Willis O'Brien, who had done the special effects for the original King Kong, wanted to see his monkey go bananas on Mary Shelley's masterpiece. The fact that Frankenstein's Monster is basically an oversized man with secondhand parts and King Kong is bigger than a house didn't seem to matter. So what if the monkey has better reach? The monster has literary gravitas.
A Tokyo film studio finally bought the rights, substituting Godzilla as Kong's sparring partner. Vicious rumors spread that Kong only wins in the U.S. version, and that Godzilla roared victoriously in Japan.
Indeed, there were separate cuts, and the hometown monster does a little better in the Japanese version, but he still loses. Nevertheless, this was the first time either heavyweight appeared in a color film.
In the climactic fight, the two titans tumble down Mount Fuji and Kong shoves a tree down Godzilla's throat — homage to a battle with a T. rex from the original King Kong.
Godzilla fans needn't worry. He's died before, and he lived to die again. One could argue that he's appeared in more movies than Kong and is therefore the real winner. Of course, the 1998 big-budget Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick bombed, and Kong will have another bite at box office glory next year when Peter Jackson's version hits theaters.
Hollywood, in all its wisdom, thought it better to green-light a slew of other films, including 1965's Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, just to prove the old man still had some bite in his bolts. Word has it that Frank is available for Rocky IV, assuming test audiences can distinguish him from Sylvester Stallone.
3. Godzilla vs. Mothra
Godzilla has died many times, but many fans still howl over Godzilla vs. Mothra, in which the monster who regularly snacks in and on Tokyo gets his prehistoric butt kicked by an overgrown moth and her two larval-stage kids.
Of course, in this 1964 battle, Mothra was aided by two 8-inch-tall singing fairies who warn Tokyo, "You must give back the egg! You must give back the egg!" They'll never learn.
In an embarrassing defeat, Godzilla learned the hard way that hell has no fury as a mother moth scorned, and Godzilla loses more than his sweater. But audiences seemed to warm up to the temperamental reptile, who three years later led other Earth-loving beasts in the intergalactic showdown, Destroy All Monsters, saving the planet from Ghidra, a three-headed space beast.
4. Billy the Kid vs. Dracula
John Carradine regarded 1966's Billy the Kid versus Dracula as the worst movie of his career, perhaps that's because he plays a blood-sucking count who's saddle-sore.
When Dracula travels back to the old West, he targets a beautiful ranch owner as his next victim, but her boyfriend happens to be the famed gunslinger. Pardner, this town isn't big enough for the both of them, especially when the Kid's gal ends up with strange bite marks on her neck.
"I haven't met a man yet that a bullet couldn't stop," says Billy, who quickly learns his adversary isn't a man, although he once was, many centuries ago.
This feature ran as a double feature with Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter. Let's just say they weren't fixed up on Match.com.
5. Dracula vs. Frankenstein