Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Blog About The Blob

     On our cable television video recorder, we maintain a supply of movies and shows for our grandkids' entertainment.  There are Disney movies, Disney cartoons, animated features like Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 but the movie that has been watched the most is the 1958 Steve McQueen feature The Blob.

    We originally recorded the movie in October 2014 in the spirit of Halloween but both grandboys, ages five and three now, still ask to see it nearly every visit.  And I oblige, being the type of grandpa that enjoys spoiling them with scary movies before sending them back home to sleep in their own beds.  Our youngest grandson Luke now breaks into a dance every time he hears the movie's opening tune (written by then unknown Burt Bacharach who didn't even receive a screen credit).

    "Grandpa, wanna dance to the Blob?" he asks me excitedly.  I respond "no, but maybe grandma will."

    Older grandson Grant even likes to see the production still photos, a special feature of the DVD of The Blob that we occasionally check out from the library just for him.  But for some reason, the photo of a deflated weather balloon that doubled as the blob in the movie spooks him.  "When you get to the picture of the blob as the weather balloon, skip it," he says to me.  Funny how scenes of the Blob eating various townspeople alive in living color doesn't faze him, but a black-and-white photo of a deflated weather balloon prop does.

    Having seen The Blob so many times, my wife Wendy and I decided we might as well take it to another level.  So we decided on our most recent trip out east to visit some of the shooting locations for The Blob, outside Philadephia.   Though the movie was filmed over 50 years ago and new construction, fire and demolitions have made most settings today unrecognizable from the original film, you can still find traces.

    For example, there is the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.  This is the same theatre where in the movie, the blob runs (or rolls) amok, sending scores of moviegoers screaming into the streets.  The theatre has a "Blobfest" each summer where this scene is re-created, with today's fans screaming and running just as the extras did in the original flick.

    We also ate breakfast at the nearby Downington Diner where the blob trapped McQueen and others in the final climactic scene.  The original diner is long gone, but the menu of the diner on the same spot now maintains that it's the "home of the blob."  Well, maybe a different blob perhaps as on the menu it's green and just a splotch whereas the original was dark red and more of a mass.

     I wonder whether there were trademark repercussions to trying to market on the original Blob.  Despite our efforts, we could not find "Blob" t-shirts or any other paraphernalia associated with the original film.  So I decided to create my own, buying a jar of black slime and putting it into a mason jar I labeled "Blob, Danger."

    Next time the grandboys visited, I showed them "The Blob."  Luke said, "Ooooh, that's scary."  Did he want to touch it though.  "Mmmmmmmmm, no," he said definitively.  Older brother Grant was skittish about it at first, but eventually he and the blob were inseparable.  His dad Greg reported that Grant even took it to t-ball practice though it stayed in the car.  Eventually, after playing with the black slime so much his fingers were turning dark, Greg had to take it away from Grant and put it up.

    "It's a nice addition to the hutch in the kitchen," he added to me in an e-mail.

    Very true.  How many people can boast of having a jar of The Blob on a shelf in their kitchen.