A person can accomplish many things in 16 hours: fly from New York to Hong Kong, run four marathons, or sit in a Manhattan theater and watch all three Lord of the Rings back-to-back. On the eve of the Return of the King release, 528 die-hard fans waited in line for up to 14 hours to ensure the perfect, paralys-ass-risking seat for the long journey through Middle-earth.
''I go to Renaissance festivals a lot,'' said New Jersey's Craig Anderson (right) of his chain-mail getup. ''I have more of a costume that I usually wear, but I didn't go full out because, you know, it's all day.'' The all-day excitement was nothing next to the hysteria that erupted when Gollum's voice rang out announcing the surprise arrival of stars Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, and Dominic Monaghan. One hobbit lover fell to his knees and wailed, ''I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!'' Such devotion wasn't lost on Rings' biggest little heroes. Shouted Wood to the crowd: ''You guys are making me so proud!''