I'd consider definitive either way.

Rather than go into a lot of depth on this matter, I will provide a link to the exhaustive Wikipedia entry on the film and leave it up to the reader to decide how far they want to go in further exploring this matter on their own.  I mostly wanted to commemorate the anniversary.  I think next year (the 50th anniversary!) will be a better time to write a typically long and dry Monster Dad missive about the subject.  For now let's just celebrate the 49th!

I actually have TWO reasons for writing today, but they're very much related.  Not only is today the anniversary of the Patterson film, but tomorrow I will embark on what is the absolutely COOLEST Bigfoot-related event I've had the pleasure to be part of.  Friday and Saturday (October 21 and 22, 2016) The Mahoning Drive-In in Lehighton, PA and Exhumed Films will be having what is being billed as simply "Bigfoot Weekend" (or as the Facebook page for the event is calling it, "Bigfoot Live in-Person")!  Now, I might have a teensy-weensy issue with the fact that they say "in-Person"--as we don't know fer-sur if Bigfoot is a person, animal or whatever--but that's quite the nit-pick.  Other than that, I can't really think of anything to complain about with this show!  Before divulging the details, lemme share a little background about the Mahoning itself.

In an age where drive-ins are rapidly becoming a thing of the past and a dying throwback to a bygone era, the relatively few that still survive have really become important to fans of the medium (such as myself).  It seems like a labor of love to continue operating in a world that sees the drive-in as a passe relic of the past.  But I think that the rarity of drive-ins means that the few that are still around are mainly owned by people with a particular passion for them.  The big digitalization scare of the past few years contributed to even more drive-ins closing their gates forever, but also ensured that the ones that were able to go digital at least had a chance to continue on into the future.  The Mahoning had a very unique (and awesome) response to the digital threat last year (2015).  They switched to an all-retro programming scheme that featured double- and triple-features (and even more in some cases) and great theme weekends based around old 35mm films.  I was only able to attend one of the shows last year, but it was a great one--a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" double feature, plus great Spielberg and Lucas trailers and a bunch of Raiders merchandise on display in the snack bar!

This year's shows ramped up the awesome factor even further with the shows, but I wasn't able to get to any of them (the Mahoning's in Pennsylvania and I'm in Massachusetts, not a short jaunt by any means).  BUT, a good friend of mine in New Hampshire (who's a big movie and drive-in fan as well) has been making the trip from NH to PA more weekends than not over the past two seasons.  Not only has he been attending most of the shows, he's even become a drive-in employee while there--manning the ticket booth before shows and the snack bar during them!  My friend mentioned this particular late-season show (the drive-in will close for the season one week later after their big Halloween weekend event) and asked if I'd be able to make it.  Naturally this was a MUST and I made sure that it would most definitely happen--after checking in with The Wife of course.  I would have loved to be able to take The Little Monster along (who just happens to have recently asked to watch some Bigfoot movies after I showed her a Bigfoot episode of the 1970s paranormal investigation show "in Search of..."), but there's just no way that was going to be realistic.

From the Facebook page for the event

So, what makes this event so awesome?  Well, first of all, it's a Bigfoot event.  That's pretty much enough right there.  But, they're also promising some good old-fashioned drive-in promotion by saying that Bigfoot himself will be making an appearance and stalking the grounds during the show!  And finally there's the movies.  I've saved this part for last.  They're not featuring a double- or triple-feature of Bigfoot movies each night.  No, they're featuring SIX Bigfoot movies (three per night)!  And these aren't just any Bigfoot movies, these are "real" Bigfoot movies--old ones mainly from the 1970s!  To get an idea of why I consider these kinds of movies to be "real" Bigfoot movies, unlike the slew of new ones that have come out over the past decade or so, check out my recent post about My Top Five Favorite Bigfoot Movies.  Of the six films being screened there's only one that I'd really consider a bit of a clunker, and even that one will be in the so-bad-it's-at-least-interesting category.  Otherwise they're all perfect fodder for a show the likes of which I'd never had imagined would ever be put on.  In fact, a couple of my favorites from the list linked to above are part of the show!  So, here's what will be screened this weekend:

Friday, October 21: "Shriek of the Mutilated" (1974), "Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot" (1976) and "In Search of Bigfoot" (1976)

Saturday, October 22: "Creature from Black Lake" (1976), "Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues" (1984) and "The Legend of Bigfoot" (1975)

Note that nearly all of the films are from a very close time frame (1974-76).  This is smack dab in the middle of what I consider to be the "Golden Age" of Bigfoot, which was basically the entire decade of the 1970s.  There's also a lot of "Legends" used in these somewhat similar titles.  The titles were similar, the subject matter was very similar of course and the many of the movies were pretty similar in many ways too.  But if it ain't broke don't fix it, right?  That formula of documentary or pseudo-documentary searches for Bigfoot worked just fine for me in the 1970s and those are still my favorite Bigfoot films to this day!  In fact, my favorite Bigfoot film of all time is included on Friday night, "Creature from Black lake"!  It definitely would have been even better if they could have managed to get another of my favorites for the show, "The Legend of Boggy Creek" (1972), but that might have been TOO much to ask.  The inclusion of "Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues" is a great alternate in its place though.  The original would have been awesome to see on the big screen, but in a way just "more of the same" when shown along with all the other 1970s films.  "Boggy Creek II" ups the ante a bit by offering a 1980s take on the legend.  And it was even directed by (and stars!) Charles B. Pierce, the director of the original!  The only "clunker", if I HAD to pick one would be "The Legend of Bigfoot".  Despite being from the same time period and having practically the same name as many of the other films, "The Legend of Bigfoot" probably ranks (and "ranks" might be a good word for it too) as one of my LEAST favorite Bigfoot movies from the "Golden Age".  don't get me wrong, it's STILL a Bigfoot movie, and it's STILL one from the 70s, so I'm still excited to see it's part of the show.  In fact, after two nights of fun and excitement, by the time "The Legend of Bigfoot" comes on as the finale it might give people a chance to nod off a bit and dream about large, hairy creatures roaming the woods.

If I manage to survive the action, adventure and pulse-pounding excitement of this weekend I hope to be able to report back with all the details (and perhaps even some new photographic evidence of Bigfoot to go along with the Patterson film!).  Stay tuned...

