BIGFOOT TV SHOW
By Bill Hanna
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
It was probably only a matter of time before someone came up with a Bigfoot reality-TV show.
And that time has apparently come.
Next month in the woods outside Paris, (Texas) a pilot will be filmed for the proposed series Capturing Bigfoot.
"You've got a hot spot out there in your back yard, a hot spot like no other," Bigfoot explorer Tom Biscardi, 58, said by telephone from Northern California.
Biscardi, who retired from the insurance industry to pursue Bigfoot full time, has made the creature his life's work. On his Web site he sells Bigfoot DVDs, Bigfoot mugs, Bigfoot T-shirts and pewter Bigfoot belt buckles. He also hosts a weekly Internet radio show about all things Sasquatch.
He believes a Bigfoot family is living in old World War II Army bunkers buried on an abandoned portion of Camp Maxey north of Paris, near the Oklahoma border.
"I think it's a family pod," Biscardi said. "What we found is baby footprints next to a mother. This is the first time that has ever happened."
Not only is Biscardi participating in the TV pilot, but he is also inviting enthusiasts to go along.
For $375, anyone interested in finding "America's King Kong" can join him on a 24-hour expedition as part of the team trying to capture the elusive beast.
The news that a Bigfoot family is roaming the woods north of town was a surprise to Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville.
Nonetheless, the judge predicted that most residents in the predominantly rural county of 49,644 would welcome the attention, noting that Paris was abuzz recently over an episode of the CW Network's One Tree Hill being filmed in the area.
"It puts us on the map, which is good," Superville said. "I think Northeast Texas is a good place to live. It's a garden paradise."
Biscardi describes the 16,000-acre area around Camp Maxey -- part of which is still used as a Texas National Guard training center -- in more dramatic terms.
"You've got to look at this place," Biscardi said. "It's prehistoric. It looks like something straight out of Jurassic Park."
The producers will try to sell the show to cable television outlets. If it isn't picked up, the expedition could be turned into a DVD, said Robert Barrows, a spokesman for the project.
But Biscardi is already drawing the ire of other Bigfoot enthusiasts.
Craig Woolheater, chairman of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy, which has annual conferences in Jefferson, does not condone Biscardi's methods, which he says "are produced for the sake of media coverage or for commercial purposes."
"This expedition is not a scientific expedition in my opinion; from what I understand it is being filmed for a reality-TV show entitled Capturing Bigfoot," Woolheater wrote in an e-mail. "As such, the TBRC is in no way, shape or form, affiliated with the very controversial Tom Biscardi."
Biscardi says he is often the only person willing to go out to people who have been traumatized by Bigfoot encounters. And he has never denied that he lives off his Bigfoot earnings.
But if by some chance Biscardi is successful, what will he do with Bigfoot?
"We've got two compounds at undisclosed locations where we'll conduct studies for 90 days, then release it back where we found it, I promise," Biscardi said.
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698