Y is for Irvin Yeaworth

I am again focusing on the famous, the forgotten and the misbegotten for Round 22 of the popular ABC Wednesday meme. But finding suitable characters is getting harder, so apologies in advance if there are repeats of previous posts.

It may come as a surprise, but the 1958 cult classic sci-fi movie, The Blob, was directed by a Presbyterian minister, Irvin Yeaworth, owner of Christian production company, Good News Productions.

Yeaworth was born in Berlin in 1926 and began his show business career at the age of ten, singing on KDKA in Pittsburgh, the world’s first commercial radio station.

He went on to become a radio producer, but by the 1950s he was producing films with a morality message that he hoped would appeal to a young audience.

Yeaworth’s first attempt in 1956 was a short film The Flaming Teen-Age, ‘a shocking true story’ about a youngster who runs off to the big city and ends up becoming an alcoholic and a junkie. (You can see the trailer at Daily Motion)

It wasn’t great box-office, but it did lead to him being approached by producer Jack Harris who wanted to direct a film along the lines of The Thing and he chose Yeaworth because he was cheap.

Irvin Yeaworth

Irvin Yeaworth

Yeaworth was nervous of associating Good News Productions with a teen-exploitation film, but it was an opportunity to raise revenue to fund more worthy works, so he set up the separate Valley Forge Films to produce it.

The Blob was produced on a budget of $130,000 and gave Steve McQueen (then Steven) his first starring film role as the small town teenage hero who battles the extraterrestrial red jelly.

Yeaworth saw it as a metaphor for the creeping communist menace and the theme song, Beware of the Blob, was co-written by the then unknown Burt Bacharach.

Paramount bought The Blob for $300,000, an instant profit for Yeaworth and Harris, although it has since made millions for its 1950s kitsch.

Yeaworth used his share to fund Secret Island, a tv show providing morality lessons to pre-school children.

He also made more sci-fi films, like 4D Man, as well as others with a religious or ethical theme.

Yeaworth died in a car crash in Amman, Jordan, in 2004 while involved in building the theme park, the Jordanian Experience at the Aquaba Gateway.

For those who may have missed The Blob, below is a clip from YouTube, sadly not including Burt Bacharach’s theme tune but you can hear it here.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • ABC Wednesday 27th June 2018

    Hmm seems like one I need to see 😉

    Have a splendid, ♥-warming ABC-Wednes-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♪ (ABC-W-team)
    http://melodymusic.nl/22-y

    Reply
  • Roger O Green 27th June 2018

    On the list of great Presbyterians such as Mr. Fred Rogers (a pastor) and John Glenn (an elder)

    Reply
  • ann 28th June 2018

    I remember going to the theater to see this when it came out. WOW, so interesting about the metaphor of communism. Thanks for all the info.
    Ann

    Reply
  • Su-sieee! Mac 28th June 2018

    What we rationalize to do some things. 🙂

    Reply

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