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    King Kong Exceedingly Rare First Draft Developmental Script, Titled The Beast (RKO Pictures, 1932). Blue covers, measuring approximately 9" x 11 ½", affixed center label reading "The Beast / by / Edgar Wallace" with affixed label at the top right stamped "Kong / 470". Front cover twice-stamped "Please Return / To / Story Dept. / RKO Studios, Inc. / West Coast", with "First Draft" stamped at the lower-left corner. Title page dated January 5, 1932. 110 carbon pages typed only on the rectos. Includes black archival clamshell book box with "The Beast / 1932" gold-embossed on the spine. Very Good Plus condition with soiling, handling wear, toning, and moisture staining to the cover. Also exhibits a two-inch separation Inner pages look great, with minor toning appropriate for the script's age.

    In the storied history of fantastic cinema, few titans stand as tall as King Kong. Created by writer Edgar Wallace and director Merian C. Cooper, the 1933 film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, and remains perhaps the greatest of all creature features. The incredible story and striking imagery of gargantuan monsters lurching from out of the foggy depths of some long-forgotten epoch of prehistory, and the King of these beasts later rampaging through 1930s New York (expertly brought to life by the groundbreaking special effects of Willis O'Brien) ensure King Kong will forever reign as King of the Monsters (Apologies, Godzilla!).

    Heritage is proud to offer three extraordinarily rare pieces of legitimate Hollywood history: a trio of spectacular developmental scripts that led to the Kong we all know today.

    The first, offered here and titled The Beast, markedly differs from later drafts. The Beast was composed by British writer Edgar Wallace, who was brought in by Cooper specifically to use Wallace's popularity to publicize the film. In this first draft, instead of filmmaker Carl Denham, you'll find rugged big-game hunter Danby Denham. Whereas we're all used to Ann Darrow (wonderfully portrayed in the film by Fay Wray), in The Beast you'll find Shirley Redman, who is saved by Kong from a band of escaped convicts! In fact, there are several pages dedicated to the convicts, who've kidnapped Shirley from the Governor's mansion. Though there are these and other very noticeable differences between this manuscript and the finished product, Wallace's story is still the essential framework of King Kong, with Kong fighting a Tyrannosaur to protect the girl, and the final showdown of beast and man taking place in a bustling New York.

    Edgar Wallace died of pneumonia just over a month after this manuscript was complete, so his vision (inspired by the concept dreamed up by Cooper) would be changed extensively through successive drafts. If Wallace had lived, perhaps Kong would have been a very different beast.

    This outstanding manuscript is a veritable treasure for collectors of monstrous cinema. Scratch that, as only the second of these ever offered at auction, and the importance of the film in which it became, this is a Holy Grail for cinephiles of all stripes! Behold, the beginnings of the monster movie blockbuster! COA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    8th-9th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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