OK, ordinarily, anyone will tell you that I am a staunch supporter of TCM. The instances that I’ve been annoyed by some of their scheduling are extremely few & far between, such as the year that they failed to show ANY Elvis movies on his birthday OR his passing’s anniversary. I have a larger problem with them this time, however. It’s a problem that has left me both angry at and disappointed in TCM. I find that very hard to say, in light of how I recently said that producers of The Oscar broadcasts past, present and future should pay attention to how TCM does an “In Memorium” segment. But this is literally (metaphorically mixed as it is), the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
This year is the eightieth anniversary of the release of Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack’s KING KONG (1933). Point of fact, the anniversary is next month.
When I was going over TCM’s schedules for my Imagi-Movie lists, I saw that on April 2 they are indeed showing King Kong (1933). The problem? The Anniversary is on the seventh of April. On top of this, they’re showing it at 7:30AM. I’m sorry, but a film of this importance deserves a fully feted prime-time showing upon the evening of its proper anniversary.
And it IS an important film. As I stated in my article on its anniversary last year, it’s inspired generations of filmmakers from Ray Harryhausen to Eiji Tsuburaya to Peter Jackson. It’s considered the first sound-era fantasy film. Without Kong we would not have Harryhausen’s Rhedosaur to rampage as Eugene Lourie’s BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953). In turn, Beast inspired Tomoyuki Tanaka to produce Ishiro Honda’s GOJIRA (1954), which Kong fan Tsuburaya created the effects for. It was seeing Kong that inspired Tsuburaya to get into effects work in the first place. Most fans of Jackson’s can attest to the number of times that he’s gone on record as being inspired by Kong, as well as Harryhausen’s work, to get into film making, even to go as far as making his own version in 2005 (not to mention making an ‘old school’ version of the lost ‘Spider-Pit Scene’, as seen on the 70th Anniversary edition DVD).
TCM did a wonderful thing last June, in having a night showcasing Gojira (1954) and three more of Honda’s films in their original Japanese formats, thereby showing them the respect they so richly deserve. Why is Kong not showed that same respect now? Surely a film that still resonates so strongly today, that has one of the most empathic characters ever created deserves the same, if not more, respect than the films it helped to inspire.
There’s still some time to fix this, TCM. The ball is in your court.
Give Kong his due.