Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: When Roger Met Patty. 1 Minute of Film...47 Years Of Controversy

4.0 out of 5 stars When Roger Met Patty. 1 Minute of Film...47 Years Of Controversy.,
September 18, 2014

This review is from: When Roger Met Patty (Paperback)
I was somewhat baffled by this 492 page book by William "Bill" Howard Munns, a makeup artist, wildlife artist, CGI artist and museum exhibit model designer -- that it was self published on the eve of the 47th anniversary of the historic Patterson-Gimlin film from October 1967. In my mind the better choice for a release date would have been on the 50th anniversary. I hear of wedded people celebrating their 50th anniversary but seldom hear of any mention of someone celebrating their 47th anniversary. No matter, for those who know and have followed my work via my newsletter, the Bigfoot Times, and more specifically, my on going work on the P-G film, that is just me being me.

My purchased review copy of When Roger Met Patty, dated August 4, 2014, is scribbled with a bunch of circled words, numerous questions marks and comments, and my thoughts about this work are many. As other reviewers have already noted, in this tome there is too much Munns and not enough intelligent discussion about the subject in the movie film. In the introduction in the first paragraph Bill Munns makes his first error. "...walking hastily away from the men at one point looking back at the camera..." According to Bob Gimlin, the only living witness to the event, when the frame count for the film is in the 350 range, the subject turns to look at Bob Gimlin, NOT Roger Patterson, who was holding the camera. In several interviews with Bob Gimlin he told me the subject knew where Roger was but was apparently concerned about the whereabouts of Bob Gimlin, who was still moving.

One thing that is clear to me and has been for several years, that no amount of argument for or against this film (I guess you can think "believers" vs. "skeptics") will ever decide the matter. The subject is either a man in a costume or an unknown primate known as Bigfoot, and whether your own arguments are for or against the matter, that doesn't change the outcome one bit. You may believe that 2+3=4 because your math professor said it was so...but that doesn't make it so. The other thing that continues to fascinate me is why spill so much digital ink on the P-G film? Why don't the doubters and skeptics invest their time on "Bigfoot" films made by Ivan Marx, Paul Freeman, or a great many more posted to YouTube? If it is a fake, why invest any amount of time on it? You might ask yourself why is it that the P-G film always bubbles to the top and not, for instance, the Freeman or Marx footage. The P-G film continues to taunt even after all this time. It evokes strong reactions.

What I find elevating in this book is here is someone who has worked in Hollywood as a makeup up artist, etc. and instead of making passing comments or talking points for television or newspaper consumption, Bill Munns single handedly launched a thorough investigation of this historic film and extracted information that no one knew before. So with his decades of make up artistry behind him, Bill concludes on page 476: "On this basis it can be concluded that the PGF Hominid is a biological primate fully organic in its appearance, and is not the result of a fur cloth costume worn by a human mime and attempting to appear as a real biological entity." It would be hard to diminish this statement drawn from years of experience, especially in light of the fact that Bill did many experiments to find answers to questions he posed to himself.

Prior to Bill Munns coming on the scene, no one knew the P-G film had 954 frames in it. The late René Dahinden, part owner of the film, always provided the number 952, and for those of you who have seen my personal e-mail address, you can be certain where that number came from. 952 frames in the entire P-G movie is wrong according to Bill Munns. A 954 frame count was discovered in the inventory process of the copy of the film in possession of Peter Byrne, a well known Bigfoot investigator. But I have heard that Byrne's copy comes from René Dahinden, so that would suggest that Dahinden's copy, obviously, must also have 954 frames. The only true confirmation of that number would come from a physical examination of the 16 millimeter camera original film.

Off topic for a moment, there are still things to be learned, even so many years after the film was shot. It wasn't until July 2012, by way of Bigfooter Steven Streufert from Willow Creek, California, did I learn that the store that Roger and Bob stopped at on the evening of October 20, 1967, to phone Al Hodgson about their film was on the south side of Highway 299 (Al's original store), not the north side, where the new store is located. It isn't a conspiracy of any sort, it is just one of those pesky facts that slipped through the cracks. The entire Bigfoot community just assumed the store that was in question was on the north side of the highway. In fact, in 1967, Al had a much smaller store, on the south side of the street. Often times this information is not widely distributed because people like Al Hodgson may have assumed that everyone already knew the variety store in question was located on the south side of Highway 299.

