Fay Wray: "I knew two very fine producers Merian C. Cooper and his partner Ernest B. Schoedsack and I admired the work that they had done. Mr. Cooper said to me that he'd had an idea for a film in mind. Theonly thing he'd tell me was that it was going to have 'the tallest darkest leading man in Hollywood. Well, naturally, I thought of Clark Gable hopefully, and when the script came I was absolutely appalled! I thought it was a practical joke. I really didn't have much appetite for doing it, except that I did admire these two people . . . and I realized that it did have at leastscope . . . a good imagination. It has dimension above anything else that has been tried in the field." Pat
Fontaine: "How did they actually get him on the Empire State and you in the hand?"-
Miss Wray: "Well, the Empire State was about 40' high in the studio. King Kong was a little model about . . . 2' high, and the scenery that he worked in was in proportion to his size. They moved him with animation you know, stop-motion. And then they had a huge rubber arm with a steel cable in side large enough to hold me. The fingers were pressed around my waist and then . . by leverage, they lifted me up into the air, and all the close ups were done that way.
Sometimes I worked with just a background of a rock or a tree or black velvet, and just had to imagine the whole thing. There was a little tiny doll model used for when King Kong was holding me. It was about 3" long. I couldn't tell the difference when I would go to see the day's work, it was blended that well."
Hugh Downs:"You were held pretty tightly did it toss you around quite alot?"
Miss Wray: "They were very considerate, I must say. Every time I feltI was about to slip out of these fingers and would yell for help, they'd let me down and re-organize things."
Pat Fontaine: "What about those screams?"
Miss Wray: "Well, I just imagined I was four miles from help and . . .well, you'd scream too if you just imagined that situation with that monster up there! And then when the picture was finished, they took me into the sound room and then I screamed more for about five minutes just steady screaming, and then they'd cut that in and add it."
Jack Lescoulie: "Did it type you, Faye? Did you find that you were screaming constantly from then on?"
Miss Wray: "Well, obviously . . . you know how that happens in films,and so I was asked to do horror film after horror film . . . a series of about five. . . after that, and some of those were a little too gruesome. I wasn't too comfortable all the time i those. I didn't really care for them."
Hugh Downs: "What were some of them?"
Miss Wray: "Well, THE VAMPIRE BAT, MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME that was interesting because it had a concept. It wasn't a horror movie but it was horrible as an idea. Usually men hurt animals, and the idea was that a man arranged situations so that men were hunted by animals. Again that was Merian C. Cooper he seems to go for those things."
Pat Fontaine: "Miss Wray, I wondered -I believe I heard that you had some children. Do they watch KING KONG with you?"
Fay Wray: "They didn't when they were little because I thought that they had to be of a certain age. I hoped they liked me well enough not to want to see me in that sort of a spot. So I think the youngest was 7 when she saw it. And she was fascinatedby it . . . it is a compelling, suspenseful film. When it was over she said, 'Oh, I felt so sorry for him . . . he didn't want to hurt you . .. he liked you.' That was Victoria. When you visualize him up there on top of the Empire State Building, you do feel sorry for him."
Hugh Downs: "Many of the movies you made were with Lionel Atwill, the mad doctor type. Various people rescued you from him. One of them was Melvin Douglas, wasn't it?"
Miss Wray:"Oh, yes, that was THE VAMPIRE BAT. It was kind of an evil thing . . . you know what vampire bats do!"
Jack Lescoulie: "There was one scene I remember with Lionel Atwill where you reached up and struck his face and it cracked and there was a hideous make-up underneath."
Miss Wray: "That was' one time when my technique absolutely deserted me, I must admit. There was a wax face that he had created himself to cover his own ugliness.
I was in his clutches and I had to hit him in the face. It was necessary for the audience to see this and be shocked. But when I struck him, and the moment I saw part of him, I just froze! I wanted to run; I just couldn't go on! So they had to make another mask and do it over when I recovered. It was just so real."
After discussing various other phases of her life, Miss Wray concluded with the astonishing information that there is a theater in Africa where they only show two films every day of the year One is KING KONG and the other is THE MARK OF ZORRO. Both of those are just running all the time.One night KING KONG, one night THE MARK OF ZORRO and together on Sunday."
Do Have you heard that, Ray Harryhausen is "The Man Who Has Seen KING KONG 100 Times?" A place where you can see KING KONG approximately 200 times ayear! When you return from 240,000 miles up yonder where you're currently accompanying THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON- we wouldn't be at all surprised to hear from Fay Wray that she received a postcard from you post marked "Inside Darkest Africa Kongsville."
To you, Fay Wray, our thanks for being the Girl of Our Screams when we were a young boy and may you live to see your grandchildren enjoy you in the years to come as Kong Marches On . . . with Fay Wray in his clutches! Cover Page Index