I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My name is Tarzan, Mr Tarzan

Tarzan movies were the b&w jungle equivalent of James Bond on a thousandth of the budget. To keep costs down some scenes were repeated movie to movie. The Tarzans, a sort of nuclear family, occupied a ranch house halfway up a very large tree and passed their days entirely free from intellectual diversion. Mr and Mrs Tarzan appeared to be clad scantily and uncomfortably in leather. Their strangely pudgy son, Boy, had blonde curly hair, wore leopardskin trunks and had clearly been born on the wrong side of the blanket. The pet, a chimp, was ironically called Cheetah but no one commented on this.

Conflict was generated by (I’m a bit hazy on this) Nazis, much more suitably clad in safari suits. The Nazis manipulated the locals who were shockingly stereotyped and had bones through their noses. The locals played tom-toms and did very little else.

Mr Tarzan got around in two ways: swimming splashy racing crawl or by swinging and jumping from conveniently positioned lianas. Identical footage of these activities always reappeared. Before reaching for a liana Mr Tarzan ululated (Wiki: a long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sound resembling a howl with a trilling quality.)

In all the Tarzan movies I saw Mr Tarzan was required to wrestle and stab to death a rubber crocodile. This scene (always repeated) took place in a tank of muddy water which made it difficult to follow the action.

Little changed from movie to movie. Once and once only we were tantalised with details of the water system supplying the Tarzans’ kitchen. A vertical endless conveyor built up from dozens of short bamboo tubes. Sum total of the Tarzans’ imagination.

For me the series ended with Tarzan in New York. Mr Tarzan wore a suit and Cheetah went into care.

12 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

Strange that the actor who played Tarzan was Johnny Weissmuller, a more than Nazi sounding name.

It all brings back memories of sitting on wooden benches at The Pavilion (The Bug Hole) in Windhill watching Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Roy Rogers, The Three Stooges, Batman and Robin, Superman and others.

The earliest proper film I can remember seeing was when Granny Robinson took us to the cinema in Idle to see Stagecoach featuring John Wayne and directed by John Ford. That made a powerful impression on me and brother Nick. I think that film probably started Wayne's and Ford's roads to fame

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah, Tarzan. I saw one film in the cinema and was so disappointed. Of course I was really a Winnetou girl at heart and had a huge crush on Gary Cooper.

mike M said...

Johnny Weissmuller ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Weissmuller ) was the best known Tarzan. 5 Olympic swimming gold medals, 1 bronze, 52 U.S. swimming championships, 67 world records to his credit. Probably got the job due to his physique and athletic notoriety, deciding to cash in on those. Quite a golfer too, but the movies were horrible, at least the short segments I endured as a kid.

Lucy said...

I had rather a fondness for Lex Barker as Tarzan, I think that may even be he in your featured photo. I seem to remember being somewhat disillusioned later to learn he was some kind of pervert or sex pest or something, but a quick on-line search doesn't mention it. And yes it was a bit weird the chimp was called Cheetah, but I'm not sure Boy was engendered from the actual loins of T and J. I'd fogotten the running water system, evidently bilharzia was not a problem.

Joe Hyam said...

Tarzan as I remember was the son of a Scottish aristocrat. One film at least was set in a baronial castle in The Highlands. Lost in the jungle as a baby he was looked after by apes and other wild animals. The films were based on a number of books by Edgar Rice Boroughs which I read before seeing the movies I suppose the James Bond quote equivalent might be Ts's encounter with a young woman explorer which went "Me Tarzan. You Jane.

Joe Hyam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stella said...

You have to wonder what Jane saw in him.

Blonde Two said...

I think I have tumultum lignum domum (tree-house confusion) as my head can't separate chez Tarzan and the Swiss Family Robinson abode.

Apologies for my non-classical education!

mike M said...

Quite a thread going here...Lucy chimes in with the hilarious "sex pest", and RR wipes the slate on someone.

FigMince said...

According to the Crash Test Dummies’ ‘Superman’s Song’

“Tarzan wasn’t a ladies’ man,
He’d just come along and scoop ’em up under his arm like that,
Quick as a cat in the jungle...”

And the 1934 film ‘Tarzan And His Mate’ is interesting for its sensuous, daring-for-the-time sequence showing Tarzan and a naked Jane (actually Johnny Weissmuller and an Olympic swimmer named Josephine McKim doubling for Maureen O’Sullivan who could maybe only dog-paddle) swimming underwater.

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIbR-_GraGU )

Mind you, the rest of the movie is something of an anti-climax after that.

Interestingly (or maybe not), Tarzan never said “Me Tarzan, you Jane”. Actually, his toff genes made sure he used the subject pronoun and said “I Tarzan, you Jane”.

Roderick Robinson said...

