The 1976 King Kong remake did not live up to its expectations. But it holds a special place in my heart because Dad battled the snow to get us to the theater.
Mum wasn’t into “monster movies,” so Dad was going to take me. And I think he secretly wanted to see it, too. Like me, he’d grown up with the original 1933 King Kong. (It came out when he was a toddler!) Like me, he’d read some of the articles hyping up this movie.
The official release date was December 17, 1976. I don’t remember the day we decided to go see it. What I do remember is that it snowed. That wasn’t common in Baltimore County at that time.
This was years from getting predictions on The Weather Channel. Heck, this was back in the day when you looked up show times in the newspaper. You also called the theater to check the time. We did that before deciding where to go see the movie.
For some reason, we went to a theater that wasn’t close to home. Not far, but not close. (For Marylanders, this was near one of the old Stewart’s locations. Johnny Unitas had a Golden Arm restaurant nearby.)
Here Comes the Snow…
It was snowing a little when we left. But Dad was born in New England (and he learned to drive there), so that didn’t bother him.
By the time we got there, the snow had gotten heavier. Now, I’m not talking about feet of snow. It was just enough to start sticking. The parking lot of the theater looked like something out of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
It also looked desolate. People joke about Maryland drivers reacting badly to snow. But there was almost no one at the theater. This was a blockbuster movie, but there were fewer cars than the movie had makeup artists.
If Baltimore County had tumbleweeds, they would have rolled past us, covered with a little snow.
We Were Just in Time!
When we got there for our showtime, the woman at the ticket counter told us we were lucky. Because of the snow — and because so few people were coming out that night — they had canceled the next showing.
I wondered what Dad would have said if our showing had been canceled. Looking back, I realize he would…