Whether you believe the image in the Patterson-Gimlin film is a Bigfoot or not doesn't change the fact that the film itself has inexplicably become ingrained in pop culture.
By Mike Payne from Unsolved Mysteries
Gimlin sued Patterson's widow, Patricia, and Al DeAtley, Roger Patterson's brother-in-law who had loaned Patterson money to market the film, to get his share of the profits. The suit was settled out of court.
It's believed Patterson sent the original film to DeAtley to get processed. Less than two weeks later, Patterson, Gimlin and DeAtley had formed Bigfoot Enterprises. In the Yakima Herald-Republic story, DeAtley was asked if he ever questioned Patterson about the authenticity of the film. DeAtley said he had not. "I never asked," he told the newspaper, "because I didn't want to know."
Related: The Patterson-Gimlin Film (Part 1)
Related: The Patterson-Gimlin Film (Part 2)
The original film reportedly was lost long ago. Where the original print disappeared to and when it disappeared is anyone's guess. Whether it was stolen, lost due to incompetence or lost on purpose will likely never be known. It's been reported that Patterson sold ownership of the film to American National Enterprises, a company that went bankrupt in the mid-1970s. The original then was purchased by Peregrine Entertainment which later was bought out by Century Group of Los Angeles which filed for bankruptcy in 1996. It was never found after Century Group began selling off its assets.
Still, it's believed at least seven copies had been made from the original. And of course, copies have been made from copies rendering the figure in the film even more mysterious with each explosion of pixilation.
A Wikipedia post notes that author Greg Long wrote that a 1978 settlement provided Gimlin acquaintance and noted Bigfoot hunter and reseracher Rene Dahinden with "controlling rights of the film - which amounted to 51 percent of the of the film footage, 51 percent of the video cassette rights and 100 percent of all 952 frames of the footage. Patty Patterson had 100 percent of all TV rights and 49 percent rights in the film footage. Dahinden had... bought out Gimlin, who himself had received nothing from Patterson."
There have been those who claim to know first-hand the film is a hoax. Among those was Philip Morris, owner of Morris Costumes who in 2002 said he had sold Patterson an ape suit via mail-order in 1967. Furthermore, Morris claimed that after Patterson received the suit he telephoned the shop owner to inquire on making the costume bigger and more intimidating. Morris said he told Patterson to have someone wear football shoulder pads and a football helmet under the suit.
And that is exactly what Bob Heironimus said he did when he allegedly wore an ape suit that he says Patterson had him wear during filming near a campsite. According to a 2013 Skeptoid.com podcast, Heironimus, 26 at the time, said he was promised $1,000 by Patterson for his day-long efforts at walking around in an ape suit. Heironimus then allegedly tossed the costume into the backseat of his car where his mother and brother later say they saw in the vehicle.
As if it wasn't stressful enough having his name linked to a story in which he wondered if he could be prosecuted for fraud, Heironimus said Patterson stiffed him on payment. He said he never received a penny for the work he claims he did. Of course, there are those who believe Heironimus was fabricating the story to cash in on a "tell-all" story. He denied it. His attorney denied it. No surprise there.
For the record, Morris, the shop owner, has never offered any kind of evidence to support the hoax, including a receipt of transaction or even an ape suit itself. That doesn't taint his story, it's just a matter of fact.
There are plenty of educated professionals who believe the film is real and depicts a non-human creature. These opinions have come from relentless examination of the film. As Wikipedia points out in its detail about the Patterson-Gimlin film, one of those believers - anthropologist Grover Krantz - was initially a nay-sayer based on printed images printed in Argosy magazine. He changed his mind in 1969 when he saw the film and was immediately impressed with "the realism of the creature's locomotion," noting that detailed studies of the stride and center of gravity could not be copied by a human.
Whether you believe the image in the Patterson-Gimlin film is a Bigfoot or not doesn't change the fact that the film itself has inexplicably become ingrained in pop culture. Everyone reading this has likely seen at least part of the film, and certainly the image of frame 352 which is now in Public Domain. It may not rival the JFK assassination's Zapruder film in terms of historic significance, but millions have seen it and the film helped propel Bigfoot into the A-list of celebrity creatures, right there with the Loch Ness Monster. Go ahead and strike the pose of frame 352 and see how long it takes someone to blurt out "Bigfoot!"
Source: Unsolved Mysteries