Here's a Bigfoot creature that we spotted last year, ironically enough on the way
home from the only other show I've ever seen at the Mahoning Drive-In!

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Top Five Favorite Bigfoot Movies

It's kind of funny, but the topic of Bigfoot has been a life-long interest of mine since I was a little kid--pretty much as long as I remember.  Yet, I've somehow managed to avoid writing much about the subject here at Monster Dad.  I think I've always felt that I simply have TOO MUCH to say about it to really know just WHAT to write, or where to start.  Bigfoot has appeared numerous times around here, but mainly in supporting roles in posts like Bigfoot Sighting in Foxboro, MA, Review of Bobcat Goldthwaite's "Willow Creek", Bigfoots or Bigfeet?, Separated at Birth 2: Tim Tebow and Bigfoot, The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw, 2011 October Horror Challenge Recap (as well as many of the actual installments of that challenge), Movies My Sister Made Me Watch, The Horror That Is "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer" , and An Absolutely Horrible Month.  So the topic of Bigfoot certainly has been raised on Monster Dad before, but I've so far avoided anything that really delved deeply into the subject.  There have been several posts floating around in my head all these years that I simply haven't been able to put down on paper (or type into the computer).  This is one of those posts.  I've wanted to write this for a long time, but never got around to it until now.  Why now?  Well, let's just say that there is a pretty direct reason for that.  More on that reason at the end of the post...

As I mentioned, I've been interested in Bigfoot (and all the other BHMs--or "Big Hairy Monsters"--around the world like Sasquatch and The Abominable Snowman or Yeti) for pretty much as long as I can remember.  And I don't recall just what (if anything) sparked that interest in the first place.  I remember going to the library to try to find books on the subject and being riveted by any movie or TV show about Bigfoot that would happen to show up on pre-cable TV back in the 1970s and early-80s.  This is a list of five of my favorite Bigfoot movies.  Note that I'm not saying that these are the "Best Bigfoot Movies of All Time".  Most of the ones I'm picking as my faves certainly wouldn't qualify as "good" movies, but they all have a lot of meaning to me personally.  First, let's give a little background on the subject of Bigfoot on film.

I believe that the first wave of Bigfoot-type movies were the Abominable Snowman films of the 1950s inspired by the discovery of huge footprints on Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.  There were a number of these films that really could probably be considered a genre unto themselves.  One of these films (and it's certainly not the "best" of them) makes my list.

For whatever reason (most likely having something to do with Roger Patterson's famous 1967 film footage of a large bipedal creature in Bluff Creek, California), Bigfoot movies really flourished in the 1970s.  I always refer to the 1970s as the "Golden Age of Bigfoot" (and have been meaning to write about that for years too).  The other four films on this list come from that period--and it's pretty tough to limit it to just four.  Many of the Bigfoot films from this time were actually documentaries, pseudo-documentaries or just felt like documentaries even if they weren't.

Over the past ten years or so Bigfoot-type creatures have really made a big comeback in movies.  As much as I was excited to see new Bigfoot flicks popping up in my local video store (when those still existed), I was almost always very disappointed in the films themselves.  They were nearly all straight-up horror movies with a Bigfoot-type creature taking on the part of the slasher or killer.  None of these movies appear on this list.  It might have more to do with my frame of mind (childhood) when I saw the old movies than any actual measure of quality, but I always tend to prefer older Bigfoot movies to newer ones.  That's a personal fact which might be helpful to know while reading this list.

There were some other films between the "Golden Age" of the 70s and the "Crappy Age" of the 2000s.  One of the few examples from the 1980s, "Harry and the Hendersons" (1987) would probably be at or near the top of my list if it was a list of "Best" rather than "Favorite" films.  I think it ranks up there with the best because, unlike most Bigfoot movies it was actually a real Hollywood movie with a real budget, real special effects and a real cast that included names like John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Don Ameche and M. Emmet Walsh.  This one holds a special place in my heart because it came out when I was in high school and I remember going to see it with my friends.  I couldn't believe that there was a real, honest-to-goodness movie about Bigfoot that we could go see in a real movie theater!  My only experience with Bigfoot movies up to that point was mainly with old, low-budget and often low-quality films and documentaries.  Despite the higher quality of "Harry and the Hendersons" and what it meant to me, it still doesn't make it into my top five.  So, I guess now it's time to see what those top five movies are, and just why they're my favorites.  For the most part this list is not in any particular order, with the exception of number one--which is indeed my favorite Bigfoot movie of all time!

Number Five: The Snow Creature (1954)

"The Snow Creature" was one of the wave of movies about the Abominable Snowman from the 1950s that I mentioned above.  True, some people might say that movies about the Abominable Snowman or Yeti don't count as "Bigfoot movies", but I do feel that these creatures are related--if not by genetics so much as by the nature of their respective legends and their elusiveness.  And
I should mention that I don't think "The Snow Creature" ranks as one of the "best" examples of an Abominable Snowman film.  Hammer's "The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas"--or simply "The Abominable Snowman" (1957), while similar, is probably superior in almost every way.  My reason for listing "The Snow Creature" so high is a very specific and personal one.  I found a VHS tape from Goodtimes Video that had a strange double feature of "Godzilla vs. Megalon" and "The Show Creature" at Kmart in the mid-1980s.  This was a time when my little hometown didn't yet have cable TV.  It was a time WELL before the internet and streaming video and the capability of seeing pretty much whatever you want whenever you want.  To find a Bigfoot movie at a store (and on a tape that ALSO had a Godzilla movie too!) felt like one of the best things that had ever happened to me!  As I mentioned, I lived in a very small town.  Two of my best friends lived within walking distance of my house.  One Saturday I took my treasured videotape and went to visit one of them.  We planned on watching "Godzilla vs. Megalon" and enjoying the nostalgia of watching an old favorite from our (recent) youth while at the same time laughing at how downright kooky the movie is (even to a fifteen-year-old fan of Godzilla).  After the movie ended it was getting pretty late and I really should have said goodnight and headed home, but we decided to go ahead and watch "The Snow Creature" too.  The lateness of the hour seemed to add to the enjoyment of an otherwise low-quality film being watched on a low-quality VHS tape.  And there are a few moments of unintentional humor that we nearly died laughing over--and which we STILL laugh about over 30 years later!  It was a fun and lighthearted moment.  But, by the time I finally DID end up leaving my friend's house it was VERY late.  As I walked home on the quiet, dark night the humor and silliness of the movie suddenly turned into a somewhat scary moment fueled by the imagination of a teenager who had been interested in (and kind of scared of) all things Bigfoot for around ten years or more at that point.  I also haven't mentioned that the walk from my friend's house back to mine included a short jaunt through the woods at the end of a dead end street.  Where the street ended the streetlights that illuminated it also ended and I had to walk for a few minutes on a path through the dark woods that led to my house.  I was very familiar with that stretch of woods, but never enjoyed walking it in the dark.  So as you can see, my love of "The Snow Creature" has very little to do with its merit as a fine film and everything to do with the age I was when I saw it, the person I saw it with and the experience of finding such a silly film become much less silly when my surroundings became less friendly and well-lit.  Believe it or not, I actually still own that old VHS tape with the "Godzilla vs. Megalon" and "The Snow Creature" double feature.  Of course I now have both of the films on DVD, but I don't plan on parting with that old tape any time soon.

