Monday, March 2, 2009

Come See the Eighth Wonder of the World

On March 2, 1933, the new RKO venture, King Kong, opened in New York City, New York and immediately smashed box office records (and even a few box offices in the film). The film displayed the latest cutting edge special effects (in the cyclical nature of moviemaking, we went from an animated ape in the original to a man wearing an ape suit in the 1976 remake to a man providing the movements for an animated ape in the 2005 version) and an odd little love story between a woman (Fay Wray) and a giant ape. Of course, King Kong would go on to capture all of our hearts (and later, Jessica Lange and Naomi Watts as well).

New York City was an obvious choice to play host to the premiere, since the film started and ended in the city. In fact, a very familiar New York City landmark is shown immediately at the start and is also the site of the film's climax, although it had only been opened for a few years at that point - The Empire State Building. Some have even theorized that the building was a mirror of King Kong - directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's nifty little warning about the excesses of man. Regardless, the two would become forever entwined in modern culture. In fact, it could easily be argued that few "set pieces" have so ever firmly embraced and continued to celebrate their role in a movie quite like the Empire State Building and King Kong.

Read the article below to see what happened when a giant inflatable ape took over the building on the 50th Anniversary of the film's release, or how the building's employees protested when the 1976 remake moved the climax to the World Trade Center. Finally, read about the touching tribute from the owners of the structure when actress Fay Wray passed away in 2004. King Kong is only one of the many stories of the Empire State Building, but it is one of the most enduring.

Scale the Empire State Building with King Kong.

-Casey H.

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