Top 5 Creatures on Florida Memory

What creatures lurk in the collections on Florida Memory? Check out our top five, then nominate a few of your own!

5 . Giant Fish

The lively portraiture of a fish called the Dolphin...The top of his back and all his fins be blue, all his sides are of light green, the belly white, his head almost all blue, the tail one part blue, and the lower part green. He is very pleasant to behold in the sea by day light, and in the night he seemeth to be of the colour of gold, he takes pleasure as other fishes do in swimming by the ship, he is excellent sweet to be eaten.

“The lively portraiture of a fish called the Dolphin… The top of his back and all his fins be blue, all his sides are of light green… He is very pleasant to behold in the sea by day light, and in the night he seemeth to be of the colour of gold.” Excerpt from a map by Italian cartographer Baptiste Boazio depicting Sir Francis Drake’s 1586 raid on St. Augustine (1589).

 

 4. Mermaid

Mermaid checking her hair in a mirror: Weeki Wachee, Florida

Mermaid checking her hair in a mirror: Weeki Wachee, Florida (1960).

 

3. Writhing Swamp

Lithograph of a Florida swamp (ca. 1800s)

Lithograph of a Florida swamp (1800s).

 

2. Alligator Dragon

Envelope decorated by Herbert A. Franke and addressed to Koreshan Unity president Hedwig Michel in Estero, Florida

Envelope decorated by Herbert A. Franke and addressed to Koreshan Unity president Hedwig Michel in Estero, Florida (ca. 1972).

 

1. The Creature

Ginger Stanley in the grip of the Creature From the Black Lagoon -at Silver Springs, Florida (1955)

Ginger Stanley in the grip of the Creature From the Black Lagoon at Silver Springs, Florida (1955).

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Creature from the Black Lagoon Released (March 5, 1954)

On March 5, 1954, Universal International Pictures released Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Still from Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wakulla Springs, ca. 1953

The creature emerges from Wakulla Springs, ca. 1953

The film’s plot centered around an Amazonian expedition gone awry when a scientific team encountered the mysterious “Gill Man.” The creature became enamored with a member of the team, played by Julie Adams, and kidnapped her after escaping from the scientists’ grasp.

Film crew at Wakulla Springs, October 18, 1953

Film crew with 3-D camera at Wakulla Springs, October 18, 1953

The filmmakers visited Wakulla Springs, south of Tallahassee, while scouting locations for the film. They were introduced to a young FSU student and part-time lifeguard at the springs named Ricou Browning. Director Jack Arnold eventually cast Browning to play the part of the creature during underwater scenes. Browning parlayed this experience into a subsequent career in film and television.

Ricou Browning becoming the Creature, Wakulla Springs, ca. 1953

Ricou Browning becoming the creature, Wakulla Springs, ca. 1953

The filmmakers used Florida’s natural beauty again as a backdrop while filming the sequel, Revenge of the Creature (1955). Revenge featured footage shot at Silver Springs, Marineland, and along the St. Johns River. Scenes from the third and final installment in the series, The Creature Walks Among Us (1956), were also filmed in the Sunshine State.

Ginger Stanley in the grip of the creature, Silver Springs, ca. 1955

Ginger Stanley in the grip of the creature, Silver Springs, ca. 1955