"In a recent meditation on King Kong and Tarzan of the Apes, I wrote the following: “We want Kong to grow big and approach the blonde maiden with blood-shot, lustful eyes”. There are several interesting problems here. For example, Fay Wray, the blonde maiden, who is to say she is a maiden? (Actually, she is not even blonde). When found by the impresario Carl Denham and taken to a waterfront café, she is alone and starving. She is down on her luck. She has come upon bad times. Denham clearly wants someone with nothing more to lose, and when he sees her there is a flash, or burst, of recognition. The cards, we can say, are pretty heavily stacked against maidenhood. Yet, surprisingly, Fay Way is a maiden, which gives this adventure much of its fairy-tale quality.
We know this from a scene that is not (and could not be) in the movie but which obviously had to take place. For years the island savages have been giving maidens to Kong. They are not going to break with tradition simply because Fay Wray is white. The whiteness is merely an added spice, or sauce. She must be maiden and white. The scene not included in the movie is that wherein the chief, the elders, and the midwives of the tribe examine a naked Fay Wray gynecologically. As all those black fingers probe and poke Fay Wray, she must be thinking that nothing can be worse than this, just as in the waterfront café she had thought she could sink no lower. How rong she was and is. This limit to her imagination makes Kong´s initial appearance all the more devastating. Kong is literally beyond her wildest imaginings. It is worth noting that Fay´s first vision of Kong is an (arch) typical bride´s first night fantasy of her husband. When Kong appears, Fay Wray is severed forever from the civilization that bred her. The unspeakable has become life.
A second interesting point in the quotation is the oblique reference to Kong´s penis in the phrase “to grow big”. Exactly how big is Kong´s penis? It is a matter of monumental cultural and psychological interest. And a great mystery: for Kong´s penis is never shown; he is no common monkey in the zoo (Its abscence, of course, is the reason why it is dreamed about so much). It is quite possible that Denham, before he leaves the island with Kong, emasculates him (in another unfilmed episode) to assure his docility later on (An interesting question here is, if this is so, what did the savages do with it or them? There is quite possibly an interesting totemic myth buried here). That might well explain Kong´s interest in the Empire State building later on.
Realizing that he is without his penis or its generative power (…), and that there is something he cannot do with Fay Wray without it, he seeks to attach another penis to himself. Here his ape brain reveals itself (Question: Does Fay Wray have any inkling og what Kong intends? Probably, though only an inkling. Kong constantly shatters the limits of her nightmares. He plunges her from one insanity into another –but who is to say that heaven itself is not awaiting her within that final, absolute, insanity?) It this is so, we might well accuse Kong of certain immodesty. A penis (even erect) the size of the Empire State Building? But we cannot be sure, for we have never seen it. There is, however, some slight indirect evidence of size. When Kong storms the walls that separate him from the savages, seeking his stolen maiden, with what does he batter them? It is definitely a possibility. But still, not Empire State dimension, not even the upper dome. We can only put that gesture down to a rage beyond all reason.
Which still leaves us with the problem of Kong´s penis. There is, of course, the peculiar behavior of Kong from the beginning. He obviously does not ravish Fay Wray immediately. He is not even sexually curious about her. How are we to explain his earl playfulness with her and his later libidinous determination? (he has not chosen the Empire State idly). The answer, I think, is to be found in his age (…) During his voyage to America he arrives at puberty (…). But now there is no penis or penis power witht which to effect his end (assuming Denham´s butchery, which we need not) is that he very likely has little recollection of his penis and what its varying aspects were (question: Did Kong ever masturbate?).
But we need not be equally at sea. A simple scientific approach will give us at least a reasonable working hypothesis. (…) Kong must be about 24 feet tall. Further, we can usually count on a six-foot man having a three-inch inert and six-inch erect penis. Assuming the validity of comparative anatomy, we can say therefore that Kong´s penis would be twelve inches inert and twenty-four inches, or two feet, erect. And this is a startling fact. Because it really doesn´t seem so very big. (…) Possibly it is some horrendous blue or purple, or pointed, or wickedly curved –but even these would have limited shock value. A more experienced woman than Fay might even, momentarily and in spite of herself, entertain the thought of what it would be like. So we are left with this fact: that the penis Kong ought to have is insufficient to cause the terror and anxiety he inspires. Therefore the penis Kong has is the one he ought not to have.
The entire drama of Kong is not built around his general size or destructiveness but around his relationship with Fay Wray. And the entire point of this relationship is that it is male and female, and that it aspires to the condition of consummation! The only question –and it harbors an anxiety that reaches into the very depth of our civilization- is When? When will Kong´s twenty-four-inch erect penis penetrate the white and virgin (and quivering) body of Fay Wray? And there, of course, we have the solution. It is easily conceivable that in these circumstances some people, perhaps many, would say, “Who cares?” Precisely. Twenty-four inches is not that awe-inspiring. But people say no such thing. It is obvious that Kong must exceed the estimates of comparative anatomy to inspire the universal dread that he does.
Kong´s penis, therefore, is at least six feet inert and twelve feet erect. In a state of sexual excitement it very likely rises over his head. That would certainly explain the battering at the savages´wall and it certainly explains the terror in New York City´s streets (…). And so, in the end, when Kong, haf-crazed by the bullets and frustration s he has experienced, identifies sexually with the Empire State Building, he is not, after all, being inmodest. He has sought only what all true lovers seek, in the only way that he could. He has brought his love to the threshold of his love and valiantly persevered to his last desperate breath. Dazed beyond recall, so near and yet so far, he loosens his grip, his fingers slip. No longer can he guide his newfound power into her. Kong cannot live erect in the New World.”
"King Kong: A Meditation"