March 25, 2021

Amazing Animal People #5: The Alligator People

Amazing Animal People trading card #5: Paul Webster, The Alligator People, 1959

Under treatment for amnesia, Jane Marvin (Beverly Garland) is administered sodium pentothal to help her recover her memories. In a hypnotic state, Jane recalls that her name is Joyce Hatten, and while working as an Army nurse, she had fallen in love with Paul Webster (Richard Crane), an officer recovering from injuries sustained in an air crash.

After being discharged, Joyce and Paul were married. Traveling by train on their honeymoon, Paul received a telegram that visibly upset him. At the next stop, Paul got off the train and promptly disappeared. Distraught, Joyce talked to the police, the Army and Paul’s friends to no avail. Finally she tracked down an old address from her husband’s university records.

After arriving in Paul’s hometown in the heart of Louisiana’s bayou country, Joyce found her long lost husband, but also learned a terrifying secret. Paul had been far more severely injured in the crash than he had let on. He had been made whole again with an experimental treatment to regenerate limbs using reptilian hormones, but there was a catch -- after a while, the patients began to take on the characteristics and features of reptiles.

Discovering that her handsome husband had tragically become one of The Alligator People led to Joyce’s amnesia.

Funanimal Fact: By this point in her career, Garland was used to encountering all kinds of monsters and beasts. For Roger Corman she battled a Venusian vegetable creature (It Conquered the World, 1956) and a space vampire (Not of This Earth, 1957). In The Alligator People, Beverly worked with real ‘gators:

One scene required Beverly to walk through a swamp infested with alligators. The swamp was faked but the gators were real. Incredibly, she wasn’t bothered about doing the scene. "I have worked with so many snakes and animals of all sorts, that alligators just don’t bother me. I worked with this incredible boa constrictor when I did Curucu, Beast of the Amazon, which was 20 feet long and didn’t bother me. Alligators, lions… I can work with them very well. They’re just another actor." [Deborah Del Vecchio, Beverly Garland: Her Life and Career, McFarland, 2013, pp. 64-65]


Richard Crane (?) and Beverly Garland in The Alligator People, 1959
"Honey, did you renew the supplemental dental insurance? I just got
slammed with a huge bill at the dentist's!"

Animal Crack-up (click on the text to see the punchline):

What do you call an alligator that always starts fights?

Alligator silhouette

Don't miss these other Amazing Animal People:
Lota from Island of Lost Souls | Paula Dupree, Captive Wild Woman | The Mole People | Leonora the Cat Girl


  1. I had never seen The Alligator People, but you made it sound interesting. And there it was on YouTube, in a beautiful CinemaScope print. Actually it was one of the best looking YouTube movies I've seen. I did enjoy it, and Beverly Garland is always worth watching. For her character's sake, I hope they destroy that reel to reel tape!

    1. Hi Bill! Glad you enjoyed it! Youtube is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates - you never quite know what you're going to find there, or how long it will be there, but sometimes you run across a great, obscure movie you've been wanting to see, and it's a gorgeous copy, and you just want to high-five somebody! :)

    2. The Alligator People on YouTube led me to The Maze (1953). I hadn't seen that for more than 50 years - make that 55. It was a 2D version of a restored 3D film, but you could still see what designer/director William Cameron Menzies was going for. I thought the whole thing was fascinating. You probably saw it the same way I did, on early '60s TV, but in case you didn't I recommend it highly.

    3. I have The Maze on DVD somewhere in my maze-like collection. I agree, it's dark and atmospheric, with a unique horror-scifi twist.