Saturday, July 28, 2007

King Jimmy

The story begins this way. I am sitting figuring out some bills on a saturday afternoon. It is way too hot outside to be doing anything. Dogs got walked this morning when there was dew on the grass and laundry is swishing away. I am listening to some classical music cd's that were Jim's. With the 6 cd changer thing, I don't have to get up, I just get to listen. Then, suddenly, some music comes on. The overture for King Kong (the original) I know that music. Jim played the soundtrack and such all the time. I can see in my minds eye the screen and the movie playing out.

Jim had a thing for King Kong. He really loved the original movie. I think the only one that could top his obsession for the movie would be our friend John. And they would watch it together. They knew the lines by heart. (Sort of like me and Star Wars (a new hope). It is a fan thing.

So in all this, the memory comes to mind of Jim and his trip to see - oh I can't remember who - was it to horrorfind? to see someone speak about Kong? I will have to ask John and come back and edit this part. BUT, Jim and John are on their way to some Kong related event. It is pouring down rain. Jim is driving. They are playing the soundtrack to King Kong (the original of course) and going back and forth with the lines for each of the characters. One of them even roared like Kong. Well, maybe both of them did at times. But it was the eerieness of the rain, the night and them both knowing the movie that made it all surreal for them.

Jim told me about this trip and just how much fun it was. I could see by the twinkle in his eyes and the bright grin that he had enjoyed himself.

Another Kong memory is our trip to NYC to see Spamalot. We had time to do some touristy stuff before the show. The one thing we had to do when we went was go to the Empire State Building. To see the King Kong, Fay Wray memorial. We went up to the top and looked over the city. We bought some stuff in the gift shop. We went downstairs and found the small off the main route stairwell where they had three display cases of Kong and Fay Wray memorablia.

A favorite Simpson's episode of a Jims is called King Homer and the nod to it is in my title. Basically the premise for that was Homer is King Kong and Marge is Fay Wray and the others make up various parts of the movie. Burns and Smithers and the seaman joke was great, but Homer eating people was the best, that episode was a well done parody of the movie.

The cinema club we belong to, ICS (imaginative cinema society - check out the webpage) had members send in pics of their favorite movies and some were photoshoped with our faces over the actors and such. Sounds strange, but it was lots of fun. Well, of course Jim had to do King Kong. We chose November for our anniversary and found a great movie poster. We put Jims face over Kongs body and my face over Fay Wrays as she screams as Kong is holding her.

Jim called himself a big ape sometimes and was a Kong lover. He was excited about the new movie and more excited about the big box set of the original and such when it came out. He was a Kong Geek.

1 comment:

oneders63 said...

Jim was my best "King Kong" buddy. No one else in the world has been able to share my enthusiasm for that old black-and-white adventure/thriller to the degree that Jim had. If Jim and I ever ran out of new stuff to talk about, we could always talk about "Kong" and about how cool he was, along with Fay Wray and every other aspect of that movie.

We particularly enjoyed listening to Max Steiner's incredible music score for that 1933 film, and we would very often play it (in his car or in mine) while we were driving ANYwhere. We knew the film so well that we could say nearly every line in the film in perfect synchronization to the music as we listened to it. I believe that I could recite the Skull Island native dialogue better than Jim could (example: Captain Englehorn refuses to sell Fay Wray to the native chief by saying "Mahlem ahnay rotah nah hee", which translates into English as "Our woman is our luck and we dare not part with her"). But Jim was much more skilled at reproducing Kong's roar than I am. Both skills have very limited uses in our modern everyday world, I grant you. Anyway, we always had a great time playing this Kong dialogue game.

But sometimes Jim and I would actually WATCH the movie together, too! Sometimes he would visit me at my apartment, and (instead of rehearsing for a play or working on some project like we were SUPPOSED to) we would sit back and watch "King Kong" - usually the classic black-and-white version, but we also watched the unintentionally funny German-dubbed version, as well as the really peculiar French-dubbed version (in which most of the NYC "depression" footage was missing). And sometimes we'd even watch the mostly dreadful COLORIZED version! Once, Jim and I drove (in the rain, I think, which is probably the night that Betsy is describing in her blog) to some hole in the wall theatre outside of Baltimore just to see "King Kong" on a big movie screen instead on on TV, only to find that the print that they were showing was cut to ribbons and looked worse than my 1983 VHS copy - but we still got a big kick out of that evening anyway.

Sometimes Jim would surprise me with all kinds of "Kong" related presents. He gave me a great "Kong" T-shirt for my birthday last year (I'm wearing it right now). He also gave me his little "King Homer" plastic toy. And he and Betsy brought me back a really classy "Kong" toy from their trip to the Empire State Building when they went to see "Spamalot". All of them are cherished pieces that are proudly displayed on the "Kong" shelf in my living room.

"King Kong" in all its many forms was a great source of childlike enthusiasm for Jim and me, and watching it made us feel much younger than we were. I doubt that I'll ever have that same "Kong" connection with anyone ever again. I miss Jim very much, but I'll always feel close to him, as long as I can watch "King Kong".
- John