Ten Things You Might Not Know About … King Kong!

by William Burns

10.  While no known theatrical trailers from the original 1933 release are known to exist, there is a 7-minute audio teaser extant bearing the title ‘KONG Is Coming!

9.  Although many film historians insist that a spider pit scene was never shot, much less previewed, at least 3 production stills do exist showing the miniature ravine complete with at least one spider and a crab creature, both of which are menacing miniature sailors. There was one person who claimed to have seen the first preview screening who said that the spider pit scene was in it, and the audience laughed at large bug-eyes on a spider model – he felt that this unintended laugh was the reason the scene stopped the film and was cut.

8.  According to Merian C. Cooper, although writer Edgar Wallace received screen credit, he “didn’t write any of ‘Kong’ – not one bloody word!” However, his idea to give the giant ape human characteristics was incorporated.

7.  Actual close-up footage of The Empire State Building was added to the film when it was re-issued in 1952, for the scene where Kong grabs the first plane and tosses it off the side of the building

6.  The models of Kong built for the island scenes were only 18 inches high. When producer/director Merian C. Cooper decided Kong needed to look bigger while in New York, a new 24-inch armature was constructed, thus changing Kong’s film height from 18 feet on the island to 24 feet while in New York.

5.  When the film premiered on Easter Sunday in London, 12,000 people had to be turned away.

4.  Merian C. Cooper had originally planned for Kong to be exhibited in Yankee Stadium, but later decided on a mid-town theatre. Special-effects chief Willis H. O’Brien drew a sketch of Kong breaking loose in the Stadium.

3.  King Kong’s roar was a lion’s and a tiger’s roar combined and run backwards but more slowly.

2.  Scenes cut over the years of release and re-release: Kong chewing on the natives of the island; two scenes with Kong squashing one native each with his giant foot; the brontosaurus biting and throwing the men in the water; Kong putting a New Yorker in his mouth then throwing him down to the ground; a scene where Kong climbs a building, pulls out a sleeping woman with his giant hand, examines her, and when he finds it’s not Ann Darrow, tosses her down to the sidewalk below; and, of course, Fay Wray’s clothing being peeled off.

1.  This film, along with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, were Adolf Hitler’s favorite movies

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