Wednesday, July 11, 2012

KING KONG (1976) Burger Chef Glasses

One of the biggest genre movie events of the 1970s was the Paramount Pictures remake of the 1933 fantasy epic, King Kong, produced by Dino de Laurentis and directed by John Guillerman. It was released in the U.S. Christmas week, 1976, and although the movie was ultimately not considered much of a commercial nor artistic success, it was heavily marketed and merchandised. There were tons of toys, posters, coloring and activity books, and more - including a variety of fast food franchise premiums.

We didn't have Burger Chef restaurants in Maine when I was growing up (and as far as I know, not before or since, either), so I never got my grubby mitts on any of these commemorative soda glasses, decorated with the various John Berkey promotional images created for the film.

My own history with the 1976 Kong is a vivid memory, and I'll have to write about it here at Space: 1970 one of these days. And, for the record, I actually kinda like the movie. I'll write about that here, too, eventually.


  1. We had a Burger Chef, though my main memory of it was getting stuff during their Star Wars promotions. I like the King Kong movie, too... there's nothing really wrong with it, it is just it's own thing. Also, I believe it may have been my first exposure to King Kong, before even the original film!

  2. When I first saw it I was disappointed with it because I compared it to the original film. I missed the dinosaurs. Over the years I grown to appreciate it. Your right. It is it's own thing and Rick Baker was pretty amazing.

    There weren't any Burger Chefs in Texas either.

  3. We had a Burger Chef in our town in those days and fondly remember those glasses: then I remember my disappointment when the '76 Kong didn't live up to those fantastic images....

    Anyone recall those poppy-type pog things they had in the kids meals? It was plastic chip with a depress-able center that would pop after pressing it in....

    And the BC Star Wars posters are still impressive after all these years...

    The R2-D2 and C-3PO poster was the one I liked best - the BC posters viewable here:

  4. I'd almost bet my Mom still has mine packed up somewhere. I need to get up in the attic anyways and get my Six Million Dollar Man coloring books.

  5. The movie is decent, but certainly nowhere near the original. I remember the ad for the 76 Kong being in every comic book back then.

  6. We had BC's in Michigan. Anyone remember the works bar? You bought your hamburger plain and built it the way you wanted it? I had the glasses and the posters mentioned. Great times. Fan of the film too.

  7. I saw King Kong when I was six and I was a huge fan of "man-in-suit" monster movies like Godzilla (as well as many others). And I was already familiar with the over-sized gorilla from the 1962 movie "King Kong vs. Godzilla" and other pop-culture references. But I absolutely loved the 1976 version and I still do to this day.

    Jeff Bridges is the real star in this flick and carries the movie with his excellent version of Jack (perhaps he was channeling an early version of "The Dude" a little bit too). Jessica Lange, other than showing some skin, is pretty awful in the flick. She's pretty much a bimbo without any common sense and she ditches Jack for stardom towards the end of the movie (but Jack gets her back by leaving her...ha ha).

    Charles Grodin shines as the "Carl Denham-like" corporate sleaze (in this film, he's called Fred Wilson). And who can forget the finale with Kong on the World Trade Center? That ending has a lot more punch and sadness since September 11th. One of the craziest scenes with Jeff Bridges is when he screams in triumph as Kong kills some national guardsmen with a giant gas tank.

    My favorite part of the movie is the "log roll" over spider canyon (although it's not called that in the movie). But it was a tribute to the original and it's still an effective scene with the ship's crew falling off the log to their doom. It's the one scene that's in all 3 films and each version is pretty terrifying on its own.

    Overall, I enjoyed the 1976 version and you have to give Rick Baker props for his effects and John Barry for the excellent score. Hopefully we'll see a Blu-ray release with all of the extended (cut) scenes that aired on television.

  8. We had a Burger Chef in the small town where I grew up. I still have my Kong glasses. I had totally forgot about those pop up things! I don't know if I still have any of those or not

  9. Yeah Im a huge Fan we really need a an offcial Blu- Ray Release I know they had one in Europe but those Discs go for a pretty penny.actually the 1976 Kong is my favorite outta all the incarnations

  10. I can't remember the last time I saw promotional glasses for anything. Do they still do those? I would guess they stopped either because glasses became too expensive to give away or because of liability issues.