The region became a part of motion picture history 60 years ago when Steve McQueen and a destructive, amoeba-like alien starred in the sci-fi B-movie “The Blob.” The 1958 film was filmed in and around Phoenixville, and was McQueen’s first cinematic leading role.
“(McQueen) thought the film would be quickly forgotten. He came to appreciate it when he was dying of cancer,” said Wes Shank, an area classic sci-fi/horror collector that owns the two-gallon industrial silicone Blob-monster used in the movie, and author of the book “From Silicone to the Silver Screen.”
The anniversary will be marked with the Colonial Theatre’s 19th annual kitschy, family-friendly “Blobfest” July 13-15. The theater itself was part of a memorable scene in the movie, when terrorized theater patrons fled from the expanding, flesh-eating Blob. That’s why the festival begins with a reenactment of the “Run Out,” preceded by a stage show, on Friday the 13th. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the stage show, with such colorful characters as Dr. Frank N. Stone, Dr. Ima Hack, Mr. Lobo, Dash Daring, Ghoul A Go-Go, The Patient Creatures and The Feet First Dancers. Although the Run Out itself is sold out (as it usually does), fans can still gather outside the theater to witness the spectacle, writes Brian Bingaman in The Times Herald.
Special guests appearing during the course of Blobfest will be Barbara Minty McQueen, who was married to Steve McQueen the last year of his life; Ricou Browning, the underwater Gill Man from “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (the last surviving actor that played any of the iconic Universal movie monsters); Keith Almoney, who was 5 years old when he played the role of Danny Martin in “The Blob;” the film’s art director, Bill Jersey; Kris Yeaworth, son of “The Blob” director Irvin “Shorty” Yeaworth; Matt McGinnis of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill.
Admission is free, but wristbands must be purchased for access to the special guests in the Colonial Theatre spaces. The wristband also includes a seat for either the noon or 4 p.m. double feature, as well as screenings of “Dinosaurus!” and “4D Man.” A separate ticket must be purchased for the evening double feature. Prices for the Saturday and Sunday afternoon and Saturday evening double features are $12, $10 for seniors and $8 for theater members and children 12 and under. All tickets can be purchased through the theater’s website at www.thecolonialtheatre.com. For additional information, call (610) 917-1228.
Is there a way I can visit the locations they used to make “The Blob?”
Look for the download link to a self-guided tour at http://thecolonialtheatre.com/programs-categories/blobfest. “I was the instigator of that,” Shank said, adding that in 1993 (the 35th anniversary year for “The Blob”) he led a convoy of 10 carloads to different points of interest.
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