King Kong

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King Kong
King Kong character
Img kingkong1.jpg
The original stop-motion animated King Kong in the 1933 film fighting an airplane on top of the Empire State Building.
First appearanceKing Kong (1933 film)
Created byMerian C. Cooper
 
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King Kong
King Kong character
Img kingkong1.jpg
The original stop-motion animated King Kong in the 1933 film fighting an airplane on top of the Empire State Building.
First appearanceKing Kong (1933 film)
Created byMerian C. Cooper

King Kong is a fictional character, a giant movie monster resembling a colossal gorilla, that has appeared in several movies since 1933. These include the groundbreaking 1933 movie, the film remakes of 1976 and 2005, as well as various sequels of the first two films. The character has become one of the world's most famous movie icons and, as such, has transcended the medium, appearing or being parodied in other works outside of films, such as a cartoon series, books, comics, various merchandise and paraphernalia, video games, theme park rides, and even a current stage play.[1] His role in the different narratives varies, ranging from a rampaging monster to a tragic antihero. The rights to the character are held by Universal Studios, with limited rights held by the estate of Merian C. Cooper, and perhaps certain rights in the public domain (see below).

Overview[edit]

The King Kong character was conceived and created by U.S. filmmaker Merian C. Cooper. In the original film, the character's name is Kong, a name given to him by the inhabitants of "Skull Island" in the Pacific Ocean, where Kong lives along with other over-sized animals such as a plesiosaur, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs. An American film crew, led by Carl Denham, captures Kong and takes him to New York City to be exhibited as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".

Kong escapes and climbs the Empire State Building (the original World Trade Center in the 1976 remake) as Denham comments, "It was beauty that killed the beast," for he climbs the building in the first place only in an attempt to protect Ann Darrow, an actress originally offered up to Kong as a sacrifice (in the 1976 remake, the character is named Dwan).

A mockumentary about Skull Island that appears on the DVD for the 2005 remake (but originally seen on the Sci-Fi Channel at the time of its theatrical release) gives Kong's scientific name as Megaprimatus kong and states that his species may have evolved from Gigantopithecus.

Filmography[edit]

Theatre[edit]

In mid-2012, it was announced that a musical adaptation of the story (endorsed by Merian C. Cooper's estate) was going to be staged in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre. The show premiered on June 15, 2013, with music by Marius De Vries. The huge King Kong puppet was created by Global Creature Technology.[2]

Print media[edit]

King Kong graphics at Empire State Building

The literary tradition of a remote and isolated jungle populated by natives and prehistoric animals was rooted in the "Lost World" genre, specifically Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel The Lost World, which was itself made into a silent film of that title in 1925 that Doyle lived long enough to see. The special effects of that film were created by Willis O'Brien, who went on to do those for the 1933 King Kong. Another important book in that literary genre is Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1918 novel The Land That Time Forgot .

A novelization of the original King Kong film was published in December 1932 as part of the film's advance marketing. The novel was credited to Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper, although it was in fact written by Delos W. Lovelace. Apparently, however, Cooper was the key creative influence, saying that he got the initial idea after he had a dream that a giant gorilla was terrorizing New York City. In an interview, author-artist Joe DeVito explains:

"From what I know, Edgar Wallace, a famous writer of the time, died very early in the process. Little if anything of his ever appeared in the final story, but his name was retained for its saleability ... King Kong was Cooper's creation, a fantasy manifestation of his real life adventures. As many have mentioned before, Cooper was Carl Denham. His actual exploits rival anything Indiana Jones ever did in the movies."[3]

This conclusion about Wallace's contribution agrees with The Making of King Kong, by Orville Goldner and George E. Turner (1975). Wallace died of pneumonia complicated by diabetes on February 10, 1932, and Cooper later said, "Actually, Edgar Wallace didn't write any of Kong, not one bloody word...I'd promised him credit and so I gave it to him" (p. 59). However, in the October 28, 1933, issue of Cinema Weekly, the short story "King Kong" by Edgar Wallace and Draycott Montagu Dell (1888–1940) was published. The short story appears in Peter Haining's Movie Monsters (1988) published by Severn House in the UK. Dell was a journalist and wrote books for children, such as the 1934 story and puzzle book Stand and Deliver. He was a co-worker and close friend of Edgar Wallace.

The original publisher was Grosset & Dunlap. Paperback editions by Bantam (U.S.) and Corgi (U.K.) came out in the 1960s, and it has since been republished by Penguin and Random House.

