A Stock Parody or Stock Shout-Out, sometimes both, where circumstances somehow conspire to re-create the Signature Scene ending of King Kong (1933). In the original film, King Kong famously grabbed the female lead character, played by Fay Wray, and climbed up the Empire State Building while planes circled overhead, shooting at him. The iconic image of the giant ape climbing the tall building has since wormed its way into pop culture and frequently attracts parodies and homages. So thanks to King Kong, giant apes in fiction have a tendency to grab screaming women and start climbing tall buildings while being attacked by airplanes. Of course, there are lots of other ways to riff on it. Some common variations: You could have normal-sized monkey climb a scale model of a tall building. You could flip things around and have a giant woman carry an ape up a tall building. And it works with any Kaiju-sized creature too, not just giant apes.
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- One Twizzlers commercial re-creates the scene with everything—King Kong, the buildings, the planes — made out of Twizzlers.
- An Energizer battery commercial has King Kong climbing the Empire State Building in pursuit of the Energizer Bunny. Just as he's about to grab the Bunny, a Fay Wray Expy slams a window on his foot, causing him to fall.
- A TransAmerica Insurance commercial had King Kong climbing up the Trans America Pyramid. When he gets near the top, a girl comes out and yells, "Hey, you big ape? Who's gonna pay for all this?" (referring to all the damage he's caused). Kong then begins climbing down the building.
Anime & Manga
- In a Spider-Man comic, Sandman and Hydro-Man accidentally merge, creating a huge mud monster. An overt homage to King Kong follows; The creature is put on display, breaks free, kidnaps the woman over whom Sandman and Hydro-Man were fighting, climbs a high building and eventually is destroyed by police helicopters (not with bullets, but a gas that dries it out, causing it to break up into fragments of sand).
- Frank Frazetta's cover for Eerie #81 features the inversion, a giant woman atop the Empire State with a gorilla in her hand. Each of the stories in the issue was done around the idea of explaining the image.
- Cubitus: in one gag Balthazar is crushed by Kong's corpse falling from the sky.
- In one early issue of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Dr. Robotnik's giant ape robot King Gong falls in love with Sally and scales the Trans-Mobius Trade Center with her in hand. After Tails saves Sally, Sonic knocks Gong down by squirting with with a tank full of banana oil. Yeah.
- On the cover of issue #138 of Superman, the giant ape Titano climbs to the top of the Daily Planet building.
Superman: King Kong was only a make-believe gorilla menace — but Titano is real!
- This scenario appears on the cover of an old issue of Superman (#226). After growing to giant size due to Red Kryptonite, Superman is holding Lois Lane in one hand and swatting at fighter jets with the other while standing on top of a Metropolis skyscraper.
- On the cover of issue #138 of Superman, the giant ape Titano climbs to the top of the Daily Planet building.
- This was also shown happening to Batman once, as shown on the cover of Batman #162◊. He turned into an large ape-like creature, climbed to the top of a building and was fired at by what appears to be P-51 fighter planes.
- De Kiekeboes: In Bing Bong, a little gorilla mutates to enormous size and kidnaps teenage daughter Fanny, climbing on top of a church.
Films — Animation
- Chicken Little: Fish out of Water re-creates the scene with paper planes and a house of cards.
- The Curse of the Were-Rabbit has the were-rabbit climbing a tower carrying Lady Tottington, while Gromit and Philip zip around dogfighting in two carousel airplanes.
- Yellow Submarine. Behind one of the doors in the Beatles' home is a scene with King Kong breaking through a window and grabbing a woman.
- In Twice Upon a Time, Flora Fauna is talked into helping record nightmares at the Murkworks, and is seen acting out this scene when Rod Rescueman shows up to "save" her.
- The opening credits to Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales has a Funny Background Event where a Kong expy is holding onto a skyscraper holding a sign reading "Help".
Films — Live-Action
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show has one at the end when Rocky climbs an RKO tower with Frank-N-Furter in his arms.
