“The Son of Kong” (1933) is the sequel to RKO Radio Pictures’ mammoth classic stop-motion creature production masterpiece that was released earlier that same year, “King Kong” (1933). The RKO “Kong” sequel was directed by veteran director-producer Ernest B. Schoedsack, who also directed the original 1933 “King Kong” feature with veteran producer Merian C. Cooper and the Paramount Technicolor sci-fi thriller, “Dr. Cyclops” (1940). Cooper also handled production duties on the 1933 RKO “Kong” sequel. Veteran feature film and “King Kong” visual effects technician Willis H. O’Brien worked on the stop-motion creature effects for “The Son of Kong.”
Who was in “The Son of Kong” (1933)?
The players who appeared in the Ernest B. Schoedsack-Merian C.Cooper-RKO production of “The Son of Kong” (1933) were Robert Armstrong (as Carl Denham), Helen Mack (as Hilda, a.k.a. “Helene”), Victor Wong (as Charlie the cook), Noble Johnson (in an uncredited role as the Native Chief), Frank Reicher (as Capt. Englehorn), Ed Brady (as Red), John Marston (as Capt. Niles Helstrom), Gertrude Short (as a reporter) and Clarence Wilson (as Peterson, the father of Hilda/Helene).
Robert Armstrong, Victor Wong, Noble Johnson and Frank Reicher reprised their roles that they previously played in Schoedsack and Cooper’s original RKO production of “King Kong” (1933, with Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot). Armstrong later appeared in the Ray Harryhausen–John Ford-Merian C. Cooper-Ernest B. Schoedsack RKO mammoth stop-motion creature classic masterpiece, “Mighty Joe Young” (1949). Helen Mack later appeared in Howard Hawks’ Columbia classic screwball comedy masterpiece with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, “His Girl Friday” (1940, adapted from Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s “The Front Page”). Noble Johnson previously appeared with Boris Karloff in Karl Fruend’s Universal mammoth classic monster masterpiece production of “The Mummy” (1932).
Victor Wong later appeared in an uncredited role as a bandit leader in Frank Capra’s Columbia fantasy-drama classic, “Lost Horizon” (1937). Frank Reicher also appeared opposite Albert Dekker in Schoedsack’s Paramount production of “Dr. Cyclops” (1940) and also appeared in numerous Universal monster productions, including “Night Monster” (1942, with Bela Lugosi), “The Mummy’s Tomb” (1942, with Lon Chaney Jr.), “The Mummy’s Ghost” (1944, with the junior Chaney) and “House of Frankenstein” (1944, with Glenn Strange, Karloff and the junior Chaney).
“The Son of Kong:” Produced shortly after the success of the original RKO “King Kong” feature
According to Jeff Stafford’s article on the RKO “Kong” sequel for Turner Classic Movies’ website, the studio produced “The Son of Kong” shortly after the smash success of “King Kong” in order to capitalize on the popularity of the previous RKO fantasy creature feature. The 1933 “Kong” sequel was released theatrically for the winter 1933-34 film season on Dec. 22, 1933; according to the American Film Institute.
“The Son of Kong” figurine and RKO’s nickname for the “junior” Kong
Willis H. O’Brien’s “Son of Kong” stop-motion creature figure for the 1933 RKO sequel production was a modified “Kong” stop-motion creature figurine that was originally constructed for the for the Tyrannosaurus Rex/Kong battle sequence in 1933 Schoedsack-Cooper RKO production of “King Kong,” according to IMDB. Various rubber and fur elements were reconstructed on the “Kong” figurine to give the “junior Kong” a less-menacing and “youthful” look.
According to additional details from IMDB’s trivia section, RKO executives nicknamed the “Son of Kong” creature as “Kiko” in honor of the studio’s earlier 1933 production of “King Kong;” a combination of the title of the preceding film.
