Gary Cooper on KIBS Canton Island 1953

Gary Cooper in 1952. By Eiga no Tomo – Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, Link

Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper; May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was an American actor known for his natural, authentic, strong, silent and understated acting style. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice and had a further three nominations, as well as receiving an Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements in 1961. He was one of the top 10 film personalities for 23 consecutive years, and one of the top money-making stars for 18 years. The American Film Institute (AFI) ranked Cooper at No. 11 on its list of the 25 greatest male stars of classic Hollywood cinema.

Cooper’s career spanned 36 years, from 1925 to 1961, and included leading roles in 84 feature films. He was a major movie star from the end of the silent film era through to the end of the golden age of Classical Hollywood. His screen persona appealed strongly to both men and women, and his range of performances included roles in most major film genres. His ability to project his own personality onto the characters he played contributed to his natural and authentic appearance on screen. Throughout his career, he sustained a screen persona that represented the ideal American hero.

Cooper began his career as a film extra and stunt rider, but soon landed acting roles. After establishing himself as a Western hero in his early silent films, he appeared as the Virginian and became a movie star in 1929 with his first sound picture, The Virginian. In the early 1930s, he expanded his heroic image to include more cautious characters in adventure films and dramas such as A Farewell to Arms (1932) and The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935). During the height of his career, Cooper portrayed a new type of hero—a champion of the common man—in films such as Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Meet John Doe (1941), Sergeant York (1941), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). He later portrayed more mature characters at odds with the world in films such as The Fountainhead (1949) and High Noon (1952). In his final films, he played non-violent characters searching for redemption in films such as Friendly Persuasion (1956) and Man of the West (1958).

(Biography from Wikipedia)

Poster for the movie “Return to Paradise”. By Source, Fair use, Link

In 1953 Cooper was returning to the US after filming the movie Return to Paradise on location in Samoa.

Return to Paradise is an American South Seas adventure drama film released by United Artists in 1953. The film was directed by Mark Robson and starred Gary Cooper, Barry Jones and Roberta Haynes. It was based on a short story, “Mr. Morgan”, by James Michener in his 1951 short story collection Return to Paradise, his sequel to his 1947 novel Tales of the South Pacific. It was filmed on location in Matautu, Western Samoa (present-day Samoa).

(Film description from Wikipedia)

During his stop-over in Canton Island, Cooper was interviewed by the local radio station, KIBS, for their feature “The Traveller Talks”.

This rare recording survives and was donated to us in 2012 by Glenn Carpenter who grew up on Canton Island.

Early South Pacific route of Pan Am Clipper flying boats. Initially flights stopped at Kingman Reef, but this was later changed to Canton Island in the Phoenix group. By the time of Cooper’s visit these services had been replaced by land-based aircraft using runways constructed during WW2.

Listen to Gary Cooper on “The Traveller Talks”
KIBS Canton Island 1953

Digital audio © Radio Heritage Foundation, Glenn Carpenter Collection

More about Radio on Canton Island:

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