Bigfoot Film: Happy 40th Anniversary

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 19th, 2007

Patterson Gimlin Bigfoot Film

Once upon a time there were Sasquatch sightings and no film of a Bigfoot in the bush. Those were the early days, before October 20, 1967, when only a few hunters, seekers, searchers, researchers and writers across North America compared notes via a thing called the postal service.

Female Sasquatch

Ideas about Bigfoot and Sasquatch were based on artist drawings and sighting descriptions, folklore and native art, and footprints and fecal droppings.

In the Dark Time, before computers, email, the internet and stabilization software, the involved researchers, field workers, and authors, all one dozen or so of us, would send thermofax copies and original news articles across hundreds of miles. It might take more than two weeks to reach a colleague, and then get a reply in return.

Female Sasquatch

There was a general agreement about the appearance of Bigfoot. A few sightings of females, most famously indirectly through the eyes of William Roe and Albert Ostman, even gave a notion of how the Abominable Woodswomen looked.

William Roe Drawing

Exchange of information was through missives called letters, as well as via popular magazines found in barber shops and a rare book or two in some libraries. Set yourself in those times, when interest was low, and few cared about Bigfoot.

Roger Patterson Film Frame Drawing Comparison

Then Roger Patterson, along with his partner Bob Gimlin, came upon a hairy, unknown female hominoid at Bluff Creek, California, on that fateful day in 1967. He was out filming for a self-made documentary, with no big Hollywood budget, and happened across a real-life Bigfoot. He captured the primate on film. No rushing back to his computer to post it on YouTube immediately. Things moved at a slower pace back then.

Patterson Gimlin Bigfoot Film

It was not until weeks or even months later that some saw the film for the first time.

The history of cryptozoology and hominology has never been the same since then. Advances in technology give us a better view of the footage today, but the film is set in stone; indeed, it is a milestone.

As opposed to folks nowadays trying to fit the square peg into the round hole to explain every aspect of why the Bigfoot looks the way it does on that film, step back for a moment. Step back in time. Step back forty years.

The Bigfoot in the October 20th footage looks the way it does because that’s the way they appear.

There’s nothing complex about it. A female Bigfoot, maybe an older one, mirrors what is seen.

Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the Patterson-Gimlin footage for one day – on its 40th anniversary this Saturday – without undue over-analysis.

It is what it is.

For more on the iconic imagery of Patty, please click here.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

35 Responses to “Bigfoot Film: Happy 40th Anniversary”

  1. Ceroill responds:

    Very cool, Loren. Happy Picture Day, Patty!

  2. bill green responds:

    hey loren & everyone , yes it is a very happy 40th anniversity of the p/g bigfoot filmfootage indeed. thank you bill green 🙂 great article as well.

  3. chrisandclauida2 responds:

    i dont know how someone can look at this film and compare it to all the fakes wannabees hoaxes and supposed re-creations, by alleged reputable news and television groups, and not be hit between the yes with the proverbial 2×4 that is the “oh my god its real” conclusion.

    each time i see this film i see new muscle movement. i also see no wrinkled costume, no bunched up necks and no out of proportion limbs.

    add to this that it is a female demonstrating classic diversion behavior….. and….. well…. all i can say is look at it.

    i know we dont see a baby, even tough the red circle crowd sees the northern California Bigfoot mixed choir in the trees and 10 other creatures enjoying the show, but we also dont see this animal freeze in its tracks nor run at full speed away. deduct what ever conclusion you will from this.

    if seeing is believing and after seeing this, with all we know about hoaxes and failed re-creations, you dont believe i feel so very sorry for your ability to grow as a human being.

  4. stooge75 responds:

    happy birthday patty.

  5. Artist responds:

    Like other momentous televents locked forever in private corners of my mind in shades of gray and pastel, I recall standing in the living room of our South Milwaukee flat, pointing at the Zenith on the brass stand by the window, and shouting “look, Look! LOOK!!!” to my startled wife, as Patty ambled into my life.

    Where would Sasquatch research, even Cryptozoology itself, be, without this catalytic moment in so many of our lives?

    Thanks, Loren, for your sensitive and humorous treatment of this Anniversary ~ “It is what it is”, indeed!

  6. MattBille responds:

    This film got a lot of us into cryptozoology (or more into it). If ever a genuine film of a sasquatch has been taken, this is undoubtedly it. If it’s an ape suit, it’s a superb ape suit. Perhaps the biggest question this film makes us ask is why nothing in the next four decades has been nearly as convincing.

    Happy 40th, Patty.

  7. planettom responds:

    Cheers! To Patty and her family! 🙂 and looking forward to her next appearance; or maybe her offspring.

  8. DWA responds:

    Forget it, Loren, surrender. Here come 100 more posts. 😀

    Well, chrisandclaudia, all I can say to this is: there is, unfortunately, much reason NOT to “believe.” For one thing, it’s all about evidence and proof, and so far, the former, for whatever reasons, have not added up to the latter. For another, most people who read, and almost all on the Internet, are besieged almost daily with further news of the wonders of science, and digesting this as inadequately as they do, are simply incapable of understanding why science (whatever that is) can’t just do a thermal scan of the country and come up with your lost wedding ring, much less a half-ton ape.

