Extra Scenes in Long Version

TVGuideNowadays, with the advent of DVDs, it is standard to release versions of a film with added scenes. Once again, King Kong 1976 anticipated the future. As all good Kongoisseurs know, an expanded 3 hour version of King Kong (4 hours with commercials) appeared on TV twice with 45 minutes of restored footage.  It was shown first over "two colossal nights" on NBC on Sat. Sept. 16th and Sun. Sept. 17th, 1978. Then it was repeated, again over two nights, Thurs. May 8th and Fri. May 9th, 1980. Later, in 1983, the shorter theatrical version was shown on a single three-hour night Sun. May 2nd, 1983 to coincide with the Oscars where Lange had been nominated for Tootsie (which had been in theatres in 1982, the year before). While mostly the expanded version is padded with extraneous footage, such as showing Kong batter the Skull Island wall endlessly, some extra scenes, left on the cutting room floor, were restored and make it worth hunting down a copy if you can.  The following is a list of the main extra scenes. (Note: The TV Guide ad on the left is for the 4 hour 2-part version shown in 1980. Big thanks to Jim Avey for the scan and to Kirk Jarvinen, Raymond Dowaliby, Jim Avey, Don Mankowski and Jerry for finally tracking down the dates. Way to go, guys!)

Update: a French version 2-disc DVD is now available including most, though not all, of the deleted scenes. For example, it doesn't include the cool shot of Kong striding down a NY street. It's available online from dvdrama.

NBC Commercial Spots

"The Adventure of a lifetime!  The Passion!  The Peril!  The Fear...of King Kong!  Jessica Lange is the beauty possessed by the beast of passion.  Jeff Bridges is the hero, torn between love and power...in the greatest adventure a woman could ever know!  King Kong!  In two colossal nights...beginning tonight!"

NBC commercial spot, 1978

"Lange!  Watch her bring out the animal in him!  As obsessive desire becomes an unforgettable 3-hour movie spectacular!  And this tall dark stranger takes this Oscar nominee to new heights!  In the colossal new...King Kong!"
NBC commercial spot, 1983

Extra Scenes from 3-Hour TV version

1) Jack Prescott is shown in a bar, secretly watching Bridges one of the Petrox's crew who is wearing a company jersey.  Jack has paid off the bartender to slip a knockout drug into the crewman's drink. bartender While this scene makes it clear how Jack got ahold of a Petrox jersey, presumably it was decided that the audience really didn't care and so it was edited out of the theatrical release.


2) Some of the Petrox crew are playing cards on deck when Captain Ross, over the ship's speaker, orders them to assemble for a meeting.  They are mystified because the ship is changing course. crewThis scene actually remains in the published screenplay, so it must have been dropped fairly late.  Also, you'll notice that the voice over the loud speaker isn't really John Randolph ("Captain Ross").  They must have edited the scene out before getting Randolph to loop his dialogue and, when they put it back for the TV long version, they just kept the voice which the actors had used for cueing.

3)  Earlier, Wilson told his men to "Take him below and lock him up until he's hungry enough to stop spouting apeshit." Later, the camera pushes in through a porthole to show Jack locked up and getting more and more pissed off.  bridgesHe rises and bangs on the door, demanding some food, then takes off his jersey and lies down on the bunkbed.  The scene was probably dropped just because it didn't really serve any purpose (except maybe to give the female viewers a thrill. You may recall, in later life, Bridges was famous for his washboard abs.)

3) Having rescued Dwan from the life-raft, you will recall we are treated to a montage of idyllic scenes aboard the Petrox Explorer. garciaThis scene was cut out in which Jack comes upon a crewman, Garcia, peering upside down through the porthole into Dwan's cabin to watch her shower in the nude.  A second crewman holds Garcia's legs.  Jack, the gentleman, sneaks up on them, hands a life-preserver down to Garcia, then tickles the other crewman until he drops Garcia into the water.prank  It's a cute scene and it's a shame they dropped it.  They may have felt it just wasn't believable  because, in reality, it would be very dangerous.  For a moment, it looks as if Garcia is going to be sucked into the ship's prop!

4) After Kong escapes from his escape-proof cage, there is execpandemonium.  Wilson tries to flee but comes face to face with an irate Petrox exec brandishing a cane, who tells him, "Petrox will find you!  You can hide on the moon!  We'll find you!" Obviously, once it was decided to have Kong kill Wilson, this scene became pointless.  Even so, it is awkward.  If you were trapped in a panicking mob with a forty foot gorilla stomping around, would you stop to chew out your employee? 

5) In the theatrical release, Wilson was stomped by Kong.  In the published screenplay, we think Wilson was stomped,hat then realize only his hat was crushed.  In this long version, the foot comes down on Wilson, then lifts to reveal -- the crushed hat.  It is a very confusing shot. Was Wilson still alive, but just off camera, as in the screenplay?  Or are we to infer that Wilson literally stuck to the bottom of Kong's foot!  Either way, they left the crushed hat on the editing room floor.

6)  As Kong stomps down a New York street, he encounters a car carwhich he picks carup and throws into the side of a building.  They may have dropped this scene because the car looks like a toy car when Kong picks it up. Also,  they may have felt it was unnecessarily malicious on Kong's part. It's a shame because it's a pretty cool scene. Strangely, publicity shots from this scene cropped up in magazine articles advertizing the movie, from which I suspect it must have been dropped very late.

7)  A military top brass is shown cancelling the jet fighters and sending in helicopters instead.  This is followed by shots of the jet jetsfighters "standing down".  It is an oddly pointless scene.  However, I have heard that originally the filmmakers were going to use jet fighters to strafe Kong on the WTC.  Unable to get American fighters, they had planned to use Canadian aircraft.  This deal fell through and they went with helicopters. But that explains why early versions of the movie poster show only jets, the helicopters being added in later.  Also that explains why the jet in the posters is red and white -- the colours of Canada.

8)  As Jack and Dwan run down a NY street,hotwire Jack tries to hotwire a car without success.  The scene was probably dropped just because it wasn't needed.

9)  Kong is shown striding down a New York street with Dwan in hand.  This was one of the most difficult effects shots, requiring the compositing of three moving elements: a moving background, a walking Rick Baker in ape suit, and a struggling Jessica Lange in the ape's paw.  In American Cinematographer, the filmmakerswalking explained how difficult it was to do, and how pleased they were with the result.  Alas,walking it simply wasn't good enough.  It simply doesn't look like Kong is really walking.  As a result, difficult or not, it ended up on the editing room floor.  Nonetheless, I think it is the coolest of the extra scenes!