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October 20, 2005

Bob Burns 1933 Kong Armature visits Weta

Bob Burns, came to visit Weta on Monday, and it was pretty damn cool to see and touch a piece of movie history. It's the original armature used in the 1933 film, that was actually used for the kong tests, but worked well so they used it in the film. Bob Burns managed to tell a number of interesting short stories, Karim took lots of photos, it was cool.

It may be 73 years old, fur-less and only 46 centimetres tall, but the original King Kong that terrorised New York is now in New Zealand ahead of its celebrated re-make.

American collector and film enthusiast Bob Burns. Burns and his wife, from California, are in Wellington with the frame of the animation model used in the original 1933 movie, as guests of director Peter Jackson.

"I thought since they are doing King Kong over here it would be good to bring him over," Mr Burns said yesterday.

"(Jackson) brought us over. It was really nice of him to do it. He just knows that I am such a Kong fan that he wanted me to see what was happening."

Mr Burns first met Jackson in the United States about 15 years ago. He had been given a sneak preview of the movie – a "couple of little scenes" – while in Wellington.

"It's such a homage to the old Kong . . . Peter has such love for the animal that you can just see it. You can see the love in the film."

Mr Burns even took the model with him to a Wellington pub yesterday.

"He thought he'd come in for a spot of ale."

Originally covered in sponge rubber and rabbit fur and with a pair of doll's eyes, it was one of two models made by modeller Marcel Delgado for the original film.

Mr Burns' model is the only one of the pair remaining after the other was cannibalised for parts.

The joints were moved between frames to give the appearance of movement. "At 24 frames (a second), when you project it, he moves."

The model is believed to be valued at more than US$100,000 (NZ$144,000) for insurance purposes.

Mr Burns said he had owned the model for decades. It also starred in the lesser-known Son of Kong in 1933 and two of its fingers were used for the model of the giant in the 1962 film Jack the Giant Killer.

Mr Burns has a museum of memorabilia from horror and science fiction movies, including Frankenstein's boots and latex props from Alien and The Terminator.

The Smithsonian Institution had tried to buy the King Kong model from him. "I think I'm going to keep him."

-via stuff.co.nz - "Not so Scary"


Posted by dschnee at October 20, 2005 10:46 AM