Hollywood to Fairbanks

In the 1930s, the movie King Kong hit the theatres and was one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. The following local movie review written by Don Adler shows the interesting impression this movie made on him:

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner November 23, 1933

Screen Life- Hollywood to Fairbanks by Don Adler

Tonight, it’s the final showing of that spectacular smash it, KING KONG.

I have seen many a picture using double and triple exposure work…have seen many pictures in which the scenes were made from miniature settings…but I have yet to see a picture using double and triple exposure and miniature to such a height of perfection as they are used in KING KONG. It’s the most marvelous piece of photography ever shown.

You’re going to be taken to the land of the prehistoric animal.

Wouldn’t it seem strange and a bit awkward to have one of those fellows come trooping in through your roof? Impossible??? Why???

Let’s have a drink….now let’s continue….

Many of the prehistoric remains picked up around here seem to show that when the owners of those bones died, they died through some sudden catastrophe…a certain something that happened in the flash of a moment…and buried all living things…

Let’s have another drink… and continue….

We know from these remains that these monstrous triceratops, brontosaurus, tyrannosaurus and other queer-sounding and queer-looking creatures once roamed this countryside…Now supposing the ice and snow covering these creatures suddenly melted and a quake shook the dirt off their bodies…

Let’s pour another drink so we can see more….

We hear that scientists are trying to lasso the cosmic ray…we hear of them claiming that these cosmic rays are crammed full of energy… and anything possessing energy has the power of movement …and now supposing these exposed bodies we mentioned, were struck by a batch of these cosmic rays in the raw… and energy injected into them… and they started moving!

If they headed for Fairbanks they’d move along slowly at first…then at one time or another they’d run against some of the F. E. Company’s high tension wires… and there would be just enough juice going through their bodies to pep them up a bit… and ON THEY’D COME…

Give me another drink, quick!

They’d continue on to town… they’d behold a strange sight and pause for a moment … then one of them would spy the N.C. Co. smoke stack… and mistaking it for some kind of a tree, he would take a bite at it… dislike it… fling it from him… it would land out at the airport… and Vic Ross or Art Hines, without looking up would say, “Sounds like Don learning to fly.”

Another would park himself in the slough and start drinking…he’s slide his head along the water until part of his neck was underneath this side of the bridge, and part under the other side, then he’s decide he’d had enough to drink and suddenly raise his head…and pouff,…no more bridge.

Wouldn’t they just raise heck with this town of ours?

Of course the kids would take to these animals and the first thing we know, we’d see little Johnny Preston, the Butterfield boy, and a score of others using the big fellows’ necks for a toboggan slide….Whoopee!

Fantastic idea?…sure!….Very improbable?…..sure!…Impossible?….nothing is impossible these days.

But let’s not start worrying about it happening…let’s drop around the theater and see what happens when folks first meet up with some of these prehistoric animals…see what happens when one of them runs loose in New York…You’re due for a thrill… a BIG thrill!

You’re going to feast your eyes on the most fantastic picture ever made…you’re going to see trick photography that surpasses anything ever shown on the screen! See you at the Empress theater!


Don Adler

Note: Willis O’Brien, who did the animation for King Kong, pioneered his stop action filming process with a movie produced in in 1915 called the “The Dinosaur and the Missing Link,” which was the very first stop action animation movie. The money to make that movie came from film distributor & producer Herman Wobber, who garnered his fortune mining on Discovery claim on Fairbanks Creek. So in a way, Fairbanks gold paved the way to make King Kong! Go ahead Google it, we dare you! This fantastic history nugget has been proudly brought to you by Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska.

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