The Eighth Wonder of the World turns 75!
March 2, 1933 was a milestone date in movie history! That was the day that the legendary RKO motion picture, KING KONG, made its New York City premiere at Radio City Music Hall and it’s sister theater, The Roxy. It was a giant box office succes, despite being released in the midst of the Great Depression, when money for movies, even at 10 cents a ticket, was scarce. Over the past 75 years, King Kong has become one of the most, if not the most, iconic movie figure in history.
Now, while I cannot claim to be any kind of King Kong expert or geek/freak, here are some fun facts you may find interesting about this film:
- The story for King Kong was influence by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World”
- Willis O'Brien’s ground-breaking stop-motion animation would later influence Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park”
- It is ranked at #41 of the AFI’s list of best American Films.
- For subsequent theatrical re-releases throughout the 20th Century, the film featured several edits enforced by the Hays Office, in accordance with stiffer decency rules. These scenes included Kong peeling the clothes off of Ann Darrow and dropping a New York woman to her death from her apartment window.
- It was sold to television in 1956 and was the premiere TV airing for the WOR-TV Channel 9 “Million Dollar Movie”. It was aired many times inside of one week for repeated viewings.
- It was remade by John Guillermin in 1976 and Peter Jackson in 2005.
KING KONG has spawned sequels, remakes, Japanese adaptations, merchandising and even a cartoon series in the 1960’s. He glorified the Empire State Building only a year after it had opened to the public.
On Sunday March 2nd, for one day only, there will be two showings of the original film at the Film Forum at 209 West Houston Street in New York City. For myself, I probably won’t be able to get to the city that day, but I’ll have my 2-disc Special Edition DVD waiting for me to enjoy!
Happy birthday, big guy!
(Thanks to pbo31 for providing the photo.)