The King Kong Encounter was a part of the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood. The attraction was held inside a show building and was located in the middle of the New York sets on the backlot. The experience featured two scenes and the trams travel in a “U” shaped layout. The building had a large pit dug out so the sets would fit in the building. The first scene was located in front of apartment façades. An elevated subway train bridge and the subway cars were tumbling off onto the street below. A television was left on and was facing the tram cars. The news reporter was warning us about King Kong attacking the city. The helicopter she was in suddenly came crashing down into a burst of flames on power lines. The tram would drive forward and make a 180 degree turn to the left. King Kong was destroying the bridge the tram had to drive on to escape. A police helicopter was shooting at Kong as a gas line expolded. The King Kong figure was built and designed by legendary Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr. The figure even had banana breath as the tram drove by.
Here is an interview with designer Bob Gurr.
Here is a full ride video.
The figure was one of the largest audio animatronics ever made. Gurr’s design group, Sequoia Creative, was responsible for the figure and attraction. The experience sadly burned down in a massive fire on the Universal backlot on the morning of June 1, 2008. The attraction was later reborn as King Kong 360-3D, using two wrap around Imax screens. I built my model of the Kong King Encounter in about 6 days of work, over the period of one and a half months. The helicopters and Kong figure were made out of Sculpey. The crashed subway cars are made from carved foam blocks. I hope to have designer Bob Gurr one day sign the front of this model.
I hope you enjoyed my latest model. I will soon have a review of Knott’s Scary Farm that you can read here. My current model, Twisted Colossus, is now under construction and hope to have it finished by the end of October. Did you ever get to experience King Kong in all of his glory?