Friday, July 29, 2011
Coasting through the calm waters of the Loyalsock creek in Pennsylvania may be more hazardous than it seems. The small tributary of the Susquehanna river is mainly located in Lycoming and Sullivan counties. The creek was a principle means of life for the Native American tribes who once inhabited the area. Though the spirit of one may still be seeking revenge on unsuspecting rafters.
Legend states in the mid 1800's a beautiful young Indian maiden was brutally assaulted and murdered by a gang of settlers navigating the creek. Since then Sweet Cicely has been seeking vengeance. Using her sweet, engaging voice she's been luring unsuspecting victims through treacherous parts of the creek, hoping to lure them to an untimely death.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Both arms shoot up as I attempt to level myself out! I steadily balance myself as I inch across the log strewn about the wet marshy area I'm attempting to cross. My foot slips, my shoe is covered in mud. I wipe off the excess and continue over my crude bridge. Upon crossing the water soaked log, I encounter the thorns of a thistle bush. As I gently release the prickly briers from my arm and shirt, another sense of excitement rushes over me! From here I can see a crack between the doors and realize I should be able to enter. As I encounter the concrete bunker I'm happy to see it's not littered with graffiti. I poke my head inside, blackness is all I can see. I work to pry open the heavy unlocked steel door. I take a loud stomp into the concrete igloo, hoping the ground vibrations will scare off any unwanted critters. I give out a shout! The enclosed cavern echoes quite loudly for a brief time. Inside the bunker is surprisingly clean, only a few leaves are found lying on the ground. Sadly these hidden concrete bunkers and a couple historic cemeteries are all that remain in this lost town.
Shortly after the strike on Pearl Harbor, the United States government came in and seized all the townspeople's land. They were informed that a repurchase of their properties would be made available at a later date. Directly after acquiring the land through purchases and eminent domain, all the homes were burned and then bulldozed. Almost instantaneously construction began on a T-N-T factory. This explosives factory was very short lived. In less than a year after opening the United States government stopped production and closed the plant for good. Apparently the supply for explosives wasn't nearly as high as originally thought.
The only remnants of a former town are crumbled foundations, lost roads, and forgotten gravestones. This small village was ravaged by the effects of war, yet never witnessed a single battle. The poor citizens of Alvira had their town destroyed by the works of their own government who was supposed to protect them.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Nestled on a desolate hillside in the small community of Millville, lies a small church with enough legends to make your blood curdle. For decades locals have been daring each other just to pass by this holy house.
Katy’s church is named for Katy Vandine, a woman whose legend would live on for many years after her passing. Yet it’s her death that seems to be causing the most mystery. All the small town urban legends are attributed to this woman. The most popular belief was that Katy was an unmarried pregnant woman who was run out of the local community and ostracized. Being unable to deal with the shunning, Katy took her own life when she slid a noose around her neck. Others say she was to marry a soldier who was off at war and never returned. Having lost the love or her life, Katy mourned by hanging herself from a tree in her wedding dress. An even darker tale tells of witchcraft and sorcery.
Some had claimed that Katy was actually a witch, mainly the married man who was apparently having an affair with Katy while she was carrying his unborn child. As the gossip spread about witchery, the local church members grew anxious. On a late night they gathered together and decided to take care of Katy. They stormed to her home and drug her out of bed and proceeded to the church. There they strapped a rope around the neck of Katy Vandine and ended her adulterous life. All of these are just tales passed around by the locals. Some current church members recall Katy Vandine as a kind women who lived well into her 80’s and donated the land where the church sits today. But besides all of these legends that have been passed from generation to generation, some odd occurrences have taken place at this church. Those who have dared to visit the grounds at night have spotted a spirit in a white dress and have heard cries from inside the church. Others tell even more disturbing stories of seeing blood drip from the church windows.
How did all of these legends begin? Some believe they were started by a local drunk who spent a little too much time at the tavern. Staggering home one late evening, he told his wife spirits had attacked him near the church, blaming them for his tardiness. So is thereany truth to any of these tales, or were they all just the imagination of a local drunk looking for an excuse? On our visit to Katy’s Church we found nothing out of the ordinary. What we did find were some extraordinary neighbors, who enjoy the fellowship the church provides them. The congregation has dealt with many issues in the past including vandalism. They are a very close knit community that appreciate their church’s history and isn’t fond of those who depreciate its value.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Long before Snooki, JWoww, and the Situation were corrupting the Jersey Shore. There was another aspiring, volatile youngster reveling in the same debauchery. But he ended up at the wrong Jersey Shore. Long before "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", Hunter S. Thompson was cold and miserable in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.
A young naive writer, fresh out of the Air Force he mistakenly thought this place would be filled with beaches and bikinis. To his dismay he got quite the opposite. The small borough sits 15 miles outside of Williamsport, along the banks of the Susquehanna river. The town is quite rural and didn't leave many lasting memories for the "gonzo" writer. A young Thompson wrote a personal letter to a friend envying him for being stationed in Iceland. Hunter writes.
