Friday, February 22, 2008
Ben Chapman 1925-2008
I am devastated to learn that Ben Chapman has passed away. Ben was the actor who is best known for portraying the Creature from the Black Lagoon during all of his out of the water scenes (Ricou Browning played the Creature for the underwater scenes) in Universal Pictures' classic 1954 movie "The Creature From the Black Lagoon."
A few years back, I included a thinly disguised version of Ben in a SCOOBY-DOO story I wrote. When the issue came out, I sent a copy to him, not expecting to ever hear from him, mostly it was just a way for me to say thanks for being the persona behind one of my favorite monsters when I was a kid (all right, the Creature is still one of my favorites). I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from Ben, just a short time later, complimenting the issue and thanking me for putting him in the story. He seemed delighted by the inclusion, and also saw the story as a way to bring attention to the Creature to children who might otherwise be ignorant of the monster's existence. This led to a brief back and forth exchange of emails, and a desire to meet Ben in person at one of his numerous convention appearances. I never was able to, and am saddened by this missed opportunity. I'm more saddened by Ben's passing, as he seemed like a genuine, delightful man as evidenced in the emails he sent me, and in the many interviews I've read with him, watched on DVD, or the stories I've heard about him from people who actually did have the pleasure of knowing him.