This very episode of In Search Of… made me of lifelong fan of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch legend. The episode aired for the first time on April 28, 1977, hosted by the ever-amazing Leonard Nimoy. Considered by many to be one of the best documentaries on the subject, In Search Of…Bigfoot does not disappoint. Packed with “evidence”, and “eye-witness” accounts, the show is full of compelling and thought-provoking fodder for the imagination. We get a brief rundown of classic Bigfoot lore including the Mt. Saint Helen’s Ape Canyon incident of 1924, the mysterious case of a possible juvenile Bigfoot supposedly caught near Yale, British Columbia in 1882 nicknamed Jacko. We are treated to fantastic analysis of the famed Patterson/Gimlin footage filmed in Bluff Creek, California in the fall of 1967. We hear from some famous names in the search for Bigfoot; the always amazing Dr. Grover Krantz, and the well-known Bigfoot investigator Peter Byrne who was in his Bigfoot hunting prime in 1977. The icing on the cake for me is always the several eye-witness accounts and the foreboding debate concerning the only way to prove Bigfoot exists is to kill one. Fuse that with the ever amazing creepy, but appropriate music In Search Of… is known for, and Nimoy’s unprejudiced flat-line narration and you’ve got an episode that’s worthy of return viewings.
To a 7-year-old the show not only sparked imagination, but also terror! I remember watching the show at a friend’s house that lived across the street from me. That night, I was so frightened after watching I could barely run across the street and into my own house! Those few seconds were more than enough time for a hungry Bigfoot to cut me off and carry me to who knows where and devour me whole! My parents would be so sad! What happened to their sweet little Tommy…
My family has always been one for exploring and adventure! We are very familiar with that part of the country that is the focus of this episode. Every summer when I was a kid we were out camping, fishing, and picnicking. Believe me when I tell you I always had one eye on the tree line for that fleeting glimpse of matted black fur, or to catch a noise I wasn’t familiar, or even catch a whiff of that stinky sulfur aroma on the wind. It didn’t take much to scare myself silly!
Even now that route along the most western flow of the Columbia River bordering Washington and Oregon always reminds me of the show. This country is still rugged and mysterious. Not much has changed since 1977. I always hope to see a 7 foot tall, hairy being run across my path! The sheer terror and delight would make me stop my car, get out, and shake hands with the Big Guy! You don’t know how much I’d love that!
To this day, there has been no concrete evidence proving the existence of Bigfoot. Nimoy’s closing statement wraps up the show rather nicely: “If we assume Bigfoot is real, and that men are closing in on this seemingly gentle monster. Then we must prepare for that first meeting. To have eluded us for so long, Bigfoot must understand men very well. The burden will be on us to understand him. Bigfoot may well be waiting for some sign…that we’re ready.”