Monday, April 18, 2011

More Merian Cooper

I've mentioned Merian Cooper on his birthday before, and I've even made mention of the TCM documentary I'm King Kong which discusses Cooper's life. I haven't said much about that life, and since the documentary is airing again tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM, now is a good time to go into a bit of detail on Cooper's fascinating life.

Cooper didn't start off as a failmmaker; instead, he got his start as a pilot in World War I, and after that war, wound up fighting in Russia. As a filmmaker, he made a number of documentaries besides Grass, the one which was the inspiration for the July 2008 post to which I linked above. And then he became the head of production at RKO, which is how King Kong got made. But that's not all. After leaving RKO, Cooper went and trained Chinese airmen fighting the Japanese. Finally, Cooper was involved in the creation of Cinerama. I've probably missed a few things, because Cooper did so many, which is why the documentary is worth watching. TCM will be following the doccumentary by showing several of the B movies that were made during Cooper's time as the head of production at RKO.

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