THE BLOB (1958)
In his first starring role, Steve McQueen plays a typical oversexed, car-lovin’ highschooler who can’t get anyone to believe his story about a huge meteor, which crashes to earth and begins exuding a pink, gooey substance. Affixing itself to the body of an old man, the “blob” begins parasitically sucking the life out of several unfortunate humans, growing to an enormous size. And on the top of that people are disappearing one by one. In 1972, the sequel Beware the Blob followed. A big cult classic among fan. The Blob holds up pretty well 52 years later. Partially filmed in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. The theater everyone is seen running from is the Colonial Theater. The producers originally signed Steve McQueen to a three-film deal with this being the first project. McQueen was so difficult to work with during filming that he was released from his contract for the other two films. This film was originally going to be called “The Glob.” It was changed when it was discovered that cartoonist Walt Kelly had already used that title. The old man who discovers and becomes the first victim of the Blob was played by veteran character actor Olin Howland. This would be his final film in a career than spanned almost 200 films going back to the silent era. When Steve and Jane go to the police station to report the death of Dr. Hallen, the calendar on the wall reveals that it is July 1957. The popular title song that was used over the opening credits was credited to the Five Blobs. There was only one Blob, studio singer Bernie Knee, whose vocals were recorded five times. Steve McQueen was offered $2,500 or 10% of the profits. He took the $2,500 because the film wasn’t expected to make much. It ended up grossing over $4 million. The actual Blob, a mixture of red dye and silicone, is still kept in the original five-gallon pail in which it was shipped to the production company in 1958 from Union Carbide. It was put on display over the years as a part of the annual Blobfest, held over a three-day period each summer in Phoenixville, PA, which provided a number of the shooting locales for the film. In addition to displaying the Blob and miniatures used in the shooting, the event features a reenactment of the famous scene in which panicked theatergoers rush to exit the town’s still-functioning Colonial Theater, as well as several showings of the film. I still love this film, I saw it 3 times.