My VHS tape of the "Godzilla vs. Meglon"/"The Snow Creature" double feature!

 Number Four: The Mysterious Monsters (1975)

"The Mysterious Monsters" was one of many somewhat interchangeable documentaries about Bigfoot and other monsters that were abundant in the 1970s.  Much of the science behind some of these films (as well as the similarly-themed show "in Search of..." that I also loved and which also covered Bigfoot, The Abominable Snowman, The Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, ghosts and all sorts of other strange phenomenon) was less than reliable, but the subject matter was all that mattered to me.  The fact that I was watching a "real" documentary about a monster that might itself be real was almost too much to bear and made these otherwise less-than-stellar productions much more riveting and suspenseful than most mainstream horror movies of the time for me.  While I'm putting "The Mysterious Monsters" at Number Four, there are probably a few others that could easily take its place there ("In Search of Bigfoot" (1976), "Bigfoot: Man or Beast" (1972), "Monsters! Mysteries or Myths?" (1974)...).  I suppose the reason for picking this one is because I was able to get it on DVD (not an "official" one of course) quite a few years back and was able to enjoy it again after many years.  I don't know if this one ranks higher than some of the others in quality or "scientific-ness", but it DOES have Peter Graves as its narrator, and that has to count for something.  It's also not solely about Bigfoot, as the plural "Monsters" of its title implies.  It also covers The Abominable Snowman and The Loch Ness Monster.  And, to top it all off, I actually own a genuine movie poster for this film!


I don't really have specific memories of this one from watching it as a kid, but I DO clearly remember how excited I was whenever I saw in TV Guide that there was going to be some old Bigfoot documentary on TV on a Sunday afternoon (regardless of which one it happened to be).  Another thing this one has going for it is that it features John Green, Peter Byrne and Grover Krantz, three of the Four Horsemen of Sasquatchery.  The fourth member of that club was Rene Dahinden.  I was familiar with all four of these Bigfoot researchers from books, newspaper articles and, of course, the documentaries.  Whenever a documentary had one, two, three or all four of these men together I just knew it was worth watching!

Number Three: The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

"The Legend of Boggy Creek" has the feel of one of the documentaries listed above, but it's actually one of the hybrid documentary/dramas that the legend of Bigfoot (which itself seems kind of rooted in both reality and myth) lends itself to as subject matter.  This one is a classic of the Bigfoot film genre (if there's such a thing).  Like most of the other films on this list this one is a particular favorite more because of personal memories about it rather than because it's an actual "good" film.  I was only about three in 1972, so while I WAS around when it came out I didn't actually see it until years later when it was shown on TV.  It might be hard for kids of today to relate to, but back in the 80s when cable TV had not yet spread everywhere and there was no such thing as streaming video or movies on demand you actually had to know what was on TV and tune in when it was on--or risk not being able to see it again unless you happened to get lucky.  Before my family got our first VCR in the mid-80s I was completely at the mercy of what was on the small variety of Boston and Providence channels that our antenna could pick up at our home in southern Massachusetts.  When I saw that one of the UHF channels (WLVI Channel 56 in Boston) was going to be showing "The Legend of Boggy Creek" on a Friday night I just knew that I HAD to be around to watch it.  It was true must-see-TV!  It probably seems a bit odd to think of most of these movies as actually being scary, but whenever I was able to watch anything about Bigfoot (a movie, documentary, an episode of "in Search of...") I was ALWAYS scared.  I think it had a lot to do with the fact that the subject matter was something that maybe, possibly, potentially might be REAL!  Other monster movies could be scary, but usually they were accompanied by the comforting fact that "it's only a movie".  But as I watched these films my mind would always remind me that Bigfoot MIGHT actually be real.  That's why the re-enactments in "The Legend of Boggy Creek" so effectively creeped me out when I watched it for the first time that night.  "Boggy Creek" was successful enough that it spawned a number of official and unofficial sequels, including "Return to Boggy Creek" (1977) (which featured Dawn Wells and Dana Plato, one of the more "star-studded" Bigfoot movies until "Harry and the Hendersons") and "Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues" (1984) (which had the interesting use of the roman numeral II, even though this was the third Boggy Creek movie.  But I suppose that this one WAS directed by Charles B. Pierce, the director of the original).

 Number Two: Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot (1976)

"Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot" was yet another of the 1970s documentary-style dramas that we've seen a lot already in the list.  Once again, that "realistic" aspect of the documentary style coupled with the potential that Bigfoot was real combined to scare the crap out of me as a kid.  This one took the direction of following a group of Bigfoot hunters/researchers into the woods to look for the creature (and ultimately find it of course).  Sprinkled throughout the story were some scary re-enactments of various Bigfoot encounters.  While none of these films on this list really qualify as "good" movies, this one might be the closest to actually being good that we've covered so far.  In addition to the fact that this one genuinely scared me as a kid, I also have to put it close to the top of the list because of my personal recollections of it.  This is the only one of these movies (and the only "true" Bigfoot movie from the "Golden Age" in general) that I actually saw in a theater.  My older sister brought my nephew and myself to see it, and it terrified me.  A couple of years later I remember being excited to see that it was going to be on TV.  Part of the legend of this movie (and what makes it unique and stand out from the crowd of 1970s Bigfoot films) is the fact that it became almost impossible to find for decades after its release.  After seeing it on TV that one time the movie receded into my mind.  I sort of forgot about it until I was looking around for all my old favorite Bigfoot movies (and others that I had never seen before) online in the mid-2000s.  Suddenly this kind of material was a lot easier to find.  If there wasn't an official release of a film, most likely someone had a bootleg copy or a rip from an old VHS tape that was put on a DVD.  There were a couple copies of an old VHS release of the movie on eBay, but they were selling for astronomical amounts.  After tons of fruitless searching all of a sudden I saw that Retromedia had released the Sasquatch Horror Triple Feature DVD.


