I can’t believe I actually remember this — the 1976 “King Kong” jigsaw puzzle produced by H.G. Toys. I received it during a backyard birthday party on a hot summer day … either that year or 1977? I guess that would have made me four or five years old.
I mostly remember the box occupying the disastrous floor of the bedroom closet that I shared with my older brother. I’m pretty sure the pieces fell out; I never assembled it. The target demographic for this 150-piece puzzle was well beyond my age group. That didn’t bother me. I had no interest in jigsaw puzzles — as a tot, I just liked examining the illustration on the box.
That is indeed a version of King Kong straddling the World Trade Center. It depicts a movie poster from the truly forgettable, 70’s-awful version of the classic monster story — the one starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. The 1933 original, so beloved by my father and me, was far better than this version. It even had better special effects. (Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion photography is still fun to watch; this stinker gave us a man in a gorilla suit.)
That illustration is still pretty cool, though, even if the fate of that bomber clutched in Kong’s hand is somewhat confusing. (Is is just disintegrating? Was it made of Legos?)
I never saw this “King Kong” in the theater. My family didn’t do that much. But I remember being excited to see the movie on broadcast television a few years later.
As I’ve noted before on this blog, jigsaw puzzles for kids were kind of a thing in the 1970’s and maybe early 1980’s. (I have since never seen or heard of a child older than a tot playing with one.) Some of the 70’s puzzles, just before my time, were bizarrely sold in cardboard cans. (I remember seeing those among my older brother’s possessions.)