We know what you're thinking: You're thinking this is going to be about the time Peter Jackson had everyone who called his 2005 version of King Kong "insufferable" or "like eight hours long, dude, seriously" thrown into the slave mines of Old Zealand. But no, this is about that other King Kong remake. The one by Dino De Laurentiis, the producer responsible for Flash Gordon, Dune, Blue Velvet, Othello and Racism and Robots.
Haven't seen that last one? Oh man, have we got some spoilers for you:
For instance, that's not a real ape!
De Laurentiis had his fuckup son Federico act as producer for King Kong, and the process got all the way to the illustrious "posting audition notices" phase before he screwed the whole thing into the ground. De Laurentiis thought that the best way to render a gigantic ape was to take a step backward from the 1933 version and just straight up put a dude in an ape costume, and that's fine. Some costume work is actually better than even the most advanced special effects, so long as it's handled carefully and subtly and -- oh yeah -- doesn't contain the words "Wanted: Tall Black Man to Play Ape."
That's Federico on the left, probably saying something about how happy he is to be part of the "master race."
Well, hold on, it's not like he said it's because black men are "closer to [their] primate roots."
He did? Oh, shit. This is going to be one hell of a ...
Having accidentally (?) insulted an entire race and created a national scandal, De Laurentiis decided that the best way out of his problem would be to distract the world with the biggest, shiniest thing he could think of: He declared that if he couldn't have a racist caricature, he would settle for a giant robot Kong instead.
"With, like, a hilarious Chinese accent!"
Th-those are the only two options you see, De Laurentiis? Set race relations back a hundred years, or gargantuan steel monkey machine?
After weeks of malfunctions and several million dollars -- most of which was just to cover the framework with black horse hair (he bought all of it ... in the world) -- Mechakong was used in only a few shots, for a total screen time of no more than a few seconds. And Dino had to go back to a guy in a suit for most of the effects after all.
But don't worry; it was a white guy in there.
Ironically, he was only 17 inches tall.
Oh, so Laurentiis wouldn't employ a black man after all? Psh, racist.
Other lists by Dustin Koski can be found here. You can find more from Karl on Facebook and his blog.
For more predictable disasters, check out 6 Man-Made Natural Disasters Just Waiting to Happen and The 5 Biggest Disasters in the History of Marketing Ideas.
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