Ricou Browning performed swimmingly as movie monster
The monster suit in "Creature From the Black Lagoon" is one of the most memorable in horror films. But it would have been all wet if the audience didn't believe that the part-man, part-fish Creature could swim underwater.
The scaly title being in "Creature From the Black Lagoon" (1954).
Luckily for fans of the 1954 classic, Ricou Browning dove headfirst into the project.
Browning performed the underwater swimming as the Creature in three '50s films. (Other actors played the Creature on land.) Florida native Browning, 83, is among guests at the Chiller Theatre Toy, Model & Film Expo to be held Friday through Sunday in Parsippany.
As the Creature, Browning swam with balletic grace. One imagines it was harder than it looked.
"I'll put it this way," said Browning. "It's like when you play football and you put on all the gear — the shoes and the pads and the helmet. At first, it's bulky and cumbersome. But then, when you go in the game and you start to play, you don't even know you have it on.
"Swimming in the suit was like that. Once you get into it, you forget about the suit."
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How did Browning breathe while filming the underwater scenes? (Some fans assume that an air tank was built into the costume.)
"We were going to put a tank in the suit, but it was going to be too bulky," Browning said. "It just didn't work. Then we were going to use a face mask, but it would make the nose protrude out too far."