'King Kong's' Timeless Tale

King Kong battles planes from atop Empire State Building, scene from movie "King Kong", B&W photo AP

Who could ever forget this: King Kong atop the Empire State Building, dying for his love, a swooning Fay Wray?

Ray Morton certainly couldn't forget. He first saw "King Kong" when he was 8. He was frightened and inspired, inspired to become a screenwriter, to collect every bit of Kong memorabilia he could get his hands on, and inspired to write the definitive book, "King Kong: The History Of A Movie Icon."

"I think that moment is so iconic and so, so powerful. It just seared itself into people's imaginations. It's what people remember," Morton tells CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker.

If by some off chance you were on another planet and missed the 1933 original hold onto your seats. "King Kong" is roaring back into theaters this week in a big budget, eye-popping, computer-generated remake by the Academy Award winning director of "The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy. Peter Jackson was inspired by the old "King Kong," too.

"I love the escapism, I love the adventure and then at the end of the movie, I cried when Kong fell off the Empire State Building," Jackson says.

So what is it about the big ape that captivates us so? After all, even his most ardent fans, like documentary filmmaker Kevin Brownlow, say it's only monkey business.

"And I mean, the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous, if you think about it," Brownlow says. "The whole premise of "King Kong" is impossible. And the great achievement is every frame is so convincing."
  • Sean Alfano

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