King Kong Encounter
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|King Kong Encounter|
Photograph from Universal Studios Hollywood's publicity department.
|Universal Studios Hollywood|
|Area||Upper Lot, Studio Tour|
|Opening date||June 14, 1986|
|Closing date||June 1, 2008|
|Replaced by||King Kong: 360 3-D|
King Kong Encounter was an attraction formerly part of the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood. The scene, located amongst the New York Street backlot sets in the heart of the studios, was destroyed by a massive fire in 2008, and was replaced by King Kong: 360 3-D, which was opened on 1 July 2010.
The show began as the tour tram entered the soundstage and stopped in front of an apartment building facade where guests watched a breaking news report about Kong's rampage on television monitors located inside of the building's windows. A news chopper circling overhead was covering the story when Kong suddenly swatted at the chopper, causing it to come crashing down from above and exploding only a few feet away from the tram. As the tram rounded a corner, it drove out onto the Brooklyn Bridge, putting guests at eye-level with the giant animatronic ape. The enraged Kong shook the bridge and ripped the suspension bridge cables apart in an attempt to grab the tram. But guests managed to narrowly escape the clutches of Kong as the tram exited the soundstage just in the nick of time.
Mechanics and inspirations
The 7-ton, 30-foot-tall Kong figure in the attraction was the largest and most complex animatronic figure in existence for many years. Kong was designed by legendary Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr. The detailing was so rich that Kong even had banana-scented breath. The attraction broke new ground and paved the way for the complex themed attractions of today and was the inspiration behind the former Kongfrontation attraction at Universal Studios Florida. The Kong sequence was also featured in the film The Wizard starring Fred Savage and Christian Slater.
Universal Studios Tour began building its $7-million, computer-controlled, 30-foot animated King Kong in December 1985 to be housed in his own lower-lot studio that duplicated Lower East Side New York. The attraction opened on June 14, 1986 and was completely destroyed by a fire in the early morning of June 1, 2008. As of June 3, 2008 Universal Studios Officials had stated that the experience would not be rebuilt, but would instead be replaced by a new contemporary attraction. This had caused outrage among fans of the giant ape, which prompted Universal's decision to bring Kong back to the tour in the form of an all new 3D film experience. Following the loss of Kong, the Earthquake tour scene is featured more often in Universal Studios Hollywood promotional materials and the Collapsing Bridge tour scene was reopened.
- Dead Central Tours the Upcoming King Kong 360 3D Ride
- John M. Wilson (December 22, 1985). "Monkey Breath". Los Angeles Times. p. 35. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- Universal Studios reopens after fire - Movies - MSNBC.com