In 1933, Mystery magazine published a King Kong serial under the byline of Edgar Wallace. This is unrelated to the 1932 novel. The story was serialized into two parts that were published in the February 1933 and March 1933 issues of the magazine. As well, that fall King Kong was serialized in the pulp magazine Boys Magazine.[4]

Over the decades, there have been numerous comic book adaptations of the 1933 King Kong by various comic-book publishers, and one of the 2005 remake by Dark Horse Comics.

Kong: King of Skull Island, an illustrated novel labeled as an authorized sequel to the 1932 novelization of King Kong was published in 2004 by DH Press, a subsidiary of Dark Horse Comics. A large-paperback edition was released in 2005. Authorized by the family and estate of Merian C. Cooper, the book was created and illustrated by Joe DeVito, written by Brad Strickland with John Michlig, and includes an introduction by Ray Harryhausen. The novel's story ignores the existence of Son of Kong (1933) and continues the story of Skull Island with Carl Denham and Jack Driscoll in the late 1950s, through the novel's central character, Vincent Denham. (Ann Darrow does not appear, but is mentioned several times.) The novel also becomes a prequel that reveals the story of the early history of Kong, of Skull Island, and of the natives of the island. The book's official website claims a motion picture version is in development.[5]

Merian C. Cooper’s King Kong was written by Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland for the Merian C. Cooper Estate, and published by St. Martin's Press, 2005. It is a full rewrite of the original 1932 novelization, which updates the language, paleontology and adds five new chapters. Some additional elements and characters tie into Kong: King of Skull Island enabling the two separate books to form a continuous storyline.

The novelization of the 2005 movie was written by Christopher Golden, based on the screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson, which was, of course, in turn based on the original story by Merian C. Cooper & Edgar Wallace. (The Island of the Skull, a "prequel" novel to the 2005 movie, was released at nearly the same time.) In November 2005, to coincide with the release of the 2005 movie, Weta Workshop released a collection of concept art from the film entitled The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island. While similar collections of production art have been released in the past to complement other movies, The World of Kong is unusual — if not unique — in that it is written and designed to resemble and read like an actual nature guide and historical record, not a movie book.

Also in 2005, Ibooks, Inc published Kong Reborn by Russell Blackford. Ignoring all films except the 1933 original, it is set in the present day. Carl Denham's grandson finds some genetic material from the original Kong and attempts to clone him. Late in 2005, the BBC and Hollywood trade papers reported that a 3-D stereoscopic version of the 2005 film was being created from the animation files, and live actors digitally enhanced for 3-D display. This may be just an elaborate 3-D short for Universal Studios Theme Park, or a digital 3-D version for general release in the future.

To coincide with the 80th anniversary of both characters, Altus Press announced on January 29, 2013, that King Kong would meet pulp hero Doc Savage in a new, officially sanctioned book written by Will Murray and based on concepts by artist Joe DeVito, who will also do the cover artwork. Set in 1920, shortly after returning from military service during World War One, Doc Savage searches for his long-lost grandfather, the legendary mariner Stormalong Savage, with his father, the explorer Clark Savage, Sr., that ultimately leads father and son to the mysterious Skull Island and its prehistoric denizens, including King Kong. Doc Savage: Skull Island was released in March 2013.[6]

Appearances and abilities[edit]

In his first appearance in King Kong (1933), Kong was a gigantic prehistoric ape, or as RKO's publicity materials described him, "A prehistoric type of ape."[7] While gorilla-like in appearance, he had a vaguely humanoid look and at times walked upright in an anthropomorphic manner. Indeed, Carl Denham describes him as being "neither beast nor man". Like most simians, Kong possesses semi-human intelligence and great physical strength. Kong's size changes drastically throughout the course of the film. While creator Merian C. Cooper envisioned Kong as being "40 to 50 feet tall",[8] animator Willis O'Brien and his crew built the models and sets scaling Kong to be only 18 feet tall on Skull Island, and rescaled to be 24 feet tall in New York.[9] This did not stop Cooper from playing around with Kong's size as he directed the special effect sequences; by manipulating the sizes of the miniatures and the camera angles, he made Kong appear a lot larger than O'Brien wanted, even as large as 60 feet in some scenes.[10] Concurrently, the Kong bust made for the film was built in scale with a 40-foot ape,[11] while the full sized hand of Kong was built in scale with a 70 foot ape.[12] Meanwhile, RKO's promotional materials listed Kong's official height as 50 feet.[7]

