Fearsome Facts: 'King Kong vs. Godzilla'
Kings collide in the most meaningful monster mash!
Gojira’s reign of terror was still in its infancy, but the King of the Monsters unknowingly had an enduring franchise on his hands which would flourish into 32 live-action films (counting the 1956 American version and the 1998 travesty which dared to don the Godzilla name).
However, it had been seven long years since Godzilla Raids Again (1955) introduced the first monster mash between Godzilla and Anguirus, and Toho needed an interesting way to bring back Gojira.
Even worse, King Kong’s cinematic hibernation had lasted almost 30 years! The gentle giant was forced from his island home in 1933, fell in love with Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and was quickly slaughtered by a squadron of planes.
So much for making it big in New York City.
Both titans had been noticeably absent from the movies, despite Godzilla and King Kong’s popularity, and they didn’t end up sharing the Silver Screen until 1962’s ultimate brouhaha: King Kong vs. Godzilla.
The mighty ape was given a serious makeover though as Kong’s height was quickly adjusted to match Gojira’s. With the titans now on equal footing, the Toho Company launched the third installment in their Godzilla saga. And it is unforgettable!
Now, here are 8 Things Fans Should Know About King Kong vs. Godzilla.
8. Box Office Boffo
King Kong vs. Godzilla resonated with fans, and the creature feature made approximately $2.75 million at the box office worldwide while the budget was only $200,000. The original Gojira (1954) boasted a budget of $175,000 and ended up with a cumulative worldwide gross of over $4.6 million, and King Kong (1933) cost $670,000 to produce. The ape helped RKO make $10 million domestically. Bottom line: The Kings filled theaters with their fans.
7. Operation Dinner Out: Octopus!
During the fight sequence between King Kong and the natives, a total of four real octopuses were utilized along with one plastic model. How do you get octopuses to act, though? Well, the crew blew hot air on all the Octopoda which made them move. After filming their final scenes, the Octopodifores were all released back into the ocean except for one, and special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya ate that one for dinner!
6. Third Time’s the Charm
King Kong vs. Godzilla marks the first time either monster appear in color on the Silver Screen. The 1962 mash-up was also a first for both creatures being filmed in widescreen format. Additionally, the movie is the third installment in each of the titan’s respective franchises, if you don’t count the American remake of Gojira (1954): Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956).
5. I Am Godzilla, Hear Me Roar
Godzilla’s trademark, high-pitched roar, which improved on the sound design of the first two films, was introduced in this movie. The famous screech was accomplished by blending together the two roars Gojira used in the original 1954 movie, and it was created by rubbing a glove against a stringed-instrument. You can hear the King Kong vs. Godzilla version of the roar in almost every Gojira film of the franchise which followed with only minor tweaks.
4. This Little Piggy
Apparently, the number four is a very unlucky number in Japan. As a result, Godzilla has only three toes in King Kong vs. Godzilla. As such, the King of the Monsters sported only three toes in the pictures which followed because Godzilla was either the hero or a comical character. In Godzilla 1985, which turned him back into the antagonist, Gojira was given four toes again. So, if you're keeping score, evil Godzilla has four toes and the good one only has three.
3. Gojira Veteran
King Kong vs. Godzilla marks the second Gojira film for actor Kenji Sahara in the Godzilla saga. Sahara became a mainstay of the franchise playing a myriad of characters in 12 of the movies within the series. He starred in eight of the Showa-era flicks and three of the Hesei. Sahara also appeared in the last Millennium entry, Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), as the Paleontologist Hachirô Jingûji.
2. Over 12 Million Served
King Kong vs. Godzilla sold over 12.5 million tickets during its original theatrical run and re-releases over the years, and it remains the most attended Godzilla film in Japan. Believe it or not, the United Kingdom actually rated the film X during its first run!
1. Method Acting
Actor Shoichi Hirose is best known for playing Godzilla’s three-headed nemesis King Ghidorah in the film franchise, but he took on the role of King Kong before Ghidrah showed up in 1964. During King Kong vs. Godzilla’s final confrontation, Kong throws Gojira over his shoulder. Hirose did this not with an empty Godzilla suit, but with actor Haruo Nakajima inside! Shoichi said he wanted to do the stunt with Nakajima in the suit to prove he was the stronger of the two men!
Talk about your method acting.
Which facts from King Kong vs. Godzilla did you find most interesting? Are there any other trivia tidbits you’d like to have seen make the list? Sound off in the comments!