Did You Know: King Kong Almost Battled Frankenstein? (Plus See Original Concept Art)

Did You Know: King Kong Almost Battled Frankenstein? (Plus See Original Concept Art)

Dec 30, 2011

Before Japan's Toho Film Studios pit their most famous movie monster Godzilla against giant gorilla King Kong in 1962, the planned storyline centered around horror's lumbering fiend, Frankenstein. Famed animator Willis O'Brien wrote the script treatment — originally imagined as a sequel to the 1933 classic King Kong, O'Brien's most famous contribution — that envisioned the beast battling the bolted behemoth in San Francisco. Producer John Beck snatched it up (without O'Brien's permission) to create a George Worthing Yates screenplay retitled King Kong vs. Prometheus. Beck sold it to Toho who replaced Frankenstein with their house creature, Godzilla.
Toho had Frank fever for some time before the story fell into their lap. They wanted a follow up to their 1960 film The Human Vapor — about a librarian who becomes a bank robber when he realizes his ability to turn into a … vapor. He uses the stolen cash to pamper his dancer girlfriend. Frankenstein vs. the Human Vapor never saw the light of day, but the monster did work his way back into the picture in 1965 when the studio made Frankenstein Conquers the World (Frankenstein vs. the Subterranean Monster Baragon), set in Nazi Germany.
Toho was going to push ahead with Kong and Frank as a 1964 sequel to King Kong vs. Godzilla. The story would have centered on the Universal monster as a radioactive giant. In order to prevent Frankenstein from snacking on the local population, the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) would free Godzilla and goad him into a fight with the monster to hopefully kill him. It was supposed to end with Godzilla disappearing into a river and Frank into magma. The company found the storyline nonsensical (hilarious, since we're talking about the people who made movies with various crazed creatures trampling cities), so they opted to pit Godzilla against new creep on the block, Mothra, in her first versus feature for the follow-up.
Below, check out some of O'Brien's concept art from his original pitch. Does Frankenstein remind you of some kind of prehistoric Hulk? Let us know if you'd pay money to see this face-off.



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