Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One Night in the Seventies

On September 10, 2001 I spent the day at Disneyland with a friend who was visiting from New York. Quite a place to have been in retrospect. I think the sounds of the Main Street Electrical Parade from that night will always remain frozen in time to me. Early the next morning I was woken up by my sister shortly after 6:00 L.A. time and everything changed.

I don’t have very much to say that hasn’t been said already. I think of walking around Greenwich Village when I was a teenager and always being able to see the towers. I think of how large they always loomed to me from the time I was a child. I try to think of the people who were so directly affected by the events of the day and how deep in my heart I continue to ache for them.

It’s strange how certain films have taken on a more poignant feel because of the presence of the towers in them. I especially think of the 1976 KING KONG, which used them as the centerpiece of its climax and the famous poster, which remains one of my favorites. The film has its detractors, to put it mildly, but I have sort of a soft spot for it, a feeling that has only grown in the past six years. Maybe part of the reason is that I think of the shooting of the final moments in the film, an occasion that had thousands of extras show up to be present for the death of Kong and to witness him lying there in the plaza of the World Trade Center. I wish I’d been there that night. Watching it now, it looks like a special event in Lower Manhattan somewhere in the wilds of the seventies, spent as those grand towers loomed above in the night sky. But, ultimately, my memory of them doesn’t matter. Instead, I try to think of the people I never knew whose lives were ended that day. And the great city I once knew very well, a city which will remain great forever.


Jeremy Richey said...

I admit it. I am a closet King Kong 76 fanatic. Well, fanatic might be a little strong but I have a lot of love for this much malligned film. Most of it is due to the fact that I grew up with it and it was a favorite as a child. One of my earliest memories is seeing a billboard of it in New York...I will post a tribute to it evenually as I do find it to be undervalued and not as bad as many make it out to be.
The last few shots in this film still haunt me, and I think they are along with the score undeniably great...

Mr. Peel said...

Yeah, the John Barry score is terrific. It's funny, I also have a vague recollection of seeing a huge billboard in New York. There's a site called Kingdom Kong at pulpanddagger.com devoted to the '76 version which contains a blurry newsclipping of a billboard in Times Square. I don't know if it's the same one, but it could be. I think a memory like that has a lot to do with my continued fascination with the poster and film...and my latter-day wistful feelings about it.

Thanks for the comment Jeremy.