THE BLOB is a classic of the horror genre. A number of remakes and sequels followed Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.’s original 1958 production, but they all follow the same basic plot: a blob of gelatinous goo consumes everything in its path, getting bigger and bigger as it eats. Sounds like a drug hallucination brought to life, right?
The idea for THE BLOB is actually based on a true story. Well, a true police report. In 1950, two veteran Philadelphia police officers, Joe Keenan and John Collins, saw a large, sparkly “mass” fall to earth. They chased it, and found that the mass was purple and indeed glittering. The cops described it as “purple jelly” that was approximately six feet in diameter, about a foot high at the apex. The mass was pulsating, and when the officers turned off their flashlights, the jelly seemed to glow, as if made of bioluminescent material.
Keenan and Collins called for backup, and two more cops showed up. They, too, witnessed the wonder of the blob. Sergeant Joe Cook drew the short straw and picked up a handful of the seemingly solid object. It instantly broke apart in his hand, with tiny globules sticking to his skin. Within seconds, those globules evaporated, and he was left with an “odorless scum” on his hand. After thirty minutes, the blob evaporated entirely. All four of the officers believe that the blob was a “living organism.”
Seven years later, producer Jack H. Harris was looking for a monster movie. B-movies were a safe way to make a buck, so he asked his friend, Irvine H. Millgate, to come up with some ideas. He had very specific needs: “It’s gotta be a monster movie. It’s gotta be in color instead of black and white. It can’t be a cheapy creepie, it’s gotta have some substance to it. It’s gotta have characters you can believe in. And there’s gotta be a unique monster — never been done before. And the method of killing the monster would have to be something that grandma could have cooked up on her stove.” Millgate remembered the article from the September 27th, 1950 Philadelphia Inquirer, and a movie monster was born.