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Merian C. Cooper correspondence and interview

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2024

Scope and Contents

Includes photocopies of correspondence between Behlmer, Merian C. Cooper, and others. Also includes recording and transcript of interview recorded by Behlmer with Cooper in 1965 concerning Cooper's service in World War I and the Russo-Polish War (1919-1920); and his films with Ernest B. Schoedsack: "Grass" and "Chang." Some correspondence relates to David O. Selznick and the film, "King Kong."


  • 1929-1972


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

No photocopying allowed except by written permission of curator of Arts and Communications Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Merrian C. Cooper correspondence and interview must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical / Historical

Rudolph (Rudy) Herman Behlmer was born October 13, 1926, in San Francisco, California. His interest in the history of motion pictures began in childhood while filming his own dramas. Rudy served two years in the Naval Air Corps before attending Los Angeles City College and Pasadena Playhouse College where he majored in theater arts. He began his career as a stage manager with KLAC-TV in Hollywood. For twenty-one years, he was a producer and vice president for Leo Burnett USA. Around 1961, Behlmer began researching and writing articles on film history. He published Memo from David O. Selznick in 1972, followed by nine more books and multiple articles. Behlmer also contributed his knowledge to film documentaries on the Golden Age of Hollywood and lectured at various academic institutions. He died on September 27, 2019, at the age of 92.

Biographical / Historical

Merian C. Cooper (1893-1973) was an aviator, air force officer, screenwriter, film director, and producer in the United States. He is best known for writing and directing King Kong. Merian Caldwell Cooper was an American aviator, United States Air Force and Polish Air Force officer, adventurer, screenwriter, film director, and producer. He was a notable movie producer, and got his start with film traveling the world and working on documentaries, most famously Grass and Chang, together with Ernest B. Schoedsack. He was a member of the board of directors of Pan American Airways, but focused on film. During his film career, he worked for several Hollywood studios. He is considered co-inventor of the Cinerama film projection process. Cooper's most famous film was the 1933 movie King Kong. He was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1952 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.


4 folders (0.4 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Item-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Behlmer interviewed Cooper in 1965. Cooper provided Behlmer with photocopies of some of his correspondence. Behlmer later donated the interview audiotapes, the photocopied correspondence, and photocopies of some of his own correspondence with Cooper, to Brigham Young University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Rudy Behlmer; 1989 and 1993.


Arts and Communications.

Register of Merian C. Cooper correspondence and interview
Rose Frank
18 April 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States