|if Kong can make it over there, he can make it anywhere...!|
I saw the 1970's Jessica Lange/ Jeff Bridges/ Charles Grodin version on TV around 1st grade, right up until Kong was walking through New York and stepped on some people and, I still recall, me freaking out a little.
By the mid-80's, my folks dropped me and Jason and someone else (I think our own Matt A.) off at Showplace 6 to go see King Kong Lives. If you've not see it, and I haven't since a brief cable run shortly after it was in the theater, it was amazing. Oddly, it never really took off as a fan favorite. It does star a young Linda Hamilton.
One evening when I was in high school AMC finally ran the original, and I taped it in glorious VHS and then watched it, like, three times. If I liked King Kong as an idea before, I adored the original movie.
If you've never seen it, it's an amazing technical masterpiece for the time. The stop-motion animation and miniatures are terrifically seamless with the practical sets and actors, the puppetry for Kong manages to create a true character, and the entire Empire State Building Sequence is just truly a remarkable feat.