King Kong vs. Prometheus

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King Kong vs. Prometheus
King Kong vs. Prometheus concept art
Alternate titles Prometheus vs. King Kong,[1]
King Kong vs. Frankenstein,
King Kong Meets Frankenstein,[2]
King Kong vs. the Ginko,[1]
King Kong Versus Ginko[3]
Planned 1958-1961[4]
Concept history King Kong vs. Frankenstein
King Kong vs. the Ginko
King Kong vs. Prometheus
King Kong vs. Godzilla

King Kong vs. Prometheus is an unrealized King Kong film proposal conceived by Willis O'Brien. It eventually led to the production of King Kong vs. Godzilla, though O'Brien was never consulted at all about the finished product nor given any credit for his ideas.


In the jungles of the Congo River in Africa, the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein creates a giant gray-skinned, hairless, and humanoid-shaped monster made of various African megafauna such as elephants and crocodiles. At the same time, King Kong is revealed to have somehow survived his fall from the Empire State Building and secretly spirited back to Skull Island by an elderly Carl Denham. Originally meant to be a servant, Dr. Frankenstein is encouraged by a visiting Denham to promote his creation and the two combine their respective monsters into a large show together. The doctor assumes his creation, Prometheus, is docile thanks to a control device; however, Prometheus turns on his creator and kills him upon the show being brought to San Francisco. With Prometheus on a rampage, King Kong is turned loose to fend him off. The two creatures do battle across the city, where they both eventually perish after falling off the top of the Golden Gate Bridge and into the ocean while still fighting each other, with neither one of them emerging from the water. Both of them are then believed to have died.[5]


King Kong vs. Frankenstein was a project originally conceived as a sequel to the 1933 film King Kong, with a screenplay treatment written by stop-motion animator Willis O'Brien, featuring King Kong battling a giant humanoid monster created by Dr. Frankenstein's grandson in San Francisco.

O'Brien showed his screenplay treatment and self-drawn concept art for the proposed film to Daniel O'Shea of RKO Pictures, who in turn introduced O'Brien to producer John Beck. After a handshake deal with O'Brien, Beck commissioned screenwriter George Worthing Yates to flesh out the screenplay treatment into a full script that could be shown to investors.[3] Yates changed the title to King Kong vs. Prometheus, after the full title of Mary Shelley’s original novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Unable to find an interested studio in the U.S., Beck went to Toho with the script. Toho purchased the rights to use the King Kong character from RKO and produced King Kong vs. Godzilla instead, which Beck retained the distribution rights for in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Israel.[6][7]Beck's dealings with Toho were all done without O'Brien's knowledge and he was never given any credit for his ideas by Toho. In fact, O'Brien was not even aware of the Toho film's existence until after it had been released in Japanese theaters. He contemplated suing Beck for intent to defraud, but unfortunately did not have enough money for a protracted legal battle. On November 10, 1962, O'Brien died of a heart attack in his home and Darlyne, his widow, would later cite "the frustration of the King Kong Vs Frankenstein deal" as a contributing factor to his death.[8]

While Toho replaced the giant Frankenstein's monster with Godzilla as Kong's opponent, it revisited the concept for a proposed but unmade follow-up titled Frankenstein vs. Godzilla, which itself led to the film Frankenstein vs. Baragon and, by association, its loose sequel The War of the Gargantuas. Once again, O'Brien was never given any credit for his ideas by Toho.



This is a list of references for King Kong vs. Prometheus. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Woods, Paul A. (2005). King Kong Cometh!. Plexus Publishing. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-0859653626.
  2. Cotta Vaz, Mark (2005). Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong. Villiard. p. 361. ISBN 9781400062768.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Morton, Ray (2005). King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. pp. 120–121. ISBN 1557836698.
  4. LeMay, John (12 December 2019). Kong Unmade: The Lost Films of Skull Island. Bicep Books. pp. 177–178. ISBN 978-1734154627.
  5. LeMay, John (15 June 2017). The Big Book of Japanese Giant Monster Movies: The Lost Films. Bicep Books. pp. 202, 298. ISBN 978-1548145255.
  6. Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". ECW Press. p. 80-81.
  7. Ryfle, Steve; Godziszewski, Ed (2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa. Wesleyan University Press. p. 186.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. Harryhausen, Ray; Dalton, Tony (2008). A Century of Stop Motion Animation: From Melies to Aardman. Watson-Guptill. p. 111. ISBN 0823099806.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)


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