Kong!

For its engagement at the Fox Pomona Theater in May 1933, “King Kong” was accompanied by an amazing prop: a life-sized prop from the movie of Kong’s head, shoulders and chest. (Thanks to Friends of the Pomona Fox for the great photos.)

He’s really being mobbed in the scene above. Don’t people know King Kong doesn’t like to be crowded?

* Update: Evidently the crowd was superimposed or Photoshopped atop the original photo before it got to me. More information when I get it. The Kong head really was there, as the photo below makes clear.

In making the movie, Kong was mostly an 18-inch puppet, but this prop, a hand and a foot were all made at full scale for certain scenes in which closeups and human interaction were necessary.

Note in the photos that the Fox has its original marquee (the current one was installed in the 1950s) and that whoever put up the letters forgot the “i before e except after c” rule. Click on the photos for a larger view.

After the jump is an advertisement from the May 27, 1933 Prog and a story from same day’s issue, both taken from microfilm.

“King Kong” returns to the Fox at 2 p.m. Sunday for an 80th anniversary screening. They won’t have the giant head, but they will have a modern version of a giant arm and hand, in which you can have your photo taken. Details are here. Look for more in my Wednesday column.

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  • John Clifford

    Hadn’t noticed it before, but looking at the enlarged image, the crowd in front was actually composited onto the photo. You can see a definite cut line where the crowd was put onto the scene in those pre-photoshop days.

    • davidallen909

      A reader has since pointed that out too. Groan. I did wonder why there were so many people in the street. Any idea how this happened?

      • http://www.facebook.com/chris.endicott.33 Chris Endicott

        Judging from the imprint at the bottom right of the photo, I’d guess that it is a vintage ‘paste-up’ done at the time for promotion purposes.

        Still very neat to see! Thanks!!

      • John Clifford

        It was not unusual at that time for this kind of photo manipulation to be done. From inspection of the image it was obviously not Photoshopped, but would have been an analog process that was contemporary with the original photo.

  • davidallen909

    “Heil Kong!”

  • John Clifford

    Actually’ since it’s a Frasher image, it’s more likely a crowd scene from the fairgrounds racetrack. The upraised hands are often seen as horses cross the finish line. Just a guess. I think it’s more likely than Burton Frasher in Germany in, or prior to, 1933.