    It’s not ability to grow as a human being that’s the problem here. (In some quarters, accepting that science needs proof, and has a lot on its plate right now to be dealing with this, amounts to growth.) It’s the ability to, well, find time in these hectic times to rethink your drink, re-look at this, and reassess what we really do have toward proof.

    Which is a lot.

  9. DWA responds:

    Oh, and it’s such bad form to come in, scarf the shrimp, have a beer and bolt without saying Happy Birthday. Even if you brought beer. (Look in the fridge.)

    So Happy Birthday, Patty. You rock, whatever you are.

  10. mystery_man responds:

    Oh no, here we go again with the PG footage. I’m not getting drawn into another 100 plus post debate this time! 🙂 Happy Anniversary to the footage, though. It has created wonder and an interest in cryptozoology in so many. A real sasquatch, a costume, whatever Patty is, she has certainly had a profound effect on the field. I lift my cup of Nihonshuu (Japanese sake) to her.(fellow Japan dweller elsanto, I’m sure you’d do the same!) The debate on this one is likely to go on for another 40 years. Hope I’m still around then!

  11. Loren Coleman responds:

    Yes, I said relax and view the film. Take it in, like you never have before.

    Enjoy it, without thinking about it, today and tomorrow, for a change.

  12. DARHOP responds:

    Happy BirthDay Patty Video! I hope and pray that you are still with us.

  13. showme responds:

    Please don’t pity me for seeking the truth and not personally finding it in the PG film. I never underestimate the cleverness of man and his abilities.

    I won’t pity anyone for putting all their belief in Patty. If you are able to accept it without corroborative evidence that can be tested, good for you. I simply cannot. The proverbial “scene of the crime” washed away long ago.

    I won’t be critical of the film, because there is nothing to be critical of– the only test that can be done is comparative locomotion, and that’s been inconclusive.

    To all believers and non-believers alike, Happy St. Patty’s Day!

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun)

  14. Loren Coleman responds:

    This has been posted by BB friend David, to wit, at Famous Bigfoot film: 40th anniversary, so welcome to all coming here via Boing Boing – as well as old friends from The Anomalist, C2C, and other locations to say hi on the 40th anniversary.

    Welcome to Cryptomundo.

  15. elsanto responds:

    Loren, Craig, and everyone else connected in someway to Cryptomundo!

    Here’s a toast to Patty, if for no reason other than the fact that the footage she appears in still keeps the questions and debate going for forty years strong!

    *Glass of nihonshuu (sake) raised.* Kampai! (Cheers.)

  16. greenmartian2007 responds:

    Well, so it has been 40 years.

    I agree with DWA and Showme. The film is indeed a film. But what a lot of people believe that it purports to show, well…it’s not the bonafide thing.

    That is not to say, bonafide or not, the film, and the hoopla surrounding it for many decades afterwards, was not good for raising awareness of the concept of “hidden animals” in North America, and particularly in the United States, where we have 240 million people living.

    I think the film, and the “Sasquatch” and “Bigfoot” moniker really went mainstream everywhere after “Bigfoot: Man or Beast” started getting shown by local organizations around the country including in “little town” USA (Boyscouts where I was at. I was very young, and I wasn’t permitted to see it at the time, which was shown at the local highschool I think in early or mid-1970s). I eventually got to see this film on TV, I think several years ago on PAX TV. (Now called “Ion Television” where I am at.)

    I think the continent is large enough, with enough un-thoroughly explored territory left that there are hidden, and/or unidentified animals in existance. Including the possibility of bipedal pongids that range in size from 5 feet to 10 feet in height. (And I think the real place to get one of these is in the Alaska area. “RainCoast Sasquatch” tells me that is where scientists and researchers might most easily get the proof. The book has maps too, of where the sightings were.)

    So the concept of a potential member of the primate family unknown to science existing upon the North Ameircan contient is not that outlandish. It’s just that the 1967 film is not the veriafiable proof of the existence. I think the 1994 video clip on the DVD “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science” is a better example of what might be considered proof. The one taken by the park ranger, with sound also.

    My two cents.

  17. Cryptid Hunt responds:

    When I wake up tomorrow morning I’m watching non-stop bigfoot sasquatch documentaries and Oregon Bigfoot Search for a Living Legend! Oh yeah Happy Birthday Patty!

    Great article Loren! How did you locate it?

  18. Artist responds:

    Cryptid Hunt – I’m thinkin’ that Loren WROTE this article, cuz I recognize his subtle humor and accurate articulation.

  19. Loren Coleman responds:

    Yes, I was confused when I read that about “an article” too. The above blog is solely my creation, in which I am trying to set a mood for a retro-viewing of the film.

