Watching "King Kong versus Godzilla" cured my fear of monsters when I was nine years old.
My 4th grade classmates at Manor Plains Elementary School and I would talk about the monster movies that we saw on Channel 9 WOR in New York. Thomas Bligh brought this magazine to class and all of our questions were answered.
When we moved to Florida a few months later, My parents and I stayed at a Howard Johnson's in Deerfield Beach for three nights. I purchased the Famous Monsters of Filmland (FM) 100th Issue. It was a tough choice between FM or the latest Mad Magazine.
I had a question that I needed answered.
So my Mom helped me draft a letter from the Cascade Motel on the Fort Lauderdale strip in July, 1973.
Imagine my delight when I saw my name in Issue 105 of FM. I was so excited, that I had to go home, get some money from my Mom and return to the drugstore to buy the magazine. Yea, I paid her back.
It took me a few days to realize that I did not like the answer.
So I wrote my own short story about how the Son of Kong survived the sinking of Skull Island. I fooled around with this story when I was a freshman in college.
Upon retrospect, Professor Gruebeard wrote his version of
"Yes, Virginia - there is a Santa Claus" for a monster obsessed child.
When I heard that Forry Ackerman, the editor of FM, was ill.
I wrote him and reminded Dr. Acula (one Forry's nicknames) about Professor Gruebeard's research.
I couldn't resist telling Forry that Professor Gruebeard's findings were faulty and that the Son of Kong survived the sinking of Skull Island. I had proof, the Grandson of King Kong visited Broward County Main Library in April of this year in honor of his Grandpa's 75th Anniversary.
On the other side of this paper, is a photocopy of Professor Gruebeard’s response to the fate of the Son of Kong, written in 1974. While the old professor’s answer was not what I wanted to hear, I did spend the rest of my life proving the falsity of Professor Gruebeard’s thesis.
Understand that I currently have a Master’s Degree in Information Studies from Florida State, manage the Audio Visual Popular Section of the Broward County Main Library and I have become one of the last film journalists in South Florida.
Through years of painstaking research in the social sciences and history, I came to learn that “Kiko,” - Little Kong – survived the sinking of Skull Island and actually prospered! We managed to have one of his 500 grandchildren visit the Broward County Main for a special screening of their grandfather’s famous film from 1933. (Please see attached).
If you are still in touch with Professor Gruebeard, please let him know that his answer, albeit the wrong answer, inspired this ten year old boy with learning disabilities to achieve his dreams. Besides learning about how the Son of Kong survived in underwater tunnels off the west coast of Africa, I stayed off drugs and tuned into monsters. My life has been far richer and I have been able to meet and interview our mutual heroes; Kenny Miller, Peter Boyle, Phil Zabelin, Cindy Morgan and the legendary Fay Wray.
Take care Forry!
Alias Cinema Dave
We lost Forry on Thursday, a few days after his 93rd birthday.
However I have a good feeling that Forry the Ackermonster read my letter and appreciated the academic debate about monsters and heroes.