In 1975, Producer Dino De Laurentiis paid RKO for the remake rights to King Kong. This resulted in King Kong (1976). This Kong was an upright walking anthropomorphic ape, appearing even more human-like than the original. Also like the original, this Kong had semi-human intelligence and vast strength. In the 1976 film, Kong was scaled to be 42 feet tall on Skull island and rescaled to be 55 feet tall in New York.[13] 10 years later, DDL received permission from Universal to do a sequel, King Kong Lives. Kong more or less had the same appearance and abilities, only he tended to walk on his knuckles more often and was enlarged, being scaled to be 60 feet.[14]

Universal Studios had planned to do a King Kong remake as far back as 1976. They finally followed through almost 30 years later, with a three-hour film directed by Peter Jackson. Jackson opted to make Kong a gigantic silverback gorilla without any anthropomorphic features. Kong looked and behaved more like a real gorilla: he had a large herbivore's belly, walked on his knuckles without any upright posture, and even beat his chest with his palms as opposed to clenched fists. In order to ground his Kong in realism, Jackson and the Weta Digital crew gave a name to his fictitious species, Megaprimatus kong, which was said to have evolved from the Gigantopithecus. Kong was the last of his kind. He was portrayed in the film as being quite old with graying fur, and battle-worn with scars, wounds, and a crooked jaw from his many fights against rival creatures. He is the most dominant being on the island; the king of his world. Like his predecessors, he possesses considerable intelligence and great physical strength; he also appears far more nimble and agile. This Kong was scaled to be only 25 feet tall on both Skull Island and in New York.[15]

Jackson describes his central character: “We assumed that Kong is the last surviving member of his species. He had a mother and a father and maybe brothers and sisters, but they’re dead. He’s the last of the huge gorillas that live on Skull Island, and the last one when he goes...there will be no more. He’s a very lonely creature, absolutely solitary. It must be one of the loneliest existences you could ever possibly imagine. Every day, he has to battle for his survival against very formidable dinosaurs on the island, and it’s not easy for him. He’s carrying the scars of many former encounters with dinosaurs. I’m imagining he’s probably 100 to 120 years old by the time our story begins. And he has never felt a single bit of empathy for another living creature in his long life; it has been a brutal life that he’s lived.”[16]

Origin of the name[edit]

Merian C. Cooper was very fond of strong hard sounding words that started with the letter "K". Some of his favorite words were Komodo, Kodiak and Kodak.[17] When Cooper was envisioning his giant terror gorilla idea, he wanted to capture a real gorilla from the Congo and have it fight a real Komodo Dragon on Komodo Island. (This scenario would eventually evolve into Kong's battle with the Tyrannosaur on Skull Island when the film was produced a few years later at RKO). Cooper's friend Douglas Burden's trip to the island of Komodo and his encounter with the Komodo Dragons there was a big influence on the Kong story.[18] Cooper was fascinated by Burdens adventures as chronicled in his book Dragon Lizards of Komodo where he referred to the animal as the "King of Komodo".[17] It was this phrase along with Komodo and C(K)ongo (and his overall love for hard sounding K words)[19] that gave him the idea to name the giant ape Kong. He loved the name as it had a "mystery sound" to it.

When Cooper got to RKO and wrote the first draft of the story, it was simply referred to as The Beast. RKO executives were unimpressed with the bland title. David O. Selznick suggested Jungle Beast as the film's new title,[20] but Cooper was unimpressed and wanted to name the film after the main character. He stated he liked the "mystery word" aspect of Kong's name and that the film should carry "the name of the leading mysterious, romantic, savage creature of the story" such as with Dracula and Frankenstein.[20] RKO sent a memo to Cooper suggesting the titles Kong: King of Beasts, Kong: The Jungle King, and Kong: The Jungle Beast, which combined his and Selznick's proposed titles.[20] As time went on, Cooper would eventually name the story simply Kong while Ruth Rose was writing the final version of the screenplay. Because David O Selznick thought that audiences would think that the film, with the one word title of Kong, would be mistaken as a docudrama like Grass and Chang, which were one-word titled films that Cooper had earlier produced, he added the "King" to Kong's name to differentiate.[21]

Legal rights[edit]

While one of the most famous movie icons in history, King Kong's intellectual property status has been questioned since his creation, featuring in numerous allegations and court battles. The rights to the character have always been split up with no single exclusive rights holder. Different parties have also contested that various aspects are public domain material and therefore ineligible for trademark or copyright status.

