Zombies — foiled again by U.S. Park Police!
For the second time in two years, zombies were repelled from Washington landmarks on Friday by Park Police who took the firm position that even blood-splattered undead can’t storm the White House without the proper permits.
How different the atmosphere of Friday’s zombie visit from the time, back in October of 2010, they came to our fair city to celebrate the Halloween unveiling of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” notes The Post’s Emily Yahr, who attended both festive gatherings.
This time, the zombies had a stern task to perform: reminding lawmakers in our nation’s capital that Dish Network was still not including AMC in its lineup, denying its 14 million subscribers their inalienable right to pursue happiness by watching Sunday’s third-season debut of “The Walking Dead.”
AMC says it’s being punished because of an unrelated lawsuit between the two companies, but Dish says that’s horseradish and it’s sick of paying AMC’s parent company for its little-watched IFC and Sundance networks in order to also get to carry “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Mad Men” on AMC.
And yet, the two zombie visits were not without their similarities.
Just like two years ago, the zombies again failed to secure the proper permits. And, once again, the results were exactly what you’d expect.
When they tried to storm the Lincoln Memorial, early one October morning in ‘10, they were turned away by a line of courageous park police and wound up across the street, waving to commuters from in front of the American Pharmaceutical Association. It made for an interesting health-care-in-America tableau.
This year, the zombies slept in, and disembarked from a sleek white bus (zombies ride in style) at Lafayette Square, just after 11 a.m.
One zombie dragged a Dish satellite behind him. A society zombie, still dressed in his tuxedo, brandished a sign that said, “No Walking Dead? That Kills Me!” Still another was dressed in a sharp-looking suit, carried a padfolio and, except for his half-eaten face, could have passed for your average Friday Washington commuter
Almost immediately, they were accosted by the Secret Service. You can see the Secret Service guy’s point, the square being right across the street from the White House and the zombies being, well, blood-spattered.
“I’m going to need some more information,” said the officer, clearly not up to speed on the AMC vs. Dish situation.
The apparent leader of the zombies conferred briefly with the Secret Service guy, assuring him they were just passing through, and he allowed them to go on their way.
The U.S. Park Police, however, are made of sterner stuff, and stopped the zombies again, almost immediately, demanding to see a permit. Things got tense, and one of the officers tripped on Bride Zombie’s train. They were escorted off the property and hustled back onto their shiny white bus.
Turns out, the group had applied for a “TV series shoot” permit, National Park Service spokesperson Carol Johnson told Yahr. But they had not applied in time for the permit to be processed, so they were denied permission.
Johnson could not provide details of the permit application because, she said, the group had never met with them. That kind of permit requires a meeting, to figure out costs, and see if the scene requires police escort, Johnson explained, noting Lafayette Square is property of the Park Service, which has very strict rules.
For nearly 30 minutes the zombies sat, sullenly decomposing in the shiny white bus, while the appointed zombie spokesperson explained they had thought it would be okay to make a quick appearance at the square, so long as they “shuffled through…like regular tourists.”
A passerby voiced his support. “This is awesome!” Random Guy said, adding, unfairly we think, given that the Park Police were just doing their jobs, “The patrol ruined it!”
Eventually it was negotiated that the zombies would be allowed to march down Pennsylvannia Ave., between the White House and Lafayette Square, so long as they stayed a car length away from either sidewalk, so as not to frighten the natives, or the First Family.
In no uncertain terms they were told if they took one step too close to either side of the street, that — zombie or no zombie — they would be arrested.
The zombies — completely failing to look at the Big Picture (Washington Post headline: Zombies Arrested at White House) — carefully stuck to the middle of the avenue, though it did make them more conspicuous to passersby.
“What’s the deal, people?!” bellowed one irked bicyclist, who apparently didn’t think much of any pedestrian, undead or alive, who slowed him down.
“Oh, my God — this is hilarious,” said a more relaxed pedestrian, on her lunch break. Several other passersby, carefully carrying salads in plastic boxes to their offices, nearly crashed into each other as they rubbernecked.
After shuffling slowly past the White House, the zombies were required to break character and dash across the street, to where the bus was waiting to take them to Nationals Park — a known safe haven from Park Police.
All thought of visiting the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, which had also been on their itinerary, seemed to have been tossed, Yahr reports.
Of course, the Nationals big playoff game was scheduled for later Friday night. So the area around the stadium was something of a ghost town.
“They’re canceling the show?!” one horrified fan asked her friend, as the zombies shuffled by.
Then she read the signs more carefully. “Oh — it’s just on Dish Network.”