“What an honor to be asked to write about him for this long overdue book.
I was seven when the movie first came out in 1933. I still remember being terrified when Kong emerged from the jungle to claim his sacrifice, and when in New York he broke his chains and escaped to terrorize the city. These memories are ingrained in me.
During the early 1930s, Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Mummy were also released. What a golden time. These movies were of serious intent; not comic take-offs, and they have stood the test of time. Even with all the modern computer generated and digital movie techniques, the old King Kong movie was better. King Kong was the scariest of them all. He still is.
When I received Joe DeVito’s presentation it literally blew my mind. I didn’t think it would be nearly that spectacular, and I envied him because I would have loved to do King Kong.
In the 1960s, Bantam Books put out a paperback of the novel, King Kong. They asked me to do the cover after they had a screening at their headquarters. My wife posed for the Fay Wray character, the sacrifice for Kong. Also during that period, I did twenty-two monster kit covers for Aurora models. King Kong was among them. It was the most popular line of models they had ever released. So, this magnificent ape has been part of my career, too.
Having done King Kong twice, both as a book cover and as a monster kit, I honestly don’t think with all my skill and with all my access to reference, I could have done what Joe has done. The conceptuals are incredible, King Kong is ferocious and scary, and when I read the presentation I couldn’t put it down!
King Kong is a universal theme, and movies about him have been made and remade. But this book is different and delves into Kong’s lore with a thoroughness that no movie could. I had never wondered before where King Kong came from, and how such a creature could exist, until I saw what Joe had sent. It was all a revelation to me.
It is fantastic creations like this that have enabled me to remain a little boy.”