See Bob Burns’ King Kong & Might Joe Young Memorabilia
Anyone who has spent any time on this website knows that I am a passionate fan of King Kong. From my formative days as a Monster Kid seeing the 1933 film for the first time, Kong has held a special place in my favorite monsters and favorite monster movies. We’ve written numerous articles about collecting King Kong from Aurora Model Kits, toys and games and to original film posters as well.
But no Kong collectible can beat the original armature used by Willis O’Brien in bringing the giant ape to life on screen, and Bob Burns is it’s caretaker. Not only Kong’s armature, but Might Joe Young and a host of other original pieces from these fantastic films about giant apes. Enjoy this video, Monster Kids, this might be as close as you ever get to some of these items!
Valley of Gwangi (Warner Brothers, 1969) 27″ x 41″ U.S. One-Sheet
Poster art by renowned western artist Frank McCarthy who has an impressive movie poster resume that includes such minor works as The Ten Commandments, Thunderball and The Green Berets.
I highly recommend you click on the image above to enlarge it and spend some time looking at the incredible level of detail in McCarthy’s painting. The juxtaposition of the larger-than-life Gwangi against the hordes of battling’ cowboys and fleeing civilians against the backdrop of a dinosaur boneyard is simply awesome.
Filmed in Technicolor with creature effects provided by Ray Harryhausen. Valley of Gwangi wasthe last dinosaur-themed film to be animated by Harryhausen, who had inherited the project from his mentor Willis O’Brien. O’Brienhad planned to make The Valley of Gwangi decades earlier but died six years before the film was realized.
The story follows a similar trajectory as O’Brien’s King Kong with the giant beast being captured by greedy men who plan to make a fortune displaying him to the public, only to have the dinosaur break free from his cage and send the masses running for their lives from the rampaging beast.
The poster copy sums this movie up perfectly:
Cowboys Battle Monsters in the Lost World of Forbidden Valley.
The discovery of a midget horse, thought to be of a species fifty million years old, prompts members of a Wild West show to venture into Mexico’s Forbidden Valley in search of world-wide fame and untold wealth. But they are met by prehistoric monsters, including “Gwangi,” a giant Allosaurus that decimates their ranks.
Here’s the film trailer for your viewing pleasure:
High-grade copies of this poster are usually priced between $400-$500 but better deals can be found. The combination of Frank McCarthy‘s gorgeous art for a Ray Harryhausen dinosaur vs cowboys flick make this a poster that will continue to be desirable for collectors and genre fans for a long, long time.
Dinosaurs fighting cowboys. Lost Worlds inside Forbidden Valleys. Brought to life in stunning Technicolor by the master Dynamation, Ray Harryhausen… It’s the stuff of Monster Kids’ dreams. What can I say about this movie without sounding all gushy? Nothing, so I might as well gush. I simply love this movie, flaws and all. And I love the movie poster almost as much as I love the film. ‘Nuff said.
Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (Warner Brothers, 1953) 27″ x 41″ Style A One-Sheet
With Jurrasic World stomping through the box office, I thought it would be fun to look back at classic movie posters of a film genre that is so near-and-dear to my heart, dinosaur movies. Also, “lost worlds” and “giant atomic beasts.” I love them all!
While not the first dinosaur/lost world film by a long shot, Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is the first in a long-line of movies in the “Giant Atomic Beast” genre, pre-dating even the venerable Godzilla by one year. The importance of the film isn’t limited to simply being first. This movie was also the first solo project for our beloved Ray Harryhausen and the only time in cinematic history that Harryhausen and his lifelong friend, Ray Bradbury, appeared in the film credits together. The movie was loosely based on a short story Bradbury published in the Saturday Evening Post.
The one-sheet poster for this movie is simply great, including no less than 5 tag lines:
The Seas’ Master Beast of the Ages – Raging Up From the Bottom of Time!
They Couldn’t Believe Their Eyes! They Couldn’t Escape the Terror! And Neither Will YOU!
You’ll See It Tear a City Apart!
CASTS OF THOUSANDS! Over a Year in the Making!
A group of scientists and military men are in the remote far reaches of the Arctic Circle, testing a nuclear device. The detonation sets free a prehistoric “Rhedosaurus”, a giant carnivorous dinosaur that walks on four legs. The Beast makes its way south toward old nesting grounds, sinking a ship along the way. The Beast destroys a lighthouse along his route and eventually comes ashore in New York City, wreaking havoc. As if his ferocity and size were not enough of a menace, it is discovered that when wounded, the Beast drips blood that contains deadly amounts of radioactive bacteria. The military decides that the Beast will have to be taken out by a grenade rifle armed with a radioactive isotope leading to a final showdown in an unlikely setting – a closed amusement park.
Enjoy the movie trailer:
This poster simply doesn’t show up at auction very often. Heritage Auctions sold one way back in 2008 for $1,553. There is one current eBay listing for a nice copy of the poster for $1,450.
This movie is simply great and it’s importance can’t be understated to fans of genre movies. Not only did this film give Harryhausen is break-out opportunity, the film’s director, Eugene Lourie went on to become specialize in the genre of giant atomic beast invasion films. In 1959 he directed The Giant Behemoth, which featured stop-motion effects by Willis O’Brien and his assistant Pete Peterson, using many of the same low-budget methods that Harryhausen had pioneered. This was followed in short order by Gorgo (1961), which Lourie directed in England, this time featuring a man-in-a-suit monster.
The commercial success of Beast from 20,000 Fathoms led other Hollywood studios to jump on the bandwagon. The following is from Turner Classic Movies tribute to Ray Harryhausen:
Meanwhile, the influence of Harryhausen’s first solo creation was being felt around the world. In Japan, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka of Toho Studios read a synopsis of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in a trade magazine, and it inspired him to create a homegrown monster-on-the-loose. The first script for what would become Gojira (1954) even included an attack on a lighthouse. Gojira was a fearsome scaly-spined dinosaur brought to life as a man-in-a-suit by effects expert and longtime Kong fan Eiji Tsuburaya. (The edited film received added footage featuring Raymond Burr and a new title for its American release as Godzilla, King of the Monsters in 1956).
Warner Bros. also took note of the success of Beast and immediately put into production Them! (1954), which would feature an invasion of giant ants and a copycat release pattern of saturation bookings and a massive advertising campaign. Other studios would launch their own giant insect films as a result. So two entire movie sub-genres, the Japanese daikaiju (giant monster) film, and the American “Big Bug” movie, can be traced back to the twin successes of the 1952 reissue of King Kong and its Atomic-Age imitator, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
And on top of all that, the movie poster is simply awesome,
The Digital Clubhouse for Monster Kids & Collectors of Classic Monster, Retro Science Fiction and Vintage Fantasy Memorabilia