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.


Blogger CAROLDEE said...

Yikes I thought the blob was green oh maybe that is GOO.. ha. I remember the movie and now watching then makes me laugh and laugh.. I guess techno stuff now is so much better, that the old movies are laughable. DON'T show them the ANT movie.. that still gives me the creeps.LOL Nice having Grandkids to keep things REAL in this world!! Enjoy them while they are small. They do say the darndest things. ;-)

10:45 AM  
Blogger CAROLDEE said...

P.S. What color is FLUBBER.. remember that stuff.. ahh childhood! :-)

10:46 AM  
Blogger Carine Nadel said...

I know Dyl would probably love the Blob! Aidan would probably think the Flubber epic was hilarious. Jackson, now 2 years and 8 months, don't know-grandpa found "larva" on the Netflix stream and he and the older boys think that it's the best thing ever.

Trust me, it's not.

As for me, I only remember little flecks of both these movies...

12:07 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CAROLDEE--You're very right about the ANT movie. I have the DVD "Them" about the giant ants and neither boy wants to see it--"too scary." But movies about giant spiders are fine.

Was flubber grey? Or was it green? I don't remember now.

CARINE--Larva? Maybe I'll have to see if I can find it on YouTube. My oldest grandson Grant has found some pretty icky things on YouTube, including some guy who grabs these giant crabs from under logpiles and stuff.

I'm a big fan of old sci-fi movies. I remember lots of them. If I didn't see them on our weekly trip to the movie theatre on Sunday, they'd show up on the late show on TV.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

I remember the first time I saw "The Blob". And wasn't Steve McQueen such a unique character! I recorded and watched a documentary about him earlier this year. It reminded me just how great he was...he had such charisma.

1:24 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LEE--I've read stories of how difficult McQueen was to work with too. In the movie The Blob, if you look closely during one scene, a puff of smoke comes up behind him. Yes, he was smoking while doing his scene, so addicted to nicotine he was.

2:04 PM  

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