Dick Clark and the Randolph County Chimp Fight


While my job with Restoration Systems requires me to spend countless hours on the road in pursuit of new stream and wetland restoration sites, it does provide a welcome perk – meeting some extraordinary people.  Danny M., who recently decided to partner with RS on a stream restoration project, is one of these characters. 

When I first met Danny, he appeared like any other man in his county —a rough, hard working, good ol’ boy.  However, after a few moments of discussion, it became very clear that “every dog has day.”   In 1968, Hollywood relocated to Randolph County in central North Carolina to film a motion picture starring and directed by Dick Clark.  The plot was a standard “shoot-em-up,” and the movie was filmed mostly in the municipalities of Liberty, Ramseur, and the surrounding rural countryside.  When the actors first arrived in NC, they established their home base at a hotel in Asheboro. 

Danny M. was encouraged by a friend to go audition for a supporting role in the film.  A great tale made short, Danny made an impression on Dick Clark and became his chauffeur during the following months.  Before the filming of the climax of the motion picture, Dick Clark asked Danny M. to fill the small role of a federal agent in pursuit of the revenuers (Dick Clark and others).  In conclusion, Danny shot Dick Clark off of a water tower during the climax of the motion picture. 

If that weren’t enough, Danny M. continued on to tell me of his $100 prize fight — with a  chimpanzee — in 1972.  Clothed only with a pair of tennis shoes and a muzzle, the chimp fought Danny in a large cage.  Danny, a stout man now in his late 50’s, led with a hard whallop to the face causing the chimp to howl in anguish and pain—a terribly frightening sound according to Danny.  The chimp immediately counter attacked with a vengeance—the  like of which Danny said you can only imagine — punching, kicking, and clawing his way to victory.  Had the chimp not been muzzled, Danny was sure it would have chewed him to pieces after the painful hit he first delivered to the ape.  To this day, Danny keeps one of the little feller’s gloves on his dresser.