Beautifully Haunting: Dead Mall Culture As Seen By Dan Bell

I’ll get this confession out of the way  – there is something eerie and hauntingly beautiful about dead malls.

Fascination With Dead/Dying Malls

In 2009, I read a Wikipedia article about Dixie Square Mall. We in the “nostalgia business” know this as the infamous site of the car chase scene in The Blues Brothers. The mall itself has a fairly infamous history due to the aftermath of its closure and the years it was left to decay.

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Pictures of the mall’s recent history shocked me initially, turning to fascination and interest. I found myself researching the culture of photographing and filming dying/dead malls in various states of decline.

I won’t be taking up this hobby any time soon, but it is fascinating to live vicariously!

Images of Dixie Square Mall in the most recent years of its long decay (source).

It is incredible how something so decayed and reclaimed by nature is so calm. It is simutaneously haunting and beautiful to see these images. Or, beautifully haunting.

That’s a thing.

Dan Bell And His Journeys

Columbia, Maryland-based filmmaker Dan Bell explores the fascinating culture of dead and dying malls as part of his You Tube series. His travels have taken him into the dying malls of the United States, including perpetually dying The Gallery at Market East, which I’ve been to. I’m convinced that mall has been dying since the 1980s.

Dan doesn’t just focus exclusively on dying malls, but also dirty hotel rooms you’d never want to rest your head in, and even a K-Mart store in its final gasps of life.

He combines his narratives with his filmed footage and creates opening credits from bizarre old videos. The soundtracks contain stereotypical mall Muzak. The malls he visits are not dead or closed yet, but slowly dying. They’re overrun by mall walkers and Bath and Body Works stores, but not much else.

These are the people who don’t shop in your neighborhood…

Dead mall staples, folks.

Dan Bell’s Dead Mall Series

So, the reason I brought you hear…videos!

Compiled for your consideration by Dan Bell, this playlist of his fascinating (for the niche crowd that loves this stuff) series on the culture of dead and dying malls.


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Featured Image: Screenshot from “The $100 Mall: The Disaster of Pittsburgh Mills” (June 10, 2017)

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! How About Watching The Trailer For The 1977 Re-Release Of Darby O’Gill?

In my household when I was growing up the 1959 Walt Disney film Darby O’Gill and the Little People was a constant VHS rental around this time of year…as well as on Halloween actually, because that incredibly terrifying Banshee scene, you know what I mean?

Banshee - Darby O'Gill

I didn’t catch Darby for the first time on video tape though, I was lucky enough to watch it during it’s 1977 re-release at the Razorback Theater. This was one of my Father’s favorite films when he was younger so he was pretty stoked to introduce it to me. As a five-year-old I was totally captivated by the film and to be honest I still am to this day because there is quite a bit to love from the performances by Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery, and Jimmy O’Dea of course as the Leprechaun King.

So with it being St. Patrick’s Day why not take a break from downing another Shamrock Shake and watch this 1977 re-release trailer for Darby O’Gill and the Little People?

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Retro Signs on sale at Hobby Lobby

When I was a kid I associated Hobby Lobby with hobbies. I mostly remember them mostly selling art supplies and toy models and fabric. These days they sell a lot more than that, including lots of home decorating signs. Last night I found a ton of retro themed signs on sale for 50% off!

Retro Signs (1)

These large signs, including that Play-Dough one, were marked at $20 (normally $40). They also had these slightly smaller ones available.

Retro Signs (2)

So many good ones here — Scooby Doo, Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear, and more! These signs were $15-$17.50, depending on the size. I really loved that bomb pop sign down near the bottom. (Spoiler alert: I ended up buying that microphone sign. It’s hanging next to where I podcast.)

Retro Signs (3)

Here are more signs from the same price range. Although not all of these are retro (*cough* Duck Dynasty *cough*) I felt compelled to include that Mr. Potato sign.

Finally, next to the metal signs were these mounted canvas piece of art.

Retro Signs (4)

The vintage board game covers were $15, and the only reason I didn’t buy one is because I wanted to buy them all. The smaller signs were $10 each. Any of these signs would be a great addition to a retro-themed room.

Th-Th-That’s all, folks!

Ernest Borgnine is a Hollywood Tough Guy and … Stamp Collector?


After a long hard day of beating up people on the set and off, Ernest Borgnine likes to unwind with a cold drink and a stack of stamps. That’s right folks, while he finds serving up a knuckle sandwich to be a satisfying career, for a hobby he prefers organizing, researching and categorizing his vast collection of stamps in his well-appointed wood-paneled den by a roaring fire.

It is what he referred to as “Ernest time”.