Friday, July 24, 2015

Bridging the gap

Monroeville Mall doesn't want to burn bridges ... so they donated one.

The shopping center -- which served as the backdrop for George Romero's zombie masterpiece "Dawn of the Dead" -- is undergoing major renovations. Instead of scrapping an old footbridge seen in the flick, management donated it to The Senator John Heinz History Center.

Last Wednesday, zombies help load the pile of wood and metal into a van.

By 2018, the structure will be back on display in a museum exhibit about Pittsburgh's ties to Hollywood!
While I wasn't initially a big proponent of saving this bridge -- it's only in a few blink-and-you-miss-it movie scenes -- I'm glad it's being preserved.
I assumed it'd be resurrected at The Living Dead Museum in Evans City, PA, which already houses loads of memorabilia from Romero's films. And that would've been a great place for it. I visit that place often (I attended Evans City Elementary School just down the street) and I'm sure I would've stopped again just to take a little stroll across the bridge.
But, the History Center's involvement makes me even happier -- not because I think it's better, but because it's an organization outside the horror-nerd world that I live in. Other, dare I say NORMAL, people are taking an interest in Romero's movie and acknowledging that, yeah, zombies ARE an important part of Pittsburgh ... like the Steelers and ketchup and putting fries on goddamn sammiches!
Hell, they even held a press conference about the bridge!
Representatives from the mall and the history center, as well as actors from the movie, gave legitimately heartfelt speeches about "Dawn's" influence on pop culture. All the while, zombies were lurching around ...
... scaring reporters ...

... sharing brains ...

... and eating children.
My face hurt from smiling so much! It's nice to see the humble zombie -- the low man on the monster totem pole -- taking some slow, shambling strides towards acceptance in the Steel City.
And, after years of trying to distance itself from its undead past, I give major props to Monroeville Mall management for rising to the occasion, even though ditching the bridge was never REALLY an option for them.
They know that pissing off a bunch of rabid zombie fans has a way of coming back to bite you.

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