Not only did this set have "Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot" on it, but it also had "The Snow Creature" and "Snow Beast" (1977) as well!  "Snow Beast" boasts one of the more "distinguished" casts of people you've at least heard of in a Bigfoot movie: Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux, Clint Walker.  I quickly picked up a copy of this set and all of a sudden had the ever-elusive (not unlike Bigfoot itself) "Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot" in my very own collection!  One final thing to mention about this movie is that it should NEVER be confused with the similarly-titled "The Legend of Bigfoot" (1975).  "Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot" is actually a pretty good and effective film in many ways (at least as far as Bigfoot movies go anyway), but "The Legend of Bigfoot" is pretty close to being unwatchable, and in fact is barely even about Bigfoot.  Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who has just told you that some of his favorite movies include "The Snow Creature", "The Mysterious Monsters", "The Legend of Boggy Creek" and "Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot".  That should tell you something!

Number One: Creature from Black Lake (1976)

So here we are, at number one.  As I said in the beginning, for the most part this list is in no particular order.  But "Creature from Black Lake" IS indeed my favorite Bigfoot movie of all time--and for many of the same reasons already listed for the other films.  Once again--and this has become quite the recurring theme here--"Creature from Black Lake" (not to be confused with "The Creature from The Black Lagoon") takes the documentary-style drama route seen in so many classic Bigfoot films.  It's the story of two college students who take a road trip to try to prove/disprove the existence of a large, hairy, man-like creature.  There's no real doubt that we're watching actors in a film, but the way they go about their business feels very familiar in a documentary kind of way.  And it also employs the use of re-enactments of past encounters with the creature, generally when characters are sharing their stories with the students.  I know that "Creature from Black Lake" doesn't rank up there with the greats of cinematic history in terms of acting, directing or pretty much anything else, but I do feel that it's probably one of the best made (along with "Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot") Bigfoot films ever.  That might not seem like very high praise, but it really is meant to be!  This one also features another cast with some familiar names in it: Dub Taylor, Jack Elam and Dennis Fimple.  I didn't know who Dennis Fimple was when I saw the film as a kid, but he had a very distinctive look that I remembered when I saw him in other stuff later.  He plays one of the two leads.  But Jack Elam really steals the show as the local drunk who lost his trapping partner to the creature.  So, why does this film rise above all the others on my list?  Well, first off, I saw it as a kid on Boston-area TV.  Perhaps it wouldn't mean as much to me if I never got around to seeing it until I was an adult?  Second, I really do enjoy the road trip aspect of the film.  I like getting to know the two leads and following them through their adventures.  There's some good humorous moments with them.  Third, it has those creepy (to that young version of myself) re-enactments of Bigfoot encounters.  Fourth, there is a genuine creepiness and sense of suspense in many of the scenes.  And, fifth, the climax of the movie is surprisingly scary and violent.  It almost doesn't fit in with the rest of the movie, but really makes it a complete experience--it has interesting characters, adventure, humor, suspense and horror!  There's very little negative that I can say about this movie.

So that's my list of favorite Bigfoot movies.  Along with all the others that were touched on in the list there are many more that I enjoy and would recommend to any Bigfoot fan.  Some of these include "Half Human" (1955), "Man Beast" (1956), "Bigfoot" (1970) (a silly one with bikers and John Carradine!), "The Beauties and the Beast" (1974) (a softcore Bigfoot movie!),  "Shriek of the Mutilated" (1974), "Curse of Bigfoot" (1975) (a pretty bad film all around, but fun for its ineptness), "The Capture of Bigfoot" (1979), "Night of the Demon" (1980) and many more!

I was inspired to finally get around to writing this blog post by an upcoming event that I can hardly believe is actually happening.  The Mahoning Drive-In in Lehighton, PA has been exclusively running retro drive-in programming for the past two seasons.  It's been an amazing thing to see some of the shows they've been putting on and some of the movies (most in 35mm) that they've been screening.  I only got to one show in 2015 (a double feature of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom").  I wasn't able to get to ANY of the great shows they put on this year, but the season isn't quite over yet.   They're running right through October and this weekend (October 21 and 22, 2016) they're putting on a show with frequent collaborator Exhumed Films that I never thought I'd see the likes of.  It's called Bigfoot Weekend and it will feature no less than SIX classic Bigfoot flicks (including some from my list) over the two nights!  And, supposedly Bigfoot himself is going to make an appearance and will be stalking the grounds during the show!  Here's the lineup:

Friday, October 21: "Shriek of the Mutilated", "Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot" and "In Search of Bigfoot"

Saturday, October 22: "Creature from Black Lake", "Boggy Creek II" and "The Legend of Bigfoot"

I can't wait for this awesome event and, if I manage to survive the weekend, will hopefully report back here with all the gruesome details!  Wish me luck!

Menaced by a Bigfoot spotted on the way
home from the Mahoning Drive-In last year!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Overwhelming Onslaught of Oreos

This isn't really a Halloween post.  But, then again, maybe it is.  Well, I guess the reason it got written was initially because of Halloween, but the topic mostly isn't about Halloween.  Confused?  I'm starting to get that way too.  Why don't we get to it and see how it all unfolds?

October 2015.  I realized that Halloween was rapidly approaching and we hadn't really done much to get into the spirit of the season.  One morning after dropping The Little Monsters off at school I was doing a little grocery shopping and it occurred to me that the Halloween Oreos must be out.  I decided that I should pick up a package.  Halloween Oreos seemed to be becoming a bit of a new tradition--I remembered getting a package last year--so I felt I should carry on the tradition by getting some this year (plus, I rather like Oreos).  In our household we don't get too many chances to eat a lot of junk food.  That's a good thing from a health standpoint, but not the most popular one for a couple of elementary-school-age Monsters like ours.  Well, to demonstrate just how infrequently The Monsters get to indulge in stuff like Oreos, I tried to find the photos I took of them enjoying their Halloween Oreos while watching the "Ship of Ghouls" episode of "The Love Boat" last year (the last time we had  Oreos).  Well, wouldn't you know, I couldn't find the photos for a long time because it had actually been TWO years since they were taken!