When Merian C. Cooper created King Kong, he assumed that he owned the character, which he had conceived in 1929, outright. Cooper maintained that he had only licensed the character to RKO for the initial film and sequel but had otherwise owned his own creation. In 1935, Cooper began to feel something was amiss when he was trying to get a Tarzan vs. King Kong project off the ground for Pioneer Pictures (where he had assumed management of the company). After David O. Selznick suggested the project to Cooper, the flurry of legal activity over using the Kong character that followed—Pioneer having become a completely independent company by this time and access to properties that RKO felt were theirs was no longer automatic—gave Cooper pause as he came to realize that he might not have full control over the figment of his own imagination.[22]

Years later in 1962, Cooper had found out that RKO was licensing the character through John Beck to Toho studios in Japan for a film project called King Kong vs. Godzilla. Cooper had assumed his rights were unassailable and was bitterly opposed to the project. In 1963 he filed a lawsuit to enjoin distribution of the movie against John Beck as well as Toho and Universal (the film's U.S. copyright holder).[23] Cooper discovered that RKO had also profited from licensed products featuring the King Kong character such as model kits produced by Aurora Plastics Corporation. Cooper's executive assistant, Charles B FitzSimons, stated that these companies should be negotiating through him and Cooper for such licensed products and not RKO. In a letter Cooper wrote to Robert Bendick he stated,

My hassle is about King Kong. I created the character long before I came to RKO and have always believed I retained subsequent picture rights and other rights. I sold to RKO the right to make the one original picture King Kong and also, later, Son of Kong, but that was all.[24]

Cooper and his legal team offered up various documents to bolster the case that Cooper had owned King Kong and only licensed the character to RKO for two films, rather than selling him outright. Many people vouched for Cooper's claims including David O. Selznick (who had written a letter to Mr. A. Loewenthal of the Famous Artists Syndicate in Chicago in 1932 stating (in regards to Kong), "The rights of this are owned by Mr. Merian C. Cooper."[24] But Cooper had lost key documents through the years (he discovered these papers missing after he returned from his World War II military service) such as a key informal yet binding letter from Mr. Ayelsworth (then president of the RKO Studio Corp) and a formal binding letter from Mr. B. B. Kahane (the current president of RKO Studio Corp) confirming that Cooper had only licensed the rights to the character for the two RKO pictures and nothing more.[25]

Unfortunately without these letters it seemed Cooper's rights were relegated to the Lovelace novelization that he had copyrighted (he was able to make a deal for a Bantam Books paperback reprint and a Gold Key comic adaptation of the novel, but that was all he could do). Cooper's lawyer had received a letter from John Beck's lawyer, Gordon E Youngman, that stated:

For the sake of the record, I wish to state that I am not in negotiation with you or Mr. Cooper or anyone else to define Mr. Cooper's rights in respect of King Kong. His rights are well defined, and they are non-existent, except for certain limited publication rights.[26]

In a letter addressed to Douglas Burden, Cooper lamented:

It seems my hassle over King Kong is destined to be a protracted one. They'd make me sorry I ever invented the beast, if I weren't so fond of him! Makes me feel like Macbeth: "Bloody instructions which being taught return to plague the inventor."[26]

The rights over the character did not flare up again until 1975, when Universal Studios and Dino De Laurentiis were fighting over who would be able to do a King Kong remake for release the following year. De Laurentiis came up with $200,000 to buy the remake rights from RKO.[27] When Universal got wind of this, they filed a lawsuit against RKO claiming that they had a verbal agreement from them in regards to the remake. During the legal battles that followed, which eventually included RKO countersuing Universal, as well as De Laurentiis filing a lawsuit claiming interference, Colonel Richard Cooper (Merian's son and now head of the Cooper estate) jumped into the fray.[28]

During the battles, Universal discovered that the copyright of the Lovelace novelization had expired without renewal, thus making the King Kong story a public domain one. Universal argued that they should be able to make a movie based on the novel without infringing on anyone's copyright because the characters in the story were in the public domain within the context of the public domain story.[29] Richard Cooper then filed a cross-claim against RKO claiming while the publishing rights to the novel had not been renewed, his estate still had control over the plot/story of King Kong.[28]

