October 2023


The release of The Legend of Boggy Creek in 1972 initially caused this widespread attention. Directed and produced by Charles B. Pierce, it has a documentary style combining real and staged interviews with fictional depictions of the events. The Legend of Boggy Creek gave the town a new level of fame, which, since its spread, has been a train that cannot be derailed. “It’s so famous you wouldn’t even imagine that it could have happened, but it was just the right timing and the right circumstances that the movie did so well,” Blackburn said. “That made this little town famous, and for that, it’s [reached] fame that other little towns can’t compete with.” The film used many locals in its production, often having them play themselves as they recount their personal experiences with the monster. There have been many sightings over the years, and the local newspaper recorded one account, garnering the town a lot of attention. But the movie, which made over $20 million at the box office, is what brought the masses to this rural town. People who wouldn’t usually come to the area were interested in it after reading the story in the Texarkana Gazette in 1971. “It initially brought people in, and then, when the movie got big, it brought an even bigger wave of people down here,” said Blackburn. The movie’s influence could easily be seen through the sudden invasion of tourists hoping to see something extraordinary. This influx of visitors had both positive and negative effects on the community. “Small towns don’t like a lot of people tromping around and coming in. On one hand, it’s great because they’re stopping at your gas station and your convenience store and your two or three restaurants or whatever you have,” Blackburn said. “But it is kind of an invasion, because these people are used to being out here a little bit away from the hubbub and stuff.” Along with the tourists came more zealous attempts to see the monster, such as setting up tents on private property near Boggy Creek. The town realized their situation wasn’t going away soon, and the reactions were mixed. “Some of them found humor in that, and some of them were mad. This was an invasion of privacy, and so they had a split

Denny Roberts, owner of the Monster Mart in Fouke, Arkansas



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