Blowing the Lid Off of the 30 Year Old Conspiracy

My cousins are actually in this picture. Salt in my wounds. I should have been there!!

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?

It’s morning.

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?

Mom: Yes.

Me: You are a monster.

Mom: Yup.

So there you have it folks. Small child with dream of touching childhood monster hero foiled by entire family conspiring against her.

Mystery solved.



Filed under childhood dreams, dino de laurentis, Foreman, golden opportunity snatched, king kong, my grandma liked scotch, sneaky maternal shenanigans, the 70's rocked, why I can't trust

30 responses to “Blowing the Lid Off of the 30 Year Old Conspiracy

  1. Awww, dirty! I cry foul! Because now, your mom has also taken from me the chance to say that I “know” someone who was in that scene as well. I’ve been robbed!

    • dufmanno

      Today I talked to her and she was all like “You were over it the next day, you exaggerate, Kelly Ann” and then I countered with “Yeah, I was so over it that it has me in it’s bear trap death grip TO THIS DAY!”
      I hate it when she calls me Kelly Ann

      • “Kelly Ann” makes you sound like someone who should be staying away from the light…

      • I HATE it when my mom tells us we were ‘over’ things that we still discuss today. We try to explain to her if we had been over them we wouldn’t have been so traumatized we still discuss them at gatherings. That kind of logic makes us sound like whiners is her typical response. Sensitivity is something they apparently trained in nursing school. Le’sigh.

  2. Agatha82

    Oh wow, poor you. Kind of mean of everyone to lead you on. Not fair….
    I remember that movie very well, it was so bad, it was good.

    • dufmanno

      The movie never gets old for me, even with the painful memories involved. All that monster PLUS Charles Grodin equals super epic blockbuster juggernaut!!

  3. Tom G.

    Oh man. THAT is a painful childhod memory. No wonder you turned out so, um… tortured. My heart aches just thinking of what you must have felt like when you woke up and it was light out.

    The only other story I have heard that come close, is a friend who got caught by his parents peaking at the brand new super AFX Slot Car trck they’d bought him for Christmas. So as punishment they gave it to his cousin instead. That is child abuse.

    Don’t you wonder what seemingly innocent trick we play on our kids is going to come out in therapy in another 30 years?

    • dufmanno

      Pfffft. My kids are so spoiled that they can’t even conceive of a case scenario like this.
      A parent who doesn’t do as they say?
      Especially as that parent will have to hear the bitching and moaning of three of the most persistantly annoying voices ever created.
      My aunt left coal in the stockings of three of her boys when she caught them sneaking downstairs one year to bum rush Santa.
      It was a cold and terrifying reminder at the bottom of the pile never to fuck with the big man.

  4. and she trried to console you with monster cereal. such shameless trickery. you have suffered hard my child.

    • dufmanno

      No, that too was a letdown since I preferred BooBerry.
      Why they weren’t feeding us cocaine logs dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with caffeine crunch is beyond me.

  5. Your mom clearly forgot the rules of parenting. When you lie to your kids, you MAINTAIN the lie. Forever. Even when the proof stares you in the face.

    • dufmanno

      I know, right? First she tried to give me the “honestly, it was so long ago” song and dance where she pretended it never happened and then she miraculously could recall every detail.
      She kept trying to distract me by pretending to be busy planning the menu for Thanksgiving dinner but I made sure to grill her with the expertise of a veteran waterboarding team.

  6. My parents pulled a similar manuver with “Xanadu.” They “forgot” to tell me the neighbor girl invited me to see it. They were worried it was too sexy.

    I still haven’t forgiven them.

    • dufmanno

      Xanadu WAS totally sexy so they weren’t totally off the mark with that one but the deception is crippling. Explain to me how it was okay for millions of little girls to stand in front of a mirror belting out the lyrics to Go Greased Lightning and Sandra Dee into their hairbrush but as soon as Oliva Newton John got a sparkly purple backdrop and some superpowers everything went to hell?