In a four-day bench trial in Los Angeles, Judge Manuel Real made the final decision and gave his verdict on November 24, 1976, affirming that the King Kong novelization and serialization were indeed in the public domain, and Universal could make its movie as long as it did not infringe on original elements in the 1933 RKO film,[30] which had not passed into public domain.[31] (Universal postponed their plans to film a King Kong movie, called The Legend of King Kong, for at least 18 months, after cutting a deal with Dino De Laurentiis that included a percentage of box office profits from his remake.)[32]

However, on December 6, 1976, Judge Real made a subsequent ruling, which held that all the rights in the name, character, and story of King Kong (outside of the original film and its sequel) belonged to Merian C. Cooper's estate. This ruling, which became known as the "Cooper Judgment," expressly stated that it would not change the previous ruling that publishing rights of the novel and serialization were in the public domain. It was a huge victory that affirmed the position Merian C. Cooper had maintained for years.[30] Shortly thereafter, Richard Cooper sold all his rights (excluding worldwide book and periodical publishing rights) to Universal in December 1976. In 1980 Judge Real dismissed the claims that were brought forth by RKO and Universal four years earlier and reinstated the Cooper judgement.[33]

In 1982 Universal filed a lawsuit against Nintendo, which had created an impish ape character called Donkey Kong in 1981 and was reaping huge profits over the video game machines. Universal claimed that Nintendo was infringing on its copyright because Donkey Kong was a blatant rip-off of King Kong.[33] During the court battle and subsequent appeal, the courts ruled that Universal did not have exclusive trademark rights to the King Kong character. The courts ruled that trademark was not among the rights Cooper had sold to Universal, indicating that "Cooper plainly did not obtain any trademark rights in his judgment against RKO, since the California district court specifically found that King Kong had no secondary meaning."[31] While they had a majority of the rights, they did not outright own the King Kong name and character.[34] The courts ruling noted that the name, title, and character of Kong no longer signified a single source of origin. The courts also pointed out that Kong rights were held by three parties:

The judge then ruled that "Universal thus owns only those rights in the King Kong name and character that RKO, Cooper, or DDL do not own."[35]

The court of appeals would also note:

First, Universal knew that it did not have trademark rights to King Kong, yet it proceeded to broadly assert such rights anyway. This amounted to a wanton and reckless disregard of Nintendo's rights.

Second, Universal did not stop after it asserted its rights to Nintendo. It embarked on a deliberate, systematic campaign to coerce all of Nintendo's third party licensees to either stop marketing Donkey Kong products or pay Universal royalties.

Finally, Universal's conduct amounted to an abuse of judicial process, and in that sense caused a longer harm to the public as a whole. Depending on the commercial results, Universal alternatively argued to the courts, first, that King Kong was a part of the public domain, and then second, that King Kong was not part of the public domain, and that Universal possessed exclusive trademark rights in it. Universal's assertions in court were based not on any good faith belief in their truth, but on the mistaken belief that it could use the courts to turn a profit.[36]

Because Universal misrepresented their degree of ownership of King Kong (claiming they had exclusive trademark rights when they knew they didn't) and tried to have it both ways in court regarding the "public domain" claims, the courts ruled that Universal acted in bad faith (see Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd.). They were ordered to pay fines and all of Nintendo's legal costs from the lawsuit. That, along with the fact that the courts ruled that there was simply no likelihood of people confusing Donkey Kong with King Kong,[34] caused Universal to lose the case and the subsequent appeal.

Since the court case, Universal still retains the majority of the character rights. In 1986 they opened a King Kong ride called King Kong Encounter at their Universal Studios Tour theme park in Hollywood (which was destroyed in 2008 by a backlot fire), and followed it up with the Kongfrontation ride at their Orlando park in 1990 (which was closed down in 2002 due to maintenance issues). They also finally made a King Kong film of their own, King Kong (2005). In the summer of 2010, Universal opened a new 3D King Kong ride called King Kong: 360 3-D at their Hollywood park replacing the destroyed King Kong Encounter.[37] A King Kong-themed dueling roller coaster is part of the proposed Universal Studios Dubailand in the United Arab Emirates.

