I celebrated my seventh birthday in June of 1954. We had recently moved from our modest home in Panorama City, California to a two-bedroom apartment in Palms, West Los Angeles. The San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405) wasn’t even approved for construction yet and behind our building was a small pond. I have no precise recollection of the day I went to see the movie I’m sharing this trailer from, but I do remember it was a Saturday matinee. The Creature From The Black Lagoon was, for a seven-year-old, a very scary movie. I’m sure today it would be rated PG-13, though it would undoubtedly be far more violent and bloody.
That evening my parents went out and left me to fend for myself and my almost 4-year-old brother. At the time, it seemed perfectly normal for us to be alone on occasion and we enjoyed playing together and watching television. Come to think of it, I’m not sure how much there was to watch back then. I don’t think there was a great deal of children’s programming in 1954. At any rate, we managed to entertain ourselves and, at the appropriate hour, we trundled off to bed.
Our apartment was in the very back of the building we lived in and our bedrooms were in the back of the apartment. The window in our bedroom faced to the West and overlooked the pond behind our building. When you’re seven years old everything is bigger than life and exaggeration comes easily. It wasn’t long before that pond (which I have no doubt was pretty small by any standard I would use today) became a Black Lagoon! As I lay in bed, reliving the still-vivid scenes of horror I had witnessed that afternoon, I became increasingly convinced the creature was preparing to smash through our window and whisk us both off to his lair in the lagoon, almost certainly to be consumed at his pleasure.
I was determined not to let that happen and, mustering up my courage, I leapt out of bed, aroused my brother, and fled with him to the Building Manager’s apartment, where we sought the protection of adults. They were most likely quite surprised to hear we had been left alone by our parents and, as I learned much later in life, my mom and dad were quite embarrassed by the whole affair. Nobody called the police and nobody suggested they were neglectful. Young and impetuous, perhaps, but not criminals. I doubt that would happen today. Here’s the trailer to the movie. It was a humdinger back in the day!!
Addendum 05/02/17 – Thanks to a comment to a friend’s post on Facebook, I need to add the following video, which I think adds a little more flavor to the Creature’s panache.
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