Pterodactyls in Citizen Kane (film still from Citizen Kane)

Citizen Kane (1941)

There’s a scene near the end of Citizen Kane where Kane and his wife through a lavish picnic on the beach in Florida. It’s an unsettling, eerie scene, rendered all the more so by the unusual appearance of their surroundings: it’s more swamp than beach, and those creatures flying across the background don’t quite look like birds…

That’s because they aren’t. This scene reuses a back projection originally created for King Kong (or possibly the sequel, Son of Kong), and the birds are in fact pterodactyls. There are two in the top centre of the frame above, although admittedly they’re easier to make out when they’re in motion. Watch out for them next time you see the movie.

One version of this story has it that RKO warned Welles about the presence of the creatures, and asked him to remove them, but that he decided to keep them in anyway.

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