I wish our parents had liked us a little more and bothered to document our childhood hijinks carefully instead of sending us out into the wild to forage for berries and fend for ourselves.
Because if they had I would be able to show you hours of priceless film footage of my cousins and I playing various games of King Kong vs. Godzilla or Rodan vs. Son of Kong with a final round of Mighty Joe Young saving the orphans from the burning building before riding Mothra off into the sunset.
In reality no such footage exists because they were too busy drinking pitchers of iced tea and smoking cigarettes in the backyard stopping only long enough to scream around the front of the house for us to be quiet because they were working on their tans. Well, everyone except my Grandma who was nursing a Dewar’s and water and wearing a sensible sun hat.
The only variation on this monster vs. monster theme that I can recall are a number of staged boxing bouts at our grandmothers house between pretend Frasier, Foreman and Ali (it WAS the 70’s you know?) where we talked smack about floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee and playfully punched each other in the face with hands covered in multiple layers of stolen sweatsocks.
This game never turned out well since it required sneaking down a long easy to see hallway and always resulted in a real fight about who was going to be Muhammad Ali.
But again, I digress…..
Today we are here to use our junior detective skills to unravel a painful 30-year-old mystery shrouded in sad silence.
On November 10th super mega producer Dino De Laurentis passed away causing a wave of pent-up nostalgia to wash over me and opening the lid on the chest of unrealized dreams I keep under my bed.
So I called my mom to get the truth on what we in my family call the twin tower king kong midnight run episode that I “missed” where my cousins got to make an undercover of the night trip to the city to watch the Dino de Laurentis produced movie KING KONG film the last scene of this not quite so seminal remake .
You may remember this as the blockbuster that launched the early breathy career of one Jessica Lange and her equally shagtastic and bearded suitor Jeff Bridges. Others recall scratching their heads and wondering if a careless typo had resulted in her characters name being DWAN instead of DAWN.
I remember it as the biggest missed opportunity of my childhood.
To this day when I watch the final frames of the movie where the gathered crowd moves forward to encircle the now dead Kong- lying lifeless on the pavement at the foot of the world trade center- I become consumed with regret because I SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE.
This was going to be my pinnacle moment. For weeks it was all my cousin and I could talk about. His parents (my aunt and uncle) were going to shepard us down the Palisades parkway and over the GW bridge to a magical place where Hollywood would be transporting us directly into the monster movie of my dreams.
There was a call for extras to shoot a scene in the dead of night in NYC and we had plans to mix in with that crowd and insert ourselves directly into the Kong fantasy we’d been dreaming about all those years.
And then the big day came. My mom suggested I go to sleep for a while before they came to pick me up and then the next thing I know?
I missed it.
The tears of agony. The wailing. The disappointment!
WHY? I cried into my Count Chocula the next morning . I was inconsolable.
As far as I’m concerned there is no reason good enough to have taken that from me , hence the anti-climactic phone call to my mother.
Me: Mom, what really happened that time you didn’t wake me up to go see the filming of that King Kong scene in the city?
Mom: Oh I had no intention of letting you go, so I let you fall asleep and pretended that we couldn’t wake you up.
Me: That’s horrible! I wanted to see that more than anything else in the whole world!
Mom: You were six and a half years old and I had NO intention of sending you into the city for a 3am extras call.
Me: So everyone knew but me?
Me: You are a monster.
So there you have it folks. Small child with dream of touching childhood monster hero foiled by entire family conspiring against her.