The Little Monsters enjoying their 2013 Halloween Oreos
while watching Vincent Price in "The Love Boat"

So, anyway, even though it wasn't really a hard and fast "tradition" I still wanted to get some of those yummy Halloween edition Oreos for The Monsters (and, yes, for myself as well).  Cruising down the grocery store aisle that contains the snacks, crackers and cookies I was dumbfounded.  I must have passed this section hundreds of times since the last Oreos purchase, but I hadn't really payed much attention to it while passing by looking for healthier fare.  I frankly couldn't believe how many varieties of Oreos there were.  They must have greatly expanded the selection since even that last time I picked up a package.

Holy Oreos, Batman!

I remember regular old Oreos as a kid.  They were a pretty standard and common (and tasty) snack food.  Of course there were also the Oreo rip-offs too: the Hydrox Cookies (which actually came out BEFORE Oreos, but still feel like the knockoff), and all the various store brand "sandwich cookies".  I have no idea just how many Oreo-like cookies are currently available, but even Paul Newman's Newman's Own brand has gotten into the act.

Hydrox Cookies (image from the web)


Back to the "old days".  Despite all the different companies putting out their own versions of Oreos, I always felt that the "real ones" were the best.  But at the same time an Oreo was an Oreo.  There wasn't much variety in the brand (and didn't need to be) until they introduced the "Double Stuf" Oreos, which were the same as the regular ones, except with twice the amount of creme filling (which was the best part of the cookie anyway, right?).

The classic, standard Oreos
Even regular Oreos come in a number of different packaging options,
like these boxes of handy six-packs

I don't recall there being many other choices if you wanted to get Oreos.  But that's not the case anymore.  Not by a long shot!  Check out some of the varieties I spotted in that Oreo section (and I have no idea if they even had ALL the varieties that might be available).  Some of these seem like great ideas, some seem kind of odd and some even seem like they might be kinda gross:

In addition to the regular and Double Stuf Oreos you can now also get Mega Stuff ones.  Or you can go in the opposite direction and get Oreo Thins.  Those varieties simply change the amount of creme, or "stuf", you get inside the cookie, but the bulk of the newer varieties I saw change the flavors of the creme, the cookies or both.  Here are some of the ones I saw:

  • Golden Oreos (probably one of the earliest varieties, along with "Double Stuf", this one replaces the chocolate cookies with "vanilla" ones--probably done to compete with all the "vanilla sandwich cookies" from various companies that had been available next to the chocolate ones for years)
  • Heads or Tails Oreos (where you get one chocolate and one vanilla cookie surrounding your creme)
  • Birthday Cake Oreos (in both regular and golden cookie versions)
  • Mint Oreos
  • Lemon Oreos
  • Berry Oreos
  • Brownie Batter Oreos
  • Peanut Butter Oreos
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreos (for a little cross-branding)
  • Pumpkin Spice Oreos (to cash in on the Halloween/Thanksgiving fall season)
  • Caramel Apple Oreos (ditto)
  • Marshmallow Crispy Creme (think Rice Krispies treats)
  • Toasted Coconut Oreos (What?!?)
  • Reduced Fat Oreos

Even though Oreos are a snack food (read, junk food) I'm actually a bit surprised that, considering the sheer numbers of varieties that they produce, they don't make more "healthy" or "healthier" versions for people who might want to experience Oreos, but who don't want to die as soon as their cookie-chomping counterparts.  True, there are the "Reduced Fat Oreos" listed above (and Oreos seem to have joined the rest of modern society by getting rid of trans fats across the line), but where are the "Whole Grain Oreos", or the "Organic Oreos" (non-GMO guaranteed of course)?  "Artisinal Oreos"?  "Ancient Grains Oreos" (with Spelt and quinoa)?  And how about allergies?  There are Peanut Butter Oreos, but what about "Nut-Free Oreos" (guaranteed not to be made on equipment which may also make products containing peanuts and/or other nuts)?  And how about "Gluten-Free Oreos"?  "Sugar-Free Oreos" for diabetics?  Or "Vegan Oreos"?  Okay, I get the fact that they're not meant to be a healthy snack food.  And I suppose that I actually appreciate the fact that, other than offering Reduced Fat, Nabisco doesn't even pretend to be offering something healthy.

These are most of the varieties of what I'll call "traditional Oreos" (same sized cookies with different flavors and/or amounts of "Stuf"), and most of them seem to be found in different versions (like regular, Double Stuf and Mega Stuf).  But there are also other variants that go even further, like Fudge Cremes and Mint Fudge Cremes (which are standard Oreos covered with fudge to make them even less healthy!), as well as Oreo Minis and Oreo Minis Reese's Peanut Butter (which can be found in boxes, bags and little plastic snack cups).

Some of the different packaging for Oreo Minis

Have you had enough Oreo varieties?  Well, the above list covers most of what I found in just the cookie aisle of the grocery store.  But the Oreo brand and taste can of course be found in other places and products too.  A quick tour of the store showed a few other examples (and I'm sure there are many more than what I found).  A little further down the aisle where the cookies are found you encounter the cracker section.  Not surprisingly, there is a bit of a gray area between what is considered a "cookie" and what is considered a "cracker".  For example, graham crackers have the word "cracker" in their name, but I think a good argument could be made that they are actually more of a cookie.  Well, you can add Oreos to the confusion between cracker and cookie classifications.  First off, the Oreo Thins portray themselves as being "Thin & Crispy", which (despite the cookie and creme factor) sounds kind of cracker-like.  And remember the classic "Handi Snacks", the little packages with crackers on one side and a separate part with cheese spread that you'd put onto the crackers with a little red plastic spreader?  Years ago they added newer versions of Handi Snacks that had cracker sticks or pretzel sticks that you could dip into the cheese instead of having to actually spread cheese on the crackers.  Well now they even have an Oreo version--where you dip your rectangular Oreo cookie into a cup of Oreo creme.  While I wouldn't really consider this to be a "cracker" product, I DID find them nestled into the cracker section among the regular Handi Snacks.

