"How tall was King Kong?" This famous movie line was uttered by Sir Peter O'Toole to Steve Railsback in the 1980 film The Stunt Man. It was a way of explaining that things may not always be as they appear. Or, in an alternate reading, we can often take something, cast a different light in the background, throw in a few items of proportion, and it can look completely different than the original.
That phrase and that movie have always stuck with me. In many ways accountants seek the truth in their engagements and are tasked with finding out how tall King Kong really is. A CPA is required by our standards to approach our whole world with "an air of professional skepticism". This means that when a CPA asks how your sales truly doubled when compared to the previous year, and then asks you to prove it, don't take it personally. It is not because he doesn't trust you - it is because he truly wants to know whether King Kong is as tall as he appears.
How tall is King Kong? There have been three major King Kong films. RKOs 1933 original, Dino Delaurentis' 1976 remake and the 2005 Universal remake of the remake. In the 1933 groundbreaking film, the clay model was 18 inches tall. In the 1976 film, there was an actual 40 foot mechanical prop, but the close-up scenes that required facial movements were played by Rick Baker in an ape suit. Mr. Baker looks about 5'7" (there is a publicity photo that I found showing him next to Andy Serkis, who is mentioned next). Finally, in the 2005 epic, King Kong was a CGI image. The motion capture was performed by Andy Serkis, who claims to be 5'7" tall, but in close comparison to other actors, appears to be in the 5'6" range.
How do I know? I asked. And then I verified.