1933 RKO Radio Pictures, King Kong Jigsaw Puzzle

1933 RKO Radio Pictures, King Kong Jigsaw Puzzle

An awesome scene; King Kong about to beat into a leaping T. Rex with raised left fist, while held tightly in his right hand the blond, scantily clad Fay Wray stares in amazement. Every movie fan knows the story.

Aside from posters, lobby cards, and photographs produced over 80 years ago by RKO Radio Pictures very little collector material was created for its epic monster movie King Kong. This full color cardboard puzzle is considered not only one of the most desirable, but also one of the rarest of all RKO licensed collectibles. It was originally distributed in an oversize printed envelope with a thin cardboard insert (see below). This one has no envelope or insert.

Only a handful have turned up. Why? There's the obvious reasons of age, use and desirability. But this puzzle is way more difficult to find than similar material from the same time period. It was not originally sold as a retail toy, or a mail-away premium although some were mailed. Not every every theater had them and it wasn't available just by attending the movie....even on opening day. So why have so few of these been found?

Possibly the explanation can be found in the original 1933 RKO press book (see below). As it turns out the puzzle was originally available only through the movie theater owner. And there were only two ways that the movie theater owner could get them; 1) as a minimum purchase of 100 puzzles for $6 (6¢ each), or 2) as a single puzzle "free with purchase of $1 worth of merchandise". Either way theater ownership was not a likely source during the height of the Great Depression. Unless you had connections with dough, or were very lucky your chances of getting one as a movie goer were pretty slim.

In addition, this single puzzle has even a more fascinating story. Of the few complete examples I've seen and in the few references I found it always contains exactly 150 pieces. However, for some reason this one has 170 pieces! I have no idea why this is. It's not a movie item that someone made by hand; being precisely machine cut and to an exact number, 170. It's identical in thickness and size to the 150 piece puzzle. I can't find any explanation for it. 

Size: 21½ tall by 10½" wide.

Sold: May, 2018

Price Sold: $ 1500


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Subject: 1933 RKO Radio Pictures, King Kong Jigsaw Puzzle

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