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Tag Archives: WTC

A New York Minute (13)

30 Jan

January 30, 2012

Here’s your New York Minute. Go tell the neighbors.

New York has a lot of famous residents, from Donald Trump’s hair to the giant inflatable rat that unions put up outside of non-union construction sites, but the most famous one of all arrived in 1933 and still holds as place in our hearts. Of course I’m talking about the original Big Ape, King Kong.

We all know the story. Carl Denham, played by Robert Armstrong, traveled to Skull Island to make a movie but ended up bringing Kong back to New   York, where the giant ape tore up some train tracks and wrecked some buildings, before finally climbing the Empire State Building where he fell to his death. And in true New York fashion, in the sequel Son of Kong Denham had to dodge about at thousand lawsuits.

The film was a hit and is considered a cinematic classic.

The 1976 version? Not so much.

In 1976 Dino DeLaurentis made  a big-budget remake, which the movie poster somehow called “the most exciting original motion picture event of all time.” It kept the same basic plot but changed some key elements. Kong was found not by a movie producer but an oil company, but the biggest change was that Kong climbed the South Tower of the World Trade Center, which had beat the Empire State Building as the tallest building in Manhattan since the original movie came out.

The film got mixed reviews. Personally, I think it isn’t horrible on the one hand but not too good on the other. But it has one huge drawback. In most scenes, King Kong was played by a man in an ape suit. And it didn’t go over very well when Dino DeLaurentis put out an ad looking for, and I quote, “a well-built black man” to play the ape.

Even Rick Baker, a special effects man known for Hollywood makeup and said that the suit wasn’t at all convincing. And he should know, he wore it. However, they did make, and highly publicized, a 40 foot tall mechanical Kong. It cost 1.7 million dollars but didn’t convince anyone and it ended up appearing in just 15 seconds of footage. Yes, I said seconds. 1.7 million for 15 seconds. However, there were some other giant props, like Kong heads, hands, and arms, and that’s where I come in.

In 1976 my father had an office on the 15th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, and his office overlooked the plaza where King Kong was being filmed. This was the World Trade Center’s first brush with heightened security. People who worked in the building had to have special passes. Certain parts were blocked off for filming. Notices warned everyone that they might be filmed as they went in or out of the building. Extra security and police had to be brought in to keep back the crowds who wanted to get a glimpse of the filming.

Although I was very young I have vague and fuzzy memories of looking down from Dad’s office and seeing some of the filming and especially some of the props. Most of the filming at the Trade Center was done at night but there were always things going happening on the set. And even though it was 35 years ago I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget looking down and seeing a giant ape being laid out in the plaza below the World Trade Center. Some things are unique, and in the age of CGI probably never to be repeated.

Kong has been remade and reimagined over the years, from Peter Jackson’s overly long period piece to the Japanese-made battles with Godzilla and robo-Kong, but I’ll always think of King Kong as the giant gorilla who crushed Charles Grodin under his hairy foot.

This has been your New York Big Ape Minute.

And that giant inflatable rat I mentioned? Here it is:

An audio version of this legend recently appeared in the amazing FlashPulp website. Check them out for awesomeness and goodies!

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American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior: Old Rivals

21 Nov

November  21, 2011

The next big made-up event starts this week as motorcycle builder and noted dirtbag Jesse James “challenges” both OCC and PJD. Jesse James must have a good agent. Lord knows he doesn’t have a good therapist. He’ll fit right in.

As has been covered extensively on this site for the last few weeks, PJD continues the 9/11 bike. For those of you who may have missed it, here it is again.

The build continues on the 9/11 bike throughout the show, but I feel like we all know how it comes out so forgive me if I skip the details.

OCC continues the al-Qaeda bike, also known as the Arabian Horse Bike. I haven’t seen anything this silly since Chavo Guerrero’s little stick pony.

This is what the "Arabian Horse Bike" reminds me of.

While OCC waits for parts for the horsey bike, they go to Grainger, a tool company, to get free stuff, shill for them, and plug. I mean get ideas for a bike. Noticeably absent on a trip to see the clients and get ideas for their bike is Jason Pohl, the OCC “drawer.” Hey, why would the guy who designs the bikes need to meet the clients and see what they sell?

Senior: “It is a complicated bike because Jason has pipes criss-crossing each other, and you can’t have pipes crossing each other because the bike will never run.” So Mike had to come up with a work-around. JEEZ JASON, learn something about bike building! It is your career!

Jason: “Hey I’m a horse! And I’m a gas tank!” Yeah, he said that at the unveil. The tank looks like a horse with a spike running through its head.

Enter Jesse James. He related some strange, curse-filled dream about him and Paul Senior fishing or something, it made no sense. Oh man, this guy is a wreck. He makes Mikey sound smart.

He compared the Teutuls to cake designers. They don’t make the batter, or mix the mix, they just decorate the cakes, the bikes. Yeah, a lot of people have said that, but look at this episode and say that about Paulie’s bike. You can’t. So of course Jesse James decided to send them pornographic cakes. If the effect he wanted was to make himself look like a tool,  he achieved his goal.

Is he still sober?

He said a lot of other things about Paulie and Senior, and a little of it made sense, and a lot of it sounded like he was stupid or high or both. I won’t comment on his bikes until I see the one he makes for the build-off, but I hope he builds better than he talks.

The producers had nothing important for Mikey to do this week so he conducted an investigation into the cake.

(Right about this point, I have to ask myself what happened to the show I used to love? Lousy horsey bikes? Jesse James and porno cakes? And more Jason Pohl? Where did this show go wrong?)

If you ever need a funny sound bite, get the clip of Mayor Bloomberg talking motorcycles.

 

NEXT WEEK
Get ready!
You won’t believe what’s coming!
It’s…..

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.

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…another clip show.
Seriously? Another one already? This is getting near bait and switch territory.

BEST PRANKS Nov. 28, 2011
Dummies come to life, spitballs fly and air horns blast in this behind-the-scenes special. But what’s a workplace without air-gun war, scooter jousting and helicopter drops?

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