And the range of products with the name Oreo attached gets even wider.  While it's now discontinued, there used to be an Oreo-O's cereal.  And I kind of miss the Oreos Cakesters "Soft Snack Cakes" which also seem to be discontinued (they reminded me of little whoopie pies!).  In the ice cream aisle I found two different ice cream products that featured Oreos: Klondike Sandwiches (which actually look like giant Oreos) and Breyers Blasts Oreo Cookies & Creme Chocolate.  And of course this doesn't even include all the generic "Cookies and Creme" or "Cookies & Cream" products all over the grocery store that don't have the license or permission to use the Oreo name.  I was a bit surprised when I saw the Pop Tarts selection (which rivaled the Oreos for sheer number of varieties) and didn't find Oreo Pop Tarts.  Well, I think that there WOULD be an Oreo version if it weren't for competing brands.  You see, Oreos are made by Nabisco, while Pop Tarts are made by Kellogg's.  So, naturally, there is a generic Frosted Cookies & Creme Pop Tarts variety instead!

The Pop Tart selection
(nearly as overwhelming as the Oreos!)
Kellogg's (non-Oreo) Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts

I'm sure that many more Oreos products, flavor combinations, variants and knock-offs can be found, but it's time to wrap this post up.  Remember my original reason for perusing the Oreos section of the cookie aisle?  It was to pick up a package of Halloween Oreos.  Well, even with all that stuff in the big, overwhelming Oreos section of the cookie aisle...I didn't find ANY Halloween ones!  But luckily they were in their own cardboard display box at the end of another aisle.

Now, that's what I was looking for!

I picked up my package and headed home to contemplate everything I had just witnessed.  The funny thing is that Halloween Oreos aren't a new or different flavor.  They are simply standard Oreos with the traditional white creme switched out for an orange one (making for a perfect orange and black Halloween color combination).  But they DO give you five different cookie designs to make them even more fun.  Not only that, but I noticed that the designs used in this year's package were different than the ones in the 2013 package I bought earlier.  Can't say what happened in 2014, as we missed out on our little "tradition" last year.  Oh well, now I can't wait to see what Nabisco has in store for us for NEXT year's Halloween Oreos!

2013 Halloween Oreos
2015 Halloween Oreos

A couple happy Little Monsters!

And here's the five different designs
(they all have the same Oreo back seen in the middle)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future: The Future is Now!

October 21, 2015.

It's hard to believe that this day has actually come to pass. There have been a lot of "future dates" in science fiction and other stories that have come and gone (see "The Future is Passe" for my thoughts on some of those), but this one seems extra special for a number of reasons. Of course, October 21, 2015 is the date that Doc Brown takes Marty McFly and his girlfriend Jennifer to at the beginning of "Back to the Future II" (1989).

I suppose the first interesting thing about this is the fact that "Back to the Future" was released in 1985, making 2015 its 30th anniversary. While Doc, Marty and Jennifer do take off for "the future" at the end of "Back to the Future", we don't actually learn exactly when they are headed (sounds strange to say that) until the beginning of the sequel, which was released in 1989. So we have a bit of a paradox in that we're celebrating the 30th anniversary of a classic movie by commemorating a date central to its sequel, which is only celebrating its 26th anniversary. Oh well...

I have to go into a little more detail about the 30th anniversary of "Back to the Future" here, because of something that bothers me about it. "Back to the Future" was a huge part of my youth. I remember seeing it as a fifteen-year-old in the summer of 1985. My older sister took me to see it, and when she dropped me off at home later I remember having my mind full of confusing thoughts about time travel. I really enjoyed the movie on all levels, but it also got me thinking too. More on that later. The big problem I have with celebrating the anniversary of the movie today (it seems to be called "Back to the Future Day" all over the internet) is that the movie was released on July 3, 1985, meaning that we really should have celebrated its anniversary over the summer. I can understand that the date October 21, 1985 plays an important role in the series, AND it happens to fall in the YEAR of the 30th anniversary of "BTTF", but it's still not really the anniversary. I guess what bothers me is a simple fact of the present that wasn't really the case as much 30 years ago (and earlier). There was a time when movie studios would actually re-release movies to theaters. That idea might strike some as odd and others as outdated. But in 1985, when "Back to the Future" was released we were still in the relatively early days of affordable VCRs (Video Cassette Recorders). Between cable TV, VCRs and video stores renting an ever increasing variety of movies it was becoming easier to watch what you wanted when you wanted. Today we take that for granted, but there was a time before DVDs, Blu-rays (both of which are becoming endangered species themselves), DVRs, digital downloads and streaming video when you didn't have as much control over what was on and when it was on. When a movie left the theaters you might get a chance to see it a couple years later when it premiered on TV (or somewhat sooner on cable). But you had to be there when it was aired. Back in those "old days" popular movies would be re-released so people could enjoy them again. A lot of Disney animated classics found new generations of fans this way. The practice was probably already dying out in the late 1970s, but "Star Wars" (which I suppose I should refer to as "Episode IV: A New Hope" to avoid confusion) was re-released in 1978--just a year after its initial release--to cash in on the fact that it had become such a monster hit. And I remember going to see it in 1987 too, when it was re-released for its 10th anniversary. But, other than isolated events like the first "Star Wars" trilogy getting limited re-releases before the second trilogy came out, you don't tend to see re-releases much anymore. That's a side effect of how everything has become available to everyone anywhere and at any time. It's nice to have that availability, but I do feel that we've lost something special that came with "event" viewing of re-releases and stuff that would only be shown on TV once a year, like "The Wizard of Oz" and all the classic animated holiday specials. You had to tune in when they were on or you would have to wait until next year.

