Saturday, May 18, 2013


Grosset & Dunlap and A.L. Burt's Photoplay Edition hardbound movie tie-in novels from the 1920s and 1930s were very popular in the day. Of particular interest to Monsterologists are the many novelizations of monster movies. Some were merely reprints of the original novels (Shelley's Frankenstein and Stoker's Dracula, for example) accompanied by production and publicity stills. Others were wholly original adaptations.

Reported by WIKI as first being serialized in MYSTERY (Street & Smith's?) magazine in 1932, Delos Lovelace's novel of KING KONG was published the next year by Grosset & Dunlap to coincide with the release of the movie starring the "8th Wonder of the World". It has since become one of the rarest, sought after, and expensive of the Photoplay Edition books to have ever been printed. For example, the copy shown below is currently selling for $677.00. The second example is selling for a lot more.

I guess I should be content to have a copy of the Bantam Books mass market paperback edition from 1965. 

 "KING KONG 1932 PHOTOPLAY EDITION EDGAR WALLACE AND MERIAN COOPER NOVELIZATION BY DELOS LOVELACE This listing is for the 1932 Photoplay edition of KING KONG, conceived by Edgar Wallace and Merian Cooper. Published by Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1932 . This was the novelization of the screen play and is the rarest of the photoplay editions. The book was published slightly before the film was released. This is a beautiful crisp copy of this book with bright cloth with only a touch of toning. The book has sharp corners and no edgewear. The binding is tight and square. Unfaded brown top stain applied by publisher. The end papers are clean and bright depicting the scenes from the photoplay. Small scripted owner name to front end paper. Otherwise the end papers are clean with no book store stamps and no book plates. Very delicate, faint inscription to half title page. The interior of the book is remarkably clean inside with no stains, no handling marks, no writing, no bent pages, and no foxing. A beautiful crisp, clean example of this title appearing as unread. The book comes with a brand new facsimlie dust jacket, enclosed in a clear archival cover. The dust jacket both protects the book in addition to enhancing its shelf appeal. A very handsome example of this title."

The copy listed here is from another vendor. The selling price is $7,899.95 and is described as rare and in "near fine" condition.

"First photoplay edition of KING KONG, with its scarce Near Fine ORIGINAL dust jacket. Published by Grosset and Dunlap, 1932. Conceived by Edgar Wallace and Merian Cooper. This was the novelization of the screenplay and is considered to be the rarest of the photoplay editions. The book was published slightly before the film was released. The book without the original jacket can be found in prices ranging from $400 to $800 (depending on condition), yet examples of this book in a similiar condition original dust jacket sells for $9000 and up. It is the rarity and collectibility of the jacket which disguishes the pricing, with the jacket having as much as 15x the value of the actual book. The jacket rarity is the result of the jacket being both fragile, in addition to that dust jackets at the time were considered to be disposible advertisements and usually were quickly tossed after purchasing the book. The original lavishly painted King Kong jacket art is collectible in it's own right, with the backround mixing the New York setting with the dinosaurs of Skull Island. This book comes with the scarce near fine original dust jacket. The book is in beautiful condition with crisp lime green cloth boards, with strong unfaded deep chocolate brown titles to front and spine. The boards have some very slight toning. The corners are sharp, one is very slightly pushed in. The end papers depict scenes from the photoplay and are clean with no bookplates, no tears, and no stains. Small delicate hard to see penned inscription to front and small pencil mark to rear end paper. The internal pages are clean, bright and fresh with no age toning, no marks, no stains, no foxing, and appear as unread. The boards have some slight rubbing to bottom. The deep chocolate top stain applied by the publisher to the top of the page block is strong and unfaded. A beautiful, clean book. The value of this book is in the near fine original dust jacket. The jacket has strong vibrant, vivid colors with but some typical fading to the spine only. This in itself is most unusual as this jacket was very prone to fading, and of the few remaining original jackets having survived, many are found with faded front and rear panels as well as faded spines. The dust jacket has benefited from some restoration to the spine ends by an expert paper conservator and presents as a near fine example. The jacket has no rips, no chips, no tears, no rubbing, no stains (even the flaps are clean and bright), and no foxing. The reverse side of the jacket has the requisite text ads listing the Grosset and Dunlap publications. Stunning, handsome jacket presenting the book beautifully on the shelf. The dust jacket is protected in a new clear removeable archival cover. Images of the dust jacket were taken both with the clear cover on and off to fully show the jacket details. Extremely Scarce title in collectible condition. Classic rare book."

The 1965 Bantam Paperbacks edition (sans stills).

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