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George Romero Honored For 50th Anniversary Of 'Night Of The Living Dead'

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Fifty years ago, "Night of the Living Dead" premiered to the public for the first time where the Byham Theater now stands.

It was called the Fulton Theater at the time, however. Fifty years later, a crowd gathered outside the Byham Theater to carry on the film's legacy.

Chairman of the Pittsburgh Film Office Russ Streiner, who played brother Johnny, was at the Fulton Theater the the day the movie premiered.

"It is a little like what an out-of-body experience might be," Streiner said.

george romero
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Scott Danka)

Zombies in full makeup walked Sixth Street for Monday's "Romero Lives" event. The event honored the father of American zombie films George Romero, and his widow took the stage to speak on behalf of her late husband.

"I walked down the street and saw it on the marquee and I got so emotional, but you know it's important that we remember him but it's also important that we go forward and that we have a future," said George Romero's widow, Suzanne Desrocher Romero.

"Night of the Living Dead" superfans like Russ and Paula Luna said a future wouldn't exist without the man behind the movie.

"The genre is even bigger now. He started a big thing. It's a shame he passed away last year and is not here to see it," superfan Russ Luna said.

"We've got our foundation. We are working very hard to support genre, support filmmakers, independent filmmakers," Desrocher Romero said.

The Pittsburgh Film Office said "Night of the Living Dead" has changed the movie scene in the Steel City for the better.

"I have to say 'Night of the Living Dead,' I'm very happy with the contribution it made in another way to Pittsburgh and that is to kick off the modern era of film production here," Streiner said.

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