The Back Story to Chapter One and Two of Almost Human

moja

Ken Decroo with Moja (signing chimp) e. 1984

Several readers have asked me how Almost Human was “born.” I was working as the technical adviser and chimp trainer on a movie that starred Karen Allen and Armand Assante. One evening we were out relaxing after a long day of filming on location in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After a few drinks Armand commented on how human-like my chimp, Mike seemed. I put on my university professor hat and began pontificating on all the traits we humans shared with chimps including my work as a linguistic research assistant on a project in Reno that had successfully taught chimps to communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) as used by the deaf.

That evening after the bar closed I went home and wrote the second chapter where Dr. Turner is lecturing about the similarities and differences of chimpanzees in a University lecture hall at the University of Nevada, Reno. I had worked there on the signing chimp project. I wrote that chapter in about 1984 or so on an old Royal typewriter. Just before dawn, as I finished writing, Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” played on the radio. I put another paper in and wrote the first chapter before going to work.

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20 thoughts on “The Back Story to Chapter One and Two of Almost Human

  1. Wow! That must of been a very interesting project. Thank you for sharing.

    • PS. I just ordered your book on Amazon, can’t wait to read it!

    • It was amazing to communicate and spend days in the company of chimps. Several chapters take place in Reno and are inspired by that project when I was part of it in the 70’s.

      Tammy and I will be headed your way on our motos as we travel to Billings the long way around. Maybe we could meet and I’ll autograph your
      copy. Warm regards, ken

  2. We readers always love to hear the back stories! Love it. Thanks, Ken.

  3. Stefini

    This makes me smile! You are such an amazing man and have lived and continue to live such an amazing life!!!

  4. Jackie Bird

    Ken, you are amazing and we all are very very blessed to have known you then, your adventures and NOW!

  5. I want to buy a copy, so where and how. Secondly I would like you to sign it, if at all possible

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