Daily Archives: 1 December, 2011

Where I’ve Been – King Kong

Today’s Music: Gorillaz – Feel Good


When my mother had her own business, the offices were in the Empire State Building. For their annual King Kong performer, they sent fliers to the tenants asking their college-aged relatives to audition.

How could I resist?

About 5 of us showed up for the audition, held in the main lobby on a late spring afternoon. There were a bunch of judges, including a B-Lister from whatever Broadway musical was big that day.

Each…actor(?) was given the head from the suit, and given 5 minutes to wow the crowd and judges.

Does this hat make me look furry?

Of the other…contestants(?), all I remember is one guy doing a soliloquy of “I Am Not A Monster”. Which could barely be heard through a 10 pound gorilla head.

When it was my turn, I was ready, baby.
I set up a street, lined with small buildings from my uncle’s model railroad. At the far end, a Barbie doll (borrowed from friend’s sister) lay in front of the Town Hall, with those shiny, plastic come-hither eyes.

I stomped my way down the lobby – roaring, thumping my chest, kicking cardboard buildings into the crowd. I was on a rampage.

Until I saw her…

Fay Wray - How could I resist?

Captivated by the mass-marketed queen, I staggered forward, clutching my furry heart. I was in a daze, as, swept up by her beauty, I knelt before her, gathering her up in my hirsute paw.

And then we danced.

Needless to say, I didn’t win.
It was a push between me and another guy. They held a tie breaker.
He won.

But he was also a counselor at a camp for the deaf and needed two weeks to do that. So I got the job for those two weeks.

I had my own office on the 86th floor. I went between the open air observatory and the enclosed one on the 101st floor.
Because the gorilla suit weighed 25 pounds, I also was told to take frequent breaks in my office.

Of all that happened in those two weeks, here are two lessons I learned that made the strongest impression:

1 – Parents – no matter how cute you think both your toddler and the Gorilla are, if the baby is screaming when you push him int the Gorilla’s arms, neither of them will look cute in the picture.

2 – You might be Lord Of The Elevator, riding up to the observatory in the very front, arm around your girl, all slouchy and cool.
But everyone will see through you when the elevator doors open at the top, revealing a tired grumpy Gorilla sticking his head in the elevator and growling. Loudly.
And from then on, you will be known thereafter as “Nervous Jumpy Guy Who Hid Behind His Girl”.

But don’t worry. The Gorilla will get spoken to by his boss for doing that.

One note – All of the above is true, and for several years, this job was listed on my resume as Tourist Relations Manager.