The Gable Film

Local coverage of the bear sightings around here reminded me of the Gable Film:

The fun bits start around 2:33.

I mention it, because some people suggest it’s a bear. Jennifer and I think that whether the footage is real or a hoax, the animal depicted is closer to a primate than a bear.

My favorite part actually is 2:36 where we catch a glimpse of the camera operator.

I think the sequence from 3:14 to 3:17 looks a little “shifty” or “morphy,” but I haven’t done animation or editing for a while so it’s just an impression.

We both feel that the mouth shot at 3:24 seems a little too perfect.

This is one of those cases where if it’s fake it’s a really nice work of art, and if it’s real my brain just isn’t allowing me to believe it.

What do you think?

About paulgude

Paul Gude writes small books, makes stupid music, draws silly pictures, and does weird things on stage.
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5 Responses to The Gable Film

  1. JT says:

    The “Gable Film” seems to have a legitimate pedigree as an 8 mm film shot in the mid-70’s. No evidence of digital morphing added whatsoever. Super-8 is a colour reversal process – so there is no way to make “FX” on it beforeheand – there isn’t even a negative to copy from. Watch Super-8 “simulations” in Hollywood movies and you can see that the process is radically different in rendering colour and cannot be approximated very well. (As in Goodfellas “pool” scene).

    So if the film isn’t manipulated, it has to be a guy in some sort of suit, right?

    It appears that the animal tilts its head back and howls right before charging the camera. It also appears that cat-like whiskers catch the sunlight when it does this. But it looks like it has a long muzzle. Amazing suit.

    Stop the film at the “Bite shot” – study the dentition. A lot of people have commented on how perfect this is for a “shot” and is an indication of a fake. Compare the teeth to a baboon or a gorilla – then compare it to a dog, wolf or cougar. For a cameraman who shoots himself inadvertently in a truck mirror and can’t set exposure properly, someone in this group has an incredible grasp of unknown animal anatomy -to the the point of being able to create saliva and striated muscles in its mouth and building a tooth pattern that is both Canid and Pongid.

  2. paulgude says:

    Hey, JT. Thanks for the comments.

    Since I’m watching this on a computer and the aspect ratio is off, it’s undeniable that there’s been at least some digital manipulation of this footage. I’m not saying that there isn’t a pristine 8mm print out there, but that’s not what I’m watching.

    However, you make an excellent point. Additionally, if something *were* added in the space I mentioned, it would most likely have to be manipulation of something that was already there. When the shaking of the camera from 3:10-3:12 occurs, the subject moves with the shakes naturally. This happens again at 3:17. I know that there are a lot of talented digital artists in the world today, but that seems hard to fake.

    Same thing with the image at 2:40. There’d be no reason to fake that, even if it were a hoax.

    I want to mention that the fact that the cameraman showing up in the truck mirror and the exposure being off is PRECISELY what makes this so great. With the addition of the footage of the truck, dogs, etc., all this is either a stamp of authenticity or superb planning.

    The howl is nice. I never noticed that before.

    You forgot to point out what an amazing physical actor the person in the “suit” would have to be. The movement around 3:17 is incredible.

    If it’s a fake, the crew on this was phenomenal.

    My problem with the mouth is that it suddenly appears at full frame at 3:24 and then we get distortion around 3:25 and then go back to the normal picture. So the skeptic in me says that this could have been dropped in.

    However, whether I contemplate it being the work of modern people working with old equipment to make authentic-looking werewolf footage, modern people manipulating old werewolf footage to make it look legit, or a great group of hoaxers whose footage stands the test of time, only two possibilities remain:

    1) The footage is real.
    2) The people who created this footage are completely and utterly amazing.

  3. JT says:

    Hi Paul, I stand corrected – the versions on You Tube do have enhancements on them. The owner of the film shows how they restabilized the images and tried to balance some of the contrast. This was a digital add on. You can see the process at their website:

    I think the original, “unfixed”, 8mm looks pretty authentic. Not impossible to recrete and fake, but expensive and hard.

    The report on the film is that the lot #’s on the original film have been confirmed by Kodak as beeing produced between 1974 and 75. The John Deere 1974 snowmobile in Mint Shape is very hard to fake – a collector’s item.

    As you mentioned, the movements of the animal would be difficult, especially considering the shortness of the back legs and the weight on the front as it bounds.

    I agree with you, it is either a brilliant fake on a mastermind level of subterfuge, or something very disturbing. If it is a hoax, doesn’t look like anyone’s making any money off it as its owners donate the profits to an animal shelter.

  4. paulgude says:

    Thanks for the link! I’ll take a look when I get chance. You know, I think a study should be done where people are shown authentic but unbelieveable video and then are asked to point out how it was “faked.” I’m reminded of the “puppy off the cliff” video from a while back. I really WANTED it to be fake, so my brain came up with all sorts of ways it *could* be faked. It happens with failblog all the time too.

  5. paulgude says:

    Not to say the Gable Film is real, but rather to admit I may not believe it even if it is.

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