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Five Pop Culture Memories of the Bigfoot Craze of the 1970s

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Legend of Boggy Creek

In 2014, the cryptid Bigfoot or “Sasquatch” has made something of a silver screen comeback, appearing in two high-profile horror films of the found footage variety: Bobcat Goldthwait’s Willow Creek and Eduardo Sanchez’s Exists.

But even this surprising renaissance in Bigfoot-themed entertainment cannot compare with the heyday of the creature’s popularity in the 1970s.

During the disco decade, America went through a veritable Big Foot craze in which the popular (but apparently reclusive…) ape monster was seen everywhere, from toys and games to Saturday morning television, from movies to prime-time hits.

In fact, some movie fans have suggested that Chewbacca’s hairy appearance in Star Wars is an ode, in fact, to the popularity of Bigfoot at the time.

Accordingly, below are presented five highlights of the 1970s Bigfoot Craze:

 

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

Charles Pierce quasi-documentary story of Arkansas’s “Fouke Monster” was a movie sensation of 1972, and the eleventh highest grossing film of the year (right behind Fritz the Cat, The Getaway and Cabaret…). Made on a budget of approximately $150,000, the film grossed more than 20 million dollars.  The low-budget film also featured strange, unforgettable folk songs about the monster, and Arkansas locals such as Travis Crabtree.  The film’s most famous scare involves the Bigfoot-like monster attacking an unsuspecting man in a cabin’s bathroom…

 

The Six Million Dollar Man: “The Secret of Bigfoot” (1976)

Andre the Giant (and later Ted Cassidy) played the Sasquatch on this popular series, soon-to-be remade starring Mark Wahlberg. In The Six-Million Dollar Man (1974 – 1978), however, Big Foot was a bionic robot from another planet, and not a native of the American Pacific northwest. He took orders from an alien played by Stefanie Powers, and was as strong and resourceful a combatant as Col. Steve Austin (Lee Majors).

 

In Search of (1977 – 1982))

This Leonard Nimoy-hosted series devoted a half-hour segment to Bigfoot on April 28, 1977, and included a dramatization of the famous 1924 story involving miners confronting Bigfoot at their cabin near Mt. St. Helens.

 

The Bigfoot Game

This board game from Mego allowed players to “join the hunt” and track down Bigfoot “in the dangerous jungle.” Disappointingly, however, even you found “his hiding place,” he might not be there.  Aw shucks!

 

Bigfoot and Wildboy (1979)

Originally part of The Krofft Supershow in 1976, Bigfoot and Wildboy became a standalone Saturday morning TV series in 1979 and ran for twelve thirty-minute episodes. Ray Young starred as Bigfoot, who, “eight years earlier” had found a young child in the woods, and raised him to adulthood.  Joseph Butcher played the teenage version of Wildboy and together the duo grappled with UFOs, yeti, vampires, and other staples of 1970s cult-television.  The Bigfoot seen here wasn’t technically bionic, but he could jump nearly as high as The Six Million Dollar Man’s more popular Sasquatch.

 

  • I remember the Bigfoot episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man. Not only was it alien and robotic…eventually Steve and Bigfoot become friends and in later episodes they team up.

  • sampoerna quatrain

    I had a different BIGFOOT board game–the one made by Milton Bradley…there is an article about it here: http://tracystoys.blogspot.com/2011/10/milton-bradley-bigfoot-game.html
    It was cool, and gimmicky too.
    Also, it might have technically started in the 1980’s, but let’s not forget the Monster Truck named after Bigfoot!

  • S.G.B.

    John, when I was a boy in the ’70s I loved the Bigfoot, UFO and Loch Ness Monster craze.

    SGB

    • jeffunde

      Need to include the Bermuda Triangle! I was such a fanatic about Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster during the 70’s.

      • S.G.B.

        OMG, you are so right. The Bermuda Triangle definitely was a big part of the ’70s with Bigfoot, UFO and Loch Ness.

        SGB

  • whitsbrain

    I remember seeing the “The Secret of Bigfoot” as a 12-year old. I never missed “The Six Million Dollar Man”. I can see now why I thought it was so cool. That was a pretty good battle between Steve Austin and the Bigfoot. The best part about it was the sound effects. Whenever Steve or the Bigfoot is thrown through the air, it sounds as if there are fireworks screaming. It makes no sense but man, is it fun!

  • When Legends Gather…

  • Edo Bosnar

    I grew up in pretty rural area of the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s, and I remember the Bigfoot craze very well. Loved the 6 Million Dollar Man episode (the first part also frightened me a bit) and after that episode of “In Search of…” I was seeing Sasquatches in every shadow in the forest across the road…

  • The minor league baseball team the Arkansas Naturals has a sasquatch named Strike as their mascot. It was inspired by the Boggy Creek movies. http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20071212&content_id=41076342&sid=t1350&vkey=team3

  • redpill99

    Chewbecca of Star Wars was also craze. maybe planet of apes? i recall seeing a bigfoot like entity on buck rogers and fantasy island