Several scenes were filmed at RKO’s “Forty Acres” facility
Several interior scenes for the 1933 Schoedsack-Cooper-RKO sequel production of “The Son of Kong” were filmed at the then-RKO/Pathé “Forty Acres” lot in Culver City, California (once dubbed as the “Pathé Ranch”)**; according to Steven Bingen and Marc Wanamaker’s retrospective book on the “Forty Acres” lot, “Hollywood’s Lost Backlot: 40 Acres of Glamour and Mystery.”. The “Forty Acres” lot was later used by veteran producer/mogul (and former RKO executive) David O’ Selznick, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions and other production companies. The lot would be redeveloped/remodeled after years of neglect in the 1970s (existing buildings/soundstages on the lot are used for numerous film and television productions today).
Recycled source sound elements from the original RKO production of “King Kong” for “The Son of Kong”
Several source soundtrack elements were recycled from the original 1933 RKO production of “King Kong” for the 1933 sequel, according to additional details from Jeff Stafford’s TCM online article. Fay Wray’s original source “scream” recordings from “King Kong” were re-used to replace Helen Mack’s screams in “The Son of Kong.” Several elements of Max Steiner’s original source orchestral soundtrack score for “King Kong” were re-used for the 1933 RKO sequel.
Be sure to watch/record Svengoolie and his big broadcast premiere of “The Son of Kong” (1933), this Sat. on Me-TV!
With Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Noble Johnson, Victor Wong, Frank Reicher, John Marston, Gertrude Short and Clarence Wilson along with Willis O’Brien’s stop-motion creature creations, Max Steiner’s source orchestral score and Murray Spivack’s source sound effects, you will not want to miss out on Svengoolie’s upcoming big broadcast premiere of “The Son of Kong” (1933), this Sat. on Me-TV! A perfect treat for all fellow super SvenPals and fellow classic stop-motion creature film aficionados everywhere Svengoolie’s extensive fun facts, Doug Graves’ parody song and Kerwyn’s “mail call” segment! You will not be disappointed! Highly recommended!
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Cable 196/FiOS 489/Antietam Cable 194 (also on QAM digital 68.6 for Antietam cable subscribers)
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208/FiOS 460
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Cable 248/FiOS 460
Live-tweet with all fellow super #Svengoolie SvenPals from coast-to-coast via Twitter during Sven and his big broadcast premiere of “The Son of Kong” (1933) this Sat. on Me-TV!
Extra! Extra! Extra! The Rondo Awards have returned! Fellow SvenPals! Official voting for the 18th annual “Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards” is now open! Be sure to vote for Svengoolie for the category of “favorite horror host” on the official Rondo ballot! To enter, follow all directions on the official Rondo Awards website, vote for Sven for “favorite horror host” and look at all of the other categories for the official Rondo Awards contest! Voting is open until Sun., March 29!
Extra! Extra! Extra! Fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals of Berwyn/Chicago and beyond!
Extra! Extra! Extra! There’s more! Svengoolie will be returning to the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) festival for his upcoming appearance at the C2E2 2020 festival! According to Sven’s official Twitter site and the official C2E2 Twitter site, Svengoolie’s appearance at the 2020 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (C2E2) festival on Sat., Feb. 29 at 12:30 p.m. (local time) in room S504 (at the South Building at McCormick Place; 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60601)! Additional details and ticket information are available on the official website of the C2E2 exposition.
Extra! Extra! Extra! Wait! Wait! There’s more! Tickets are still available for the upcoming May 2, 2020 WDCB “Those Were the Days” 50th anniversary big Chicago vintage radio broadcast celebration with appearances by Sven’s alter-ego, Mr. Rich Koz; current “Those Were the Days” host/ Nostalgia Digest” publisher Steve Darnall, original host of “Those Were The Days” Chuck Schaden, Trace Beaulieu of MST3K and “The Mads!” fame, Kevin Murphy of MST3K and “RiffTrax” fame, actress Patty McCormack of “The Bad Seed” fame; “Those Were the Days” announcer Ken Alexander, actor/writer Scott Lowell of Binge Networks’ “Adoptable” fame, Tim Kazurinsky of “Saturday Night Live” fame (1981-85) plus live music by the Dooley Brothers and the West End Jazz Band! Remaining tickets are still available for purchase through WDCB’s official website via the official Eventbrite platform! Purchase your tickets today! Note: Ticket prices for the event are $50. The 50th anniversary celebration of “Those Were the Days” will take place on Sat., May 2, 2020 at the Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60630) from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (local time)! Again, to all fellow super Svengoolie SvenPals in the greater Berwyn/Chicago region and beyond, have fun seeing Sven during his upcoming Chicago 2020 C2E2 event and Sven/Mr. Rich Koz’s May appearance for the 50th anniversary of “Those Were the Days!” –C.H.
