Tuesday, March 4, 2008

'Twas beauty killed the beast

It's Kong's 75th anniversary! King Kong premiered in New York City on March 2, 1933. Bruce Bennett, of the New York Sun, gives the very interesting backstory for this film, the creation of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. This swash-buckling pair of film-makers, living by their motto, Keep it Distant, Difficult, and Dangerous, had produced a number of documentaries in remote and exotic locations prior to filming Kong. This was in the olden days, kids, when "remote" meant something more than losing your cell phone connection. Their truly amazing adventures are chronicled in Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, creator of King Kong by Mark Cotta Vaz.

King Kong is one of the earliest and most enduring examples of stop motion animation. The original Kong started life as 18 inches of rabbit fur and a rubber ball. Obviously, he became something much more. Watching the final scene of the movie on a YouTube clip, I was struck by how compelling the film remains, even to jaded 21th century eyes. You don't need YouTube though, you've got your library - check it out!

And start practicing now for The Urbana Free Library's own Fay Wray scream-alike contest: front reading rooms, March 2, 2033. Be there!

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