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"King Kong" Climb

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Hope the building's insurance policy covers being climbed by giants.

A Stock Parody or Stock Shout-Out, sometimes both, where circumstances somehow conspire to re-create the signature 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 a 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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  • 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 has King Kong climbing up the TransAmerica Pyramid in San Francisco. 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 shamefacedly begins climbing down the building.
  • One Twizzlers commercial re-creates the scene with everything—King Kong, the buildings, the planes — made out of Twizzlers.
  • A Volkswagen ad from the early 1970s has King Kong grabbing an airplane while atop the Empire State Building, then climbing down after something catches his eye on the street below: a giant Volkswagen 411, with a roomy trunk to store his new "toy" in.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Fairy Tail: The splash page for chapter 258 depicts Natsu with an ape body having climbed up the spire of a castle.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise has one character, Rairi, who has an apelike face. When she was in middle school, the heartbreak she felt over a guy she liked stringing her along coupled with the bullying she faced over her appearance triggered an outburst that culminated in her climbing partway up a skyscraper while screaming out her frustrations. She then slips off and ends up in a hospital for a month, during which time she resolves to start wearing makeup to hide her real face.
  • In the opening of My Love Story!!, this is parodied by having a giant Takeo hold Sunakawa (Takeo's Bishōnen best friend) hostage while Yamato (girl of Takeo's dreams) is in a plane.
  • Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire: "Slaking Kong", with May serving the role of Fay Wray and a cliff face instead of a building.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Cubitus: in one gag Balthazar is crushed by Kong's corpse falling from the sky.
  • 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.
  • De Kiekeboes: In Bing Bong, a little gorilla mutates to enormous size and kidnaps teenage daughter Fanny, climbing on top of a church.
  • In one early issue of Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), 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.
  • 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).
  • In Soulsearchers and Company #2, Janocz transforms into a giant ape, grabs Kelly and starts climbing a partially constructed skyscraper. Kelly's response is to use her magic to summon toy aeroplanes to ineffectually swoop him.
  • Superman:
    • 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.
    • Issue 26 of The Superman Adventures has Mr. Mxyzptlk wreak havoc in a Superman-free Metropolis after going back in time and convincing a young Clark Kent that he must exile himself to the moon for the good of humanity. One of Mxy's pranks is to have a gigantic Perry White climb the Daily Planet building like King Kong.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Bizarro comic for August 4th, 2013, a man watches out a window as Slothra (a humongous sloth) and Panda Kong (a gigantic panda) climb the Empire State Building.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • In Ralph Breaks the Internet, the giant Ralph virus does this by carrying Vanellope and climbing the Google tower.
  • 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.
  • Done Twice on Vivo.
    • When hiding from Rosa in Gabi's room, Vivo hangs off a model skyscraper built from something like Lego.
    • In "My Own Drum", Gabi grows to gigantic size, grabs Vivo and climbs on top of her loudspeaker, resulting in the image of a Giant Woman clutching a small, monkey-like creature on top of a tower.
  • 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.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 20 Million Miles to Earth ends with the Ymir atop the Colosseum, only to be shot down by tanks.
  • In the soft-porn parody Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders, King Dong climbs the Empire State building just to take a leak off the top. Flesh Gordon is flying his rocketship past at the time and has to turn on the windscreen wipers.
  • In Gremlins 2: The New Batch a gremlin does this with a model Empire State Building and some dangling toy planes.
  • 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 Rocky Horror Picture Show has one at the end when Rocky climbs an RKO tower with Frank-N-Furter in his arms.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Devastator is a gigantic Decepticon with an uncanny resemblance to a gorilla. At the climax, he climbs up the Great Pyramid while being shot at by jet fighters, though it's ultimately a naval railgun that kills him.

