The true story on what happened to Kong
The giant ape, Kong, died close to ninety years ago. Fighter airplanes machine gunned Kong to death while he stood atop The Empire State Building. It was an early morning in 1933 that exotic filmmaker Carl Denham corrected a police officer who had confidently declared something about the airplanes killing Kong. Denham lamented, “Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.” But the story doesn’t end with the carcass of a gigantic prehistoric ape lying on the street and its capturer’s philosophical utterance. No, Kong’s final chapter is dramatically more tragic.
Before discussing any tragedies there are good as well as profitable aspects to be mentioned. The most charitable of all was put in motion by New York’s beloved mayor, Fiorello La Guardia. ‘The Little Flower’, as he was adoringly called, saw to it that Kong’s body was butchered and the meat was distributed to the many soup kitchens throughout the city. Countless depression era Manhattanites received a hot and tasty meal of which they were most grateful.
Beside that delicious fact, Kong’s hide was used to make countless fashion items, literally, from tip to toe: hats and caps; vests and belts; shoes and slippers. Even Kong’s hair was found useful in the manufacturing of hair pieces. Kong’s skeletal remains are presently on display in a special wing of New York’s Museum of Colossal Wonders.
Alas, every coin has two sides. It was not widely reported, but many of the bullets fired by the fighter airplane pilots hit more than their intended target. Adjacent buildings and structures remote from Kong and The Empire State Building were damaged. A small pleasure boat on the East river was hit and sunk; the young honeymooners aboard were wounded. Fortunately, they were rescued alive. Over one thousand innocent citizens were hit by bullets that missed Kong. Among those hit with wild gunfire was famous radio personality, Bruce Finster, host of Fridays with Finster. Bruce and over six hundred others died from bullet wounds.
Bullets were not the sole killer that day. A human sea of gawkers stood at the base of the world’s tallest building. Each and every one of them were straining their eyeballs to watch the ape vs. airplane spectacular play out above them. When, at long last, Kong could not absorb any more of the lead shot at him from the fighter planes, he gave Ann Darrow, the woman he got sappy over, a sorrowful look. He let go his hold on the building’s spire and free fell a quarter mile. Alas, over a hundred of those who were unable to move quickly enough from the great ape’s splat point became sandwiched between the dead giant ape and the hard, dirty pavement. When the victims were eventually removed from underneath Kong’s body, an additional seventy-two men, women, boys, and girls were added to the casualty list.
Carl Denham, the filmmaker whose bright idea it was to bring Kong to New York, attempted to continue filmmaking, but nothing he produced came close to the spectacular fifty foot beast that was going to make him a millionaire. Alas, Denhan died a broken man in 1949.
Jack Driscoll, the first mate of the boat that traveled to Skull Island where Kong first set eyes on, and got sappy over, a pretty blonde named Ann Darrow, got sappy himself over Ann. The two fell in love and married. They left New York and moved to California’s Catalina Island. Together they had two children and operated a deep sea fishing business. Jack died in 1982 of natural causes. Until her death at ninety-six, Ann lived on Catalina Island; a quiet little island three thousand miles from the hustle and madness associated with the island where she and Kong were last together.
Sadly, little thought or remembrance is given to the many who were innocently mangled and killed. Oh, no, it wasn't beauty killed the beast. It was man’s greed for fame and fortune.