KING KONG Published Fiction, Pre-2005

The Original Hardcover




Evolution of the credit line

The slipcover was illustrated by Glenn Cravath, and for collectors represents the majority of value in locating an original hardcover.

The speciman at top is from Glenn Cravath's own archive, and was accompanied by a copy of a July 17, 1933 letter he sent to publisher Grosset & Dunlap requesting one-half of his $100 fee. The other $50 was to be paid by RKO. Whether or not this version was ever actually printed and published is unknown.

To the left are two additional versions that contain subtle changes to the credit described in the sidebar (click on the images to make them larger).

Later Versions

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Grosset and Dunlap, 1976, hardcover
Fairly standard reprint issued in time to take advantage of Kong-mania surrounding the DeLaurentiis remake. Exterior painting - - looks like a rush job - - by Walter Papp, who also did a few covers for the STARTLING STORIES pulp.
Interior art is unsigned; approximately 14 stipple-type drawings, some of which are particularly evocative.

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KING KONG: A PICTURE BOOK, Grosset and Dunlap, 1976, paperback
Very nearly a coloring book in look and feel, this large format paperback includes minimal text and illustrations on each page by artist Richard Powers. Obviously coordinated with the hardcover above, as each illustration from the larger book is slavishly re-created in a loose-line style by Powers (or it might be the other way around).

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Futura Publications Limited, 1977, paperback
Standard low-cost paperback for Great Britain, unexceptional except for a striking, Kong-against-a-blue-sky cover by an unknown artist. Once again, released in conjunction with the DeLaurentiis remake.

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"STEP-UP ADVENTURES," Random House, 1983, hardcover

This version is illustrated by MICHAEL BERENSTAIN - - the very same person who does the BERENSTAIN BEARS series, oddly enough. Re-written for younger readers by Judith Conaway, this slim volume is actually pretty stylish, thanks to Berenstain's slightly offbeat pictures throughout.

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Piccoli Lettori, 1993, paperback

Now THIS is an oddity: A slim Italian book entitled KING KONG, with illustrations that seem to evoke the story as we know it, but the characters have names like "Jeremy Colby," "John Spencer," and "Julie." Edgar Wallace is listed as author (though Wallace didn't live to see the Kong scenario in anything near its final form).
I can't read Italian (and if anyone out there can, please let me know), but it appears that the ending has been changed - - there's a picture of Kong with a NET descending on him, and the final chapter is entitled "Kong Allo Zoo Di New York." "Kong at a zoo in New York?" There are also quiz questions in the back for the bambini.
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