  • In Moving Pictures (Discworld), 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Book of Boba Fett: In the first season finale, the rancor scales a tower after being driven mad by Bane's flamethrower and the townspeople trying in vain to stop it with blasters. Din uses his jetpack to reach its face and try to calm it but nearly gets eaten instead. The concept art shown during the credits even shows the tower-climbing rancor clutching a screaming Green-Skinned Space Babe, in a tongue-in-cheek nod to this trope.
  • The Goodies: In "Kitten Kong", the giant kitten Twinkle the Post Office Tower, which topples under his weight.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


    Print Media 
  • One MAD cover features Alfred on top of the Empire State Building surrounded by gorillas in airplanes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Toon supplement Tooniversal Tour Guide, "Atomic Monster Theater" setting. The illustration for the Giant Hamster Kaiju shows him climbing the Empire State Building and being attacked by biplanes.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Dinosaurs For Hire have a boss fight atop the Empire State Building where you fight a gigantic monster climbing the building's tip. Instead of a King Kong Copy however, said monster is a giant robot Minotaur.
  • No airplanes, but Donkey Kong does involve a giant ape kidnapping a woman and climbing a(n unfinished) skyscraper.
  • 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.
  • There is a moment in the Lungfishopolis section of Psychonauts where Raz, as "Goggalor", climbs a toy-sized skyscraper while attacked by toy warplanes.
  • The video game Qbasic Gorillas is about two giant gorillas standing on top of skyscrapers throwing what appear to be explosive bananas at each other. There are no planes nor woman, though.
  • 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.
  • The Simpsons: Night of the Living Treehouse of Horror has the final level based off of the "King Homer" segment mentioned below in the "Western Animation" folder, so it's only natural they do this near the end. Unlike in the actual episode, Homer makes it to the top of The Tallest Building in Springfield.
  • 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.


