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The Blob

The Blob(1958)


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The film's title appears after all of the opening cast and crew credits. The onscreen credits state that the film is "A Tonylyn Production," but list the copyright holder as Tonylynn Productions, Inc., which is how the production company is listed in materials deposited for copyright. In the actual Copyright Catalog, however, the copyright holder is listed as Paramount Pictures Corp. At the end of the picture, the words "The End" transform into a question mark. In the film, the alien substance is never actually referred to as "the blob."
       In interviews conducted for the film's release on a special collector's edition DVD in 2000, producer Jack Harris and director Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr. state that the film's working title was The Molten Meteor. Harris related in the interview that he hired McQueen after seeing him fill-in for actor Ben Gazzara in the hit Broadway play A Hatful of Rain. The Blob marked the only time that McQueen was billed onscreen as "Steven," and although some sources state that McQueen made his motion picture debut in the film, he had appeared in two earlier films, Somebody Up There Likes Me and Never Love a Stranger (see below), and, according to modern sources, had been an extra in the film Girl on the Run.
       As noted in the onscreen credits, the picture was shot at the Valley Forge Films Studios in Pennsylvania. Modern sources add the nearby towns of Chester Springs, Downingtown and Phoenixville as locations for exteriors. Yeaworth and Harris both related that "the blob" was mostly made from silicone. According to modern sources, the special effects for the film took from six to nine months to complete, whereas filming of the actors took only thirty or thirty-one days.
       In a April 29, 1988 Los Angeles Herald Express article, Harris listed the film's budget as $147,000. The picture, which was produced without a distributor being set, was sold outright upon completion to Paramount for $300,000, according to modern sources. In a September 19, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item, Paramount anticipated that the low-budget film would return "a domestic gross of at least $1,500,000."
       Yeaworth and Harris noted in their DVD interviews that Ralph Carmichael's original score over the film's credits was abandoned by Paramount in favor of the title song, written by Burt Bacharach and Mack David (who are not credited onscreen). Although the film's pressbook credits "The Five Blobs" with singing the popular song over the onscreen credits, modern sources assert that the "group" was actually singer Bernie Knee performing several tracks. The picture shown in the movie theater sequences in The Blob is the 1955 independent film Dementia (see below). That film, the rights to which had been acquired by Harris in 1957, had been retitled Daughter of Horror by him.
       Harris, who had worked for many years as a motion picture distributor, made his debut as a producer with The Blob. Although several modern sources claim that The Blob marked the feature-length directorial debut of Yeaworth, Yeaworth directed and co-produced the 1956 Truman Enterprises, Inc. feature The Flaming Teenage (see below). Yeaworth and Harris worked on two more films together, the 1959 picture The 4D Man, and 1960's Dinosaurus! (see below). The Blob marked the film debut of Robert Fields and was the only theatrical film in which popular television and theater actor Earl Rowe (1920-2002) appeared. Aneta Corseaut (1933-1995) made her screen acting debut in the picture and although she appeared frequently on television, made only minor appearances in two later motion pictures. The Blob also marked the final picture of longtime character actor Olin Howlin (1886-1959).
       According to a November 2, 1964 Daily Variety article, Harris bought the rights to The Blob back from Paramount, and the picture was distributed by Allied Artist on a double bill with Dinosaurus! in mid-November 1964. A sequel to The Blob, entitled Beware! The Blob, was produced in 1972 by Jack H. Harris Enterprises. Directed by Larry Hagman, the picture starred Robert Walker, Jr. and Gwynne Gilford and is also known as Son of the Blob. In 1980, The Blob and Beware! The Blob were reissued as a double feature. The original film was remade in 1988 as The Blob, which was directed by Chuck Russell and starred Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith. In 1990, L.A. Connections Productions made Blobermouth, a motion picture of one of the comedy improv troupe's plays, in which the original film was projected onto a screen without any sound and actors sitting in the front row of the theater would provide their own dialogue, music and sound effects. The company continues to present its theatrical version. In December 2005, Paramount Pictures planned a new remake of the original film, to be produced by Scott Rudin and Harris as an action-comedy, but as of spring 2007, that project had not been realized.