The original “Rain Man” to visit Founders Day event
Lake Erie College will honor its founders with a celebration featuring a campus address featuring Kim Peek, the original “Rain Man.” The event takes place Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 2:00 p.m. in the Morley Music Building. An encore presentation will take place later that evening at 7 p.m.
Founders Day is an event, open to the community, which honors the founding of the 153-year old institution. The program will include a multi-media presentation on the history of the College, a word from descendents of the original founding fathers and a keynote presentation given by Fran and Kim Peek.
Kim Peek, best know as the inspiration for the Dustin Hoffman character in the movie “Rain Man,” has been given the term “savant,” deriving from savantism, which is not a recognized medical term but is defined as a very rare condition in which people have developmental disorders but have a strong area of expertise. Kim’s expertise consists of his very deep and wide memory. He can recall millions of zip codes, phone codes, dates and specific facts ranging from many, many years ago. At his appearances, audiences try to test how much Kim can really remember.
This event is free and open to the public and no tickets are necessary. Extraordinary video about Kim and his life can be viewed here.
About Kim Peek
Kim Peek was born on Nov. 11, 1951 and with macrocephaly, damage to the cerebellum, and most important, the agenesis of the corpus callosum. In other words, Kim is missing the primary and secondary nerves that connect the two hemispheres of his brain. However, the absence of these nerves is replaced by other important neurons and fibers that have traveled elsewhere, granting him increased memory capacity. Doctors wanted Kim placed in a mental hospital because of his condition and informed him he will not live past the age of 14. He is now 57 years old.
For his entire life, Kim’s father Fran has been assisting him with the bare necessities of everyday life, such as brushing his hair and dressing him. Kim’s extreme talent and ability was revealed once Fran recognized his son’s love for books. According to Fran, Kim can read an entire book in an hour and retain 98% of the information. His left eye reads the left page and his right eye reads the right page. Not only is Kim able to remember almost all the information read in books, but he can recall certain happenings since the age of 16-20 months.
In 1984, script writer, Barry Morrow, was attending a developmental disabilities convention in Arlington, Texas when he was approached by Kim. After speaking with Kim, Morrow was deeply inspired, claiming he represents the dark side of the moon. Kim was also in turn influenced by Morrow.
Upon gaining inspiration, Morrow arranged a meeting with Kim and the character to play him, Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman’s character, Raymond Babbit, was to portray a man with autism. Fascinated by Kim, Hoffman was focused on learning everything about him. He would follow Kim around imitating his movements and gestures. As his time with Kim concluded, Hoffman said to Kim, “I might be the stars, but you are the heavens.”
The result of the meeting was the movie “Rain Man,” released in 1988. The film won four Oscars and became the highest grossing film of 1988 with $172 million. After receiving these awards, Morrow gave an Oscar to Kim, which Kim takes with him to all appearances.
As a child and young adult, Kim was quite introverted and did not make eye contact with anyone. Meeting Dustin Hoffman had changed Kim’s life forever. Unlike the results of someone with his condition, he developed new social skills as he gained celebrity status.
In 2004, NASA space center scientists began to study Kim’s brain. They conducted a series of tests, which in 2008, concluded Kim has FG syndrome. This rare syndrome is linked to the X chromosome which causes physical and developmental delays of the brain.