Thursday, November 22, 2007
A Kind of a Gorilla
This may only be for people who lived in New York during a certain period.
There’s a period in my childhood that was marked by WOR Channel 9 in New York showing the same triple bill every Thanksgiving: KING KONG, SONG OF KONG and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG. To this day, when I think of Thanksgiving I think of KONG. These days I may not be able to view the same old commercials for Crazy Eddie and Toy World like I did then but the DVDs help to at least partly recreate this feeling.
Why these movies became programmed during Thanksgiving is something probably lost to history, but maybe the KONG connection to New York had something to do with it. Now, I love KING KONG but for reasons I cannot fully explain I have stronger memories or watching SON OF KONG in its entirety more than any other part of that afternoon of programming--the timing of when we ate must have had something to do with it. SON OF is pretty obviously assembled in haste and isn’t much of a movie but I still like the ‘Continuing Adventures of Denham and Englehorn’ feel of the first half and the second half has enough moments that have stuck with me since childhood so I can sit here right now and enjoy it pretty easily. And while female lead Helen Mack may be no Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong’s Carl Denham is absolutely right when he says, “She’s got something…she’s got personality.” Every time I see the movie I wind up looking forward to her first appearance.
A page at the DVD Drive In web site details the chronology of WOR offering this selection and it’s genuinely surprising to learn that the lineup I remember didn’t exist for as many years as I would have thought. But I suppose that everything about childhood seems to last longer than it really did. The 1933 KING KONG was already a film of the distant past when I first saw it and it’s much more in the past now. But the association I have with it, one that its creators never had in mind, remains strong. I hope someone else out there makes that KONG-Thanksgiving connection and as long as that happens I have to think that there is something right out there in the world. Happy Thanksgiving to all.