- In Herbie Rides Again, one of Alonzo's Herbie-related nightmares is of him atop a skyscraper while little flying Herbies buzz around him and shoot grease at him.
- The Ray Harryhausen film 20 Million Miles to Earth ends with the Ymir atop the Colosseum, only to be shot down by tanks.
- In Gremlins 2: The New Batch a gremlin does this with a model Empire State Building and some dangling toy planes.
- Discworld: In Moving Pictures, a giant monster in the form of a girl climbs the tower of art carrying the librarian (an orangutan). Wizards on broomsticks fly by and shoot it with the archchancellor's hunting crossbow. Dibbler, watching the scene, thinks it would make a good click, but feels that something is wrong...
- Wild Cards. The wild card Jeremiah Strauss has the ability to take the form of other creatures. After a nervous breakdown, he took the form of a 45-foot-tall ape and remained that way for 20 years. Held in the Central Park Zoo in New York, he would periodically escape, grab the nearest blond woman and climb to the top of the Empire State Building. The nearest aces would beat Jeremiah up, rescue the woman and return him to the zoo.
- Misfits had an episode where a fugitive in a gorilla costume tries to escape the police by climbing a building while carrying his blond girlfriend. Also, he was really a gorilla.
- How I Met Your Mother: On Robin's TV show, a monkey from the Central Park Zoo escapes from his cage, grabs a doll and climbs a scale model Empire State Building. The cameraman tries to get it down by tossing paper airplanes at it. This may not have actually happened.
- The climax to one of the early Mathnet segments of Square One TV featured a gorilla named Grunt climbing the Hollywood sign. They get him to come down when his human friend (Played by a pre-teen Yeardley Smith) tosses his favorite toy, a blonde doll named Faye, up to him.
- "King Kong" from Frank Zappa's Uncle Meat, an instrumental track.
- The debut album of The Bonzo Dog Band is dedicated to King Kong.
- "King Kong" from Daniel Johnston's album Yip/Jump Music.
- The video for The Cars song "You Might Think" has a scene with singer Ric Ocasek as Kong, the girl in the video as Fay Wray, and the other band members flying the planes attacking him.
- One MAD cover features Alfred on top of the Empire State Building surrounded by gorillas in airplanes.
- There is a moment in the Lungfishopolis section of Psychonauts where Raz, as "Goggalor", climbs a toy-sized skyscraper while attacked by toy warplanes.
- This trope is essentially the entire premise of the Rampage games, where you play as a giant monster, climb buildings and get points for grabbing innocent civilians, all while being attacked by the military.
- One of the Achievements/Trophies in LEGO Batman 2 involves using a female character to commandeer a gorilla from the zoo and climb to the top of Wayne Tower, the tallest building in the Hub Level.
- The video game Qbasic Gorillas is about two giant gorillas standing on top of skyscrapers throwing stuff at each other. There are no planes nor woman, though.
- No airplanes, but Donkey Kong does involve a giant ape kidnapping a woman and climbing a(n unfinished) skyscraper.
- One of the challenge levels in Super Smash Bros. has a giant Donkey Kong and giant Bowser duking it out among skyscrapers, with a shrunken Princess Peach wandering around.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Treehouse of Horror III", "King Homer" attempts to climb the Empire State Building, but only makes it up a few feet before he collapses from exhaustion while the pilots circle around the top, confused.
- In "Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Three Times", Bart's story of revenge, "Bartman Begins", takes place in 1930s Gotham City. In a Funny Background Event, Kong can be seen atop a skyscraper waving to paparazzi taking his picture.
- This was the basis of the Couch Gag for "Jazzy and the Pussycats", which parodies the 2005 film.
- Family Guy,
- In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Otter Gone Wild", Marlene (normal sized but turned feral) carries King Julien to the top of the Central Park Cleopatra's Needle, while the penguins use radio-controlled model planes to save him.
