Mighty Joe Young (1949)
Large African gorilla and nine inch "coins"
The 1949 RKO Radio Pictures film "Mighty Joe Young" is about a giant gorilla who is found in Africa and
brought to Hollywood to appear in a nightclub act.
less violent gorilla and a happier ending.
He finds a giant male gorilla which is the "pet" of Jill Young, a local girl who has raised the animal.
Max brings Jill and the gorilla, now named "Mighty Joe Young", to California to appear as the
star attraction in a new nightclub show.
The coins have a picture of Joe on them along with the name of the show.
are sometimes listed for sale.
The film begins somewhere in Africa.
This scene is much more idyllic than most scenes of Africa.
3. Jill buys a gorilla
Jill buys the gorilla with some toys and her father's flashlight.
Jill's father warns her that the gorilla will become big but allows her to keep her "pet".
4. New York
Max O'Hara is a long-time nightclub show promoter whose last show featuring cowboys has closed.
Oklahoman Gregg Johnson, one of the cowboys, visits Max's office to look for another job.
5. Gregg applies for a job
Above Max is a poster for one of his previous shows, "Earthquake Ballet".
to Africa to help capture wild animals. Crawford, a local safari guide, runs the operation
Crawford has never seen before, a giant gorilla.
6. The gorilla appears
He opens a cage with a lion in it, freeing the lion which he then attacks and kills.
7. Roping the gorilla
The gorilla is not captured and manages to fight off the cowboys without serious injury to them.
She tells the men to leave the animal alone and to get off her land.
8. Max, Crawford, Gregg, Jill
Gregg apologizes to Jill and Max offers her a contract to appear with her "pet" at a nightclub
show in Hollywood.
about going to California.
9. Max O'Hara's Golden Safari show
The show location is modeled on the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub which was part of the
Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
10. Golden Safari show interior
Max's show has lions kept behind plastic screens, and many African themed dancers and musicians.
11. Max dressed up for his entrance
After some preliminary acts appear, the audience is ready for the star attraction, "Mighty Joe Young".
12. Mighty Joe Young holding piano stand
Mighty Joe Young holds a rotating stand on which Jill plays the tune "Beautiful Dreamer" on the piano.
The tune has been Joe's favorite since he was an infant.
They include Primo Carnera, the 1933-34 World Heavyweight Boxing champion, and Tor Johnson,
a wrestler and actor known as the "Swedish Angel".
13. Primo Carnera and the Swedish Angel ready for Joe
Joe is able to pull all ten men into the pond.
14. Billboard advertisement
This address "9336 West Washington, Hollywood" is actually the RKO motion picture studios address.
15. Jill wants out
Max talks Jill into continuing with the show.
16. Waiter hands out coins
"Big money for big monkey"
Mighty Joe Young prop coin reproduction:
17. Mighty Joe Young prop coin reproduction
The coins are around nine inches in diameter and have the legends:
"MAX O'HARA'S GOLDEN SAFARI" and "ONE CENT"
along with a space for a written in seat number.
An announcer states that the coins are numbered if Joe catches a coin the thrower will get free champagne.
People begin throwing their coins.
18. Mighty Joe Young catches coins
The large coins fly at Joe causing him to panic and Max closes the show.
19. Joe gets a drink
One of the men touches a cigarette lighter to Joe's finger with the expected results.
Joe breaks out of his cage and heads for the stage.
20. Joe on rampage
Jill is able to move Joe back to his cage but the city gets a court order to shoot Joe.
Max deceives the police while the others load Joe into a moving van.
21. Moving joe
They switch Joe to another truck and on the way to the docks and a ship, pass a burning building.
The burning building scenes in the film were originally tinted red.
22. Children's home fire
The building is a childrens home and most of the children and staff are outside.
Jill, Gregg, and Joe rescue the remaining children from the fire.
23. Joe rescuing Jill
"No one is going to shoot Joe now".
24. Jill, Gregg, and Joe back in Africa
The film end title is shown.
25. Good bye from Joe Young
Terry Moore as Jill Young
Ben Johnson as Gregg Johnson
Robert Armstrong as Max O'Hara
Denis Green as Crawford (Safari guide)
Mr. Joseph Young as Himself
Writers: Ruth Rose, Merian C. Cooper