The King Kong Show

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The King Kong Show
Title card
Voices of Carl Banas
Susan Conway
John Drainie
Billie Mae Richards
Alf Scopp
Paul Soles
Bernard Cowan
Theme music composer Maury Laws
Country of originUnited States
Original languagesEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes25
Executive producers Arthur Rankin Jr.
Jules Bass
Producers William J. Keenan
Larry Roemer
Running time28 minutes (regular episodes)
56 minutes (special episode)
Production companies Videocraft International
Toei Animation
Original network ABC (United States)
NET (Japan)
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseSeptember 10, 1966 (1966-09-10) 
August 31, 1969 (1969-08-31)

The King Kong Show (キングコング00親指トム, Kingu Kongu 0017 Oyayubi Tomu) is a Japanese-American anime-influenced series produced by Videocraft International and Toei Animation. ABC ran the series in the United States between September 10, 1966, and August 31, 1969. [1] It is the first anime series produced in Japan for an American company (not counting Rankin/Bass' previous Animagic stop motion productions, which were also animated in Japan). [2]


This series is an animated adaptation of the famous movie monster King Kong with character designs by Jack Davis and Rod Willis. In this series, the giant ape befriends the Bond family, with whom he goes on various adventures, fighting monsters, robots, aliens, mad scientists and other threats. [3] Unlike King Kong's destructive roles in his movies, the cartoon turned him into a protector of humanity. [4]

Included is a parody of spy films of the 1960s called Tom of T.H.U.M.B., about a secret agent for T.H.U.M.B. (the Tiny Human Underground Military Bureau) named Tom and his Asian "sidekick" Swinging Jack, who are accidentally reduced by a shrinking laser ray gun to three inches tall. [5] The pair are sent out in a variety of miniature vehicles by their bad-tempered boss Chief Homer J. Chief to foil the fiendish plots of M.A.D. (Maladjusted, Anti-social and Darn mean), an evil organization made up of black-hatted and black-cloaked scientists "bent on destroying the world for their own gains".

In Japan, the first two episodes were combined into a 56-minute special, titled King of the World: The King Kong Show (世界の王者 キングコング大会, Sekai no Ōja: Kingu Kongu Taikai), and was broadcast on NET (now TV Asahi) on December 31, 1966. The rest of the series, with the inclusion of Tom of T.H.U.M.B., was broadcast on NET as King Kong & 0017 Tom Thumb (キングコング00親指トム, Kingu Kongu 0017 Oyayubi Tomu), and aired from April 5 to October 4, 1967, with a total of 25 episodes.

This series was successful enough for Rankin/Bass to extend the Kong franchise to another Japanese company, Toho (which had already produced the hit film King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1962). This resulted in two films: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (originally intended to be a Kong film) and King Kong Escapes , which was based on The King Kong Show.

On November 15, 2005, Sony Wonder released the first eight episodes (two King Kong cartoons separated by a Tom of T.H.U.M.B. cartoon) on two DVD releases titled King Kong: The Animated Series Volume 1 and King Kong: The Animated Series Volume 2. The pilot episode was included, in its two parts for American syndication, between the two DVDs.


Title card for the King Kong segment of the series Kingkongsegment.jpg
Title card for the King Kong segment of the series




Title card for the Tom of T.H.U.M.B. segment of the series Tomofthumb.jpg
Title card for the Tom of T.H.U.M.B. segment of the series
  1. "King Kong" (December 31, 1966; 56-minute long pilot episode). In American syndication, the episode was split into two parts, which were titled "A Friend in Need" and "The Key to the City".
    The following episode list describes the show as it originally aired from April 5 to October 4, 1967, with each episode beginning with a six-minute King Kong segment, followed by a six-minute Tom of T.H.U.M.B. segment, then followed by a second six-minute King Kong segment.
  2. "Under the Volcano"/"For the Last Time, Feller...I'm Not Bait!"/"The Treasure Trap"
  3. "The Horror of Mondo Island"/"Hey, That Was A Close One World!"/"Dr. Who"
  4. "Rocket Island"/"I Was A 912 oz. Weakling 'Till One Day..."/"The African Bees"
  5. "The Hunter"/"I Was A Starling for the USA!"/"The Space Men"
  6. "The Jinx of the Sphinx"/"Cool Nerves and...Steady Hands"/"The Greeneyed Monster"
  7. "The Top of the World"/"All Guys from Outer Space are Creeps"/"The Golden Temple"
  8. "The Electric Circle"/"Mechanical Granma"/"Mirror of Destruction"
  9. "Tiger Tiger"/"The Day We Almost Had It"/"The Vise of Dr. Who"
  10. "King Kong's House"/"Tom Makes History"/"MechaniKong"
  11. "The Giant Sloths"/"Tom Scores Again"/"The Legend of Loch Ness"
  12. "Dr. Bone"/"Blow, Jack, Blow!"/"No Man's Snowman"
  13. "The Desert Pirates"/"Tom and the TV Pirates"/"Command Performance"
  14. "The Sea Surrounds Us"/"The Girl from M.A.D."/"Show Biz"
  15. "The Wizard of Overlord"/"Just One of Those Nights"/"Perilous Porpoise"
  16. "The Trojan Horse"/"Runt of 1,000 Faces"/"The Man from K.O.N.G."
  17. "Caribbean Cruise"/"Hello, Dollies!"/"Diver's Dilemma"
  18. "The Great Sun Spots"/"Pardner"/"Kong is Missing"
  19. "In the Land of the Giant Trees"/"Beans is Beans"/"Captain Kong"
  20. "Statue of Liberty Play"/"What Goes Up..."/"Pandora's Box"
  21. "The Thousand Year Knockout"/"Our Man, the Monster"/"Desert City"
  22. "Eagle Squadron"/"Never Trust A Clam"/"The Kong of Stone"
  23. "Murderer's Maze"/"Drop that Ocean, Feller"/"The Great Gold Strike"
  24. "It Wasn't There Again Today"/"Plug that Leak"/"The Mad Whale"
  25. "The King Kong Diamond"/"The Scooby"/"Anchors Away"


The theme music for the series was recorded in London, England, in 1965, using primarily British studio musicians. Canadian conductor, vocalist and former Kitchener-Waterloo Record entertainment columnist Harry Currie provided vocal talent on the recording.


In the 2007 book Comics Gone Ape! The Missing Link to Primates in Comics, comics historian Michael Eury writes, "The Rankin/Bass King Kong was an early case of identity theft, where the Kong name was appropriated (fully under license) to describe a new character that, at best, only remotely resembled his namesake. This was Kong done wrong." [6]

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  2. Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 477–478. ISBN   978-1476665993.
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