The Cooper estate retains publishing rights for the content they claim. In 1990 they licensed a six-issue comic book adaptation of the story to Monster Comics, and commissioned an illustrated novel in 1994 called Anthony Browne's King Kong. In 2004 and 2005, they commissioned a new novelization to be written by Joe Devito called Merian C. Cooper's King Kong to replace the original Lovelace novelization (the original novelization's publishing rights are still in the public domain) and Kong: King of Skull Island, a prequel/sequel novel that ties into the original story. They are also involved in a musical stage play based on the story, called King Kong The Eighth Wonder of the World which premiered in June 2013.[38][39] The production also involved Global Creatures, the company behind the Walking with Dinosaurs arena show.[40]

RKO (whose rights consisted of only the original film and its sequel) had its film library acquired by Ted Turner in 1986 via his company Turner Entertainment. Turner merged his company into Time Warner in 1995, which is how they own the rights to those two films today.

DDL (whose rights were limited to only their 1976 remake) did a sequel in 1986 called King Kong Lives (but they still needed Universal's permission to do so).[41] Today most of DDL's film library is owned by Studio Canal, which includes the rights to those two films. The domestic (North American) rights to King Kong though, still remain with the film's original distributor Paramount Pictures, with Trifecta Entertainment & Media handling television rights to the film via their licence with Paramount.

King Kong (Toho)[edit]

Toho character
Kongtoho.jpg
King Kong
SpeciesGiant Gorilla creature
Height20–45 metres (65–147 feet)
Weight1,000–25,000 tons
RelationshipsMechani-Kong (Robot Replica)
Major enemiesGodzilla
Gorosaurus
Mechani-Kong
First appearanceKing Kong vs. Godzilla
Created byMerian C. Cooper
Portrayed byShoichi Hirose
Haruo Nakajima

In 1960s, Toho Studios from Japan licensed the character from RKO for two films. The 1962 film King Kong vs Godzilla, and the 1967 film King Kong Escapes. This Toho rendition of the Hollywood version of King Kong differed greatly from the original in size and abilities.

Among kaiju, King Kong was suggested to be among the most powerful in terms of raw physical force, possessing strength and durability that rivaled that of Godzilla. As one of the few mammal-based kaiju, Kong's most distinctive feature was his intelligence. He demonstrated the ability to learn and adapt to an opponent's fighting style, identify and exploit weaknesses in an enemy, and utilize his environment to stage ambushes and traps.[42]

In King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Kong was scaled to be 45 meters (147 feet) tall. Like most kaiju, Kong was given a power weapon: he possessed the ability to become stronger by drawing power from electric energy. When fully charged, Kong could direct this power against an opponent by means of an electric touch attack.[43]

In King Kong Escapes (1967), a stand-alone movie loosely based on the animated television series The King Kong Show, Kong was scaled to be 20 meters (65 feet) tall. He was more similar to the original Kong in that he had no special powers beyond his great strength and intelligence.[44]

Unlike the Hollywood version, this Kong did not reside on Skull Island. In the first film he lived on Faro Island, while in the second film he lived on Mondo Island.

The King Kong (from King Kong vs Godzilla) was originally set to return in a 1966 Toho project called Operation Robinson Crusoe: King Kong vs Ebirah to be co-produced with the Arthur Rankin Jr.-Jules Bass Production Company. However, Arthur Rankin, Jr. rejected the script as not being close enough to his cartoon series The King Kong Show, on which the project was to have been based. Toho and Rankin/Bass would then co-produce King Kong Escapes in 1967 instead, which was more in line with Rankin's cartoon. Instead of throwing out the King Kong vs Ebirah script, Toho simply replaced Kong with Godzilla and filmed it as Godzilla vs The Sea Monster instead, with almost no change to the script. This explains why Godzilla displays uncharacteristic behavior in the film, such as drawing strength from electricity and showing interest in the film's female protagonist, elements that had been originally written for King Kong.[45]

Toho Studios wanted to remake King Kong vs. Godzilla, which was the most successful of the entire Godzilla series of films, in 1991 to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the film as well as to celebrate Godzilla's upcoming fortieth anniversary. However they were unable to obtain the rights to use Kong, and inititially intended to use Mechani-Kong as Godzilla's next adversary. However it was soon learned that even using a mechanical creature who resembled Kong would be just as problematic legally and financially for them. As a result, the film became Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, with no further attempts to use Kong in any way.[46][47]

Other appearances[edit]

Television[edit]

Related films[edit]

A photo supposedly from the lost film Wasei Kingu Kongu

King Kong in the name[edit]

There were other movies to have borne the "King Kong" name that have nothing to do with the character, such as the Hindi films King Kong (1962) and Tarzan and King Kong (1965) which featured the professional wrestler King Kong and has nothing to do with the famous movie monster, the 1968 Italian film Kong Island (Eva, la Venere selvaggia, literally Eve, the Wild Woman; which was advertised in the U.S as King of Kong Island, even though the gorillas in the movie are normal size), as well as the 1981 Mexican film Las Muñecas Del King Kong (The Dolls of King Kong) which featured exotic jungle girls.