- Probably the very first instance is the Mickey Mouse cartoon "The Pet Store", released the same year as King Kong (1933). A tamed ape, specifically imitating Kong, carries Minnie to the top of a pile of birdseed boxes while being attacked by birds.
- WordGirl inverts this. A giant girl grabs an ape and climbs a tower. For bonus points, one confused bystander points out that it should be the other way around.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
- After Mojo Jojo injects his brain with Chemical X in The Movie, he grows to giant size and ends up recreating the King Kong scene, with the Girls as the planes.
- In "Toast of the Town", a giant Mayor grabs Miss Bellum.
- The Garfield and Friends episode "Nighty Nightmare". After Garfield eats way too much and grows huge, he starts climbing a skyscraper in the exact same way as King Kong.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Duck Out of Luck", Plucky becomes "Duck Kong", rampages through a city, and does the inevitable tower climb with Shirley the Loon in his grasp. He encounters an actual ape at the top, holding a human girl. Plucky gives Shirley to the ape and sneaks off, thus accidentally falling off the tower under his own will.
- In DuckTales:
- "The Ducky Horror Picture Show" has monsters hold a convention in Duckburg. The group includes one giant ape, and it is traditional for it to climb the highest building available—which, of course, is Scrooge's treasure vault.
- The inverted version is done in the episode "Attack of the 50-Foot Webby".
- A giant Slimer does it in one episode of The Real Ghostbusters.
- The Perils of Penelope Pitstop episode "The Treacherous Movie Lot Plot" starts with Penelope taken to the top of a skyscraper by a mechanical ape.
- In the second-season Pac-Man episode "Super-Pac vs. Pac-Ape", an organ grinder's monkey grows into a giant ape and carries Ms. Pac-Man to the top of a skyscraper. Pac-Man briefly becomes an airplane pilot in hope of rescuing her.
- Godzilla: The Series has this in the opening credits. And page picture.
- Reversed and invoked in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Attack of the 50-Foot Sister", where the titular 50ft sister carries a Circus Ringleader dressed in a monkey suit to the top of the building as part of his attempt to promote the circus.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "Secret of My Excess", Spike, the baby dragon, grow rapidly when his draconic hoarding instincts go haywire. At the climax of his rampage, he grabs Rarity and heads up a mountain with the Wonderbolts, a pegasus exhibition team, in hot pursuit.
- In "Slice of Life", the bugbear monster is briefly seen climbing to the top of the Carousel Boutique, with Rarity (again) in one of his paws and Twilight strafing magic shots at it.
- In one episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers a gorilla grabs a screaming woman (who was about to fall) while climbing an apartment block.
- In the American Dad! episode "Pulling Double Booty", Hayley goes on one of her breakup-fueled rampages and climbs onto a miniature town at a toy store with a blond doll in her hand, with the store employees using remote-controlled biplanes to bring her down.
- Rugrats did this twice with Reptar. In "Reptar's Revenge" a man in a Reptar costume goes on a rampage after being fired; he climbs an Empire State Building model on the miniature golf course while the other workers try to get him down. In "Reptar 2010" when Angelica imagines herself as Reptar, she plucks King Kong off the Empire State Building and tosses him away.
- In the Action League Now episode, "Big Baby", a cranky Big Baby climbs to the top of a coat rack with Quarky in his hand.
- In the Captain Planet episode, "The Energy Vampire," a King Kong sized Duke Nukem grabs Captain Planet and climbs up a transmission tower. After he reaches the top, Wheeler flies the Geocruiser overhead, while Duke Nukem tries to swat it away.
- Taz-Mania: In "Taz in Keeweeland", Taz becomes a giant atop a skyscraper, swatting at the Kiwi in a biplane.
- Justice League: In "Metamorphosis Pt.2", part of Simon Stagg's mind is transferred into a giant synthoid monster. Acting on Stagg's desires, the synthoid grabs Simon's daughter Sapphire from her apartment and climbs a skyscraper. Metamorpho even references King Kong by saying "What I wouldn’t give for a couple of bi-planes right about now."