ALL: My dear friends, you have made me so very, very happy. I am considering retiring having just done the perfect post. As Jerry Seinfeld said about his wonderfully successful TV series: "It's about nothing. We should have more series about nothing." This effusion of mine, as usual held to 300 words, was not about nothing but about rubbish. But rubbish is convertible; think of compost. I have never written so well. And the proof is it tickled most of your fancies. Never mind about curing malaria and bringing about world peace, entertainment is perhaps the best a hack like me can aspire to. Just for once it has come off. There is only one direction now. The seppuku knife beckons. But I shall die fulfilled.

Sir Hugh: I was well aware about Weissmuller but deliberately avoided mentioning him. Much more fun to be derived from the movies themselves. Not that it matters but I was really pleased with this post - dross into gold if you like. Even if that is unpardonable boasting.

RW (zS): Blogging exists to trigger the imagination of its customers. For you this post has succeeded beyond my wildest dream. Even after I had Googled - quite seriously - I discovered you had left me far behind. But please, please, don't explain.

MikeM: See my reply to Sir Hugh.

Lucy: No this is Johnnie not Lex. Lex had a sharp nose and looked ineffably urban. Also his loin-cloth didn't appear to be made from leather. Bless you for picking on every mundane detail including the water system. Just one point. I really didn't think you were old enough to have responded as you did.

Joe: I too had read the books. If they'd had the limited literary scope of the films I doubt they'd have been successful. But Burroughs' concept had Tarzan living with apes and offered far more interest. The movie you refer to is called Greystoke (Tarzan's aristocratic name) and sought to pursue the ape theme. But it was a blockbuster and could never have fathered the cheap sequels the b&w series did. Another thing: Burroughs' Tarzan taught himself to read from children's books which his original (non ape) parents - dead at the beginning of the first book, Tarzan And (possibly Of) the Apes, - had brought with them to Africa. As I recall he spoke parsable sentences.

Stella: Well don't leave it there. Who would you have preferred? Rex Harrison? Jude Law?

B2: If you're under the impression that Edgar Rice Burroughs and Johann David Wyss constitute elements of the classical literary canon it's time you acquired the three-paperback version of Robert Musil's Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften and got stuck in. Oh, another thing: never apologise on Tone Deaf. I'm so busy doing just that all the time we'd be in danger of putting people off.

MikeM: I have to confess I've never understood this particular meaning of "thread" as used in blogging. However, I'm pleased by the tone of your comment and I think it meshes with the sentiments expressed above under "All".

FigMince: Perfect. Detailed deconstruction of the genre which imposes a quite plausible layer of seriousness on the whole thing. Like you I love writing terminal sentences which start "Interestingly..."

Roderick Robinson said...

Sir Hugh: I was well aware about Weissmuller but deliberately avoided mentioning him. Much more fun to be derived from the movies themselves. Not that it matters but I was really pleased with this post - dross into gold if you like. Even if that is unpardonable boasting.

RW (zS): Blogging exists to trigger the imagination of its customers. For you this post has succeeded beyond my wildest dream. Even after I had Googled - quite seriously - I discovered you had left me far behind. But please, please, don't explain.

MikeM: See my reply to Sir Hugh.

Lucy: No this is Johnnie not Lex. Lex had a sharp nose and looked ineffably urban. Also his loin-cloth didn't appear to be made from leather. Bless you for picking on every mundane detail including the water system. Just one point. I really didn't think you were old enough to have responded as you did.

Joe: I too had read the books. If they'd had the limited literary scope of the films I doubt they'd have been successful. But Burroughs' concept had Tarzan living with apes and offered far more interest. The movie you refer to is called Greystoke (Tarzan's aristocratic name) and sought to pursue the ape theme. But it was a blockbuster and could never have fathered the cheap sequels the b&w series did. Another thing: Burroughs' Tarzan taught himself to read from children's books which his original (non ape) parents - dead at the beginning of the first book, Tarzan And (possibly Of) the Apes, - had brought with them to Africa. As I recall he spoke parsable sentences.

Stella: Well don't leave it there. Who would you have preferred? Rex Harrison? Jude Law?

B2: If you're under the impression that Edgar Rice Burroughs and Johann David Wyss constitute elements of the classical literary canon it's time you acquired the three-paperback version of Robert Musil's Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften and got stuck in. Oh, another thing: never apologise on Tone Deaf. I'm so busy doing just that all the time we'd be in danger of putting people off.

MikeM: I have to confess I've never understood this particular meaning of "thread" as used in blogging. However, I'm pleased by the tone of your comment and I think it meshes with the sentiments expressed above under "All".

FigMince: Perfect. Detailed deconstruction of the genre which imposes a quite plausible layer of seriousness on the whole thing. Like you I love writing terminal sentences which start "Interestingly..."

26 February 2014 07:27
Delete
Anonymous mike M said...

I may be stretching "thread" in my comment. Mirriam-Webster has it as: "a series of newsgroup messages following a single topic"