But getting back to reviewing the book. There are too many photos and illustrations. The author should have scaled down here considerably with only images that would illustrate his key points. Many of the images are of no value, like page 389. The images are far too small to have any visual effect on a reader. And the photo captions are hard to find, often blending in with the main text. Also, it doesn't seem like there are any photo credits to any of the images. For instance, on page 262 the image of the male bodybuilders is from The New Encyclopedia Of Modern Bodybuilding, 1998, by Arnold Schwarzenegger and published by Simon and Schuster. One gets the impression that many of the images were simply lifted from other sources and used without permission.

Then there is the matter of proof reading. Based on what I see, the book was never proofed. "Phillip Morris" on page 11 should read "Philip." On page 84 we see a "Raquel Welsh's fur bikini." Last I remember it was Raquel Welch and the movie is "One Million Years B.C." not "One Million B.C." On page 113: Roger's home town is noted as Yakima, Washington, which is not true. "proximate" should read "approximate" on page 134. On page 259 we are greeted with "the Oldivi Gorge region of Kenya, Africa." The last I remember that is the Olduvai Gorge and it is in Tanzania. You get the idea. For the super critical reviewer of Bill Munns' body of work, it would strongly suggest the author is careless in thought and writing. As the late René Dahinden used to opine, if you don't have the facts, your opinion is of no value.

On page 3 Bill writes, "the camera original footage was passed from Patterson to a film company, American National Enterprises (ANE)..." Munns should have been more accurate in his writing. The film was LOANED, not "passed," which might imply many things, even ownership. He goes on to write ANE went bankrupt and the "new owner had rightful physical possession." The camera original was a LOANED film, not something ANE ever purchased.

Bill Munns discusses the importance of the "film image data evidence, which is truly empirical and fine..." which proves to be a very salient point raised by the author. What is important is what is on that strip of film, the subject depicted in it, not the "backstory," which he likens to "...recollections of people are crappy evidence, and proves nothing because it's junk more so that [sic: than] fact." (Page 23.) So even if Roger Patterson spelled his name as "Rodger" instead of Roger or whether he didn't pay his camera rental bill or spend time with his kids, WHAT does that have to do with what is depicted on his film?

But getting back to truly empirical evidence, what proof do we have the P-G footage was shot on October 20, 1967 and not earlier? That date would have to be considered the "backstory," therefore, as per Munns' thinking, it belongs in the pile of junk recollections. But hold your horses! The backstory is very important in my view and can't be diminished the least bit. It was on that day in October that Roger and Bob came out of the woods and talked with Al Hodgson and told him this film was shot earlier in the day. That was the same day Roger spoke to the late reporter Al Tostado from the Eureka (California), Times-Standard, and news of the event was published one day later, on October 21st. Prior to this, on the old Bluff Creek Road next to the P-G film site, Lyle Laverty and his timber management crew were there just days earlier and did not see any trackway on the P-G film site. When Laverty returned to the P-G film site on Monday, October 23rd, he took slide pictures of freshly deposited human-like tracks. So the useless backstory, when looked at objectively, does have value and in some cases locks things in for times and dates. I could go on with backstory information, but why bother if Bill Munns states it is of little value.

The back story again. On page 310 the author discusses the "second reel," the film of the tracks left by the subject in the P-G film. So, prove to me, in fact, that the trackway footage is directly associated with the subject in the P-G film? In the 954 frames of the P-G film, we don't actually see the subject making tracks, we just assume the subject left them. Yet there is a detailed discussion about the second reel of the tracks left at the scene with pictures included. At one time René Dahinden stated we have no evidence those tracks are associated with the subject in the film. The author also raises his own concern: "...we cannot conclusively connect anything in the trackway footage to any landscape element of Bluff Creek in the PGF." Therefore, it follows you can't connect the dots of the filmed subject with the filmed trackway.

But hold your horses once more! On page 5 the author writes about Marlon Keith (MK) Davis, who "began to study the film and strongly advocated the film's authenticity and the reality of the filmed subject...he then went down a path of tabloid sensationalism." It was M.K. Davis, when he was more studious and serious about the P-G film, who showed, as about as empirical as one can get, that there are depressions in the sand bar, seemingly footprints, in the wake of the P-G subject as it moves forward. So I wouldn't dismiss M.K. Davis so quickly, as that discovery, and his stabilization of the P-G film (taking the jiggle out of the film) have been great advancements in the serious discussion of the film.

