|This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday and for Round Ten I am focusing on people from the past, some famous, others less so.|
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 here.
It wasn’t great box-office, but it did lead to him being approached by producer Jack Harris who wanted someone to direct a film along the lines of The Thing and he chose Yeaworth because he was cheap.
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.
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 the trailer from YouTube, featuring Steve McQueen but sadly not Burt Bacharach’s theme tune.