Extra! Extra! Extra! Fellow super SvenPals and fellow super jammers from coast-to-coast will be jumping for joy for the return of fellow super Svengoolie SvenPal Jamie Lee and her WNUR/Northwestern University radio program/jam session cavalcade, “Jammin’ with Jamie” on Feb. 15! Jam along with Jamie and the return of her upcoming live big broadcast serenade/cavalcade of “Jammin’ with Jamie” Valentine’s/post-Valentine’s jams next Sat. morning, Feb. 15 at 6 a.m. Central/7 a.m. Eastern on the airlanes of WNUR 89.3 FM/WNUR 89.3-HD1 in the greater Evanston/Berwyn/Chicago listening region, WNUR.org and/or WNUR’s live feed on the TuneIn platform from coast-to-coast, around the world and throughout the galaxy! Stay tuned to Jamie’s official Twitter site and Jamie’s official website for more details for the Valentine’s/post-Valentine’s “Jammin’ with Jamie” big broadcast jam session serenade theme for the big broadcast serenade/cavalcade on Feb. 15! And if you have a favorite Valentine’s/post-Valentine’s or similar tune request for Jamie’s portfolio of jams for her upcoming “Jammin’ with Jamie” big broadcast jam session cavalcade/serenade for Sat., Feb. 15; be sure to send in your song nomination/request to Jamie’s official Twitter site or Jamie’s official website before Sat., Feb. 15!
The entire crowd of fellow super jammers and fellow super SvenPals are jumping for joy and looking forward to the upcoming big broadcast jam session cavalcade/serenade return of “Jammin’ with Jamie” on Feb. 15, Jamie! Again, keep up the wonderful and excellent work! Happy early Valentine’s/”Dracula Day” (in commemoration of the original release of the Tod Browning’s Universal monster masterpiece of “Dracula” w/Bela Lugosi on Feb. 14, 1931) and all Feb. holiday observances to Jamie & the entire crowd of fellow super SvenPals/super jammers everywhere! We’re all proud of you! Three cheers, congrats, peace, kudos, “Hi-Keeba” and two thumbs up to Jamie and the entire crowd of fellow super jammers and fellow super SvenPals everywhere! –C.H.
In connection to “The Son of Kong” (1933):
“The Son of Kong” (1933) is also available on Blu-Ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and is also available as part of Warners’ “2 Film Collection” RKO “Kong” DVD double-feature anthology set with the original 1933 Ernest B. Schoedsack -Merian C. Cooper edition of “King Kong.” The 1933 RKO “Kong” sequel is also available from Warners through participating streaming/video-on-demand service providers*.
*Sidebar: Part of Warners’ ownership of the North American rights to the majority of the RKO Radio Pictures library, Time Warner (now known as Warner Media) merged with Ted Turner’s media/cable properties in 1996, Turner acquired the rights to the RKO Radio Pictures library from General Tire/GenCorp/RKO General/Wesray in 1987 (General Tire acquired the feature film remnants of RKO from business tycoon Howard Hughes in 1955; as the tire company was looking for additional feature film programming for their line of “General Teleradio” TV stations at the time, the RKO features were also leased to C&C Television Corp. to non-RKO General TV stations around the same time under the “Movietime USA” moniker). The current incarnation of RKO Pictures (formed as an independent organization after the demise of General Tire/GenCorp’s RKO General unit and the tire conglomerate’s exit from entertainment/broadcasting) handles the copyright, trademark, script/re-make rights (co-productions with other studios for re-makes) and stage adaptation rights to the classic RKO features. –C.H.
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