David Lesjak, master of the astonishing Toons At War blog, came up with one of the coolest tributes to naval aviation in this centennial year. In a richly detailed post he points out that it was U.S. Navy pilots who killed King Kong:
When RKO camera crews traveled to the East Coast to film location shots for King Kong, an RKO representative contacted the Commanding Officer of NRAB Floyd Bennett Field with an offer: RKO would donate $100 to the Officer’s Mess Fund and pay the pilots $10 each to fly around the Empire State Building. The C.O., not knowing his superiors had previously denied RKO’s request, accepted the offer. … Four Helldivers took part in the filming. The fuselage of each sported the squadron’s unofficial Mickey Mouse emblem.
With an irony he richly enjoyed, Marion C. Cooper joined his fellow director-producer-crazy man Ernest Schoedsack in personally appearing in the close-up shots of the pilots as they strafed the great ape. Cooper had been kicked out of Annapolis years before in part, he claimed, for too forcefully arguing for air power.