Jack Harris, producer behind the classic 1959 horror film The Blob, now has his own day in Downingtown.
A Philadelphia native born in 1918, Harris died of natural causes last week in his Beverly Hills, Calif., home at age 98. Now, following his death, March 15 will be known as “Jack Harris Day” in Downingtown, where The Blob was partly filmed back in the 50s.
As the Daily Local News reports, Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell issued a proclamation following Harris’ death last week giving the producer his day in the town. The film itself features shots of the Downingtown Diner and Downingtown firefighters, as wella as Phoenixville’s Colonial Theatre.
“Jack Harris featured the culture of our community in his movie, not the monster, but the diner and volunteer firefighters, that has been a staple for Downingtown for several generations,” Maxwell said in making his proclamation. “I wanted to thank him, and make sure his family knew how proud of him we are.”
The film, which features Steve McQueen in his first starring role, was created on a budget of $110,000, and brought in $3 million at the box office, the Daily Local News reports. The film today is considered a horror classic, and spawned both a 1972 sequel (Beware, The Blob) and an inevitable remake in 1988.
The original still is celebrated with Blobfest, held annually at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville. Now in its 18th year, Blobfest runs for three days; this year, it begins July 14.
Our own Gary Thompson recently explored the lasting impact of The Blob, writing that the film endures due to the “primal, durable appeal in the idea of an all-consuming entity like the blob.”
The Blob is not the only film with which Harris was involved. The late producer also has credits on Dark Star from John Carpenter; John Landis’ Schlock; and Harris' own 1966 film, Unkissed Bride.
Harris was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014.