As Peter Jackson's ode to animal love closes in on $200 million in B.O. (as the trades call it), not far off are the inevitable infringement suits brought by forelorn scriptwriters who had previously given their manuscript to someone who knows someone who said Peter would be interested. A January 8, 2006 article in the Los Angeles Times provides a wrinkle on the defense of such suits: the existence of an earlier gorilla craze in the 1920s and 1930 (arising out of Teddy Roosevelt's African safari), in particular "Ingagi," which predated by three years Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack's "King Kong."
Ingagi was released, appropriately by Congo Pictures Ltd. The ads for the film stated it was based on an expedition to the Congo by Sir Hubert Winstead of the Royal Geological Society. In Chicago's Garrick Theatre, large crowds were drawn by "lurid lobby advertising depicting a gorilla fondling a near-nude native woman." This not suprisingly led to problems with the Hays Office censorship enforcers, causing the films' producers to state that "Sex perversion or any inference of it is forbidden," along with a ban on "complete nudity." This only helped to draw viewers. The documentary nature of the film was later shown to be fradulent.
In the movie, a bare-breasted woman is carried off by a gorilla who is shot, thereby foreclosing its ability to climb the Empire State Building. Other women are depicted as willing mates of gorillas. The LA Times article concludes:
"Although Merian C. Cooper never listed 'Ingagi' among his influences for
'King Kong,' it's long been held that RKO green-lighted 'Kong,' despite the
studio having fallen into receivership in the midst of the Depression, because
the bottom-line example of 'Ingagi': Gorillas plus sexy women in peril equals
enormous profits. And it that was indeed the case, there's no doubt that
'King Kong' was by far the best thing to be spawned by 'Ingagi."