So you think Iceland is bad: ha! Let me tell you about north-central Pennsylvania.
There were three red lights in metropolitan Fort Walton: there are two in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. There were four laundry and dry cleaning establishments in Fort Walton: there are NONE in Jersey Shore. There were innumerable bars in Fort Walton: there are two in Jersey Shore. There were at least four good eating establishments in Fort Walton: there are but three small grills in Jersey Shore. There were women (whores, lesbians, and divorcees, if you must) in Fort Walton: the only women under forty in Jersey Shore go to high school. There were beaches and water and sand dunes and sea gulls and boats and bays in Fort Walton: there are mountains of coal dust, dirty old people, ancient wrecks of houses, and "True Confessions" magazines in Jersey Shore.
And now you're going to ask just what in the hell I'm doing in Jersey Shore, Pa. I know... and I'm ready with a quick answer I'm having a nightmare."
Obviously this was not the type of environment he envisioned. After a short stint as a sports writer at the Jersey Shore Herald, the eccentric writer left the rural town for New York City. Of course Hunter left as only he can. He had taken out a colleagues daughter, the father was kind enough to allow the young couple access to his '49 Chevy. Sure enough Hunter got the man's prized possession stuck in the riverbed. The next day, the angry co-worker drove the car into work and Thompson said, “I knew heavy trouble was coming …I just got up, took my coat off the rack and went out the front door. Didn’t even collect my pay. Went straight to the apartment, loaded the car and drove to New York.”
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Having never been to "Blob"fest, I was unsure of what to expect. I had these ideas and expectations in my head of what I was hoping to see. I'll be the first to admit my tastes can be slightly eccentric. Amazingly so are the tastes of the great folks at the Colonial Theatre. Their annual festivities exceeded my expectations! This is one of the few shows I've attended where the hosts specifically knew their core audience.
Various artists of horror and macabre art lined the streets. Motorheads gathered around the classic and antique muscle cars that were displayed. Vintage enthusiasts were able to purchase small pieces of American and cinema history. While movie buffs gazed in amazement at set pieces from the actual film, including the real "Blob"!
The entertainment was top notch as well. The Buzzards kept their pompadours tight, and the poodle skirts dancing in the streets! Their "rockabilly" style made sure all the hep cats kept on grooving in between stage shows. The funky monsters from Ghoul a Go-Go judged the annual costume contest. This brought out all the horror kings and scream queens donning their best homemade outfits. Afterwords the side show troupe of Olde City Sideshow kept the audience in awe as well as disgust. Onlookers watched the crew insert power drills into their nostrils, munch on worms, and swallow swords as well as fire.
Even with all these unique forms of entertainment, the highlight of the day was the fire extinguisher parade, and of course the film screening. Considering myself to be a film geek I got us seats directly under the projectionist booth.
If the blob was to re-enact the famous scene from this landmark theatre we would have been the first to perish. AHHH!!
Somehow I made it out alive!!
"Blob"fest was a truly unique experience and one of the best times I've had. If you're a fan of this classic film this is a must visit destination. If you consider yourself a cinephile or just a family looking for a unique way to enjoy an entertaining day, "Blob"fest will surely not disappoint. So run don't walk to next years "Blob"fest!
Friday, July 8, 2011
Hope everyone enjoyed our "Blob" tour. If you'd like to take your own; pick up the "Blob Tour" zine on Etsy!
...and now for our feature presentation!
Videos shared from The Blob 1958 YouTube channel.
Buy "The Blob"
Taking the advice of Jane's father, Steve and his gang of delinquents headed to the local high school. After shattering the windows, the gang rounds up all the fire extinguishers they can muster. In a show of heroism the misfits and the authorities banded together. Collectively the brave citizens fight back against the gelatinous mass from outer space.
After paralyzing the mutant blob, the town had the Air Force transfer the monster to a cold demise in the Arctic. Thanks to Steve and his quick wittedness this small town and the rest of humanity were saved from "The Blob."
The school still has the same entrance as was used during filming. The only real difference is a name change. During the time of filming the school was Memorial Jr. High School, today it's the Samuel Barkley Elementary School. Located at 320 2nd avenue in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
Lucky for us not all these places have succumbed to suburban sprawl and we still have pieces of movie history to admire...even if it's a cheesy drive-in classic!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
After narrowly escaping death at the Colonial Theatre, the movie goers cower for cover in the nearby diner. Our protagonists follow suit after witnessing Jane's little brother innocently attempt to shoot the blob with his toy gun.
While hiding out in the eatery the massive ooze outside begins to devour the entire diner. Steve and the crowd gathered inside take refuge in the basement. Outside the local police attempted a plan to electrocute the blob. Unfortunately the officers plan backfired and the diner caught fire. Quick witted Steve briskly grabbed the nearest CO2 fire extinguisher and began to suppress the flames. During the chaos a strange phenomenon was witnessed. The massive blob seemed to be affected by the blistering cold of the extinguishers. The local juveniles had found a weak spot. Now where would they find more extinguishers?
