Blobfest: A Running Event for a Small-Town Theater Each year, the people of Phoenixville, Pa., commemorate the 1958 cult horror classic that was filmed in their town. Among the events: the "Running Out Re-Enactment," in which up to 500 people stream out of the town's Colonial Theater in mock horror.
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Blobfest: A Running Event for a Small-Town Theater

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Blobfest: A Running Event for a Small-Town Theater

Blobfest: A Running Event for a Small-Town Theater

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(Soundbite of "The Blob" title song)

THE FIREBLOBS: (Singing in unison) Beware of the blob. It creeps and leaps and winds and slides across the floor right through the door and all around the wall.


It was the hit horror film of 1958, a story both ludicrous and dreadful. For some, a big blob eating small-town America was an allegory about McCarthyism or the Eisenhower years. For others, it was just funny. The movie quickly became considered a cult classic. "The Blob's" most memorable scene? Panicked townspeople running out of the town's movie theater after the blob eats the projectionist.

(Soundbite of "The Blob")

(Soundbite of people screaming)

Mr. STEVE McQUEEN (Actor): (As Steve Andrews) Wait! It came from the theater!

(Soundbite of people screaming)

SIMON: That was the voice of Steve McQueen you heard, believe it or not. "The Blob" was shot in Pennsylvania. Each year, residents of Phoenixville re-enact the stampede from the town's historic Colonial Theater that's featured in the motion picture. Shane Stone is the organizer of the the Blobfest. He joins us from, I'm told, a phone near Phoenixville.

Are you afraid to be in Phoenixville because the blob might show up again?

Mr. SHANE STONE (Organizer, the Blobfest): No, we're not afraid. We have plenty of fire extinguishers on hand if things do get out of hand, so...

SIMON: Now in the movie--we should explain that the blob can only be--maybe not defeated, not destroyed--but he doesn't like the cold, so the fire extinguishers have CO2, right?

Mr. STONE: Exactly. That's how our townsfolk are heroes back in the day and wrangled him under control.

SIMON: Now I must say, to look at the blob--this kind of gooey, red stuff in the days of special effects--with all due regard, is not particularly impressive or intimidating.

Mr. STONE: The blob itself was a--it's in a five-gallon bucket. It's a big tub of silicon, red gooey gel. And what they did to make this creature move around was they just actually had miniatures of the sets, and they would put the--a blob of this goo on there and actually just tilt the set and the camera to make it appear like it's, you know, oozing across the floor or whatnot. So not very high-tech, but it worked.

SIMON: Yeah. Now when did you first see "The Blob"?

Mr. STONE: I'm a 40-year-old guy now, so I was probably nine or 10 when I caught it on a cable show that would run the classics and the B-movies of that era on Saturday mornings and whatnot. And I remember just being kind of spooked by it as a kid because we weren't jaded by CGI effects or anything like that yet, so that was something we all kind of talked about--like `How'd they do it?'--you know?

SIMON: Does anyone in the film actually refer to this tub of goo as the blob?

Mr. STONE: They never do. It was never actually intended to be called "The Blob." The original working script--I believe it was called "The Molten Mass"(ph) or something like that. And then somehow or another it just ended up being "The Blob." So, yeah, you're right, the blob was never actually called the blob ever in the movie.

SIMON: I want to ask you about Steve McQueen's performance. This was his first real movie role. But the message of "The Blob," it's the town.

Mr. STONE: Right.

SIMON: It's people united who save the town.

Mr. STONE: Steve McQueen was the guy who kind of roused everyone in the town and...

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. STONE:'s that classic story of that era was, you know, these darn kids today, what are we going to do with them? But really they're the ones who are in the know and...

SIMON: It's the kids who run into the high school and strip it of all the fire extinguishers...


SIMON: ...and they beat back the blob.

Mr. STONE: Exactly. So, yeah, we should give these guys some credit here.

SIMON: I was flabbergasted--perhaps I should say flabbobergasted--to learn that the title song was written by Burt Bacharach.

Mr. STONE: Burt Bacharach, exactly. Yeah, can you imagine that today?

(Soundbite of "The Blob" title song)

THE FIREBLOBS: (Singing in unison) Beware of The Blob. It creeps...

Mr. STONE: I--we keep joking that we'd love to get Burt out here...

SIMON: (Singing) The blob keeps falling on my head. I'm sorry, what?

Mr. STONE: We keep joking we'd love to get Burt out here to, you know, perform for us.

SIMON: Mr. Stone, very nice talking to you, and I don't think I've ever ended an interview before by saying happy Blobfest.

Mr. STONE: Well, thank you.

SIMON: Shane Stone is organizer of the Blobfest, being held this week in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.

(Soundbite of "The Blob")

Unidentified Actor #1: It's not dead, is it?

Unidentified Actor #2: No. It's not. Just frozen. I don't think it can be killed. But at least we've got it stopped.

SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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