In Part One of What You Don’t Know About the Father of the Blob, you saw how the resourceful and dynamic Jack H. Harris worked his way up from a 6-year-old vaudeville performer to an 18-year-old theater manager and ultimately to film producer, beginning with the 1958 monster hit, The Blob. Discover what happened next in this riveting Hollywood tale.
After the Blob
Building on his initial successes, Jack added about ten titles per year to his release schedule. In 1960, Harris produced the adventure-thriller, Dinosaurus, a Universal-International release from Jack’s original story.
Jack started an international distribution company in 1961. Its premiere release was Paradisio, the first nudie movie in 3-D. Not only did it become an outstanding box office smash, but it attracted the attention of Playboy Publisher, Hugh Hefner, who arranged for an erotic photo spread in his highly popular magazine. Jack pushed the envelope even further by distributing the X-rated landmark picture, Without A Stitch, starring Anne Grete and directed by Anneliese Meinichi (award winner for Seventeen).
Jack’s “knack” for discovering new talent both in front of and behind the cameras continued. Among the films and some of his notable discoveries are: The Oldest Profession, starring Raquel Welch; Claude Chabrol’s award-winning Les Biches, and two films featuring Jack Nicholson, The Shooting and Ride in The Whirlwind. In 1974, Harris’ science-fi spectacular Dark Star, directed by John Carpenter, was released–earning international recognition for the film and its director. And two years later, Ape–starring Joanna Kerns, was released.
Displaying his usual visionary acumen, Jack released the campy science-fi thriller, Astro Zombies, which became a huge cult classic and spawned a couple of sequels. Jack and his son Anthony produced Beware! The Blob (Son of Blob), directed by Larry Hagman and starring Robert Walker Jr., Godfrey Cambridge, Carol Lynley, and Shelley Berman. This mighty sequel to Jack H. Harris’ first production went into worldwide release.
Additional films on the Harris release schedule included: Schlock–a sidesplitting monster comedy directed by a youthful John Landis; Bone–starring Yaphet Kotto and Jeannie Berlin; and Teenager–starring Mercedes McCambridge.
The 1978 production of Eyes of Laura Mars, a haunting tale of a woman’s extra-sensory perception starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, was produced by Jack and Jon Peters in connection with Columbia Pictures. And in a tribute to the success of the original The Blob, a 1987 big budget remake was released by Tri-Star, with Chuck Russell directing and Jack producing. Star Slammer, a 1990 sci-fi production, became yet another vehicle in Harris’ shining career.
In 1991, Harris and his writer-producer wife, Judith Parker Harris, teamed on the production of Blobermouth. This zany comedy utilized the actual 1958 The Blob film, enhanced by added special effects, music and dubbed with all-new dialog by the famed improv group L.A. Connection. Since the “Blob” speaks in this one, the ravenous red menace sports a hilarious animated mouth that cracks jokes when it’s not devouring the unsuspecting townsfolk.
Awards and Honors
On February 4, 2014, the remarkable Jack H. Harris’ long career was celebrated when he was awarded a prestigious star on the renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6764 Hollywood Boulevard. At the time of the 2014 unveiling ceremony, the 95-year-old Jack held the distinction of being the oldest person to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And believe it or not, Jack’s star is located near the kitschy Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum? It’s true!
In 2015, Jack penned a revealing memoir, Father of the Blob: The Making of a Monster Smash and Other Hollywood Tales, published by TVGuestpert Publishing, which was brimming with scores of Hollywood recollections that delighted his many fans.
Jack was always in step with the latest innovations and trends, and he remained actively involved in both production and distribution up to the time of his death. He passed away peacefully on March 14, 2017, at the age of 98.
Several projects are currently in development for Worldwide Entertainment Corp. under the direction of President and CEO Judith Parker Harris.