Julie Adams talks “CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON”; special 3D Chicago screenings
Long beloved for her strong and compassionate portrayal of heroine Kay Lawrence in 1954’s classic CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, the eclectic Julie Adams has had an rich career in film, television and theater. Adams recently collaborated on the heartfelt memoir THE LUCKY SOUTHERN STAR: REFLECTIONS FROM THE BLACK LAGOON with her son, Mitch Danton, and in celebration of the book’s rave reviews and CREATURE’s upcoming 60th anniversary, the two will attending a pair of special 3-D showings of the film this Saturday, September 28 at Chicago’s historic Patio Theater (see details below).
The kind and generous Adams recently took some time to talk with FANGORIA about CREATURE and her pride in the passionate reaction to her book.
JULIE ADAMS: That it has entertained so many people for so long. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting three generations of fans. I even met a little girl named Kay whose parents liked my character in the movie, and wanted their daughter to grow up to be a strong-willed woman like her. This girl even had a small stuffed Creature under her arm that had been in her crib when she was a baby—and that is just one story! I’ve literally met thousands of fans over the years who love this movie. The very long life of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON never ceases to amaze me, and as we approach the anniversary, interest appears to be bigger than ever!
FANG: People seem to be drawn to the movie’s tragic conclusion—but if you could rewrite the ending, would you do anything different?
ADAMS: I might have liked it if Kay and the surviving crew narrowly escaped the Black Lagoon, and the Creature wasn’t harmed. It might have made the Gill Man a little more heroic, if he successfully defended his home and was left at peace there.
FANG: You’ve had an amazing career in film, TV and on the stage. If you could throw the Creature into any other project you did to mix things up a bit, what would it be?
ADAMS: It’s funny—when we were kicking around titles for my book, a writer friend of ours, Pat Jankiewicz, suggested the title ELVIS, THE CREATURE AND ME. So it might have been nice to have had the Creature make an appearance in the movie I did with Elvis called TICKLE ME. There is a scene in a haunted house near the end of that film, and the Creature could have scared things up a bit there for sure!
ADAMS: I’m not sure if there’s anything I know about Ben that would be a big surprise to them. He had a great sense of humor, and made all of our scenes together enjoyable. I used to greet him in the morning during production with a pat on the rubber cheek of his mask and say, “Good morning, Beastie.” This was the beginning of a longtime friendship, one that spanned more than five decades. We attended many horror conventions together, and he was quite a showman throughout it all. He loved explaining every detail about his character to the fans. He used to tell the kids who came up to our table how the crew would water him down between takes to keep him from getting too hot in his rubber costume. He really loved these shows! I’ve missed him dearly since his passing in 2008, and so do the CREATURE fans.
FANG: Was there a particular reason for writing your book, and how has the response been?
ADAMS: Some of my fans had asked me over the years if I had a memoir, so a few years ago, Mitch and I decided it was time to write one. The response to THE LUCKY SOUTHERN STAR has been very positive so far. Film critics, movie buffs and CREATURE enthusiasts seem to really like it. Because it’s about a film and television actress, it seemed appropriate to include a good number of pictures to help tell the story. They give the reader a good sense of what it was like to work in the studio system in the ’50s. I also share numerous other photos from my TV and stage career. I’ve received many encouraging notes from people who have bought the book, and it has been rewarding to hear how much they’ve enjoyed it!
Adams will appear this Saturday at the Patio Theater (6008 Irving Park Road) for two 35mm 3D showings of CREATURE: one at 2 p.m. followed by a Q&A, with book-autographing/picture-taking sessions beforehand at 1 p.m. and after at 4 p.m., and the second at 7 p.m. with a Q&A following, and autograph/picture sessions beforehand at 6 p.m. and after at 9:15 p.m. Interviews will be conducted by noted film historian and author Foster Hirsch (THE DARK SIDE OF THE SCREEN: FILM NOIR) and Mitchell Danton. Tickets are $12 pre-sale, $15 at the door on the day of the show; for more info, go to www.facebook.com/terrorintheaisles and www.patiotheater.net.