Julie Adams Revisits the Black Lagoon

Tinseltown Talks

By Nick Thomas

 

How much mileage could a studio expect from a 1950s film starring a biologist with a

fascination for a secluded fishpond? Quite a bit, when the scientist is beautiful Julie Adams

wrapped in a skin-tight white latex bathing suit and the fish turns out to be an angry piscine

amphibious humanoid – aka “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

 

Premiering 60 years ago this month, the success of the now cult film continues to astound

Julie who, at age 87, remains a popular guest at fan conventions and film festivals across the

country. In March, she will be appearing at the Williamsburg Film Festival, WV (see http://

wff5.tripod.com).

 

“It’s amazing the life this movie has,” said Ms. Adams, from her Los Angeles home, who

portrayed scientist Kay Lawrence abducted by the infatuated Gill Man towards the end of the

creature feature. “It’s a classic beauty and the beast story, with stunning underwater photography

filmed at Wakulla Springs, Florida, because of its clear waters. The lagoon scenes were shot at

the Universal Studios backlot where ‘Gilligan’s Island’ was filmed.”

 

Underwater, Julie was doubled by Ginger Stanley, while Ricou Browning donned the rubber

creature suit for swimming scenes. On land, the creature was played by Ben Browning. “Ben

began going to fan conventions in the 1990s and convinced me to attend my first one in 2003.

It’s wonderful to meet so many people who still enjoy your work.”

 

Fans have also shared some interesting admissions with Julie. “Some told me they became

zoologists or paleontologists because of the film. And I met a little girl who was named after my

character!”

 

In 2011, the Arkansas-raised actress self-published her autobiography, “The Lucky Southern

Star: Reflections from the Black Lagoon,” coauthored with her son, Mitch Danton. The book

contains some 200 photographs, many unpublished from her personal collection, with a chapter

devoted to the Black Lagoon.

 

Of course, the Creature wasn’t the only biped Julie costarred with during her career. She

received top billing with less scaly characters such as William Powell, Glenn Ford, Charlton

Heston, Elvis Presley, Rock Hudson and many others (see www.julieadams.biz). “Rock and I

were about the same age, so we became close friends and often played bridge.”

One of her favorite costars was Jimmy Stewart, with whom she appeared in “Bend of the River,”

two years before the Black Lagoon. Two decades later, she reunited with Stewart in 1971 for the

“Jimmy Stewart Show.”

 

“After I read for the part of Jimmy’s wife, he gave me a little nod as if to say ‘you’ve got the job’

– and I did. Jimmy was wonderfully informal but professional, so it wasn’t hard to pretend to be

in love with such a lovely man and talented actor.”

 

However, critics and audiences were not so enamored with the show, which was cancelled after

the first season.

 

“It was quite a charming show, but came out the same time as more edgy sitcoms like ‘All in the

Family,’” said Julie, who still remembers it fondly. “My idea of heaven was going to work with

Jimmy Stewart every day for six months!”

 

Unlike the little-remembered TV show, “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” continues to gain

fans from new generations. “Some projects just take on a life of their own,” says Julie. “The

Creature still walks among us.”

 

Nick Thomas has written features and columns for more than 400 magazines and newspapers.

He can be reached at his blog: http://getnickt.blogspot.com

 

Please make sure you credit “Seth Kaye Photography” for the photos of Nimoy you may use.

The photographer sent me high resolution images for use with this story, but emphasized we

must give credit to use without charge (details on jpg names).

.

Also, one early work of Nimoy’s photography. nick

Facebookby feather
Facebookby feather
%d bloggers like this: