“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt, The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
Have you been inspired lately? Are there adventures you have been thinking about, things you have been pondering, in the back of your mind, maybe for years? I have many, maybe not enormous quests of monumental significance, but for me, they are adventures just the same.
I again found some of that inspiration recently in a man I had only just heard about a few years ago. He has been referred to as a real life Indiana Jones. He lived one of the most extraordinary lives of the 20th century. And you probably never heard of him. His name is Merian C. Cooper.
A bomber pilot, adventurer, movie director and producer, and businessman, Cooper did it all. He is probably best know as the man who came up with the idea for the original 1933 movie King Kong, which he co-wrote, co-directed and produced. Cooper had the vision to make use of Willis O’Brien’s stop-motion animation to bring the legendary Kong to life.
But Cooper did so much more. He was a bomber pilot in WWI. He was shot down and taken prisoner by the Germans, but survived the war. After the war he joined other American pilots in helping Poland in it’s fight against Russia. Again he was shot down and taken prisoner but ultimately escaped. Next he became an adventurer, traveling to strange and exotic places and filming regions few if any Westerners had ever seen.
As a businessman he became a director of Pan American Airways and an aviation pioneer. Along came WWII, he re-enlisted and worked with the Flying Tigers in China to fight Japan. Again, back in movie production after the war, he produced several of director John Ford’s greatest films and had a big part in launching the “Cinerama” widescreen format.
Recently I happen to catch the documentary I’m King Kong! The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper on the Turner Classic Movie channel. TCM seems to run it about once a year or so. I had seen it before. In fact, it got me to pick up and read the biography Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong by Mark Cotta Vaz.
I am amazed and inspired by remarkable things people have done. I may not go off to some strange, exotic land, but I plan to maybe take an extend road trip to “explore” Route 66. And this blog, that I started not long ago, was something I had wanted to do for a long, long time. And I’m having a blast watching it unfold.
Maybe as a kid you dreamed of being an astronaut, going up into outer space. Well, the $250,000 that Virgin Galactic is charging may be a little steep for most of us, but who knows, maybe that price might come down in ten years…well maybe…it could!?!. Or what about zero gravity flights? That is something that most people could do if they really wanted to go for it.
What I am saying is stretch your imagination, dream your dreams. Map out a plan and do something bigger than what, up to this point, you have allowed yourself to envision. Again I want to bring up a quote from Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture, that I mentioned in a post last month, “The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.”
Dream – Don’t hold back, give yourself freedom to follow your dreams.
Support – Connect with like minded people who will encourage and support you.
Just Do It – Don’t wait any longer. Take steps to accomplish your dreams. Go for it! Now.
My Books and Movie pages on this blog are there to help inspire, as well as entertain. If you are interested in the TCM documentary on Merian C. Cooper, the only place I have found it (other than a rebroadcast on TCM) is as an extra feature on the King Kong (1933
2-Disc Collector’s Edition) DVD. Also check out Cooper’s profile here at TCM.com. And you can always pick up a copy of Mark Cotta Vaz’s book Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
– John F. Kennedy
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
– Teddy Roosevelt