The hit movie King Kong premiered on this day in 1933, in New York. The movie caused a true sensation, since the animation of the huge gorilla in stop-motion was truly impressive for the time. This animation was done by the renowned Willis O’Brien, who had already become famous by his depiction of mobile dinosaurs in the movie The Lost World.
The film premiere was held in the famous Rockefeller Center in New York. Such was the crowd at the entrance that the queues stretched around the neighboring city blocks. The movie was shown as many as 10 times a day during the first four days, and all tickets were completely sold out.
However, at the same time another kind of spectacle was taking place in Europe. Only three days before the movie premiere, the famous Reichstag fire took place in Berlin, where the German parliament building was burned to the ground. The incident presented a golden opportunity for Hitler to get rid of his political opponents (there exists a theory that the Nazis deliberately planted the fire in order to frame the communists).
Specifically, Hitler used the Reichstag fire to enact the infamous “Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State” (German: Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat), usually shortened to “Reichstag Fire Decree”, which effectively abolished most civil liberties in Germany. That decree was one of the most important tools for the introduction of a one-party dictatorship in Germany and for putting the entire country completely under the control of the Nazis.