Okay, I've digressed quite a bit here. What does all this have to do with me being annoyed that we're celebrating the 30th anniversary of "Back to the Future" on October 21, 2015? Well, I heard that there was going to be some special screenings of the movie over the summer to commemorate the actual 30th anniversary. Even though I own the "BTTF" trilogy on DVD I was excited by the prospect of seeing the original on the big screen again. But...I never heard when or where those screenings would take place. Next thing I knew the summer was over and I never saw "Back to the Future". This is because, instead of a true re-release, it was simply some company putting on a one-off (or possibly two-off) screening that was more than likely a projection from a DVD or Blu-ray disc rather than a 35mm print or true digital presentation. I still would have wanted to see it, but it was apparently very limited (movie theaters don't want to give up screens for something that's not a new release and which probably won't generate much money). Last year Fathom Events (I believe) had a couple special screenings of "Ghostbusters" (1984) to celebrate its 30th anniversary. I was able to take The Little Monster to see one of those screenings and it was great to be able to see her experience the movie on a big screen, the way it was meant to be seen, after she had seen it many times on our TV screen. The problem was that this event wasn't publicized very well and there were only about five other people in the theater with us. I know it's an old movie, but it's hard to believe that there weren't more than seven people in the greater Boston area who would have liked to see "Ghostbusters" on the big screen. A true re-release would have made a lot more people aware of it. Despite the shortcomings of such a limited screening event I still would have loved to take The Little Monster to see "Back to the Future" on the big screen this summer. But I never managed to find the information about when, where (and if) it was being shown.

Alright, enough downers. Back to October 21, 2015. The Coolidge Corner Theatre scheduled a screening of "Back to the Future" as part of its Rewind series for tonight. That was a show I just HAD to go to. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to getting a was already sold out! But fortunately, there was so much interest in it (see what can happen with good publicity?) they scheduled an "encore" screening for October 22. And I made sure to get a ticket! While the date is not as significant in the "Back to the Future" canon, I will still be VERY happy to watch it up on the big screen tomorrow!

So, as far as the "Back to the Future" trilogy itself goes, I really enjoy the movies. As with most successful films followed by sequels, my favorite is the original, followed by the second and third ones, respectively. Now that October 21, 2015 has come to pass I really don't have any problems with the faulty predictions made about "the future" that are seen in "Back to the Future II". Hoverboards have supposedly been in some form of development since the movie came out, but I don't see them replacing skateboards any time soon. "Jaws 19" seemed like a humorous, but not completely unrealistic possibility back in 1989. Little did we know then that the series had already come to an end with 1987's "Jaws: The Revenge". And how 'bout those Cubs? At the beginning of the season there did seem to be a possibility of a Chicago Cubs vs. Miami Marlins World Series, like what happened in the 2015 of the film. The Marlins tailed off very quickly, but the Cubs actually had a great season and there was a lot of excitement going into the postseason. Could this FINALLY be the year that the Cubs would win it all? The answer, of course, is no. Ironically enough October 21, 2015 was the day they were eliminated in the National League Championship Series by the Mets. It somehow makes it even more prophetic that "Back to the Future II" would predict the Cubs winning in all in 2015. Everyone knew very well in 1989 that the Cubs hadn't won the World Series for thousands of years. But who could have guessed that twenty-six years later they STILL wouldn't have done it? I guess maybe the filmmakers had an idea. After all, in 1989 it would have had the same effect if the film stated that the 2015 Boston Red Sox would have won the World Series. But in the time between 1989 and 2015 the Red Sox managed to exorcize their demons and win THREE championships. And, the Cubs are still the Cubs...

Those predictions of the future were amusing in 1989, and remain so. But there's still something about "Back to the Future" that continues to boggle my mind and has only gotten more and more acute as the years keep on rolling by. I first really became bothered by this thought around five years ago when "BTTF" was celebrating it's 25th anniversary (a quarter of a century!!!). Now that we've hit the 30th anniversary it has really come to a head. So what is it that bothers me so much about this great film? Well, in 1985 (when the original film was set and when it was released) they traveled back 30 years in the past. As a kid 1955 seemed like a distant past that was hard to relate to. I knew my parents and many other people had lived through the 50's. I knew something of the look and feel of the time from movies and TV (even if some of it was warped by the 70's version of the 50's as portrayed in "Grease" and "Happy Days"). And I enjoyed a lot of the great music that came from the period. 1985 was the present. It was NOW. I can't quite comprehend the fact that the NOW of 1985 is now THIRTY YEARS OLD!!! Looking back at 1985 from 2015 seems like a completely different concept than looking back at 1955 from 1985. But it's the same amount of time! I know a lot of it has to do with age and frame of reference, but it's hard to imagine a kid watching "Back to the Future" today and seeing the "present" world portrayed in the film as something that's as old now as the "past" world that they go back to in the film. Never mind the fact that 30 years have passed and we're now living in a very different 2015 than the one imagined in "Back to the Future II". I still can't get over my own personal time paradox between 1955/1985/2015. Heck, 1955 is now sixty years removed, but it still seems the same to me as when it was only 30 years removed. I suppose it all comes back to the fact that I'm 30 years older now too. The fifteen-year-old who watched "Back to the Future" in 1985 has somehow morphed onto a 45 year old man who still feels much the same inside, but who has changed a lot on the outside. If only I could get my hands on a Delorean time machine...

And we still have another anniversary to celebrate:
the "present" of "Back to the Future" is actually October 26, 1985!

Friday, February 27, 2015

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy passed away today, February 27, 2015.  I don't generally write obituaries/remembrances of celebrities who have left us, but this one seemed like it needed to be written.  Leonard Nimoy was of course best known, and will be remembered most, for playing the role of Spock in "Star Trek" starting in 1966.  It was a career making and defining role.  It would seem like a great thing to be associated with such an iconic character, but of course the typecasting that comes with that kind of honor can be extremely frustrating too.  It became so bad for Mr. Nimoy that he actually wrote a book in the mid-1970s called "I Am Not Spock".

This was a time after the cancellation of the original Star Trek when he was obviously having a hard time with his career and his inability to go beyond the Spock identity.  Luckily, two decades later he had learned to embrace the character enough that he wrote a follow-up book called "I Am Spock".

While he will always be remembered as Spock, Mr. Nimoy did indeed have many career successes beyond Star Trek.  These would include starring in the series "Mission: Impossible", hosting the series "In Search of...", directing two of the Star Trek movies ("Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"), Directing the hit movie "3 Men and a Baby" and having some late-career success as photographer.

This is just a small sampling of his activities over the years of course.  We haven't even discussed his career before Star Trek or appearances in films like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", but it at least gives us an idea of his body of work.

