Remembering Smokey Crabtree
If you’ve watched the classic drive-in masterpiece THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK, you’re going to recognize the name Crabtree. Julius E. “Smokey” Crabtree was just a regular small town dude until he was hired by writer-director Charles B. Pierce to serve as a consultant and guide for the filming of the movie. Smokey and his son appear as themselves in the movie, and one of Smokey’s sons, though not the one who appeared in the film, had experienced an encounter with the real star of the movie, the infamous “Fouke Monster.” Crabtree got burned by Pierce and some others involved in the production, and it left him bitter. Like, REALLY bitter.
I met Smokey Crabtree four years ago. I inadvertently offended him by mentioning the name of another writer, another guy Smokey felt had cheated him. In my defense, I think getting Smokey riled in those days was an awfully easy thing to do, and he didn’t quite understand that I did not KNOW this other writer personally. I did promise to deliver Smokey’s message to the guy—which wasn’t nice—if I should ever meet the latter in person.
Smokey Crabtree died in early 2016, but I only learned about it last week. I’m sorry to see him go. He was a colorful guy who led a fascinating life, even if you take the Fouke Monster out of it. Smokey wrote several books chronicling his experiences with the Monster, with the movie, with Hollywood, and about his life in general. While he wasn’t a professional writer, his books are imminently readable and will give you a good look into the soul of a most interesting man. I recommend you check them out.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!