Many people since have asked me what went through my head when I saw that the back of the plug was coming loose, but I honestly have to say I didn't think about it. I just pointed out the danger without any thought as to my own safety. Anyone would have done the same thing. Really I was just using common sense.
Take the King Kong fiasco, for example: when the ape was captured on Skull Island and brought to New York and went beserk after being put on stage in chains. I'm sure I could have prevented the whole mess. It just seems to me that there were one or two precautions that could have prevented Kong from going mad and climbing up the Empire State Building.
I would have spoken up at the very first crew meeting. I would have put my hand up as soon as the main guy, whoever he was, had said: "Why don't we bring this giant ape, who has lived his entire life in the jungle, to New York?" Here's that sentence again, with particular emphasis on what I find to be its key dangerous elements. "Why don't we bring this GIANT APE, who has lived his entire life IN THE JUNGLE, to NEW YORK?"
Assuming that my protests had then gone unheeded, I would have inquired as to what was to be done with the GIANT APE once we had arrived. Would we, perhaps, put it in a zoo? There, the general public could gawp all they wanted, safe in the knowledge that the animal was being held in check by electric fences, heavy iron bars and so on.
The main guy, whoever he was, might then have said: "No. We felt it would be better to introduce him on BROADWAY. If we rent out a BROADWAY THEATRE, put him up ON STAGE and then gets loads of PRESS PHOTOGRAPHERS with those MASSIVE FLASH BULBS on their cameras to take some shots ALL AT THE SAME TIME, I can't really see what could go wrong."
At that moment, I would have had to put my hand up again. Perhaps I'd have said: "Rather than doing that, we should not do that. Perhaps he doesn't feel ready for the stage. What if we ... "
"No," he would have said. "We're putting it ON STAGE at CARNEGIE HALL. Then we'll transport it THROUGH THE STREETS OF NEW YORK, where the JEERING, SCREAMING PUBLIC can THROW THINGS AT HIM and MOCK ITS APELIKE GAIT. After that, we will TAKE HIS CHAINS OFF and get New York's STRONGEST MAN TO CHALLENGE HIM TO A FIGHT."
I would have reminded the main guy, whoever he was, that this was a GIANT APE, who until now has lived his entire life IN THE JUNG ...
"Once our strongest man has won the FIGHT," he would have interrupted, "we will put a giant DUNCE'S HAT on the ape's head and transport him back through the STREETS OF NEW YORK via THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING and a BRIDGE WITH TRAINS GOING OVER IT. Perhaps that would be a good time to PUT IN A GIANT STOCKS and GET PEOPLE TO THROW FRUIT AT HIS HEAD."
Thankfully, time would have been on my side as we travelled from Africa to New York on a big steamer, so I would have illustrated one or two "nightmare scenarios" that might result, aided by diagrams and maps.
"I don't think we're going to get as far as the DUNCE'S HAT," I'd have concluded. "I think that once the MASSIVE FLASH BULBS start popping, the GIANT APE, who has lived his entire life IN THE JUNGLE, will wreak bloody havoc with New York and its inhabitants."
"I have taken that into account," the main guy, whoever etc, might have said. "And should the GIANT APE attempt to wreak bloody havoc with New York and its inhabitants, we will enlist the help of GORGO, a giant SEA MONSTER from Scotland, who is now enjoying a three-week stint at the LONDON PALLADIUM.
"Once GORGO has defeated the GIANT APE in the BIG FIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF NEW YORK, we will put the DUNCE'S HAT ON GORGO and TAKE HIM TO THE STOCKS."
"Lord God almighty. Why?" I'd have said. "What is this obsession with humiliating monsters? Surely a little awe at this point in time wouldn't go amiss? I think awe is called for. It's a GIANT APE. How about some awe? Have you no awe?"
"I had much awe to begin with," he would say. "When the GIANT APE fought the dinosaur back there, words failed me, they really did. But now I've just got used to him. Look at the stupid thing. Ha, ha. Look at his monkey face."
Maybe I wouldn't have helped. Maybe I'd have ended up an old man shouting in my sleep "but it's a GIANT APE" at confused relatives. Eventually, I'd pass away, my quiet heroism a distant memory, if that. But God damn it, at least I would have tried!