When Roger Met Patty
This book is dedicated, first and foremost, to the actual participants of the Patterson-Gimlin Film Mystery (one deceased and one still living) because the have seen
their lives transformed (or cursed, in some cases) by this film. It has made them famous and forced them to adjust their lives to the controversy of the film. In a sense, they have lost a significant portion of their lives to this film, so powerful is it’s impact, and so turbulent its controversies.
It defined Roger Patterson’s life, literally becoming his legacy, but it also put his life under a public microscope, and as his life was not that of a “regular guy” with a steady job, every arguable flaw or mistake, every irresponsible or thoughtless action he may have done, is documented, debated and publicly examined. People intent on
showing the film to be a hoax have vilified Roger with an intensity that still astonishes me. So first and foremost, this book is dedicated to Roger, because he did not hoax this film. Whatever else in his life you may wish to criticize him for, as being flawed or fake, this film is honest and what he claimed to film was true.
Second in dedication is Bob Gimlin. When he agreed to accompany Roger on this expedition to search for Bigfoot evidence, he could not possibly have known that the encounter in the Bluff Creek forest would devour his life like the shark in JAWS. This film would make him world famous, it would make total strangers hate him, it would provoke people to impugn his personal integrity again and again, an it would be something he cold never erase, never ignore, never resolve. People examining his life obsess with second-guessing his decisions, his actions, his words and his demeanor. But those who do are fools, because they judge Bob without full knowledge of his thoughts, his personal decisions and private considerations. He has attempted to maintain some semblance of privacy in his life, despite being something of a “public figure” by virtue of this film, and his public actions and statements are driven by choices, considerations
and factors in his private life, which he has every right to try and keep private. So to judge Bob is to indulge in petty character assassination, because to defend himself, he would need to surrender his privacy, and every human needs some privacy just to be human.
In October, 1967, something happened to Bob that was so rare, so bizarre, and so powerful in changing the course of his life, that we can never judge how well he has managed to endure this experience. How well would we, if fate put us there instead of him? But, while Roger passed away less than five years after the filming, Bob has endured 47 years of this film’s grip on his life. And yet the film has defied resolution during those years, holding his life, his reputation, in suspense. So with this dedication, I hope that it gives Bob some comfort and some resolution or closure to the controversy. He saw something real that day, 47 years ago. It was not a guy in a fur costume. He’s always known that. Hopefully, now more people can share what he has always known.
Third in dedication is Patricia Patterson, Roger’s widow. When Roger packed up the truck to go with Bob Gimlin in early October, 1967, headed for Bluff Creek, CA, Patricia was a housewife with three young kids and no financial stability in their life. Her problems were the problems of millions of women, to keep a household going and raise some kids despite financial insecurity. She also was struggling with the difficulty of seeing her husband endure the crude radiation treatments of the
era for Roger’s cancer (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma). Then he came home from his trip and announced to the world what he had filmed. And Patricia’s life went from being challenging and understandable to bizarre and unprecedented.
Mothers the world over deal with comforting their children who may be bullied or mocked at school, for being too fat, too skinny, too dumb, too smart, or too unattractive. But Patricia had to comfort her kids who were bullied or mocked for having a father who claimed to have filmed “Bigfoot”. She watched the media circus Roger engaged in with the assistance of his brother in law, Al DeAtley as they four-walled the movie around the country. She
watched his cancer return and lead to his death in 1972. she found herself alone, with three kids, no estate or assets, except a bizarre piece of film that TV producers would pay good money for rights to broadcast. How does woman deal with such a situation? What friend do you ask, what course do you take, what professional do you hire, to help you make the kind of decisions she was now faced with, trying to manage this one utterly unique and controversial asset?
Since Roger’s passing, 43 years ago, Patricia has been approached by people who try to prove the film is real, others who are determined to prove it a hoax, and media producers who want to license and exploit the film for program content. She has been poorly served by some of these people, and outright deceived by a few. Now, her own health is declining and she deserves some closure on this film which looms over her life. So this book is dedicated as well to her life, her challenges, and hopefully, some closure to this film controversy that has caused he so much grief and aggravation…
“When Roger Met Patty”
Copyright 2014 by Bill Munns
All rights reserved
Used here with permission
Letter of permission to use this portion…