Collecting King Kong Toys & Games
When it comes to classic monster toys, King Kong wasn’t a tier-one classic monster property. While the “unholy quintet” of Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, Wolf Man, the Creature and the Mummy win in terms of the pure quantity or toys and merchandise, Kong is certainly in the top 10 most licensed (and unlicensed) monster toys. Collecting King Kong toys and games from the 1933 film seems like a good place to start given the impact this movie had on my becoming a Monster Kid
This post focuses on the 1933 King Kong and does not include licensed merchandise from the 1976 or 2005 remakes. As a 1970s monster kid, most of my Kong stuff was from the Dino De Laurentiis remake, and I plan to cover merchandise from both remakes in future posts.
King Kong is one of the earliest movies to have licensed kids merchandise, and certainly the first monster movie. Given the age of the film, high-grade examples toys from the 1933 are extremely rare and, as a result, quite valuable.
1933 RKO Jigsaw Puzzle
This puzzle was produced as a promo piece by RKO and included in the film’s press book, which was sent to movie theaters and included lobby cards, movie posters and other ephemera theater owners could order to promote upcoming releases. Theater managers had two options for ordering these puzzles:
1. They could purchase 100 puzzles for $6 (6 cents a piece).
2. (1) puzzle free with purchase of $1 worth of film promo merchandise.
Since this was during the Great Depression, most theater owners probably stuck to their basics and ordered posters and other tried-and-true film mercy. The rarity of this item can most likely be attributed to the simple fact that very few theater owners purchased them. Today, this item is so rare, complete puzzles demand prices over $2,000.
This item does show up from time to time on auction sites, and there’s one on eBay US right now — Click here for current eBay auctions for King Kong 1933 RKO puzzle
I also found a very high-grade one available at GrandOldToys.com for $2,200.
1962 Marx Wind-Up Kong
As with most 1960s King Kong toys, this was part of a classic monster collection and one of the first of what would become a monster toy explosion in the 1960s. Along with the Yeti, King Kong was a plush over a tin mechanical skeleton.
- Made in 2 colors: grey and tan
- 7.5 inches tall
- Included chains on both Kong’s arms
- I found a couple of current auctions for these guys on eBay.
I found this video on YouTube of him in action, courtesy of leadfiremech:
1964 Palmer Monsters King Kong
Palmer monsters were pretty rough around the edges; many collectors feel this only adds to their charm.
This 3-inch plastic figure was part of the eight-monster set, Palmer Plastics Unbreakable Movie Monsters
- packaged as a set on a bubble card or on a plastic bag with header card.
- Each figure was released in multiple colors.
- Kong included a itybitty Fay Wray, which is usually only found in packaged sets today.
These are rare to find in packaging, but loose ones aren’t hard to come by; here’s the current auctions I found on eBay
1973 AHI Rubber King Kong
AHI had the Universal license in the 1970s but they also licensed King Kong from RKO and launched a couple of Kong toys as part of their monster line.
This rubber, non-posable wiggly toy was sold loose and tied to card.
Smaller version of this toy was released in 1979 by Vics.
This item isn’t hard to find loose and there; click here for current eBay auctions for this toy.
1974 AHI Bend ‘Ems King Kong
Image courtesy Plaid Stallions
Standing 5″ and packaged in bubble cards, Super Monsters Bend ‘Ems were rubber toys with wire skeletons which allowed kids to pose them like action figures.
Click here for current auctions to this toy on eBay .
1976 AHI King Kong Squirt Gun
Technically, this toy probably counts more as merch for the Dino De Laurentis 1976 remake, but I’ll include it here with the rest of the 1970s AHI toys.
If you find this one carded, you’ve got a real gem — very few carded toys are known to exist, so time to check Uncle Steve’s, the retired ’70s rack toy distributor, attic!
Can’t find any current auctions on eBay for this one–if I do, I’ll be sure to update and add a link. I did find one for sale (no price listed) on L&LCollectables.com.
A carded/sealed one recently sold on eBay for $263
AHI King Kong Little Walker Wind up
3″ tall hard plastic toys w/built-in keys
Shoots sparks out of the mouth as he walks
These toys have been re-released over the years, so it’s important to ensure you’re paying for what you’re getting.
These guys often show up for auction in lots with other Little Walkers on eBay and other auction sites.
These are highlights of some of collectors’ favorites, and only a representative selection of the wide variety of King Kong toys over the years. The variety is pretty amazing, from quirky to classic, and a testament to the timelessness of the character. Everyone knows King Kong. For many kids, even today, he is the first classic monster they are exposed to. These toys, and the many others not included here, are central to many classic monster collections — like mine.
I’d love to here from other “Kong Kollectors” — what toys are your favorites? What’s highest on your Want List?