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What have they done to Mr. Young of Africa?
Play a midi while you read- Mr. Young's favorite tune click here!
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A Non-Commercial Academic Research project-a work  in progress- soon much more will be added-You are invited to submit updates and information -click to e.mail
Dedicated to the real!
Mr. Joe Young of Africa c.1949
And to his memory!
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Who was he?

Should he be made a U.S.Citizen

Links  to further information

Should the U.S.A make Mr. Young an Honorary Citizen?
There is only one true Mr. Joseph Young of Africa- Accept no other!
No child should fail to meet him!


Who Was He?

Was? Really in the eyes of many he still exists- still in Africa of course and
still living with Jill. Rumors that he left Africa after returning there with Jill are
Just that. Play introduction music  to set the mood  click here for  wav   Play a midi while you read- Mr. Young's favorite tune click here!
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Click here to learn of  Joe's Biography Click here to learn about writings about Joe. Click here to learn how Joe was portrayed in a movie. c 1949

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Writings about Mr. Young
To the best of our knowledge only one book (possibly just a screenplay) records the true life adventures of Mr. Young.
It was written by Merian C. Cooper. We are researching this book and will have more later concerning its writings. (Please note that Mr.Young is not the same as Mighty Joe Young the Jazz artist nor the character involved with a movie of 1998- these are totally different entities from Mr. Joseph Young of Africa c. 1949)

About Merian C. Cooper:
COOPER, Merian Caldwell
          (1894-1973). Brigadier General. USAF, 1917-1919, 1921-1953.
          Motion Picture Director, Producer, Author. Born 24 October 1894,
          Jacksonville, FL. US Naval Academy, 1911-1914. Served to the grade
          of Captain, US Army, World War I; served as Lieutenant Colonel,
          Kosciuszko Squadron, Poland, 1920. Career assignments include: Chief
          of Staff to General Chennault, China Air Task Force, 1942; Staff
          Member, Fifth Air Force, 1943-1945. Creator and producer of the
          motion picture "King Kong". Former director, Pan American World
          Airways, Western Airlines and General Aviation. Died 21 April 1973,
          San Diego, CA. Author of The Sea Gypsy (1924), Grass (1925), Things
          Men Die For (1927) and King Kong (1932), mighty Joe Young 1949.

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The Original Movie about Mr. Young's  Actual Adventures in America-Purchase the original movie click here

Film Detrails Analysis/Commentary Questions Feedback

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Film Details:
This is an evolving account please send us your input and any corrections with appropriate documentation!
                            The movie was directed in 1949  by Ernest B. Schoedsack  and written by  Merian C. Cooper (story) and Ruth Rose (screenplay).  John Ford (principal) and Merian Cooper were the producers.
Roy Webb wrote the music. J. Roy Hunt was the cinematographer, Adel Balkan
did the costumes and James Basevi did production design.

Some People in the movie were:

Terry Moore (a.k.a. Jan Ford, Judy Ford and Helen Koford)  played Jill Young
                        She was originally from Maryland, U.S.A.(?) (Born in L.A.) and was
at one time the wife of Howard Hughes (see her books: The Beauty and the Billionaire
Terry Moore / Published 1984 and The Passions of Howard Hughes Terry Moore, Jerry Rivers / Published 1996
 It is said  that her brother played a child  (which child?) in the movie. (she played an
elegant   woman at a party in the 1998 movie of the same name)

Ben Johnson Played Gregg Johnson

Frank McHugh plays Windy (Max's assistant)

Robert Armstrong played  Max O'Hara

Lora Lee Michel played Jill Young, as a Girl

One of the girls at the bar was played by Irene Ryan who later was to play Granny in the T.V. Series- Beverly Hillbillies

One of the children (one of the rescued children?Which child?) was played by Dwayne Hickman who later played Dobie Gillis.

 The movie is quite famous and those appearing in it went on to have long movie careers- you can learn much more about it by clicking here.
It appears that the most recent movie which claims to portray a "Joe Young" (1998) shares little with the real account of his life other than setting, a few names and an actress.  It is not so much a re-make as it is another movie with the same title.

The original movie was referenced in Kicking and Screaming (1995) and  featured in Tanya's Island (1980).

Mr. Young was portrayed in the original movie, as the movie states,  by "himself".  (there is an actor Joe Young- could this possibly mean that he was some how inside the monkey suit?)
Joseph  did have a worthy second played by a creation of Mr. Ray Harryhausen click here to learn more of this fine work. Here is another link concerning Mr. Harryhausen click here.

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Movie Commentatry and Analysis:

The movie was made at an interesting time-just after the end
of the 2nd World War. It also shares images used by propagandists
of Japan and the United States- Primates- Does the movie provide
us with messages about the times?