    Western Animation 
  • 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 Adventures in Odyssey episode Star Quest, a Show Within a Show films an episode involving a giant robot in town. Because Dylan accidentally puts Eugene's King Kong knockoff video game into the robot's programming slot, it goes wild, grabs Sal, and decides to climb up Odyssey's tallest building.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers
    • In "Gorilla My Dreams", Kookoo the Gorilla grabs a screaming woman (who was about to fall) while climbing an apartment block.
    • In "Fake Me To Your Leader", Professor Nimnul uses his Gigantico ray gun on an unwitting Zipper as part of his plan to fake an alien invasion and extort the city's gold supply. Near the end of the episode, the enlarged Zipper climbs to the top of a building while holding Nimnul to evade the police. As to why Zipper couldn't just fly to the top, it was because his wings were wrapped up in a deflated inner tube that Nimnul used for his spaceship.
  • Classic Disney Shorts: 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 (after seeing the movie's poster in a magazine), carries Minnie to the top of a pile of birdseed boxes while being attacked by birds.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, a giant Rainbow Monkey that Numbuh 4 accidentally pissed off attacks Sector V Treehouse by climbing over it and Numbuh 2 pilots a tiny plane trying to shoot it down.
  • In an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Eustace accidentally gets turned into a giant kangaroo monster and kidnaps Muriel climbing up the Eiffel Tower while facing an also kangaroo monster Courage trying to rescue her.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode, "Monstory", Dexter and Dee Dee have transformed into monsters due to each of them drinking one of Dexter's potions. When Dexter tries to evade Dee Dee, who spends the entire episode trying to tell him a story, he climbs the Empire State Building, but she climbs up it as well. Dee Dee is then ticketed by a police officer for violating the city's "One monster per building" code.
  • In DuckTales (1987):
    • "The Ducky Horror Picture Show" has monsters hold a convention in Duckburg. The group includes one giant ape (named Ping Pong), 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", where a giant Webby carries a monkey to the roof of a building.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Hanna Banana" the evil monkey is carried to the top of a building by Miley Cyrus (here a Robot Girl) before being rescued by Peter and Quagmire in a biplane. The whole scene is a Shout-Out to the 2005 film.
    • The first Christmas Special has Lois doing one of these on the town's big Christmas tree.
  • 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.
  • The title sequence of Godzilla: The Series includes two shots of the titular Kaiju climbing the Empire State Building and roaring on top of it, complete with Dramatic Thunder the first time around. There are no biplanes to be seen, however.
  • In Jem, during the song "I Am A Giant", Pizzazz carries Jem/Jerrica's boyfriend Rio up a building while Jem and Shana are in planes trying to shoot her.
  • 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."
  • The King Kong Show from Rankin-Bass (1966) effects this on the debut episode. Kong here befriends Bobby Bond, the son of a noted scientist, and during the debut episode, Kong climbs a skyscraper with Bobby's sister Susan. Kong means her no harm but it nevertheless traumatized her.
  • The Little Muppet Monsters: In a Kermit the Frog: Private Eye sketch, Kermit and Fozzie are looking for a gorilla who has escaped from the zoo and need a way to catch him. Kermit gets the idea to have a beautiful blonde stand on the Empire State Building, having seen the idea work in a movie, and talks Miss Piggy into standing on the building by telling her she's going to pose for a picture. After waiting two entire days, the gorilla comes to the building and climbs up it with Miss Piggy in his hand. As this happens, Fozzie asks Kermit if they're going to capture him, to which Kermit tells him "Are you nuts? That could be dangerous! Let's go!" The two then leave the building, with Miss Piggy still in the gorilla's clutches.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reversed and invoked in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Attack of the 50-Foot Sister", where a giant Candace carries a carnival barker dressed in a gorilla suit to the top of a building as part of his attempt to promote his freak show.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • 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.
  • In the season 1 episode of The Real Ghostbusters, "Adventures in Slime and Space," a giant Slimer grabs Janine from the mayor's office and takes her to the top of the Empire State Building, with Peter Venkman claiming to have "seen this before." He even quips that Slimer's slime will "keep the gorillas off" and asks where's Fay Wray when they need her most.
  • A Robot Chicken sketch based on Muppet Babies (1984) features the Muppet Babies playing King Kong, with Kermit in the role of the titular ape. Gonzo and the other babies shoot Kermit down, and in reality, Kermit is revealed to have died from falling off their "Empire State Building" made from a pile of chairs. Nanny then comes in and tells the babies to clean up the "crime scene".
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Rinse and Spit", Filburt uses Rocko as a test patient to pass his final dental exam. When Filburt discovers a cavity in one of Rocko's teeth, he attempts to take an X-ray of Rocko's mouth by attaching electrodes from the X-ray machine to Rocko's tooth with a cavity in it. Rocko's tooth then escapes from Rocko's mouth and uses the rays from the X-ray machine to make him grow to an enormous size. The tooth then grabs Rocko and climbs to the top of the Conglom-O building.
  • Rugrats (1991) 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.
  • 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.
  • TaleSpin: A variant in "Louie's Last Stand"; Louie, a normal-sized ape, climbs to the top of the sign of his nightclub and attempts to swat at the planes of the Khan pilot force, who are trying to evict him from his island so Douglas "Dougie" Benson, one of Shere Khan's employees, can acquire his nightclub.
  • Taz-Mania: In "Taz in Keeweeland", Taz becomes a giant atop a skyscraper, swatting at the Kee-Wee in a biplane.
  • 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 the We Bare Bears episode "Adopted", Carl, a regular-sized silverback gorilla belonging to an eccentric millionaire, grabs baby Panda and carries him to the roof of his owner's mansion, while Grizzly flies to rescue Panda in a remote-control plane.
  • The ending of the The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse Mickey short "Hard to Swallow" ends with a mass of fleas forming a giant flea while climbing Minnie's apartment building.
  • WordGirl: The episode "The Birthday Girl" inverts this with the titular antagonist, who grows to a giant size when things don't go her way. So naturally, when she ropes Bob the chimp into a pretend tea-party that doesn't go to plan, her ensuing berserk rampage includes grabbing Bob and climbing a tower. For bonus points, one confused bystander points out that it should be the other way around.


Video Example(s):



When the Lasagna aliens brought Spumoni home, they accidentally brought Garfield with him, which causes big trouble for these aliens, because compared to them, Garfield is like King Kong (only he's a cat).

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