by Jennifer Kunz and Gregg Stuart

King Kong, the world's largest ape, has been captured and brought to Universal Studios by masterminds Peter Alexander and Bob Ward of the Tour Planning and Development Department.

After years of research, planning and hunting for the great ape, Alexander and Ward's incredible vision of bringing the "eighth wonder of the world" to the Tour was finally realized March 18, 1986.

Mr. Kong was helicoptered to the backlot amid the pomp and circumstance befitting the arrival of any superstar, including a 21-gun salute and the USC marching band. The giant primate, unimpressed with the ceremony and being enclosed in the 3-story metal crate, tried to intimidate the fearless press by growling and pounding on the sides of his cage. Everything was under control until the crate gave way and Kong's fist broke through. Needless to say, the press was intimidated.

Fortunately, alert tour officials were able to keep Kong from doing any further damage. The newsmen, however, were not as convinced of the studios ability to ultimately control the beast.

The exciting news footage of this event is to be used by the Tour as publicity for the presently secret attraction in which Kong will star.

Another recent accomplishment of the Tour Department is a new backlot sound stage which MCA INK will be previewing today.

Viewing from the comfort of a Universal Tour Tram, we are about to enter the largest sound stage in existence. Measuring 160 by 160 feet and over 5 stories tall, this is almost twice the size of any on the lot.

Once inside, we see a lifesize replica of a part of Manhattan, complete with subway system, streets, business and apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge and New York skyline.

But something is wrong!

We look into the streets. There are no people. A car has smashed into a fire hydrant. Water is spewing high in the air.

We look in the windows of an apartment building. The television is on. Dinners are still cooking. But no one is there. Milk, knocked over in haste, is dripping on the floor. Windows are smashed. Rubble is everywhere. What has happened?

Suddenly we understand as a news bulletin comes over the abandoned T.V.: "King Kong is loose and wreaking havoc in Manhattan!" Veteran newsman Sander Vanokur continues his report, telling of the destruction from a helicopter apparently above our tram.
He is abruptly interrupted by warnings from a police helicopter that the crazed beast is right behind him. But it comes too late. We can see the shadow of Vanokur's helicopter and watch in horror as the silhouette of a giant hand swats it like a fly. The newscopter plummets to the ground, bursting into flames not 10 feet from us. The poor newsman is now just another new: story.

We leave the smoldering crash and pass under demolished subway cars tottering precariously on gnarled tracks. We head for the Brooklyn Bridge. The exit is just at the other end. Shots are fired from the police helicopter. We are on the bridge. . .


The ferocious beast, enraged by the gunshots, is growling at the police. Unnoticed by Kong, we continue across the bridge. He sees us! Instantly, Kong loses interest in the helicopter. Our only escape is right past the snarling creature. Kong lunges towards us and grabs the cables supporting the bridge.He pulls.

The bridge gives and sways. Our tram slides 3 feet towards the infuriated Kong. Hot banana breath assaults our senses. He moves even closer an starts to grab for the tram cars. Sparks fly from an electrical cable he has grabbed. His body shudders and his eyes light up as the shock goes through him, He releases the bridge. We escape to safety, breathless.

This thrilling adventure is the new King Kong attraction coming to Universal Studios Tour this spring. The June 14th opening will mark the completion of over 3 years work on this project. Alexander and Ward have taken the art of computerized animation to its ultimate, creating the piece de resistance of the Tour.

At 30 feet tall, the Universal King Kong is spellbinding. He has 29 different computer -controlled, air-driven movements, including a movable tongue and nostril flair. Ten movable plates in his face create realistic expressions of anger and ferocity. The secret formula S15-HB is used to give the final touch of realism to Kong: banana breath!

The entire attraction cost just under $7 million: for the building of the Manhattan sound stage (designed by two-time Academy Award winner Henry Bumstead) with two Hughes 500 helicopters, subway cars and a special teflon-coated Brooklyn Bridge; for accommodations made on all Tour Trams to ensure that they will slide safely on the bridge; and, of course, for the manufacture of the incredible King Kong (designed by Chief Engineer Bob Gurr, and kept working by Project Manager Larry Lester).

It is hard to see how the Tour will ever be able to top this wonderful attraction, but with Peter Alexander, Bob Ward and the rest of the "King Size Talents" in the Tour Planning and Development Department, rest assured…They will find a way.

Left top: Artists rendering of Kong's attack on tram. Below: Kong is airlifted to back lot. Above: Bob Ward and Peter Alexander.