Monday, June 23, 2014

Ape of the Geek: King Kong – Toho (1)

kong toho 1Species: Giant gorilla

First Appearance: King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962)

Other Appearances: None (see Miscellaneous)

Merchandising: The Kong from this movie has been made multiple times in action figure form in Japan.

Biography: This version of King Kong was 147 feet tall, and lived on Faro Island in peace, until a pharmaceutical/television conglomerate discovered soma, a new type of sedative-producing berry, existed on Faro Island. TTV Television sent two men to Faro to retrieve more berries, as well as to investigate the legend of a giant living diety worshipped by the natives. The men got the natives to guide them to the soma berries, but en route an avalanche blocked their way, and the natives were attached by a giant octopus which sought the berries itself. Kong showed up to fight the octopus, chasing it off, and then it drank four large jars of the berry juice, prepared by the natives. As Kong slept it off, he was transported to the TTV ship for transport back to Japan, towed on a raft. Before arriving ashore, Kong awoke, freed himself, and sought out his instinctual enemy, Godzilla. His first match was a loss, and Kong fled to Tokyo, where he runs amok until he sees and captures Fumiko Sakuri, the sister of one of the men who captured him earlier. The Self Defense Force used soma juice fired in rockets to put Kong asleep again, but with Godzilla still on the rampage, Kong was airlifted to Mr. Fuji to face off against his foe again. Thanks to a freak lightning storm, Kong was victorious, and returned back home (presumably).

Powers: This version of King Kong had one special power – he could absorb electricity in any form and then redirect it as an attack when he touches his foe.

Miscellaneous: This version of Kong is obviously not the same as the original, who died at the end of his own film. Also, the version of Kong in King Kong Escapes is obviously based on the Kong of the Rankin-Bass animated series, and not this one, as it's not the same size, nor does it have the electrical abilities of this one. That Kong will be covered next time.

The origin of this movie and its Kong is an odd one...originally, Willis O'Brien had conceived of a project called King Kong Vs. Frankenstein, which would have been a sequel to the original King Kong, where Kong would fight a giant creation of Dr. Frankenstein's grandson. The story was stolen from O'Brien by John Beck, who hired George Worthing Yates to flesh it out into a screenplay and retitled it Kong Kong Vs. Prometheus. This script was sold to Toho who replaced Frankenstein/Promethus with Godzilla. Toho didn't give up on using a version of the Frankenstein Monster, however... they planned a Frankenstein Vs. Godzilla film as a follow up to King Kong Vs. Godzilla, but things didn't work out, so Godzilla Vs. Mothra became the next film in the series. Toho would use the Monster (in a bizarre form) in Frankenstein Conquers the World in 1965.

1 comment:

  1. Greatness! Loved that as a kid on Sunday afternoons on KPLR Channel 11!


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