Monday, July 14, 2014

Ape of the Geek: King Kong – Toho (2)

kong toho 2
Species: Giant gorilla

First Appearance: King Kong Escapes (1967)

Other Appearances: None

Merchandising: As with the previous Toho Kong, this version of Kong was manufactured in toy form in Japan.

Biography: When the submarine Explorer is damaged by a rockslide, it stops at Mondo Island in the South Pacific to make repairs. While these repairs are under way, three officers, Carl Nelson, Susan Watson, and Jiro Nomura, come ashore to investigate the island with their hover car. Susan is attacked by a dinosaur called a Gorosaurus, and this island's Kong comes to her rescue. During the battle, the humans flee to the submarine, but Kong soon follows. On the way, he battles a Giant Sea Snake. Susan talks Kong into returning to his island, and the Explorer returns to New York. The news of Kong's existence reaches the scientist Dr. Who, who plans to use Kong to mine Element X, a highly radioactive substance, for his own use. Kong is captured and brought to the North Pole, where he first sights his robotic counterpart, Mechani-Kong. Dr. Who built this robot to have it mine Element X, but the radioactivity made this impossible. Kong is put under mind control and forced to mine the element, but the radioactivity allows him to escape the effects of the mind control. He leaves the Arctic and heads for Tokyo, followed by Who and his forces. The military is called in to subdue Kong, but Susan intervenes and stops Kong's rampage. Mechani-Kong arrives at the scene to put Kong under control again, but Jiro prevents this. Mechani-Kong captures Susan, and climbs Tokyo Tower, with Dr. Who threatening to drop her if he's not cooperated with. Kong engages his robotic twin in battle, saving Susan in the process. Mechani-Kong is defeated when Dr. Who's control panel is sabotaged, and Kong attacks Who's ship, destroying it. Kong returns to Mondo Island afterwards.

Powers: This version of Kong is immune to the effects of Element X, and possibly other forms of radiation, as well.

Miscellaneous: This movie was a co-production between Toho Studios and Rankin-Bass, who was at the time producing a King Kong animated series for television. The first script written for the film didn't match up with the animated series to suit Rankin-Bass. Dr. Who is the only other character to appear in both the movie and TV show. Gorosaurus next appeared in the 1968 movie Destroy All Monsters, which intended to also have Kong, but Toho's license had expired by this time. The Kong suit was later used in the Toho TV show Go! Godman, where it was called Gorilla. Dr. Who's name is sometimes spelled “Dr. Hu.”

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