What is absolutely brilliant in this work by the author is his map making of where Roger is in association with the subject, showing the lay of the land. No one has dialed it in as precisely as Bill Munns. During his study and inventory of several copies of the film, the author again noticed something no one had before, the number of times the cameraman's finger came off (presumably slipped) the camera trigger. In his study and the empirical evidence of the film itself, there appears to be six segments to the film. To think that extraction from the film was still possible so late in the game is just amazing, and Bill has a very convincing discussion about the starts/stops of the film footage. Prior to Bill's study, a researcher from Vancouver, Washington, Larry Lund, in the late 1990s, had noticed this as well, but was not able to summarize his thought process into writing.

On page 76 the author writes: "In the year 2000, I was interviewed in a newspaper, and offered my opinion that I felt the PGF hominid was not a hoax." The author does no favor for the reader as you are not told what newspaper, and the exact quotation as well is not offered. As well, on page 89 and 90 he talks about the late Janos Prohaska, who wore gorilla suits for various television shows. He was also interviewed for a Bigfoot television documentary, talking about the P-G film, yet the author fails to quote what was stated. Prohaska was of the opinion if the P-G film was fabricated, it was one of the best he had ever seen. I think the author should have dabbled a bit about the IM Index as seen in the subject in the P-G film, yet there is no discussion on the matter. He should have focused, too, more on the subject's height, and what percentage of the human population grow to that height. And he should have invested more time in the nature of the subject's gait (walk).

The author writes at length at how harsh his critics have been on his work. See page 349, "...those who criticize me..." yet I have yet to find an example in this book as to who these critics might be, even by their screen names they might use in various Internet discussion groups, such as the Bigfoot Forums. His two page index for the entire book (which is just short of 500 pages) is absolutely appalling. For those who have purchased or plan on purchasing this book, When Roger Met Patty, I would have to say you are buying an unfinished draft. Perhaps the author should shorten and tidy up the sum of his work and consolidate his thinking into something like 200 pages. The photos and image credits need improvement.

However, in the end I find myself at the scientific crossroads. Science (real science) is about or partly about the process of replication. When something is demonstrated to the scientific community, other scientists want to know how it is done. The recipe, if I may. And then they try to duplicate the results, like, for instance, super tough screen glass for a smart phone that will not scratch or break.

So I would say the same for this enigmatic footage from Bluff Creek, California. Yet the fact remains, after nearly 47 years and many attempts (several seen on television) no one has been able to replicate the subject seen in Roger Patterson's home movie. If he faked the P-G film, after all these years no one, not even Hollywood, has cooked up a better recipe.

Think about that for a moment.

By itself, that should speak volumes to both armchair buffs and those who have researched the film extensively.


I guess a lot of people read my book reviews and Gene Baade reviewed my review and it might offer readers greater insight to what I have already written. Here it is:
Dear Daniel,
On my desk for two weeks has been your latest issue (October) of Bigfoot Times. Of course I keyed on your lengthy review of Bill Munns' book, with the indication of more to come. Such a lengthy review suggests to me that you regard his book as highly important, which I think it is.
I also mulled over what I wanted to say to you that would both affirm some of the things you had written in the review, and question other things you had written, but in a respectful way that shows that I value our relationship and I value your work and contribution. My sensitivity recognizes that the minor and insignificant research in the field that I have carried out cannot be compared with your decades of work and writing.

When we exchanged a couple of emails a few weeks ago after your comments in a previous issue of BT announcing a future review of the book, I commented on your criticism of Munns' not waiting until the 50th anniversary. As you have once again expressed your bafflement over Munns publishing his book in 2014, I am compelled to elaborate on what I said earlier, and address a couple of other points you bring out in your review.
As I stated a few weeks ago, "47" years in the title is a "plus" - it's an eye catcher much more than the common commemorative type anniversary numbers (25, 50, 75, 100). Think, 12 Years A Slave and perhaps many other books with non-traditional anniversary years. Plus, as my wife, Joyce, pointed out, 47 is a prime number and thus exceptional.

As to waiting three years to publish something, I feel that when one has finished a project, even if the research goes on, if the present research is already compelling and for all intents and purposes complete, why wait 3 years to publish it? That makes no sense when the content should be shared as soon as possible, and when it actually took 7 years to formulate the content. To wait for the 50th anniversary suggests that the anniversary, itself, is more important than the information and analysis completed and ready to be published. Waiting suggests placing a publicity value above an actual content value. Hollywood loves publicity value. Research loves actual value, even if it sometimes is prompted by major anniversaries.

