The TV Extended Version of "King Kong" was aired in October 1978 on NBC. This was not just a Special Edition of the movie that included several additional minutes of footage (something movie fans nowadays know from DVD releases) - it was a heavy extended version of the movie that was split into 2 parts that were aired on 2 seperate days. You could argue that it was a kind of Event-movie. To create a two-parter, 60 minutes of footage were added to the regular Theatrical Version - this Extended Cut had a runtime of 182 minutes.
Surprisingly enough, not all the scenes and shots from the Theatrical Version were included in the Extended Cut. For example, the battle of Kong vs. the giant snake is longer and less bloody
- this really supports the adventure story (even though it's also possible that they had to trim down the violence to receive a better rating). When King Kong in New York steps on Wilson, you only see what's left of him - his hat inside a huge footmark. The rest of his body probably sticks on Kong's foot. Again, it's very much possible that this comedic way of showing Wilson's death was included due to the rating, after all, the TV-Cut surprisingly also includes some instances of censorship. Very often, there's just auditory censorship - all the curses were either cut out or filtered. Censorship of violence - in the proper meaning of the word - can be found rather towards the end of the movie. Kong's death struggle on the World Trade Center's roof was massively cut for the TV Version.
This is a comparison between the NBC TV Extended Cut (aired in October 1987 on US Television) and the Theatrical Version (for this report we used the German DVD released by Kinowelt).
Length: 182 minutes
Length: 122 minutes
By comparison, the Extended Cut misses out on 109 seconds
. Additionally, the TV Version also includes 27 seconds of alternative footage
that of course are included as alternative scenes/shots in the Theatrical Version - therefore they do not count for these statistics.
The worker Boan can be seen very briefly in the TV Version. Since this is an alternative scene (which is minimally longer than the corresponding scene of the Theatrical Version), you don't see the end of the following scene:
The chief officer commands his men to cast off. The only difference to the TV Version is the fact that the corresponding shot from the Extended Version is 6 seconds longer (without any additional narrative value). Addtionally, the officer here only puts up one arm instead of both.
In the Extended Cut, the following sentence was cut out completely: "Son of a bitch! It's a raft!"
Instead, the TV Version dissolves to the next scene.
When the chief officer gets Dwan out of the lifeboat, the TV Version shows an alternative shot of this sequence which is 5.5 seconds longer.
One of Wilson's reactions was cut out ("Sweet Jesus! Dear Rockefeller!"
For the TV Extended Cut they censored the Native's (who wears an ape mask) dance a little. Just before he really builds momentum, the TV Version cuts to the next scene.
...again, one of Wilson's "curses" was deleted ("Oh, Christ!"
For the TV Extended Cut, they cut the word "bitching" out of Wilson's following sentence: "What is he bitching about?"
However, this is only an auditory censorship.
No difference in time.
For the TV Version, Wilsons sentence "A priests dresses up like an ape and gets laid."
was halved. On TV, the priest does not get laid anymore.
When Prescott convinces Wilson that Kong apparently is not a legend but a real animal, the latter only says that his TNT will solve this problem. Prescott then refers to him as "enviromental rapist"
- too much for American television. Therefore, the complete sentence ("Even an enviromental rapist like you, even you, wouldn't be asshole enough to wipe out a unique new species of animal!"
) had to be deleted from the TV Extended Cut.
The TV Extended Cut is missing out on quite a long shot of the ceremony.
In the TV Extended Cut you don't see Skull Island's very own MC Hammer jumping into the shot.
Another missing shot in the TV Extended Cut...
The dancer's moving hips apparently were not okay to be shown on television...
Another missing shot in the Extended Cut...
In the TV Extended Version there's a missing second of the obligatory dance of joy.
When Prescott curses Wilson over the radio ("You hypocritical bastard,..."
), this - again - had to be cut out for the TV Version.
When Prescott moments later ask the sailors to follow him, they reject this pretty harshly ("I aint busting my ass for no whites."
). Again, the TV Version misses out on this curse.
And another curse was cut out. The following sentence had to be deleted: "Okay. Take your time. Who gives a shit..."
Just as all the others, Paigley is also not allowed to curse on TV: "Shit!"
No difference in time.
The word "bitch"
was deleted again. This time, it's just an auditory censorship.
No difference in time.
Even the word "candy-asses"
had to be cut out.
Again, there's some censorship. The word "piss" was deleted - along with the complete sentence that surrounds it: "Till then you'd better mileage filling your Cadillac with mule piss."
Missing sentence in the TV Version: "Haul your asses!"
Again a censored TV Version: "Move your ass, Shorty!"
This time, the word "ass" has been removed.
Missing shot of Wilson turning away from the Captain.
Only in the Theatrical Version, Kong has the pleasure to take off Dwan's jungle bra.
Again the missing boobies of Jessica Lange, even though it's just a couple of sideboobs here.
Prescott already slipped his short over Dawn in a close-up, so the distance needs to be removed.
Only the Theatrical Version allows Kong to tear the snake apart in a close-up. The TV Version contains alternate footage which is 12.5 sec longer.
(- 12.5 sec)
The TV Version contains a longer, alternate shot of Kongwhen he gets rid of the dead snake. As a result of that, the following shot is only in the Theatrical Version. The Theatrical Version is approx. 2 sec shorter.
(- 2 sec)
Even though the TV Version tries hard to show all the scenes at least twice, a short shot of the Captain is missing.
The following expression is missing in the TV Version (no cut, only the sound is missing): "Oh, Christ!"
A part of the distance shot of Dwan climbing a ladder is missing due to a new order of some scenes.
Kong smells Dwan - the TV Version contains an alternate shot, both version have the same length here. As a result of that, the following shot is missing.
Missing shot of the crises management in the Extended Version.
After Kong eliminated three soldiers with a flame thrower, it's not just him who's delighted but also Prescott, who calls them "rotten bastards"
. That expression is missing in the TV Version.
2 no difference
Too violent for TV: the shot of Kong, when he gets hit by the MG for the first time, is comeplety missing.
The second is missing as well.
Kong's body is obviously bathed in blood, he squalls in pain.
Kong gets hit again. The Theatrical Version is longer here.
Kong has to take a fourth hit, which is completely missing in the TV Version.
And the next shot, when he gets hit again, has also been shortened.
The final bullet hits Kong, too.
A little cut and any blood has been removed.
Missing muzzle flash (more probably because of pace than censorship).
Kong definetely suffers less on TV.
Prescott shouts out his anger: "Assholes!"
. That has been replaced by an alternate scream in the TV Version.