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Film historian and author Mark Cotta Vaz to discuss "King Kong" at BYU Sept. 15 and 16

Opening 2005-2006 Special Collections Motion Picture Archives Film Series

Mark Cotta Vaz, best-selling author and biographer of “King Kong” creator Merian C. Cooper, will visit Brigham Young University Thursday and Friday, Sept. 15 and 16, to open the seventh season of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Motion Picture Archives Film Series at the Harold B. Lee Library.

Vaz will discuss his book, “Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong,” Thursday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m. in the DeLamar Jensen Room on the first floor of the Lee Library.

In his presentation, Vaz will discuss his research in the papers of explorer, movie producer and director Cooper, which are housed in BYU’s Special Collections. The Cooper Papers provided the foundation for his biography of a man whose name is little known to the general public, but who served as an aviator in World War I, co-directed Paramount Pictures' historic documentaries “Grass” and “Chang,” created and produced the original “King Kong” and assisted in the development of widescreen movies with Cinerama.

Following Vaz’s presentation, a documentary film, “I’m King Kong,” based on the life of Cooper, as well as “Roar of the Dragon,” a film from a story co-written by Cooper, will be shown.

On Friday, Sept. 16, Vaz will introduce a special screening of the original “King Kong” at 6:30 p.m. in the library auditorium, followed by a showing of the sequel, “The Son of Kong.”

Admission to both events is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Vaz is the author of New York Times bestsellers “The Art of Star Wars: Episode 11,” “Attack of the Clones” and “Behind the Mask of Spider Man.” His new book on the creator of “King Kong” is his 19th published book.

Admission is free for all films in the Special Collections Motion Picture Archives Film Series. For a complete season schedule, visit

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