'King Kong' abounds with fun facts for fanboys By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY
From the winking tributes to the 1933 original to the co-pilot cameos in the attacking biplanes, Peter Jackson has tucked all manner of trivia into his three-hour-and-seven-minute King Kong. Some of the more notable nods (warning: spoilers ahead):
Did you know that Jack Black, as director Carl Denham, drops many references in King Kong?Universal Studios
• When Jack Black's film producer Carl Denham learns that RKO hired an actress (named "Fay," as in original Kong star Wray) away from him, he gripes, "Cooper — I should have known." Merian C. Cooper, the co-director of the first Kong, was the head of RKO studios before and after World War II.
• Among the cages stored below the deck of the Venture, the steamer that sails to Skull Island, is one labeled "Sumatran rat monkey." It's a reference to the creature whose bite causes a plague of zombies in Jackson's 1992 horror spoof Braindead (aka Dead Alive).
• The cheesy movie dialogue spoken by actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) and leading man Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler) during a scene being shot aboard the Venture is actual cheesy movie dialogue from the first Kong.
• After breaking the jaw of a V. rex (a relative of the T. rex), Kong flops it open and shut, just like he does in the 1933 version. Other repeated scenes: Ann steals an apple; Denham gives his speech that begins, "We're millionaires. I'll share it with all of you"; and he also recites the fake Arabian proverb -"And the prophet said, 'And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty. And it stayed its hand from killing. And from that day, it was as one dead.' "
• Several original Kong props from Jackson's collection can be found around the ship, including a native shield and spears mounted on the wall.
• Designers made sure that the aboriginal Skull Island natives, though vicious, were more sensitively portrayed this time. But a pre-PC jungle tribe straight out of the first Kong, complete with hairy ape shrugs and coconut bras, dances to Max Steiner's old score during the gorilla's Broadway debut.
• Cooper and co-director Ernest D. Schoedsack were the pilots who took down Kong during the 1933 climax. Similarly, Jackson is a gunner and master effects artist Rick Baker, who wore the Kong suit in the 1976 remake, is his pilot. Says Jackson, "I thought it was really symbolic that Rick gets to shoot Kong." Director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) is another gunner.
• An advertising sign for Universal Pictures, the studio behind this version of Kong, can be spied in Times Square. Archival photos of New York City, circa 1933, showed a promo for Columbia Pictures in that spot. "We did try to make it Columbia," Jackson says. "They wanted to be paid a huge amount of money. So we went with Universal," which let him use a sign for free.