David Bruce in his analysis of the movie draws attention to the use of
the symbol of the Primate by Japan to depict Americans and by Britain
and America to depict Japanese.

Bruce cites the image on the left from the New York Times Magazine of 1943 as an example of the " Primitization" of the enemy. He cites the cover of Leatherneck (Sept. 1945) on the right, as an example of how the end of the war has tamed the gorilla into a pet monkey. Work on Mighty Joe Young began in 1946. Was the depiction of the more humanistic gorilla in the movie an act of cultural  reconciliation with the image? Both Merian Cooper and Harryhausen were closely involved in the war and related war efforts.  Cooper had seen action in Asia and Harryhausen had worked with propaganda films. Both  would have been well versed in the use of the image of the primate.  Joe certainly is depicted as a good fellow- almost as human as he is animal. The movie makes many statements about the abuse of animals by removing them from their habitat and by their miss treatment by civilization. But, was the rehabilitation of an icon as important to the producers of the movie as the continued popularity of the gorilla as entertainer- that is- always able to bring in a crowd-as in the case of King Kong? Was the gorilla simply a dramatic figure-close to being human but large and powerful?  Harryhausen has cited his interest in King Kong as a driving force in his career as a special effects man. Harryhausen also  the medium itself  as a driving force. He was interested in transforming puppets into models which could be real ,show expression and have personality which could reach the hearts of the audience.  So perhaps other levels of causality were at work along with the political commentary.  It would be interesting to determine what Merian Cooper has said or written on the topic.
In the area of politics it is interesting to consider the imagery of the cowboys imported to Africa.  They do not put on the safari costume of Crawford and O'Hara.  They are imported to Africa with their horses and all of their cowboy clothes, hats and gear.  While they do succeed in roping large  lions the fail however, to pull in the Mighty Gorilla. Joe is not tamed by outsiders but by the representative of the nativized colonial power -Jill- who demonstrates greater sensitivity to African affairs, native animals and language. Could Joe be also a symbol of Africa- a continent sold by empires-the nativized managers to the greedy outsiders-to the detriment of the cultures,ecology and spirit of Africa?  Read more of the views of David Bruce by clicking here.

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Questions thus far! I am sure there will be others! Let us know!

Who were the children rescued by Joe from the burning orphanage?

What was the name of the orphanage? (It is on a sign above the door?)

What are the years and makes of the automobiles involved?

 Where can we find a detailed history or screenplay of the film?

Where was the movie filmed?- any real locations?

Is the Swahili used in the opening scenes real? If so what is its translation in English?

Is the "lingo" of the Hobo Polish? If so what is its translation?

Where is "Joe" now? -the models? (lions too?)

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-Buy the Real Movie!-Don't take our word for it!-
 from a great source!! Great service speedy delivery!
Mighty Joe Young (1949) ~ VHS ~ Usually ships in 2-3 days Moore, Armstrong Our Price: $16.99 ~ You Save: $2.99 (15%)Read more about this title...

Mighty Joe Young (1949) ~ VHS ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Terry Moore
Our Price: $13.99 ~ You Save: $5.99 (30%)
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Should Mr. Joseph Young of Africa be granted an American Citizenship?

When Jill purchased Mr. Young and freed him from slavery, eventually convincing her father to take him into the Young household, she was saving a true hero. As far as we can tell (from her  accent) Jill was an American.  Therefore, we must assume that Joe too became an American, however, there is no official documentation of this.
Due to Joe's pure character  and good nature as well as in recognition for his salvation of the poor orphan children from their burning orphanage which act placed Joe himself in great danger, it is here suggested that the United States grant Mr. Joseph  Young of Africa (that is the c. 1949 one)  full citizenship. His actions were after all those of a true patriot! Let us know your feelings on this topic -send us an e.mail click here

Many believe that Mr. Young would make an outstanding African American Primate Citizen! He is shown in the movie to be very positive. Infact the Africans shown in the film (early scenes) are shown in quite a positive light. There is even a very strong female African Woman.

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Links to other sources.......

-Buy the Real Movie!-and from a great source!! Great service speedy delivery!
Mighty Joe Young (1949) ~ VHS ~ Usually ships in 2-3 days Moore, Armstrong Our Price: $16.99 ~ You Save: $2.99 (15%)Read more about this title...

Mighty Joe Young (1949) ~ VHS ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Terry Moore
Our Price: $13.99 ~ You Save: $5.99 (30%)
Read more about this title...

Visit a poster page! click here

Visit another poster page! Click Here!

Want to keep track of primates in film? Click Here

An interview with Harryhausen  on the Making of Mighty Joe Young (1904) Click Here

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