The King Kong Show

Japanese TV program
The King Kong Show
Title card
GenreScience fiction comedy
Voices ofCarl Banas
Susan Conway
John Drainie
Billie Mae Richards
Alf Scopp
Paul Soles
Bernard Cowan
Theme music composerMaury Laws
Country of originUnited States
Original languagesEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes25
Executive producersArthur Rankin Jr.
Jules Bass
ProducersWilliam J. Keenan
Larry Roemer
Running time28 minutes (regular episodes)
56 minutes (special episode)
Production companiesVideocraft International
Toei Animation
Original release
NetworkABC (United States)
NET (Japan)
ReleaseSeptember 10, 1966 (1966-09-10) –
August 31, 1969 (1969-08-31)

King Kong (キングコング00親指トム, Kingu Kongu 0017 Oyayubi Tomu), commonly referred to as The King Kong Show, is an American-Japanese animated series produced by Videocraft International and Toei Animation. ABC ran the series in the United States on Saturday mornings between September 10, 1966, and August 31, 1969.[1] It is the first anime-based 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 film 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 films, the cartoon turned him into a protector of humanity.[4]

Tom of T.H.U.M.B.

Title card for the Tom of T.H.U.M.B. segment of the series

Included with King Kong is Tom of T.H.U.M.B., a parody of spy films of the 1960s called Tom of T.H.U.M.B. (based on the character in English folklore 'Tom Thumb'), 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 3 in (76 mm) 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".


Title card for the King Kong segment of the series
  • King Kong – the title character. The Eighth Wonder of the World, Kong was discovered on Mondo Island (sometimes known as Skull Island) by Bobby Bond, whom he saved from being eaten by a Tyrannosaurus rex. He has also saved Bobby and his family from other disasters afterward. Ever since he has become the family's mascot and a hero.
  • Professor Carl Bond – the head/father of the Bond family. He is the basis for Rhodes Reason character Commander Carl Nelson in King Kong Escapes.
  • Susan Bond – the teenage daughter. She is always somewhat perplexed by Bobby and Kong's friendship. She is the basis for Susan Watson (Linda Miller) in King Kong Escapes. Susan is always the one that knows what Dr. Who is up to and her fear is dreaming about snakes.
  • Bobby Bond – the young son and Kong's closest companion, Bobby is saved by Kong from being eaten by a Tyrannosaurus rex and they have been friends ever since. He is the basis for Carl Craig in Gamera vs. Viras.
  • Captain Englehorn – a friend to the family and Professor Bond's ship captain. Based on the character from the original King Kong film.
  • Dr. Who – a bald, big-headed, and bespectacled mad scientist who wants to capture Kong and use him for his own evil schemes. He has no relation to the character from the British sci-fi TV series. He is the basis for Hideyo Amamoto's character Dr. Hu in King Kong Escapes.
  • Mechani-Kong – Kong's robot double, invented by Dr. Who, who operates it via a control room in the robot's head. Neither the Bonds nor Captain Englehorn ever knows (or even figure out) that Dr. Who invented it, however. It appears in two King Kong segments, "MechaniKong" (the second King Kong segment from episode 10) and "Anchors Away" (the second King Kong segment from episode 25). Each segment features a different version of the robot. It is also Kong's nemesis in King Kong Escapes.



  • Producer – William J. Keenan
  • Executive Producers – Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
  • Associate Producer – Larry Roemer
  • Music/Lyrics – Maury Laws, Jules Bass
  • Recording Supervisor – Bernard Cowan
  • Sound/Effects – Bill Giles, Stephen Frohock, Bill Dowding, Frederick Tudor
  • Animation Production – Toei Studios
  • Character Designs – Jack Davis, Rod Willis
  • Animation Continuity – Don Duga
  • Story Editor – Cherney Berg

List of episodes

Starting with the second episode, each episode begins with a six-minute King Kong segment, followed by a six-minute Tom of T.H.U.M.B. segment, and then a second six-minute King Kong segment.

  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".
  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. "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. "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 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.

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.


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]


This series, in spite of the lukewarm reception, 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, with Godzilla exhibiting some of Kong's traits) and King Kong Escapes, which was based on The King Kong Show.


  1. ^ Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia (2nd expanded ed.). Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. p. 313340. ISBN 1-84576-500-1.
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 477–478. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  3. ^ Woolery, George W. (1983). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981. Scarecrow Press. pp. 164–165. ISBN 0-8108-1557-5. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  4. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 342–343. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  5. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 250. ISBN 978-0823083152. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  6. ^ Eury, Michael (2007). Comics Gone Ape! The Missing Link to Primates in Comics. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-1893905627.

External links

  • The King Kong Show overview—an in-depth Japanese website about the series
  • Sekai no Ôja · King Kong Daikai in Animemorial (the Japanese name of the pilot episode)
  • King Kong · 001 / 7 Oyayubi Tom in Animemorial (contains Japanese episode list, cast and staff)
  • "The King Kong Show"—an in-depth article about the series, featuring rare shots of various merchandise and tie-ins related to the series (French website)
  • "SciFi Japan King Kong Cartoon Series Guide". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2008-12-22—an in-depth article about the series
  • King Kong at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  • King Kong - 00 1/7 Tom Thumb (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
  • allcinema キングコング
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King Kong
CharactersAmerican films
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Related films
  • The Lost World (1925)
  • Ingagi (1930)
  • Creation (1931, unfinished)
  • Mighty Joe Young (1949)
  • Konga (1961)
  • The Mighty Gorga (1969)
  • Mighty Joe Young (1998)
  • Ready Player One (2018)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
  • The King Kong Show (1966–1969)
  • Kong: The Animated Series (2000–2001)
  • Kong: King of the Apes (2016–2018)
  • Skull Island (2023)
  • King Kong (2013)
Video games
  • King Kong (1982)
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  • King Kong 2: Yomigaeru Densetsu (1986)
  • Konami Wai Wai World (1988)
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (2005)
  • Skull Island: Rise of Kong (2023)
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