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CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
1954 Universal-International (3-D)
TV Syndication '64-'72: Seven Arts Associates (WB Television)
NY TV Debut: Saturday, December 5, 1964
Station: WCBS-TV Channel 2 (The Late Show)

Even without 3-D, "Creature from the Black Lagoon" proved to be one of WCBS-TV's most enduring sci-fi attractions during the mid-'60s and early '70s. It played THE LATE SHOW three times (beginning with an auspicious Saturday night debut), THE EARLY SHOW twice (the first time squaring off against "Creature from the Haunted Sea" on rival ABC-TV's THE BIG SHOW), and PICTURE FOR A SUNDAY AFTERNOON once. Thereafter it was relegated to the inevitable LATE, LATE slots, watched only by insomniacs, monster movie fans, and dedicated cinema scholars.
Ironically, the film's most memorable scene - Julie Adams' tantalizing underwater ballet - was cut from most afternoon telecasts during the 1960's. Whether this material was deemed too suggestive or merely extraneous by the Channel 2 editors is anyone's guess.
"Creature" ended its historic WCBS-TV run in late 1972, having evolved from minor U-I programmer to genuine horror movie classic along the way. When the Gill Man resurfaced a year later on WOR-TV, he was a heavily-promoted component of MCA-TV's new "77 Horror Greats" package, which included all of Universal's classic monster melodramas previously syndicated by Screen Gems.

Broadcast trivia, right: For the only time in its entire eight-year run on WCBS-TV, "CFTBL" was initially telecast with its main titles lopped off the beginning of the film and spliced onto the end. This resulted in a splice/blip during the second musical note of the "Genesis" opening that remained for all future Channel 2 showings (most local TV stations never replaced their well-worn 16mm movie prints).

Gary Gerani, 2007

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  • Apr 12, 2007
  • English

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