[Groop] Groo meets King Kong

Larry Steller mrgrooism at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 10 18:55:00 PST 2005

Where to begin?

As you will soon see, my current King Kong madness can easily be
brought On Topic!

I’ve been very active on the message boards at www.kongisking.net
(KiKn) for the last year or so. KiKn has been hosting Peter Jackson’s
King Kong Production Diaries for about a year and a half now. The PDs
and the PPDs (Post Production Diaries) are pretty much DVD extras
before the movie is even finished. Every week another short episode is
posted detailing a different aspect of the creative moviemaking
process. They are a load of fun.

My experiences meeting all of the wild and wonderful members of The
Groop (see?) led me early on to suggest that we at KiKn should get
together for the movie’s release. Another KiKnn stalwarth had
previously talked up getting together for the Premiere, so a plan was
hatched that eventually spun wildly out of control, in quite a good

So, just as the San Diego Comic Con spawned GrooFest, so too did the
King Kong Premiere spawn the KiKn KongFest (so I like the suffix
“Fest”, sue me!)

Meeting all of these guys was very much like meeting all of you
wonderful Groopies/Groopers, but there ended up being about 40 of us
there! BTW, they naturally shorten my nickname mrgrooism to just Groo,
hee hee!

The plan was simple at first, we’d get together the morning of the
Premiere, go to the Empire State Building, have a big old KiKn KongFest
Luncheon, then go watch the stars arrive for the NYC Red Carpet

As more and more responses rolled in, and folks pledged to come in from
not only all over the country, but from as far away as England and
Japan, I kept expanding the itinerary until we had a three day outing
that included:

Lunch in Chinatown
Private Tour of CBS Studios
Dinner at McHales Pub

American Museum of Natural History
Dinner at The Firehouse (which has great Buffalo Wings)
Gawking in Times Square as the Weta Workshop crew assembles a
LIFE-SIZED Kong on the traffic Island by the Recruiting Station.
Richard Taylor (head honcho of Weta Workshop who did all of the King
Kong and Lord of the Rings special effects) came over when we yelled
out to him that we were form KiKn, but not before first throwing
snowballs at us! Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson are definitely akin
to Sergio and Mark, they love their fans the same way and aren’t afraid
of intereactinfg with us at length! 

Empire State Building
Luncheon at Stout
After Party at Me` rooftop bar in the shadow of the ESB.

Soon we started campaigning to various sources to try and get our hands
on some actual Premiere tickets. Our hope was that if we could get a
pair of tickets, we could raffle them off at our luncheon.

Well, Universal came though for us BIGTIME, and gave all 40 of us
coming to the luncheon tickets to the Premiere, plus another 70 to
raffle off on KiKn! Wooo-hooooo! The Premiere was being held on 42d St
& 8th Ave, at the Loews E-Walk theater AND the AMC Theater acoss the
street. Playing on 36 screens to 8000 guests, we were thrilled to be
going, even if we weren’t going to be in the same screening as the

Next we started trying to hit up the various sponsors for SWAG. Dark
Horse came through for us in a big way, as Michael Richardson sent us a
Kong with Ann Darrow Bust that retails for about $250.00, as well as 40
copies of the Dark Horse King Kong mini-comic.

Thanks Mike!

We also got 40 copies of the new book KING KONG IS BACK, tons of KK
hats, tee shirts and sweatshirts, action figures, 4 copies of the
Ubisoft King Kong CD-ROM game for PC, about 6 sets of New Zealand King
Kong Collectible Coin sets (!!!) 4 copies of the BRILLIANT hardcover
art book WORLD OF KONG, which is like a field guide to Skull Island
Monsters, and 2 copies of the classic IT CAME FROM BOB’S BASEMENT. 

Wow! Did we ever get swag!

Oh, and also the promise of an exact replica of Bob Burn’s classic King
Kong Armature, now in production! If you saw any of the coverage of the
Premiere, you may know that BB owns one of the two original stop-motion
King Kong puppets Willis O’Brien used to actually animate Kong; in
other words the real King Kong! All that’s left is the skeletal frame,
but it is a thing of beauty! He brought it to the Premiere, and
Sideshow Collectibles promises to donate one of the exact replicas to
the random winner at our luncheon, the incomparable Nessa! Nessa has
the second most posts on the boards (well over 6,000!), and is in one
way our Gary Grossmann, so it's appropriate she won.

The luncheon was Off The Walls! During my opening speech I was greeted
by a low growl of GROOOOO that made me wish you guys were there as
well! A CNN crew showed up to film our gathering and interviewed a
bunch of us, including me, and we had a Japanese newpaper on hand to
chronicle the gathering. Part way through my cell phone rang, and it
was Richard Taylor (greeted by 40 fans loudly yelling  “Hi Richard”)
calling to make sure I hooked up with a reporter from the New Zealand
wire services, come to interview me about the party! As if that wasn’t
enough, Peter Jackson sent over the PD Documentary Crew to film us for
either one of the 2 remaining PPDs or the DVD! YOW!!!

AND it gets better!

When we go to the Premiere, it turned out that we WERE IN FACT in the
SAME THEATER as the CAST AND CREW, plus all kinds of big stars suvh as
Stephen King and George Lucas! It was surreal! 

After that, while most of KiKn went to our After Party at Me`, 10 lucky
fans including myself got to go to the Star-Studded Cast & Crew After
Party! We spent more quality time with Richard Taylor, I got to
casually chat up both Frank Darabont and Andy Serkis, and I experienced
what we took to calling a Drive-By handshake from George Lucas! I
approached him respectfully and said “Mr. Lucas, I’m not going to ask
for an autograph, i just want to say Thank You” but he was gone before
I completed the sentence.

Compare that to Peter Jackson, who was being rushed out by his handlers
and entourage, but when we said “Peter, we’re from KongisKing.net” he
broke away and posed for pictures with us. I gave him our KiKn KongFest
Tee Shirt (Groo-like, there was a printing error and the colors were
reversed, so you had a WHITE silhouette of the NYC Skyline with a WHITE
Kong on top of it, with BLACK highlights, instead of BLACK with WHITE
highlights) When I explained the mistake and the fact that we now have
a Son of Kong shirt (SoK featured a baby albino Kong) he laughed, but
it was still a bit embarrassing.

Saving the best for last, Bob Burns let me hold the Kong Armature, so I

Without question, this was the best long weekend of my life! Woo-hoo!

You can view the picture of me with Kong right here! 


-Larry "Mr. Grooism" Steller, Mendicant First Class 

Favorite Links:
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PENGUIN PERSPECTIVES: http://janetharriett.blogspot.com/
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