BIGFOOT - Childhood obsession & lifelong friendship

As a child growing up in the 70s, I witnessed Bigfoot fever firsthand. The now infamous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot video shot in 1967, started an obsession with the cryptid that carried on from the 70s to present day. I remember learning of Bigfoot for the first time on an old TV show called 'In Search Of'. It was a show hosted by actor Leonard Nimoy, that covered all sorts of unexplained mysteries and phenomenon. 

While the TV shows and news outlets shared sightings and stories, I got super interested when a sighting was reported in the Red Feather lakes area of Colorado, located about an hour away from where I grew up in Fort Collins. During my youth, our family camped in the Red Feather Lakes area, and I was always on the lookout for the big guy. 

At the ripe old age of ten, I would set out on secret solo Bigfoot hunting expeditions during our camping trips. I must admit that I got in my own head many a time whilst alone in the wilderness, or in my tent at night. There were several occasions when I heard/felt strong footsteps close by as well as hearing huge branches being snapped like twigs. Granted, this was also where Colorado Parks and Wildlife released Moose into the wild, and by the mid 80s, they were very abundant in the area.

I remember drawing WANTED type posters with my rendition of Bigfoot and taping them to my bedroom wall. Many a night I fell asleep staring at the drawings I made, wondering if there were the slightest chance he existed. My family didn't celebrate holidays when I was growing up, so I never had any lore like Santa, Leprechauns, the Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy to believe in. In a way, Bigfoot was the only legend in my childhood that I halfway believed in, and held out hope for his existence.

My old 'Fouke Monster' ceramic school project

When I was in 4th or 5th grade, I took a ceramics class at school. I had heard of a new (to me) Bigfoot sighting in Arkansas, and this one attacked a family. It was spotted in Fouke Arkansas, hence his name. You can see my nine year old brain failed at phonetically trying to spell out his name in the clay. 

The Fouke Monster is also known as the Boggy Creek Monster and Swamp Stalker. The town has capitalized on the legend, having festivals and businesses dedicated to Fouke Monster merch.

Fast forward to adulthood. While I've been alive long enough to definitely experience some weirdness and unexplained phenomenon, I'm no conspiracy theorist. I'm from the school of I want to believe.. but my brain requires hard evidence. That however, certainly does not mean that I'm no longer a fan of Bigfoot and anything to do with it.

I'm a sucker for any kind of Bigfoot pop culture gimmick. Just look at some of the stuff I've gladly spent my hard earned money on over the years.

from Pizza Hut

No.. that's not a young Billy Crystal, it's some cat that people called 'The Pizza Hut Guy'.  And for a time from 1993 to the mid 90s, he pedaled Pizza Hut's newest creation BIGFOOT Pizza! This pizza was Pizza Hut's answer to Little Caesar's 'Pizza Pizza' promotion, which even came in similar packaging. Pizza Hut's pie however, was one huge pizza that measured about two square feet. 

The advertising campaign was quite ingenious. People would run around screaming their lungs out, and the Pizza Hut Guy would pop up screaming "IT'S BIGFOOT!". I fell for this gimmick hook, line and sinker, and bought a crazy amount of BIGFOOT Pizza over the years. I really do miss that pizza, but then again, I also really miss the way Pizza Hut Pizza used to taste back in the day.

I've bought this 3 pound frozen pizza a couple of times. 
In the end, the gimmick was way better than the pie.

BIGFOOT Lunchbox
This lunchbox graces a shelf in my office. I don't use this for lunch although maybe I should. I love the scene of this socially distanced Bigfoot just chilling in the Rockies, leisurely watching a fisherman (and Nessie). That scene reminds me so much of the wilderness I grew up camping in.

BIGFOOT Air Freshener
Pine.. not BIGFOOT scented

BIGFOOT Action Figure

My Bob's Burgers BEEF SQUATCH Tee

Sasquatch Sweat Soap
I can attest this does not grow hair

One of my favorite caps in my current lineup

Gotta represent my home state

Great Divide Brewing's YETI Stout
Great Divide Brewing in Denver Colorado makes a wonderful Imperial Stout, my favorite in fact. They also have a killer logo for the beer, and I jump at the chance to buy any of their special edition beers and YETI merch I can find.

I'm crazy about this company's BIGFOOT socks, and want every pair they make.

I'm not exaggerating when I say this is just a portion of things I've squandered my money on over the years. Bigfoot lore to me now is just fun, and his appearances in pop culture are usually entertaining and lighthearted. 

My adult self wonders about the ancient carvings, totems, and cave drawings that feature sasquatch type beings. I also often wonder why there's a law stating that it's illegal to kill a Bigfoot in Canada. 🤔 I guess the kid in me wants to still believe, and my ears do perk up whenever a news story makes the rounds about a Bigfoot sighting.

Until I learn any different, I'll still make the occasional comment that Bigfoot exists. My bride will roll her eyes as she always has, my kids will giggle and agree with me just to tick Mom off, and we'll all have a good laugh. Real or not, Bigfoot has made for some great memories and entertainment over the years, and indeed made life a bit more colorful, mysterious, and entertaining for this particular boring Gen Xer.