Look! There Come Some of the Fans Now!
Living Dead Festival 2013,
August 30, Evan City PA, Day 1 of the Ghoul Plague…
Ed. Note– It kills me that circumstances prevented my from being at the Living Dead Fest last month. Fortunately for NOTLD fans and DE’s readership, intrepid attendee Rich Borden was kind enough to share pictures and write a report for us! Thanks, Rich.– P.F.
After a sun-drenched day of meeting & greeting between cast, crew and fans, just before sunset all attendees gathered at the hallowed ground for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD– the Evans City Cemetery where Johnny and Barbara have an unexpected ending to their planned visit to their father’s grave.
At the site of the main scene that starts the film, Johnny (Russell Streiner) and Barbra (Judith O’Dea) joined about 120 fans and other cast members on a summer evening to celebrate the preservation and re-building of the Chapel, which is a landmark in that famous scene. Gary Streiner (brother of Russell and also a Sound Engineer on the original film) led the effort to ‘Fix the Chapel’ and after a long period of fund raising, $46,000 came from fans around the world as the campaign went cyberspace. Now, the Chapel is strong, built upon the original specs, and will be there for decades and decades to welcome NOTLD visitors.
Gary told the gathered crowd about the history of the Chapel, even as it existed for decades before the film. Only one or maybe at most two memorials were held in the Chapel in all that time from 1929 on. The groundskeepers found it to be the perfect garage for their lawnmowers and gardening equipment and it stayed that way until it became structurally unsafe, and was within days or weeks of being knocked down before the ‘Fix the Chapel’ gang saved it. Gary said they will try to apply for a historical certification/protection designation that would take five or more years. He said they haven’t defined exactly what activities the Chapel will welcome but weddings, meetings and memorial services all seem possible. The ‘hero’ and leader of the construction team, Mark Gerson, joined Gary to talk about the Chapel.
A moment of silence was held as Gary read the list of those cast and crew members of NIGHT OF THE LIVING who have left us in recent years. That solemn moment turned fairly quickly to joy as many of the 21 visiting cast/crew members posed for a group photo in front of the Chapel. In an instant all fans then joined them for a photo of the entire gathering.
To completely finish off the Chapel one column of bricks will arrive soon for install and the windows need final dressing. With the original farm house from the film long gone, this most-famous Chapel is rock solid and is now built to last.
Cranberry Township, PA