Do you remember the last post about a man behind the ape we know as King Kong? Well, we have a second director who played a big role in making the king Kong movie we all know and love. And I will have to say unlike our last personal bio this one is quite the opposite when it comes to excitement from a person’s life.
An interesting start of a guy
Born to a wealthy family in Jacksonville Florida. Merian C. Cooper was the youngest of six siblings in the family and grew into having a fondness for adventure stories and exploring to new lands and discovering may new things to see.
Merian C. Cooper even went to school in New Jersey. He graduated in 1911 as a Jewish student named Frank Mosher.
After school, he was awarded an appointment to the US naval academy But was expelled for being too much of a party animal his senior year. In 1916 worked for a few publications(newspapers) before he joined the National Guard in 1916.
During his time there he helped chase a General named Pancha Villa back to Mexico in his time. After that he went home on his leave for working for the El paso Herold. After he came back he was made a lieutenant and turned down the chance to go to war to a military academy of flying where he graduated top of his class.
A time of war
In October 1917 war called our hero to action as he joined the 201st squadron in France for the fight. He flew at his flight school and doing an exercise his friend when he hit his head and fell two hundred feet in the air. Luckily he was still alive but had to relearn how to fly. Cooper asked to go to Clermont-Ferrand to become a bomber for the united states army air service. In September 26th his plane was shot down and on fire. Luckily again Cooper spun the plane to avoid the flames and was caught by German troops and sent to a prisoner hospital for rehabilitation.
As Cooper earned the rank of captain after the war he for the American food administration to help feed Poland’s citizens.
From late 1919 to 1921 Cooper become a member of an American air squadron known as the Kościuszko Squadron
whiched helped the polish army during the pol-sovit war. In July 1920 he was shot down and put in a soviet war camp. He spent about nine months there where he met with an interviewer named Isaac Babel.
While he was in prison he wrote a biography on his life called (things men die for.) and it was later be published by G. P Putman’s sons in New York
Cooper managed to escape to Latvia before the war was over.
For his act of valor the commander of the Polish military gave him the highest metal named the Virtuti Militari.
(fun fact: the metal above is the oldest metal still being given out to this day to a brave few.)(1792-)
the team up
After returning from overseas Cooper got a job working a night shift with the new York times as a writer. He also got commissions from Asia magazine That’s when a friendship started to form. On a sea voyage coming back home the ship was attacked by pirates and was burned down. ( that has to put the point on luck hu.) He teamed up with Ernest Schoedsack
and began to work on the documentary called Grass along with Marguerite Harrison.
It was then published under Paramount pictures in 1925. Between 1926/27 Cooper had become a board member for pan American airways at that time. Though Cooper saw the airlines make a service for their future, Cooper could not stay with the company as he was working on the script for the movie King Kong.
Apes going bananas
(just to add a little more goofiness than usual) We now get to the good part where we listen to how the production with Cooper and Ernest worked out.
Cooper managed to dream up this one night about a giant gorilla ripping New York apart from the seams and he decided to record it. Originally He was going to have Kong fight against a komodo dragon or another animal but decided to not have it in the movie as it would make the movie seem less realistic.
Cooper even did some camera work on the part where Kong knocks the sailors off of the log scene.
But during the start of the film the critics thought that the movie should have had King Kong show up at the start of the movie. But like his luck Cooper didn’t budge a bit.
And do you remember that scene in the movie where Kong climbs the empire state building? That part almost didn’t make it because of legal reasons. But thankfully RKO bought the rights to a film with a similar scene called The Lost World.(fun fact:Both directors end up showing up in the final scene where the planes manage to shoot king Kong off the building with Cooper making a funny remark that I will not repeat here I will leave the link to the story on my site.
Another thing to talk about is the fact that while this film was in production Cooper and Ernest were also working one other film called The most Dangerous game which overlapped production in 1932. In the end Cooper ended up as the head just before King Kong was set to release into theaters.
In 1963 However Cooper tried to make a case for himself owning the rights to king Kong but was unsuccessful the first time. The second time(in 1976) he convinced a judge who thought he should own the rights to Kong outside of the movie and it’s sequel.
As per usual I will leave links down below for you guys to check out as well as a few other snippet links for the hero above named merian c. cooper I used Cooper for short for most of this because it is easier to read. Go ahead and check out my links and I will see you on the next blog post.