Brian Leno is going nuts with this Robert E. Howard stuff — and more power to him.
He just sent me this postscript to one of his groundbreaking essays in The Cimmerian. If you don’t have a solid collection of that magazine, you can find the essay and a couple more in Brian’s TriplePunchPack Lovecraft’s Southern Vacation — an eBook, instantly accessible if you’ve got a few bucks.
Brian also found an apt ape image in his holdings, from an original by famed Howard artist Ken Kelly — at top.
And now, here’s Brian:
In October 2008 The Cimmerian (V5N5) published my essay “When Yaller Rock County Came to Chawed Ear: Howard, Tuttle — and Kong.” By looking at the text of the Texan’s “The Peaceful Pilgrim” where Breckinridge Elkins lifts a huge log-bridge with horses and men on it and then tosses it over the ledge into the abyss below, I believe I proved that Robert E. Howard had seen King Kong.
I’m sure we all remember the scene in King Kong where the huge ape, being followed by Bruce Cabot and some seamen, picks up the log they are upon, shakes a few off and then pitches the log-bridge, with the remaining sailors yelling bloody murder, into the canyon to their death.
Scenes so similar it’s impossible not to notice (although I believe I’m the first Howard fan ever to notice — or at least comment on it in print).
While I knew Howard had seen this classic, I wanted to know when.
The Yellow Jacket — the newspaper of Howard Payne College, where REH took some classes — for Thursday May 18, 1933 gives the answer.
King Kong will be playing at the Lyric Theatre in Brownwood, May 22-24th. Kong’s release date was March 7 in New York, so it took a couple of months to get close to the Texas fictioneer.
Of course we all know Howard went from Cross Plains to Brownwood quite often, and even mentions in his letters catching a flick or two at the Lyric.
It’s a neat ad, one I’m sure would have caught Howard’s attention, and it would have been very cool to have seen the pulp writer’s reaction when he first saw Kong crashing through the trees and casting bloodshot eyes on squirming Fay Wray.
He must have felt that he had fallen right into one of his stories.