“In 1954, movie-going audiences were shocked and awed by Universal Studio’s groundbreaking horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon. As the years passed, the film gained a reputation as a landmark of the monster-movie genre. But only a small number of devotees were aware of the existence of Milicent Patrick who remains, to this day, the only woman to have designed a classic Universal monster.
That is, until film producer, horror-aficionado, and Black Lagoon acolyte, Mallory O’Meara begins to investigate rumors about the monster’s creator only to find more questions than answers. Through diligent research, O’Meara learns that the enigmatic artist led a rich and fascinating life that intersects with some of the largest figures of mid-century America, including William Randolph Hearst and Walt Disney.
The sudden, premature end to Patrick’s career is defined by circumstances that parallel—uncomfortably so—O’Meara’s own experiences in the film world, an industry that continues to be dominated by men. In a narrative with equal parts mystery and biography, The Lady from the Black Lagoon interweaves the lives of two women separated by decades but bound together by the tragedies and triumphs of working in Hollywood.”
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This book is one to read, love, and savor, you guys.I’m a huge fan of the Universal Monsters. I always have been, since I was a child. I went to film an entire TV episode segment about my love of these monsters a few years ago, though the full episode never aired before the show was canceled.Along with that, I fell in love with makeup design and fx makeup years ago, and for a bit, wanted to pursue it as a career- until, ultimately, my own self doubt left that dream dead in the water.So, it’s no surprise, the moment I found out that a book existed about Milicent Patrick, who felt almost like an urban legend with how little could be found about her beforehand, I knew I needed it immediately. I drove an hour and a half to a Barnes and Noble that carried it, and began my own journey to learn about the glamorous woman behind the Gill Man.
This book can easily be described as Julie & Julia, but with monsters and women working in Hollywood. As you journey to learn more about the history of Milicent Patrick, you go on a journey with Mallory to learn about her and her time working in the film industry, and some of the similarities shared between her and Milicent when it comes to the still relevant treatment of women in the industry.I loved this book, even though my heart was absolutely broken for Milicent, and the rage I felt reading about her accomplishments being discredited brought me to ranting to anyone who would listen. But I loved learning about her life, and seeing this glamorous, talented, and beautiful woman really accomplish so much for her time.
I highly recommend you read this book. Now. Go buy yourself a copy, and grab some extras as Christmas gifts for monster movie loving friends. If you have any interest in film, even. This book is amazing.
Have you read The Lady from the Black Lagoon?