  20. deejay responds:

    I’ve had my doubts about this film for a long time, but a month or so ago I decided to give it a fresh chance. I reviewed the film a bunch, and spent many nights reading about it. Now I can honestly say, I lean towards this footage being real. This is a huge thing for me to say, because I was a non-believer for so long. Now I have to admit it, the evidence is there, you’re all not crazy like I had once thought. I highly recommend anyone who thinks the film is a total fake to do some research, I was shocked at how much information and time has gone into studying this film. Then you can make your own decision as I did.

  21. john5 responds:

    Happy Anniversary All! Thank you Loren!


  22. Cryptid Hunt responds:

    Also I want to dedicate to the investigators of bigfoot research Loren Coleman, John Kirk, Autumn Williams, John Green, Rene Dahinden, Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Rick Noll, Craig Woolheater, Bernard Heuvelmans, Bob Gimlin and of course Roger Patterson and to all those in the sasquatch bigfoot mystery!!!

  23. Cryptonut responds:

    Very well put Loren. That was a great way to put the film in the proper perspective of the time that it came into being. What I was really fascinated with is the drawing by Mort Kunstler! I love his work, particularly his Civil War and Wild West art. I had no idea that he ever did a Sas drawing. When was it drawn, and are there any more out there?

  24. DWA responds:

    deejay: The Patterson-Gimlin Film. Making Converts For Over 40 Years.


  25. mrbf2007 responds:

    I want to wish the late Roger Patterson, Bob Gimlin and “Patty” a happy 40th Anniversary, and hope that this day goes very well. This film was part of what got me interested in the Sasquatch mystery to begin with, and it is truly iconic in its stature, probably only second to the Zapruder film as far as recognition. I am happy to personally know one of the principal modern investigators of this film, Mr. M.K. Davis personally, and he has done an amazing amount of work on it. I salute him today as well. Excelsior, “Patty!!!”

  26. voodoochild responds:

    It is truly amazing how much of an impact this film has had, and continues to have on people. When/If a carcass is finally discovered, or a live BF is captured (less likely), it will be interesting to compare either of these to the subject in the film. Especially if it happens to be female. Personally, I am grateful to Mr. Patterson and Mr. Gimlin for capturing this fleeting moment in time, 40 yrs. ago.

  27. deejay responds:

    DWA: I was even able to convince my wife, although she may have just given in because I talked about it for a month straight! I’m about an hour away from Loren’s museum, I may have to drag her over there one day.


  28. DWA responds:

    deejay: drag her over there! Every convert is another straw on the camel’s back! Science Must Know…!

    OK, sorry, move on citizens, move on, nothing to see here….

  29. Gary the Cat responds:

    This footage is one of the modern Wonders of the World. Because it provokes wonder!

    It hasn’t been proved. It hasn’t been disproved.

    Along with the Zapruder film, it will live on after all of us.

    Happy Birthday Patty.

  30. mfs responds:

    Even after 40 years the fascination continues. Patty was the first cryptid to capture my attention as a teen and it has never diminished. A well-deserved Happy 40th Anniversary to Patty!

  31. Ken Gerhard responds:

    Great credit should also be given to Bob Gimlin, who has endured much over the years due to the controversy. For those who have personally heard him relive the experience, there is little doubt that a very genuine man rode up on a most remarkable and rare animal that fateful day. At a conference a few years ago, I told Bob that I was jealous of what he had witnessed and he replied that he and Roger had just been incredibly “lucky” that day. I suggested that they had made their own luck, since they were there investigating a rash of recent tracks in the area. Happy Birthday Bob! (Oct. 18th)

  32. mfs responds:

    After 40 years there is no other cryptid film footage like it or any other that comes close. It mesmerised me as a teen when I first saw it and continues to do so. A well-deserved Happy 40th Anniversary Patty!

  33. silverlee responds:

    I just came across this website and it appears interesting. But, I am in doubt of “Bigfoot” as being a real creature. The man that now talks about this film as his capture of evidence of Bigfoot has been on National Television in a documentary admitting that he and two other men put the film together. I do not have names and location but just remember seeing the documentary on TV about three years ago. I do not remember what satillite channel it was on either. In my mind I wrote it off as real. Even if it does make mon ey for people to keep this going. One of his friends wore the suit and walked away from the scene as it indicates. They person on the documentary even talked with him and showed him walking in normal gait, which was identical to what you see on film. Strange but true to me ,”she was a he” in a Bigfoot suit someone made.

  34. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Well, Happy 40th Patty. Whatever the hell you were! 😉

    And if you were indeed a lady Sasquatch, and are still around, wouldn’t you please step out of the woods so we can take ANOTHER shot at you (photographic I mean)?

    PS: Mmm…That’s an interesting question. What would be the average age rate for a primate like the Sasquatch?

  35. Tarajunki responds:

    Over the years I have heard many people who have “admitted” to to the world that they are the ones who were involved in the “costume” part of this film. None of them however could come up with any reliable evidence to support a scam other than to say ,”well it was so long a go we don’t really remember what happened to the costume or many details.” That I can believe, but it seems as time goes on lots of individuals looking to make a fast buck come out of the woodwork looking for possible publicity.

    I was sad to see Rene Dahinden passed away a few years back. How many of us will pass without ever knowing one of the greatest of world mysteries?

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