Trader Horn publicity shot with Edwina Booth, Duncan Renaldo, and Harry Carey
movie ticket Ten Commandments
Trader Horn (1931), dir. W.S. Van Dyke

Above: Edwina "The White Goddess" Booth, Duncan Renaldo,
Harry "Trader Horn" Carey, and Mutia Omoolu

MGM dispatched Van Dyke and his crew of Culver City sound men and camera operators to shoot and record the movie in Kenya and Uganda, the first synchronous sound film shot on location in Africa. The synch sound documentary by Martin and Osa Johnson—Congorilla—followed in 1932.
The shooting of Trader Horn was matinee movie Hollywood at its 1930s apogee: accidents, moonlight, and camp-tent romances. Tse-tse flies swarmed. Locusts marauded. Booth fell out of a tree. Carey almost lost the foot he dangled above crocodiles. Barefooted, unnetted, and skimpily clad, Booth contracted "mysterious jungle diseases" (malaria), languished for years, and sued MGM for her career-ending illness. In the movie, she spoke not a word of English, grunting instead in "African dialect." One Kikuyu crewman succumbed to a charging rhino; another slipped into the gullet of a crocodile. Duncan Renaldo's wife sued Booth for alienation of affection.
Inscribing a copy of Horning Into Africa, the memoir he wrote on filming Trader Horn, Van Dyke wrote " To the girl of my secret adoration—Eleanor Packer—from W.S. Van Dyke. In tiny script he added, "Eleanor, I've never dared say what I wanted to but I can think what I damn please. Van."
[Myra Loy played "Eleanor Packer" in Van Dyke's production of Manhattan Melodrama (1934). Van Dyke and Myrna Loy collaborated on nine films together, most notably The Thin Man series.]
Nominated for "Best Picture" of 1930/31, Trader Horn lost to RKO Radio Pictures' Cimarron.
African fabric design
  On back lots off Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood confected 52 other Africa-themed talkies from 1928 to 1933, most applying a magician's cloth to the continent and pulling out pure hokum. Above, Hell's Headquarters (1932). "Look! They're coming this way! Run for it!" exclaims actor Phillips Smalley, waiter in the restaurant scene of Sunrise (1927).  


page from "Trader Horn" by Alfred Aloysius Horn
  Trader Horn: Being the Life and Works of Alfred Aloysius Horn: an "Old Vinter"...the works written by himself at the age of seventy-three and the life, with such of his philosophy as it the gift of age and experience, taken down here and edited by Ethelreda Lewis (New York, 1927), pp. 212-213 (excerpts)  
  Horn drifts through his picaresque life in Equatorial Africa in the pages of this memoir. In the page above he recollects his rendezvous with Nina, the "white goddess"of the forest. Readers in 1927 devoured it. The book launched the movie.  
Trader Horn publicity shot with Edwina Booth
Edwina Booth, publicity shot for Trader Horn
"We went back to camp and were overjoyed to learn that Edwina Booth had shot a nice lion and Eddie Cornwall, my generator man, had shot another. I raced to where the carcasses were and found the natives had just finished skinning the animals. I gave one howl of despair and fainted."
W.S. Van Dyke, Horning Into Africa (19310, p. 161.
shooting Trader Horn on location in Africa
Joseph Breen letter condeming King of the Gorillas
Hollywood-based MPPDA Code Administrator Joseph Breen letter to New York-based MPDAA executive Francis Harmon (excerpts)