  7. Ohhh I am so sorry!!!! I can absolutely understand your rage, even till this day, 30 years later. What happened to me granted was not as monumental as the King Kong final moment, but it was the final episode of this Hong Kong TV series that had been playing once a week on Sunday nights for I can’t remember maybe half a year? This was HUGE 30 years ago: when the show was on, there was nobody in the street. No cab was working. It was that huge. Anyway, I fell asleep somehow and my parents did not wake me up! I was furious! esp. because the next day and for the next month that was all everybody else at school was talking about. And back then, there was no way I could have watched this final episode! Actually, until this day, I haven’t seen it. *sobs*

    • dufmanno

      I think we need to have a “final episode” party for you where we drink copious amounts of alcohol and LIVE it together.
      I may not ever be able to go back and touch the giant dead puppet Kong they constructed specifically for this scene but YOU my friend can see the conclusion of your favorite show!! Wondertwin powers ACTIVATE!

  8. In my early twenties there was a movie shooting here in Minneapolis. A vampire movie with Alyssa Milano. A bunch of my friends found out about an extra call for a club scene and tried to get me to go with them. I am incredibly camera shy so I made up an excuse not to go, but wished them all well.
    Turns out they ended up being completely visible in the scene. But since they were dudes and the director made them take their shirts off and make out in the scene, I count myself lucky for missing that particular chance at movie stardom.

    • dufmanno

      I am heading over to IMDB to look up this movie so fast that I would not be surprised if a jet propulsion system had flames shooting out of my ass. And yes, now I am waiting for someone to school me on exactly HOW a jet propulsion system works because I suspect it has nothing to do with fire blasting out of my anus.

  9. dufmanno

    Thank you Tom.
    So far we have
    Pocket Atomic
    The Sex Monkeys (courtesty of my youngest son and Elly Lou who feels their first single should be “Put in jail for kissing”)
    and now Flaming Anus. It might be a little too close for the Flaming Lips to feel comfortable but it’s still in the running.

    • Tom G.

      Which begs the age old question, which came first? The Flaming Lips or the Flaming Anus?

      It’s like a Zen riddle.

      • dufmanno

        I’m going to go with the Lips cause it’s a long complicated road to the Flaming Anus.
        Well not really that long, more like half an inch. O.K. I just vomited.

      • Tom G.

        OK, we are getting dangerously close to a human caterpillar reference. Time to stop.

        NO WAIT! TOO LATE!

  10. dufmanno

    I found the vampire movie!!!!
    It also starts Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet fame and has NYMPHS!!!!

    • Tom G.

      From IMDB “An 18-year-old college freshman is seduced by a handsome vampire lover who introduce her to a dark world of carnal desires.”

      The plot synopsis reads like a female version of a Penthouse Letter.

      • dufmanno

        I know. Also, I’m not sure why buy no one but me seems wowed by Martin Kemps seamless transition from New Romantic sex god to feature films? Wasn’t he in that brutal movie about the Kray Brothers too?

  11. michael freeman

    Wow,almost forgot the unhealthy Ali Vs. Frasier mock bouts (nothing like 2 pre pubscen,t mixed sex cousins pretending to be 2 polorizing large, black men fighting each other)….As for the King Kong World Trade Center scene..I must admit we stayed until about 9pm,and they still hadnt began filming,although I could have stayed and looked at the lifeless body of the Big Guy for the whole night,(my father mentioned something about school the next day,his priorities were totally fucked)….Do you by any chance remeber the Star Trek episodes that we basically created in the Laundry room of the Wayne Ave. house?…if my memory serves,they were pretty damn good…I think we may have even killed off Sulu (oh my)….

    • dufmanno

      I DO!!! Everyone failed to recognize our potential as bad screenwriters but had we known of the riches he sat upon we could have called up Freyfogle to fund our zany dreams. Either that or we could have stalked him by sitting on his hammock and waiting for him to show up and give us a soda.

      • michael freeman

        Yes,growing up in my household with even a hint of artistic ability (drawing or otherwise)..was met with guffaws,followed by a dissaproving,I think he may be gay look(it didnt help that one Christmas I recieved i gigantic grocery store set up,amid my brothers football basketballs and jerseys)….even at that tender age I knew that Santa was alot of things,but not a labeling homophobe…..(thus my last year of believing)….It all worked out in the end,they eventually settled on the “we dont know what to do with him,I guess just go be a mindless dumb cop” moniker….who knew…what kind of shit you can step in sometimes……haha

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