Rambo: First Blood turns 30

Hope hosts three-day event next weekend to celebrate milestone

It’s been 30 years since Hope made its debut on the silver screen in Rambo: First Blood.

To mark this milestone, fans  from as far away as Germany, Japan, France, and England are gathering in Hope for a three-day celebration over the Thanksgiving weekend.

“‘Rambo’ is now a word in the Oxford Dictionary. The term and name is not only part of our culture but has achieved ‘cult-like’ status with a demographic following from 10 years old to 80 years old,” said local organizer Brian McKinney. “Part of the excitement about organizing something like this is you just never know whose fancy vehicle will roll in or who will show up.”

In the fall of 1981, about 100 crew members spent six weeks filming Rambo: First Blood in Hope. Several locations in the area served as the backdrop for the Hollywood blockbuster, including the original Kawkawa Lake Bridge on which John Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone, was arrested in the opening scene of the movie. The crew constructed the “Sheriff’s Office” on the lawn of district hall, which was architecturally almost a duplicate of the municipal building itself. They also constructed the false front of a service station at the Junction of Highway 1 and Old Hope-Princeton Way and built the gun shop on the street across from district hall on the corner of Third Avenue and Commission St.

“Other than the Othello Tunnels, Rambo: First Blood inquiries top the list at our visitor centre,” said McKinney. “Fans literally drive here to spend a day, a night, or sometimes two full days just to tour the filming locations and it doesn’t cost us a dime to promote because the real star of the show is the town and its geography.”

Anyone with a story or who was involved with film is encouraged to attend the Rambo meet and greet on Oct. 5 at the Blue Moose, starting at 8 p.m. Attendees will receive a limited edition souvenir DVD of the “Save the Rambo Bridge” series.

Saturday night’s main event involves shutting down a portion of Wallace Street to show Rambo: First Blood on a 40 ft. screen provided by Damon Shelton’s Reel Places Productions in Seattle, Wash.

“It’s going to be something Hope has never seen before,” said McKinney. “Damon has fallen in love with our community and is a big fan of the movies so he’s bringing his show to town absolutely free.”

Organizers have also confirmed that Stephen Chang, who played the Vietnamese commander in the famous “chest cutting” scene, will be in Hope next weekend to sign autographs.

“I know a lot of hard work and a great deal of enthusiasm by the committee and organizers has gone into bringing this event to Hope and for that we are grateful,” said Mayor Susan Johnston. “This event is just another awesome way to showcase Hope and all that we have to offer.”

For more information on the celebration, visit rambo.travelthecanyon.com, or contact McKinney directly at briandouglasmckinney@gmail.com or 604-860-3669.

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