Jack Arnold, who died at the age of 75 in 1992, was the 1950s master of the science fiction film. Among the films he directed were It Came From Outer Space, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, Tarantula, and The Incredible Shrinking Man. The Probabilities crew – Richard A. Lupoff, Lawrence Davidson and Richard Wolinsky – received a small stipend from a science fiction convention and flew to Los Angeles to interview Jack Arnold in his office at Universal Studios. The interview is undated but was recorded in around 1980, give or take a year.
Arnold’s memory was fuzzy on when films were released. IMDb lists It Came from Outer Space, along with two film noirs in 1953, Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954 and Revenge of the Creature in 1955. The first western, The Man from Bitter Ridge along with Tarantula and his work on This Island Earth also came from 1955. The rest of the westerns, along with The Incredible Shrinking Man and the Peter Sellers classic The Mouse That Roared, came between 1956 and 1959. After that, he directed a couple more A pictures, as he called them, but his primary work moved to television, and from then until his retirement in 1984, he was constantly working on projects for the small screen, interspersed with the occasional film.
At the end of the interview, he discusses a remake of Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, complete with storyboards. That project never did get off the ground, though it’s possible later versions used some of Arnold’s pre-planning. And, not to forget, he helped turn Gilligan’s Island into a cultural (for better or worse) icon.
Remastered and re-edited by Richard Wolinsky in July 2021, this interview has not been heard in forty years, and has never been publicly available in its entirety.