May 24, 1931: Writer develops Planet of the Apes storyline for Miami
Beware a Miami man who will try to talk you into investing in his scheme to import monkeys to pick cotton, tea and coffee in the Everglades, Miami Daily News agricultural editor Richard L. Rinc warns in one of those stories you won't see in newspapers today.
The man is approaching people on park benches, Rinc explains. "Once he gets your attention, you're gone. Before he leaves he probably will have obtained $25 to cinch a lease on some acreage, or lacking that, have borrowed a ten or a fiver."
Rinc dismisses the schemer as "a whiskery individual armed with pencil, paper and an odor suggesting essence of crime."
But something about the man's pitch clearly piqued Rinc's imagination to inspire him to write such a long essay, admitting, "I nearly fell for it myself."
"For in nearly two minutes he had filled suitable enclosures in south Miami with golden-taced baboons and their progeny. In three minutes Biscayne Key was a monkey paradise, its inhabitants overflowing northward into Miami Beach. Inside of five minutes...there were literally millions of monkeys in the future Everglades National park.
Rinc writes of hearing "the clink of money as it passed to and fro among the merchants of Miami, derived from cargoes of Simians that were being shipped on great ocean liners from a deeper harbor here, to pick cotton in Georgia."
He dreams of the money he could make with the offspring of two apes. "In a short while you'll have lovely monkeys shinning up coconut trees in Bay Front park, throwing nuts down to others who sell them at fantastic figures in the Miami curb market."
"Still other monkeys will be picking tea leaves from shrub-like trees in the Everglades, while you sit in the shade and smoke, armed with a pencil and paper, figuring profits. Whole villages of monkeys will live pleasantly on the fringe of great coffee plantations just west of Hialeah, picking coffee beans for their board, furnished at no cost whatever by vast banana plantations west of Coral Gables."
Poor Richard L. Rinc should have hung out longer in the Miami heat, nurturing this hallucination to its logical conclusion -- slavery, rebellion, takeover, apes developing speech and enslaving their former masters -- and he could have owned the Planet of the Apes franchise decades before its creation by Hollywood.
Those movies would have been better in a Florida setting.
Read the story in the Miami Daily News: Man Proposes Raising Monkeys on Farm and Then Domesticating Them