"Never underestimate the power of nerds." Self proclaimed nerd Mallory O'Meara pours her heart and three years of her life into The Lady From The Black Lagoon, a biography to uncover the lost legacy of Milicent Patrick.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, I was unfamiliar with Milicent Patrick and her work. I knew nothing of her time at Disney as an animator or her work at Universal Studios making monsters come to life for the big screen. In reading this book I was struck by how hard it must have been to work in a male dominated field in which no matter how talented you are most of your male counterparts think you've slept your way into your job or feel like they can make passes at you every day, or both. Any interviews or publicity surrounding Milicent and her work (on or off camera) was dominated by how she looked and what she was wearing. Milicent was a truly talented artist and caught the attention of Walt Disney while she was in art school not because she was beautiful (which she was) but because of her talent. She deserved the chance she was given and proved herself to be worthy of the trust Mr. Disney placed in her.
I have no idea how she was able to keep quiet and watch as someone else took credit for her work and took pleasure in making sure she never worked in any other make-up/special effects department in Hollywood. But as we've seen with the #MeToo movement, not much has changed in Hollywood and elsewhere.
"Women don't get to stomp around like Godzilla. Someone will just ask if you're on your period." --Mallory O'Meara
Knowing that she she succeeded in not one but two male dominated fields and was disowned by her family (mostly by her Dad) in order to break free and do what made her happy makes this all the more of a sad tale. Not to mention that her contributions to films (both animated and live action) was purposefully downplayed or quite simply attributed to a man instead is disheartening to say the least.
Not long after I finished this book I discovered that my husband had never seen the Creature From the Black Lagoon and let me tell you, seeing the movie after reading the book gave me an altogether different appreciation for the 60+ year old film.
This book has plenty of monsters. Not just the ones you see on screen.