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King Kong Facts

Updated on May 7, 2015

King Kong is the name of one of Hollywood's best loved giant monsters. The story of King Kong is a modern day re-telling of a beauty and the beast tale. In the film Kong is made out to be a horrify monster with whom the audience soon feels compassion and sympathy as the hero of this story falls in love with a beautiful woman and is ultimately destroyed because of it.

King Kong has the honor of being the first film to be remade and continues to remain a monster lovers favorite. With recent remakes fueling the love for this giant ape it seems that Kong shows no signs of letting up his rampage.

Here are 5 things about this giant ape that you might find interesting!


5. Just How Big Is He?

King Kongs size was a major concern for purists and for the creatures creator alike. A number of factors make giving Kong an actual size very difficult.

It seems the director Merian C. Cooper played with the scale of the model used for Kong and the sets too make the monster larger than life. This led to the scale of King Kong ranging from 24 feet tall to over 60 feet tall depending on the scene being filmed and the techniques being used to film them.

The official movies promotional material released by RKO Pictures list the creature at 50 feet tall.

Kong on the empire state building
Kong on the empire state building

4. Only Models Were Used

Despite rumors surrounding the filming of the original King Kong it is maintained that no actors in ape suits were used during production. Only Willis O'Briens monster models were used for filming which included 2 jointed 18-inch models cover with foam rubber, latex and rabbit fur and a 24-inch model Kong model.

A bust of Kong was made that had the scale proportions of a 40 foot ape complete with 10-inch fangs and 12-inch eyeballs. It took 3 men to control the facial expressions using a series of levers, hinges and compressed air controls.

Other notable accomplishments by O'Brien and his team included the use of acetate to film rear projection scenes.

Image - King Kong on the Empire State building

Trailer for the 1933 Classic - King Kong!

King Kong movie still
King Kong movie still

3. The Name King Kong

The name King Kong is said to have been created by director Merian C. Cooper who had happen to really like words that began with the letter "K". Some of which were Komodo, Kodak and Kodiak.

His fascination with Douglas Burdens trip to the island of Komodo and subsequent naming of the giant lizard that lived there as the "King of Komodo" lead to the first part of the name King.

The second part Kong is thought to be a combination of the words Komodo and Congo leading to King Kong. Cooper loved the name and the mysterious sound it had.

Image - Still from the original King Kong film


2. King Kong On Film

To date there have been 7 movies starring King Kong, some originals and some remakes.

The most famous is the very first movie, King Kong released in 1933 and contained ground breaking special effects. Also released in the same year was the film The Son of Kong which was generally regarded as a success.

It would be nearly 30 years later, when in 1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla was released by Toho, the company responsible for Godzilla films. Toho would also release King Kong Escapes in 1967 but would not star the giant ape in any of it's further productions.

Paramount Pictures would be the next company to pick up the reigns of King Kong with the release of King Kong in 1976 and again in 1986 with King Kong Lives. The second film starred a female Kong which mates with Kong leading to some interesting sequels potential but the movie flopped.

The last film was Peter Jacksons remake for Universal Pictures titled King Kong. The film is the longest running of all the Kong stories at 3 hours and eight minutes long. It won 3 Academy Awards for visual effects, sound editing and sound mixing.

King Kong movie still
King Kong movie still

1. Censoring the Great Kong

It seems that the original King Kong has suffered some severe censorship since its release in 1933. Scenes involving the giant ape eating anyone, even a scene were a Brontosaurus begins eating crewmen in the water, were off limits and well as anyone being crushed by the monster.

A scene which involved Kong undressing Ann Darrow (the name of the Kongs love interest in the story) and then sniffing his fingers was deemed inappropriate for audiences and as a result was cut.

In 1969 an uncensored, 16mm print was found in Philadelphia. It was release to movie-going audiences in 1971 containing all the original scenes and brought the running time back up to 100 minutes as was originally intended.

Image - Scene from the original King Kong film

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