The L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library at BYU holds the largest archival collection of King Kong material in the world as part of the Merian C. Cooper papers collection.

 While preparing for an exhibition set to feature King Kong at the Salt Lake 2015 ComicCon, Trevor Alvord (the Perry library's curator of 21st-century Mormonism and Western Americana) asked the School of Technology's Plastics and Composites lab about the possibility of creating a 3D model of the giant ape for the display. Given only about a month's time until the convention, Dr. Andy George wondered if his lab assistants had the time to do this,  and little idea how much the materials costs would be, as no-one knew exactly how to build such a "prop." But those assistants, especially Michael Laird, Aubrey Decker, and Perry Burton had a lot of experience helping students building anything and everything from composites, and were keen to try this with the faith that they'd figure something out through the process. So the Library ordered one 10-foot tall 3D giant ape sculpture from the lab.


King Kong

The first designs involved chicken wire and insulation foam, to be covered with fiberglass and paint afterwards, but everyone involved was shying away from being responsible for making it look right (a muscular ape) as none of the team considered themselves artists. That's when Michael Laird enlisted his Bishop, John Munoa while chatting about this during ward council one night, to come and help with the artwork. John was an experienced Hollywood movie prop designer and saved the project by spending the last week before ComicCon supervising the team's efforts and personally sculpting the fine details. The sculpture was delivered on the morning of ComicCon and transported to the convention just in time to be one of the most photographed booths at the show. King Kong is now back at BYU, awaiting a display to be assembled at the Perry Special Collections on the Kong memorabilia collection.