‘Indescribable ... Indestructible! Nothing can stop it!’

Patrons reenact a famous scene from the 1958 cult classic “The Blob” by running in terror from the Colonial Theatre during last year’s event in Phoenixville.
Patrons reenact a famous scene from the 1958 cult classic “The Blob” by running in terror from the Colonial Theatre during last year’s event in Phoenixville. PHOTOS BY Barry Taglieber FOR Digital First Media
Matthew and Talitha Jewel won first place in the costume contest at last year’s Phoenixville’s Blobfest.
Matthew and Talitha Jewel won first place in the costume contest at last year’s Phoenixville’s Blobfest.

Chester County became a part of motion picture history 60 years ago when Steve McQueen and a destructive, amoeba-like alien starred in the sci-fi B-movie “The Blob.”

The 1958 film was filmed in and around Phoenixville, and was McQueen’s first cinematic leading role.

“(McQueen) thought the film would be quickly forgotten. He came to appreciate it when he was dying of cancer,” said Wes Shank, an area classic sci-fi/horror collector that owns the two-gallon industrial silicone Blob-monster used in the movie, and author of the book “From Silicone to the Silver Screen.”

The anniversary will be marked with the Colonial Theatre’s 19th annual kitschy, family-friendly “Blobfest” July 13-15. The theater itself was part of a memorable scene in the movie, when terrorized theater patrons fled from the expanding, flesh-eating Blob. That’s why the festival begins with a reenactment of the “Run Out,” preceded by a stage show, on Friday the 13th. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the stage show, with such colorful characters as Dr. Frank N. Stone, Dr. Ima Hack, Mr. Lobo, Dash Daring, Ghoul A Go-Go, The Patient Creatures and The Feet First Dancers. Although the Run Out itself is sold out (as it usually does), fans can still gather outside the theater to witness the spectacle.

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Special guests appearing during the course of Blobfest will be Barbara Minty McQueen, who was married to Steve McQueen the last year of his life; Ricou Browning, the underwater Gill Man from “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (the last surviving actor that played any of the iconic Universal movie monsters); Keith Almoney, who was 5 years old when he played the role of Danny Martin in “The Blob;” the film’s art director, Bill Jersey; Kris Yeaworth, son of “The Blob” director Irvin “Shorty” Yeaworth; Matt McGinnis of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill.

What about the guy that’s the caretaker of the Blob?

After being absent from Blobfest for a few years, you’ll be able to meet Shank (who will be signing copies of his book) and the Blob in one of the newly-expanded parts of the Colonial Theatre during the Blobfest Streetfair.

Wait, they shut down Bridge Street in Phoenixville for this?

On the Saturday of Blobfest, they do. Here’s the July 14-15 highlights at a glance:

Saturday

11 a.m.: Streetfair, featuring live rockabilly by Dibbs Preston and the Detonators and vehicles from “The Blob.”

Noon: First matinee double feature at the Colonial Theatre with “The Blob” and a 3D edition of “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

Noon: Registration for the Costume Contest begins. Registration is $5 per person or costume group entry.

Noon: Fire Extinguisher Parade (the humble piece of fire fighting equipment that saved the world from the Blob). All are invited to join in the parade.

12:30 p.m.: Screening of “4D Man” at the Colonial Theatre. The film was directed by Shorty Yeaworth in 1959.

12:30 p.m.: Screening of “Steve McQueen: American Icon” with an introduction and Q&A with Barbara Minty McQueen and Marshall Terrill.

1 p.m.: Costume Contest on the Street Fair stage with cash prizes.

2 p.m.: Storytelling with The Patient Creatures at Steel City Coffee House.

2:30 p.m.: Q&A with MST3K’s Matt McGinnis on the Streetfair stage.

2:30 p.m.: Screening of “Dinosaurus!” at the Colonial Theatre. The film was directed by Shorty Yeaworth in 1960.

4 p.m.: Storytelling with The Patient Creatures at Steel City Coffee House.

4 p.m.: Second matinee double feature at the Colonial Theatre with “The Blob” and a 3D edition of “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

4:30 p.m.: “Spook Show” with Mr. Lobo (Screening of “Daughter of Horror,” which was being shown at the Colonial Theatre when the Blob attacked).

4:30 p.m.: Screening of “4D Man” at the Colonial Theatre.

5 p.m.: Street Fair ends.

6:30 p.m.: Screening of “Dinosaurus!” at the Colonial Theatre.

8 p.m.: Late show double feature at the Colonial Theatre with “The Blob” and “I Married a Monster from Outer Space.”

Sunday

2 p.m.: Q&A with Barbara Minty McQueen.

2:20 p.m.: Screening of “The Blob.”

3:50 p.m.: Q&A with Ricou Browning.

4:10 p.m.: Screening of the 2017 film “Demon with the Atomic Brain.”

5:50 p.m.: Q&A with “Demon with the Atomic Brain” director Christopher Mihm.

What’s it cost?

Admission is free, but wristbands must be purchased for access to the special guests in the Colonial Theatre spaces. The wristband also includes a seat for either the noon or 4 p.m. double feature, as well as screenings of “Dinosaurus!” and “4D Man.” A separate ticket must be purchased for the evening double feature. Prices for the Saturday and Sunday afternoon and Saturday evening double features are $12, $10 for seniors and $8 for theater members and children 12 and under. All tickets can be purchased through the theater’s website at www.thecolonialtheatre.com. For additional information, call (610) 917-1228.

Is there a way I can visit the locations they used to make “The Blob?”

Look for the download link to a self-guided tour at http://thecolonialtheatre.com/programs-categories/blobfest. “I was the instigator of that,” Shank said, adding that in 1993 (the 35th anniversary year for “The Blob”) he led a convoy of 10 carloads to different points of interest.

The Blob prop is really still around 60 years later? That’s creepy.

“I always wink when I say this — I keep it in the freezer,” Shank joked, revealing that he keeps the non-hardening silicone, which was dyed red for dramatic effect during production, in its original 1957 Union Carbide five-gallon bucket. “It’s just as pliable as the first time they used it. What I particularly find frightening about this material is it will outlive me. I have three sons. They all say: ‘That’s our stepbrother’,” he said.

As a teenager, Shank closely watched the end credits of “The Blob” during a double feature in the 1960s. Curious about the “Valley Forge Films” that was listed, he tracked down the Chester Springs production company, and eventually bought the Blob, the miniature set of the Colonial Theatre used in the movie and a copy of the script (which had a working title of “The Molten Monster”) from Shorty Yeaworth in 1965. According to Shank, Yeaworth was a Christian filmmaker and used the money he was paid for directing secular movies to finance his religious films.

“It was a real community event at the time they were making the movie. It was the biggest thing to happen in Phoenixville,” Shank said.