Also, a lot can happen in 3 years to a person. Any of us, including the author, can die within the next three years. If the book is ready now, publish it while one is still living. Note: I HOPE the author will live a long time! My point is that anything can happen and we should reap rewards for our work today as much as possible, and not waiting a long time.
I agreed with you that having extra proofing in the book would have been beneficial, but I didn't think the number of errors was terrible, especially for a self-published book. We can certainly have an honest disagreement on that. But I think some of the errors you point out are quite trivial and have little or nothing to do with the actual content of the book. They don't alter the message and intent of the book. I find that, usually, only large press or university press books are free from typos and similar errors - but they sometimes also make other name-place errors like self-published books do. But, Daniel, criticizing the spelling of "tent pole" (a transposition of two letters to "tentploe"), really? Also, to compare the location of a decimal point in a financial number is like comparing minnows to elephants. A simple typo really doesn't matter and is not in the same league as a bank error on dollar amounts.

However, if your criticism of proofing and spelling errors is important in your opinion, I should point out that in that same issue of BT, on page 3, column 3, 11 lines up, you spell Gimlin "Gimlet." With your criticism of small typos, I fear you have set your own writing up in a way to criticism that would otherwise be unreasonable.

I remember what Ben Franklin said about spelling errors and typos when publishing, that we always endeavor to get them right. But, he may have implied that some contexts and words are far more critical than others. He pointed out one Bible passage regarding the day of resurrection: "In the twinkling of an eye, ... we shall all be changed." (I Corinthians 15: 52) Drop the "c" and it will read, "we shall all be hanged." In that case, the typo vastly changes the meaning of the author.
You address the importance of the backstory and criticize Munns' because he more or less dismisses it as very important to the research he did. I think you missed his point. His research was exclusively on the evidence of and in the film - the film solely - and little or nothing that preceded it or what fallowed, except what pertained to additional footage, reels, copies, etc. You do make a good point on the added reel on the footprints, but Munns agrees with you.

Munns' focus, pun intended, was this: What does the film and only the film reveal about the creature, the landscape as it pertains to the filming, and the cinematographer? For those joined and highly specific purposes, the backstory truly is not important. As an example, when a technician and surgeon examines and analyses the cat scans or X-rays of an injury inflicted on me by my wife, the reason for the fight I had with her before she clubbed me doesn't and shouldn't matter to him, nor the reconciliation we have afterwards. (Note: this didn't happen!). In theology and Biblical hermeneutics, we distinguish between "narrow" and "wide" interpretation. Munns is dealing with "narrow" interpretation, the film and only the film.

But, of course, as you point out, if we are doing what I would call a "wide" analysis, then that perspective does absolutely include the backstory, and it has high historical importance and is vastly interesting. Your work on it, as well as the fine study done by Murphy, addresses that "wide" analysis. But, in my humble opinion, Munns was correct in not trying to weave in the "backstory." For a "narrow" analysis, not even the date the PG film took place is important - this is only my opinion.
I could easily agree that the photos and illustrations in the book are of poor quality, but Munns, realizing that, sends his readers to his website for color photos. At the same time, he did choose to include the photos in the book as best he could. I, personally, found that while it was work to study the photos, especially in black and white, I understood them, and I realized that the costs of publishing precluded a larger, better, format.
V You give the author a great deal of credit and praise for his research, pointing out such things as frame 352/354, his firm conclusions on the reality of the hominid, etc. You do communicate in the midst of your criticism your appreciation for the author's research.
Daniel, I encourage you to continue to do important and critical work and continue to provide us with the wide range of information you have month in and month out in BT. I enjoy reading it and appreciate what you find and share. My critique of your review suggests that we can all, myself included, hone and improve out judgments and skills. I don't think anyone would disagree. I know it must be hard to publish a monthly newsletter/paper with research and printing demands, and there is something to be said by the free-ranging method you employed when reviewing Munns' book. We can all re-write until the cows come home, but sooner or later we have to publish what we have. So, please take my critique as it is intended, to help make you an even better writer and reviewer. God knows that I need help all the time and am critiqued by my parishioners weekly as to my writings and my sermons!
You have many gifts to offer our world of Bigfoot research - many gifts given, and many gifts to come.
My very best wishes,