John Carpenter’s Hometown is visited by a Starchild!

Come with us on a fantastic journey to John Carpenter’s hometown of Bowling Green, KY in a quest to meet KISS front man and Rock n Roll icon, Paul Stanley!

I awoke Thursday morning, brewed a pot of coffee and logged onto the usual social media websites only to stumble into the unexpected news that KISS front man, legendary Rock Star and recent (however reluctant) inductee into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Paul Stanley, would be signing his new autobiography “Face the Music: A Life Exposed” at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library in Bowling Green, Kentucky later that evening.


I must have brewed a pot of decaf coffee by mistake and fallen back into slumberland. Less than a month ago, Stanley’s tell-all book debuted at #2 on the New York Times Best Seller List and was still sitting at #15 as I was sitting there rubbing my disbelieving eyes.

Most of Stanley’s ongoing book tour so far had taken place in New York and Los Angeles at major booksellers in major shopping centers. This online press release was claiming that the Starchild would appear that evening at a small branch of a country library next to a High School in the middle of mostly farmland in Bowling Green. A brief click on Google Maps showed the building’s location on Iron Skillet Court. Yes, one of the biggest Rock Stars on the planet was signing books in a little library on Iron Skillet Court.

Repeat that to yourself again, and see if you believe it.

I immediately checked both the KISS website ( and Paul Stanley’s own website (, and both seemed to confirm the unfathomable reality of it all. Paul Stanley was coming to Bowling Green.

Now, I’m very familiar with Bowling Green. Legendary horror film director, John Carpenter (“Halloween”), grew up there, saw all the movies that stirred his youthful imagination in theaters and at drive-ins there, wrote his first screenplays there and attended Western Kentucky University for a couple of years there before moving on to USC film school. His father retired as head of the music department at WKU, which was where Carpenter learned the music skills necessary to compose the scores to many of his own films.

I also began my college career at WKU, probably in an attempt to follow in the footsteps of my Master of Horror hero, but it had been years since I had made the two hour drive to revisit my former campus home. KISS met the Phantom of the Park in the cult film classic in 1978, but they had yet to meet the Phantom of the Ville. Today was that day.

Thursday also happened to be the birthday of a close friend who is one of the biggest KISS fans in Kentucky. A few quick calls and emails to his father, and we had hatched a plan to steal his copy of “Face the Music” and take it with us to Bowling Green to have it signed by his Rock n Roll idol for his birthday.

We fueled up the coffin and hit the road with the book in tow.

As a horror fan at WKU, one of the fun things to do was to watch John Carpenter’s early films, especially “Halloween,” “Halloween II” and “The Fog ,” because almost all of the towns, streets and locations mentioned in those films are based on and named after locations right there in Bowling Green. If Haddonfield in “Halloween” feels like an authentic Midwestern town, even though it was shot in Hollywood, it’s because Carpenter was using his hometown of Bowling Green as the design template for his fictional suburb. It’s possible to accurately follow Michael Myers moves through Bowling Green in Carpenter’s script for “Halloween II” by listening to the Sheriff’s deputy and the other cops call out street names and specific markers while searching for the illusive masked killer.

It’s also very easy to follow the path of “The Fog” as described by Carpenter’s ex-wife and radio disc jockey in the film, Adrienne Barbeau, as it sweeps through the streets of Bowling Green (Antonio Bay in the film) following the real life streets here in Kentucky.

Now you can actually follow those same paths yourself thanks to the Bowling Green Tourism and Visitors Bureau with their “John Carpenter’s Reel Sites, Real Scary” driving tour. Check out for details. A detailed brochure and tour map can be picked up at the Visitor Information Center at I-65 exit 22 on Three Springs Road and inside the National Corvette Museum lobby as well as at Carpenter’s childhood log cabin home on the WKU campus.

Check out this page,, for a detailed description of the exact times in each film that reference Bowling Green locations and the attached map if you’d like to visit those very places.

Just before we reached Bowling Green, we passed the little town of Smith’s Grove, the location that inspired the infamous Smith’s Grove Sanitarium from which Michael Myers escaped in the original “Halloween.” It’s hard not to want to step on the gas when passing that place.

Soon we reached the world famous Corvette Museum, which has been haunted lately by a classic Corvette eating sinkhole monster, successfully picked up some “Reel Sites, Really Scary” brochures to bring back home and headed out for Iron Skillet Court.

Even though the location wasn’t available on our GPS, we finally located the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library next door to the High School football field and directly behind a Culver’s Restaurant at approximately 4:30 PM.

Stanley was scheduled to start signing books at 7 PM.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. Not long ago, I experienced a seven hour long line to meet KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer in the KISS Army birth city of Indianapolis. Seven hours! KISS fans are certainly a fanatical lot, and that circus was for someone who isn’t even an original KISS member. This was for Paul “The Starchild” Stanley!

On Iron Skillet Court.

We arrived at the library to see a line of fans in KISS t-shirts coming out the door. A library employee approached and told us that the line was for people who needed to purchase the book. Since we already had our own copies, we were given exclusive Bob Kirby Branch/Paul Stanley bookmarks with our line numbers on them. We were numbers 413 and 414. Hundreds more fans would show up after us.

Inside, fans browsed the library shelves and chatted amid the books as kids in KISS face paint read books and played in the children’s area. The local media had arrived, setting up cameras and microphones to cover the event. The anticipation slowly built and as I began to question whether or not the Rock legend would actually show up, I caught a glimpse of Stanley talking to library staff through a door window in the back room.

The Starchild was in the house.

The signing seemed to go extremely smoothly. The staff was well organized and very friendly, and Mr. Stanley did not disappoint. He was warm and charming, taking extra time to speak with his younger fans, and taking photos with everyone in line. The only hitch happened when the lights went out a few minutes after 9 o’clock as they were programmed to shut off automatically when the library would normally close. Night life ends early on Iron Skillet Court.

Finally, I got to meet the King of the Night Time World for a glorious fifteen seconds and have my book signed personally by a childhood hero and Rock icon. Even better, we got my friend’s book signed and returned to his desk before he got home from his second shift job and received a unique birthday surprise.

Nice work, Bowling Green.

The Phantom of The Ville

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