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Fearsome Facts: King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

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Gojira’s reign of terror was still in its infancy, but the King of the Monsters unknowingly had an enduring franchise on his hands that would flourish into 32 live-action films (counting the 1956 American version and the 1998 travesty that dared to don the Godzilla name). However, it had been seven years since Godzilla Raids Again (1955) which introduced the first monster mash between Godzilla and Anguirus. How could Toho successfully bring back Gojira?

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.

Despite Godzilla and King Kong’s popularity, these titans didn’t share the Silver Screen together 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.

Here are 8 Things You May Not Know About King Kong vs. Godzilla

8. Box Office Boffo

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King Kong vs. Godzilla resonated with fans as the creature feature made approximately $2.75 million at the box office worldwide; the budget was $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, while King Kong (1933) cost $670,000 to produce. The ape helped RKO make $10 million domestically.

7. Operation Dinner Out: Octopus!

King Kong vs Godzilla - Fearsome Facts: King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

During the fight sequence between King Kong and the natives, a total of four octopuses were utilized along with one plastic model. The crew blew hot air on all the Octopoda which made them move. After filming their final scenes, the Octopodifores were all released except for one. Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya ate that one for dinner!

6. Third Time’s the Charm

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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) titled Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956).

5. I Am Godzilla, Hear Me Roar

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Godzilla’s trademark, and more recognizable high-pitched roar, was introduced in this film. The famous screech was accomplished by blending together the two roars Gojira used in the original 1954 movie, which was created with a leather glove being scraped against a stringed-instrument. You can hear the King Kong vs. Godzilla version of the roar in almost every Gojira film throughout the franchise that followed 1962 usually with only minor tweaks.

4. This Little Piggy…

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Apparently, the number 4 is a very unlucky number in Japan. Godzilla has only three toes in King Kong vs. Godzilla for that reason. As such, the King of the Monsters sported only three toes for the pictures that 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. Wait, what? Is anyone really counting toes when the King is stepping on them?

3. Gojira Veteran

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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, three of the Hesei, and the last Millenium entry Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) as the Paleontologist Hachirô Jingûji.

2. Over 12 Million Served

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King Kong vs. Godzilla sold over 12.5 million tickets during its initial and re-releases over the years. To this day, 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

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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 it to prove he was the stronger of the two men. Talk about your method acting.

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Which facts from King Kong vs. Godzilla did you find most interesting? Are there any other little-known trivia tidbits you’d like to have seen make the list? Sound off in the comments and on social media!

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