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

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3 thoughts on “Creature from the Black Lagoon Released (March 5, 1954)

  1. Loved this movie! I only wish they had filmed it in color. I’ve been to Silver Springs, but yet to have visited Wakulla Springs.

  2. I was only eight years old the night that we were taking my father to the railroad depot, where he was the Conductor of Atlantic Coast Line train #37, a nighttime passenger and baggage train from Jacksonville to St. Petersburg (it was #38 on the return trip the following night). On the night that I am referring to in 1954, we noticed bright lights at the Lobster House restaurant at the foot of the old Acosta Bridge, and automobiles were stopped in the northbound lane of the up-ramp of the bridge.

    We also stopped to see what was going on, and actually saw “The Creature” all decked out in his suit. We watched for a few minutes, and then continued on to get my father to the Train Depot on time. This was well before the Atlantic Coast Line (CSX) building even broke ground. I watched the girders go up on that building from Landon High School in 1959. For some reason, I recall looking over the river looking at the George Washington Hotel.

    This was big news back then, and Jacksonville was a small town compared to today. There were thousands of stars still visible in the sky, as well as Moonlight back then.

  3. Oh Bob Nelson, I can only imagine how wonderful Old Florida was. I lived in Port St Joe for a few years and we went to Wakulla and loved it. As soon as I saw the river scenes I said “omg that’s Wakulla!”. So here I am commenting. I live in Santa Rosa County now but my heart is always on the Forgotten Coast. I miss it so much it’s indescribable. The last vestiges of Old Florida are there. And it shrinks more and more every year. Thanks for your story.

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