The original Downingtown Diner is long gone. After filming the diner was relocated to Hollywood. Not to be discouraged another retro style diner took it's place and is actually located over the original basement. The current Chef's diner was used in the low budget horror film "Killer Instinct".
In the film the movie patrons run directly across the street to the diner. It's actually 18 miles away in Downingtown. 81 W. Lancaster, Avenue Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile in the healthfully air conditioned Colonial Theatre a crowd of patrons are gathered to view the new Bela Lugosi film as well as "Daughter of Horror." The midnight showing had attracted a large audience. The unsuspecting crowd was unaware all mayhem was about to break loose. A jelly-like mutant was maneuvering it's way through a heating vent, ready to strike on a naive projectionist. After devouring the theatre projectionist, the "Blob" began to consume members of the audience. In a panic the uproarious crowd rushed to the streets for safety.
This infamous scene was actually filmed twice, initially people were tripping over each other.
Colonial Theatre is located at 227 Bridge St. Phoenixville, Pa.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Searching around Jerry's Market, Steve and Jane make a startling discovery. At first they spot the old man's dog near the market, but something is out of sorts on the inside. The doors to the market are locked tight, while the lights shine bright, even after midnight. Steve's father owns the grocery store so the duo decide to take an inside look. Shortly thereafter they notice a gelatinous mutant mass coming for them. Steve and Jane quickly retreat into the sub-zero meat locker, where they seem to be safe...at least for now!
Jerry's Market was located at Lewis Road Plaza, it is now the Sly Fox Restaurant and Brewery.
(Today) Note: this is a private residence
"Beware of the Blob! It creeps and leaps and glides and slides across the floor." Keep this tagline in your mind as you tour the Downingtown and Phoenixville area. It could appear anywhere. Lucky for us some brave teenagers in 1958 destroyed it before it took over the world. This all occurred in these 2 small towns during a Summer of simpler times.
Steve Andrews and Jane Martin were at a local lookout point when they spotted a meteor flying across the sky. The young adults noticed the meteor crash into a local field, they decided to investigate, what they encountered was a site neither Steve or Jane would soon forget. The couple confronted an elderly gentleman whose body was covered in strange blisters, fortunately Doc Hallen's house wasn't too far away.
The two lovebirds escorted their older friend to the good doctor's home, where things quickly turned dire. While the youngsters went to acquire more information about the man and his mysterious blisters, something strange occurred. The mutant blisters began to take over the man. Quickly Doctor Hallen and his nurse became the first victims of "The Blob."
Home is located corner of S. Main street & Third Ave. Phoenixville, Pa.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Filmed mainly at Valley Forge Films, Director Irvin Yeaworth used local landmarks in the film to add authenticity, including local homes, a landmark theatre, diners, and even a local high school.
Every year thousands flock here to pay homage. The annual Blobfest occurs every July in the town of Phoenixville. The festival features numerous vendors, B-movie screenings, costume contests, a fire extinguisher parade, and of course the infamous theatre run out.
Follow us the rest of the week as we continue our "Blob" tour!
Monday, July 4, 2011
Most often the gratification of traveling Outta the Way is the discovery of a new town. Through our adventures we have traveled through small charming villages, sprawling metropolitan cities, as well as rural impoverished towns. All too often we forget about the small treasures buried in our own backyard!
My family and myself recently moved to the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania. A town I've come to embrace as my own in less than a years time. Much more quaint than the industrious hub city of York where I grew up, and a little more peaceful and care free than Lancaster where I resided the previous 8 years. This serene hamlet is bursting with history and Rockwell'esque charm.
From the first girls preparatory school in the country, to the notable Moravian church who founded the town, the history is still alive and kept. Many of the homes on Main street are original to the town and are recognized for their historical significance. Lititz is much more than just history though. The small community is often bustling with tourists, visiting the small independent businesses that line the quiet streets. Often indulging their tastebuds with sweet Wilbur chocolates or salty Sturgis pretzels. Both staples of the Lititz community.
Another staple of the community I've witnessed is ...the ducks! Families of ducks and ducklings make their home in the nearby Lititz Springs Park, and they seem to really run this town. I've witnessed ducks walking right down Main street, as well as hold up traffic on Route 501 while a mother duck leads the younger ones through the busy intersection.
With all of it's history and unique small town charm it's not difficult to see why Lititz was named one of the best time warp towns in America.
Friday, July 1, 2011
You can help to celebrate International Zine month also. Pay a visit to your local library, most carry books on how you can self-publish your own zine, or you can browse through zines that may have been donated to the institution. Larger metropolitan areas feature distros, which are stores that specialize in distributing zines and other self-published materials. You can always pay a visit to our Etsy store as well.
Helping to support indie publishers encourages everyone to act on their first amendment rights. More support means more independent voices in the mainstream media. This month we're encouraging your support, and we'll show some gratitude back. The first person to comment on any blog this month will receive a free color PDF zine!
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