Nimoy also really cashed in on the Spock character over the past couple of decades (in a good way).  He has made appearances and has guest starred in television shows mainly because of the continuing popularity of Spock.  He had a recurring role in the series "Fringe", and was referenced in the TV series "The Big Bang Theory".  Probably the ultimate Spock/Nimoy tribute came when J.J. Abrams cast him as Spock in his first two big screen movies meant to reboot the Star Trek franchise with new actors playing the iconic characters from the original cast.  Despite the fact that the new Star Trek movies ("Star Trek" and "Star Trek into Darkness") are supposed to take place in an alternate universe (or some such thing) Abrams was still able to find a way to fit the original Spock (dubbed "Spock Prime" for the films) into them.

Spock Prime

Obviously all of this information (and much, much, much more) can be easily found with a quick Google search or a trip to Wikipedia or IMDb.  So why have I decided to write about it myself?  Well, I guess I want to share my personal feelings for Leonard Nimoy and how I felt that, in some small way, he was actually a part of my own life.  I'm sure many fellow fans will agree and probably have their own version of my story.

I was born after the original "Star Trek" series was cancelled in 1969.  Despite that fact Star Trek seemingly has always been a part of my life.  I grew up in a time when the original series was in heavy syndication on TV.  I have many fond memories of watching it as a kid.  Pretty much as long as I can remember I've been a big fan of science-fiction.  Just how much of a role Star Trek had in influencing me in that direction I can't really say.  Would I have been as into sci-fi without Star Trek?  Possibly, but there's no way to know for sure.  It's just another Nature vs. Nurture question I guess.  I do know that by the time "Star Wars" came out in 1977 I was already quite the sci-fi nerd.

Anyway, in addition to watching the original series in syndication I also recall seeing some of the short-lived animated Star Trek series from the 1970s.  I didn't see much of Leonard Nimoy on "Mission: Impossible" back then, but I was very much into "In Search of...".  The show covered many unsolved mysteries like Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, ESP, Stonehenge, The Bermuda Triangle, ghosts and on and on...  The subject matter was right up my alley, and having Leonard Nimoy as the host seemed to lend an extra dose of legitimacy and seriousness to what was actually a kind of silly show based mainly on conjecture and theory (as the opening narration itself states).  His authoritative voice--and the memory of the pure scientific logic of Spock--just made it all seem so real.

In Search of...

By the end of the 1970s Star Trek returned in a big way with "Star Trek The Motion Picture" on the big screen.  My two main memories of that time when I was nine years old are of going to see the movie (and not really "getting" it for the most part, but thinking it was cool to see the cast in something so new and impressive), and going to McDonald's to get a Star Trek Happy Meal!

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in the original "Star Trek" series
Spock as seen in the "Star Trek" movie series

By the time "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" was released I was very much coming into my own as a fan.  I didn't actually see the movie until it came out on cable, but I remember watching scenes from it on movie review shows like "Sneak Previews" with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and being absolutely stunned that they killed off Spock at the end.  Of course I didn't realize then that it was Leonard Nimoy's wish to have the character killed off so he could (try to) get on with his career.  Luckily he changed his mind after the movie came out and not only appeared in, but also directed the next installment, "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock".  His directorial debut was so successful that he also directed "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", which was one of the first movies that my friends and I actually went to on our own as we started to experience the freedom that came with getting our licenses and being able to do our own thing.  I was growing up, but Star Trek was still a big part of my life.  When "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" came out I was in the Army, but was back home to see "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" with my friends.  We also went to a sci-fi convention in Boston where Leonard Nimoy was a guest.  We didn't get to see him up close and get an autograph, but we did see him speak to the crowd in the auditorium.  That was a pretty cool moment for us!

The original cast went into semi-retirement (the characters, not necessarily the actors) after "Star Trek VI", but I always enjoyed seeing Leonard Nimoy whenever he'd appear in something new, as well as watching all the old Star Trek stuff and anything else he appeared in--like his guest appearance on William Shatner's 1980s series "T.J. Hooker".

T.J. Hooker

The advent of VCRs and DVD players allowed me to watch more Star Trek-related stuff than ever before, and whenever I wanted to.  Despite having had Leonard Nimoy "around" me all my life, there's still a lot of his work I've yet to see.  I still need to watch "Fringe".  I've started it, but haven't seen up to the point where Nimoy appears.  And now I regret not going to an exhibition of his photography that made the rounds a couple years back.

It's probably pretty obvious and unavoidable that the biggest "connection" I feel I had to Mr. Nimoy was through Star Trek.  Considering how big a part of his life and career Spock was and how popular Star Trek has always remained, that's not a big surprise.

Cast of "Star Trek: The Original Series"

Of course it was the entire show (and the entire cast) that really made the whole Star Trek experience, but something about Nimoy's humanity (despite playing a character who was only half-human) and Spock's logic always made him someone who seemed every bit as important and central to the Star Trek universe as Captain Kirk.  We've already experienced the loss of actors who played major characters in Star Trek, like James Doohan (Scotty) and DeForest Kelley (Dr. "Bones" McCoy).  I felt that both of those were major losses, but something about Leonard Nimoy passing feels just a bit more, well, I don't really know how to describe it.  Serious?  Final?  Important?  Devastating?  None of those words seems exactly right, but maybe if I could think of a word that encompasses all of them in some way that might work.  I'll bet there's a Vulcan word that would be perfect.  I suppose that some of the feeling might have to do with the fact that Nimoy was living in the age of online social networks and had embraced such sites as Facebook and Twitter.  That may have allowed us to feel like we were a bit "closer" to him in some way than we could have felt toward Doohan and Kelley.  It's a lot to think about, and I know it can seem strange for a person to mourn someone in the public eye who they didn't actually know personally, but that's the position I find myself in today.

Interestingly enough I just took my daughters to Boston's Museum of Science last week.  We saw a show at the Mugar Omni Theater.  Before each show there is a short introduction to and demonstration of the theater and its sound system.  Part of it is narrated by Leonard Nimoy.  As we listened to the intro last week thought about last year when the news came out that Nimoy was suffering from COPD and may have been in the end stage of his life.  Not having heard anything else on the topic for many months I was hoping that maybe he had improved and was doing well.  Then last night I felt like watching something late at night when everyone else in the house was asleep.  I chose an episode of "In Search of...".  About twelve hours later I heard the news that Nimoy had died.  It was  mentioned above that he had been active on Facebook and Twitter.  I think a perfect way to end this post (which could go on and on seemingly forever) is to share Leonard Nimoy's final Twitter post, which was shared a mere three days before he passed away...

Rest in Peace Mr. Nimoy.
You truly did live long and prosper.