Crazy for King Kong: 1976 Style
The film premiered in twelve-hundred theaters in America on December 17th, just a week before the holiday, and the cinematic initiative was supported by a then-impressive fifteen million dollar promotional and marketing campaign.
A poster for the American release of Godzilla vs. Megalon showcased the two beasts grappling...on top of the World Trade Center buildings, though no scenes in the film occurred in New York.
And then there were other knock-off films such as A.P.E. (1976), Queen Kong (1976) and Mighty Peking Man (1977). Within two years, King Kong aired on television, and NBC, but fans of the big ape had another treat in store. The network aired an extended cut of the film, one with scenes never before integrated into the theatrical cut. It is this legendary version, actually, that many aficionados prefer to this day.
I often watched the original 1933 version on Thanksgiving Day, when WWOR Channel 9 ran a Kong Marathon (including Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young), but there’s just something special for me about the 1976 version.
I saw it in the theater – tickets were 3.00 dollars apiece as my father reminded me the other day – and remember well all the toys and merchandise. I also still recall my first visit to the World Trade Center – also in 1976 -- and riding the elevator all the way up to the observation deck.
I very much expected to see some sign of King Kong there.