If it all sounds a little convenient for a pair of Bigfoot hunters in search of one of the beasts to actually run across one in the wilderness, then you have company. As Brian Dunning noted in a 2013 Skeptoid.com podcast, Patterson and Gimlin had become "the luckiest Bigfoot hunters in history, when the creature obligingly stepped out of the woods and strode across the clearing for Patterson's camera."
By Mike Payne from Unsolved Mysteries
Related: The Patterson-Gimlin Film (Part 1)
But stay with the story here...
The first part of Patterson's film is shaky, the result of trying to roll film while running. When he got to within about 80 feet of the creature, Patterson said the figure glanced over its right shoulder at him as Patterson fell to his knees to continue filming. From there, the camera continued to capture the creature walking away. That part of the film contains the most famous frame in Bigfoot lore - frame 352 - in which the figure glances back at the men.
The figure eventually disappeared behind a row of trees, then reemerged briefly as it continued to walk. Patterson and Gimlin said they maintained a distance of around 250 feet away as Patterson's film ran out. The creature then once again disappeared into the trees, never to be seen again. At least not by anyone with camera in hand.
So what does one do with film footage of something as outrageously wild as a Bigfoot?
Take it to anyone who will listen, of course. And for Patterson and Gimlin, that included the media.
Once the film was processed, Patterson hit the media junket - much smaller at the time than what he would have found today - and spoke about the encounter. He even landed on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," and had articles on the film written in Argosy and Reader's Digest magazines.
Unfortunately for Patterson, he didn't properly sell the rights to the film. Instead, he seemingly sold distribution rights to several entities, although those purchasing believed they were buying the entire film exclusively. Of course, it became a legal issue in the courts. Gimlin has said he was promised one-third of the estimated $150,000 the film brought Patterson, but says he never got his share.
According to a 1999 story in the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper...
Come back tomorrow for Part 3.
Source: Unsolved Mysteries