Friday, December 9, 2005


"King Kong
You know the name of
King Kong
You know the fame of
King Kong
Ten times as big as a man!"

In 1966, Rankin-Bass Enterprises (who would become famous for their stop-motion Christmas specials, like RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER) licensed the Kong character from RKO and produced a Saturday morning cartoon series featuring a kinder, gentler version of the big lug. Now, Classic Media has released ten episodes of that toon on two volumes of KING KONG – THE ANIMATED SERIES.

The Bond family – young Bobby, his teenage sister Susan, and their scientist father – are exploring Mondo Island when Bobby is saved from a ravenous T-Rex by the friendly King Kong. Soon, the sizable simian is part of the family, protecting them from any and all threats, including the evil machinations of the mad scientist called Dr. Who (No, not the BBC TV character).

Each episode includes two 7-minute Kong adventures and an equally brief installment of TOM OF T.H.U.M.B., a cartoon about a miniature secret agent. The TOM cartoons are spectacularly dumb, but the KONG segments are strangely endearing. The best thing about the show, which was the first American-produced toon animated in Japan, is the theme song – once you hear it, it'll be stuck in your head for days. The animation by Toei Studios is fairly crude, but not terrible; it's better than most Saturday morning fare of the era.

Classic Media's DVDs present the show in slightly faded, but otherwise good looking full-frame transfers, especially for a nearly forty-year old show. There are no extras.

I loved the discs and highly recommend them for Kong fans of all ages.

BUY: King Kong, Vol. 1 (Animated TV Series)

BUY: King Kong, Vol.2 (Animated Series)