Parodies[edit]

Electronic games[edit]

Tiger Electronics released various King Kong games in the early 1980s. These include

Epoch Co. released two LCD games in 1982. One was King Kong: New York,[58] and the other was King Kong: Jungle[59]

Konami released 2 games based on the film King Kong Lives in 1986. The first game was King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch for the Famicom, and the second was King Kong 2: Yomigaeru Densetsu,[60] for the MSX computer. In 1988, Konami featured the character in the crossover game Konami Wai Wai World. All these games were only released in Japan.

Data East released a pinball game[61] in 1990.

Bam! Entertainment released a Game Boy Advance game based on Kong: The Animated Series in 2002.[62]

MGA Entertainment released an electronic handheld King Kong game (packaged with a small figurine) in 2003.[63]

Majesco Games released a Game Boy Advance game based on the straight to video animated film Kong: King of Atlantis in 2005.[64]

Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie which is based on the 2005 remake was released on all video game platforms. It was the first game released by Ubisoft on the Xbox 360. Another game called Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World was released for the Game Boy Advance.

Taiyo Elec Co released a King Kong Pachinko game in 2007.[65]

Besides starring in his own games, King Kong was the obvious influence behind other gigantic city destroying apes, such as George from the Rampage series, Woo, from King of the Monsters (who was modeled after the Toho version of the character) and Kongar, from War of the Monsters. As well as giant apes worshipped as deities like Chaos and Blizzard from Primal Rage.

Pop culture references[edit]

The DC Comics character Titano is clearly modeled on King Kong (here seen climbing the Daily Planet building and confronting Superman).From Superman #138. Art by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

King Kong, as well as the series of films featuring him, have been featured many times in popular culture outside of the films themselves, in forms ranging from straight copies to parodies and joke references, and in media from comics to video games.

An animated King Kong appears in The Beatles' 1968 movie Yellow Submarine, and The Simpsons spoofed King Kong during a segment of their "Treehouse of Horror III" Halloween episode, in which Homer was Kong. It ends with him marrying Marge and eating her father.

King Kong appears among the good guys in an episode of South Park in the episode "Imaginationland".

The British Comedy TV Show The Goodies made an episode called Kitten Kong, in which a giant cat called Twinkle roams the streets of London, knocking over The British Telecom Tower.

The controversial World War II Dutch resistance fighter Christiaan Lindemans — eventually arrested on suspicion of having betrayed secrets to the Nazis — was nicknamed "King Kong" due to his being exceptionally tall.[66]

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention recorded an instrumental about "King Kong" in 1967 and featured it on the album Uncle Meat. Zappa went on to make many other versions of the song on albums such as Make A Jazz Noise Here, You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3, Ahead Of Their Time, and Beat the Boots.

In 1972, a 550 centimetres (18.0 ft) fiberglass statue of King Kong was erected in Birmingham, England.

The second track of The Jimmy Castor Bunch album Supersound from 1975 is titled "King Kong"[67]

The Kinks recorded a single named "King Kong"

Filk Music artists Ookla the Mok's "Song of Kong", which explores the reasons why King Kong and Godzilla shouldn't be roommates, appears on their 2001 record Smell No Evil.

Theme park rides[edit]

Universal Studios had two popular King Kong rides at their theme parks in Hollywood and Orlando.

The first King Kong ride was called King Kong Encounter and was a part of the Universal Studios Studio Tour (Hollywood) in Hollywood. The ride opened in 1986 and was destroyed in 2008 in a major fire. Universal opened a replacement 3D King Kong ride called King Kong: 360 3-D that opened July 1, 2010.[37][68]

A second more elaborate ride was constructed at the Orlando park in 1990. It was called Kongfrontation. The ride was closed down in 2002, and was replaced with Revenge of the Mummy in 2004.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Boland, Michaela (2009-02-09). "Global Creatures takes on "Kong"". Variety.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  2. ^ http://kingkongliveonstage.com/
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