News for Jan. 03, 2006

Keppel Elementary School Goes Kong

1/03/06, 6:48 pm EST - Xoanon

Keppel Elementary School Goes Kong

Chris Drake writes: Mrs. Cleverly's 4th Grade class at Keppel Elementary School in Glendale, CA celebrated the last day of school before Xmas vacation by having a very special presentation about the Stop Motion SFX of the original 1933 KING KONG!

The children learned about Willis O'Brien, and Marcel Delgado's pioneering work by watching and discussing clips from the new DVD release of the 1933 film, as well as a peek into the 21st century motion capture techniques used today by Peter Jackson for his new film.

The children were then introduced to a real movie star... the original KING KONG himself!? The kids were able to see up close,?and touch Bob Burns' 70 year old King Kong armature used for the stop motion performance in the '33 film.

After discussing pioneering SFX from the 1930's to the digital techniques used today, the children were told: "Sometimes... when stop motion, or digital SFX just aren't working for a shot... you have to use the real thing!"

At that point the children were introduced to Kathy Burns (from the Gemora Institute for Gorilla Behavioral Research) who brought in a very special guest.... a 500 pound gorilla named KOGAR!

After a little monkey business, (and terrifying a couple of kids!) it was revealed to the?children that Kogar the gorilla was none other than Bob Burns himself!?

Bob explained to the kids how a performer in a monster suit (or gorilla suit in his case) uses body english and pantomime to create a realistic performance. Bob explained to the children how his mask and suit worked, as well as the history of man-in-suit performers like Rick Baker, and Charlie Gemora (one of the first men in Hollywood to create a realistic gorilla suit and performance).

The day ended by Bob and Kathy taking questions from the kids about SFX. King Kong past and present, Peter Jackson, how real gorillas behave in the wild..... and... a question or two about wether or not the original Time Machine (from the George Pal film) in Bob's basement?museum really works...

A very special day the kids will surely remember!