News for Mar. 19, 2006

1983 KONG Party Pictures

3/19/06, 1:50 pm EST - Xoanon

1983 KONG Party
Click for more photos

Dan Fiebiger writes: Thought all you KONG-Peter-Jackson fans might maybe be interested in this: In March, 1983, at the Chinese Theater, there was a big 50th Anniversary KONG party, celebrating the release of the original 1933 film. Most everyone who worked on the film, or loved the film, or was related to someone who worked on the film, or worked in special effects, was there. I (now a retired efx animator) was there also, and shot many photos of the event, and shot the original KONG models (now owned by Peter Jackson) at Forre Ackerman's place later on.

Below is a guide to these attached photos:


1. Me inside the hand of full-scale KONG bust outside the theater, lovingly re-created by many Hollywood EFX and set people (for free) from the original plans used for making the same bust in the same place in 1933.

2. (Right to left) Linwood Dunn (who did optical efx for the original film), No. 1 KONG fan, Ray Harryhausen, and Dunn's wife (Irene?).

Linwood Dunn had a film career going back to 1923. He was the optical efx guy at RKO who also worked on (among many others) FLYING DOWN TO RIO, BRINGING UP BABY, CITIZEN KANE (some of those famous "deep-focus" Greg Toland camera shots are actually Dunn's optical composites) and THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. After RKO was bought by DesiLou Productions, Dunn was one of the four optical efx guys who worked on the original STAR TREK. He later set up his own optical efx company, "Film Effects of Hollywood", specializing in large film formats (70mm and Imax). He successfully blew up 16mm images to 70mm for George Harrison's CONCERT FOR BANGLEDESH. He knew everyone in Hollywood (old and new) for decades, all the people we, as fans, now admire. At one time or another, Dunn was a presedeint of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and the American Society of Cinematogpraphers (ASC). He was also an inventor, invented the first practical optical printer, a video projection system with resolution BETTER than 35mm film, and a new Hi-Resolution 3-D TV system used by surgeons in hospitals for micro-neuro surgery. He died in the late 90s, in HIS late 90s, while Peter Jackson was still working on his LORD OF THE RINGS films. He would have LOVED Jackson's new KONG movie(s).

3. Ray Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien's widow, Darleen O'Brien in the KONG bust hand.

4. Me (the harry one) and a still-beautiful-after-50-years Fay Wray.

5. An unsung hero of the original KING KONG, Orville Goldner, who built all the miniature jungle sets on which Willis O'Brien animated his models. (I didn't get the opportunity to get to know him further.)

6. Terry Moore, female lead in the original MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (and one of Howard Hughes wives, who had just inherited 64 million dollars earlier that day, a double reason for her to party), with Ray Bradbury in the background.

7. Ultra rare KONG posters, photos, and models. The models (L-R): Brontosaurus used for close-ups, one of the mock hand-held gas bombs used to subdue KONG, Brontosaurus used for long shots, section of miniature Kong WALL model used in long shots, Pterodactyl model (whose black wings are hard to see against the black velvet it was placed on), one of the original KONG armatures, Stegosaurus model.

8. Closer shot of the two Brontosaurus models and hand-held gas bomb.

9. Bronze sculpture of KONG-T-REX fight made by Ray Harruhausen for the 1983 event. (Director John Landis bought it from Harryhausen that night for $6,000.00.)

10-11. Details of the Brontosaurus model used in long shots.

12-14. Details of the Stegosaurus model.

15-16. Details of the second Brontosaurus model used for close ups.

17-18. Details of the Pterodactyl model.

19-20. Details of the Triceritops model.