Biography[edit | edit source]
Outside of King Kong vs. Godzilla, Beck's greatest claims to fame are producing the 1950 James Stewart film Harvey and his involvement in the 1946 merger between Universal Pictures and International Pictures.
In 1961, stop-motion animator Willis O'Brien contacted Beck with a film treatment called King Kong vs. Frankenstein, which they made a handshake deal to work on together. Beck recruited prolific sci-fi screenwriter George Worthing Yates to write the script, which became King Kong vs. Prometheus, and pitched it unsuccessfully to several American studios; Beck would not contact O'Brien further. He found a buyer in Toho, who wanted to substitute Godzilla for Frankenstein and otherwise start from scratch. Released in 1962, King Kong vs. Godzilla became a mammoth hit in Japan, convincing Toho to continue producing Godzilla films at a rapid clip. Beck, having secured the rights to the film in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Israel, sold them to Universal for $200,000. He also produced an English-language version of the film, which was extensively recut and featured new scenes in a United Nations newsroom directed by Thomas Montgomery. After learning of King Kong vs. Godzilla, O'Brien contemplated suing Beck for intent to defraud, but did not have enough money for a protracted legal battle, and died shortly thereafter. Beck himself died of cancer at the age of 83 on July 18, 1993.
Selected filmography[edit | edit source]
- King Kong vs. Prometheus (1961) - Producer [unmade]
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) - Producer [American version]
References[edit | edit source]
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