Tarzan first appeared in the story " Tarzan of the Apes" written by American author Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912
The tale was of an orphaned infant who survived after his parents had been killed whilst in Africa. Alone and still only a Baby he was adopted by a Female Gorilla who raised him as her own. This story over the years has been slightly changed but basically Tarzan is a man raised as an Ape, as one of their own.
Later Tarzan would come to learn that he was not like his Ape family and would come to know that he was a Man, but would go on to use the skills learnt as a creature of the Jungle to help maintain peace within the Jungle. The Perfect Athlete with his senses honed to the peak of possibilities, a Man but much much more.
Burroughs wrote around 25 novel and stories featuring Tarzan most of which involved him and his adventures in Jungles of Africa. In his early 20's Tarzan would meet a woman called Jane Porter who would eventually became his mate (Wife). Sometimes she is portrayed as an Daughter of a British explorer, and other times she is an American Heiress. The only constant being she loves Tarzan and Tarzan Loves Jane.
When Hollywood decided that The Ape Man was idea for Movies it was in 1918 that Elmo Lincoln played the Ape Man in the silent film " Tarzan of the Apes" but the Person most associated with playing Tarzan on the Big Screen was former Olympic Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller who played Tarzan in many films during the 1930's 1940's.
This Tarzan was portrayed as a noble savage with a moral compass. He did the right thing and only killed in order to prevent others being hurt, The Weissmuller Tarzan gave the character his trade mark Yell. Although the Film Studio told the press Weissmuller had made up the call himself using his own vocal talents,...... The Studio issued a press release to say that Johnny Weissmuller he had been a champion Yodeller as a child in Austria- Germany, so the call was of his own making ........ it was later made public that the call the work of the sound department at the film studio. A Mix of animal sounds and maybe a bit of Johnny thrown in too. This may just be a fantasy, but the Trade mark Yell would be adopted by many other films featuring the Ape Man Tarzan.
Many films of Tarzan have been made over the years, some better than others. He even had a TV show in the 1960's with Ron Ely in the tile Roll, and a cartoon series.
In 1999 Disney took on the roll of making a feature film with a music sound track provided by Rocker Phil Collins. Which with its effects breaking animation and well received sound track proved that Tarzan really Rocked !!!!
Tarzan looks like one of those characters that will run and run. With the original back story always open to be expanded or amended to fit the circumstance and now that the Burroughs Estate has little if any control over how the Ape Man is now, we can look forward to seeing Tarzan of the Apes appearing in the media or on screen in the foreseeable future.
So if you are a Fan of the Original Silent Tarzan Elmo Lincoln, or 1930's and 1940's Family Friendly Ape man Hollywood Hero Johnny Weissmuller, or the 1950's more clean cut Lex Baker and Gordon Scott's portrayal of Tarzan, or the 1960's Ron Ely modern approach of The Great White Ape, or Miles O'Keeffe and Bo Derek 1981 Soft Porn adventure , and the Artistic and Brooding Christopher Lambert's Lord Greystoke version of the timeless Hero of the Jungle or any other of the good and the Great that have swung from a Vine wearing a loin cloth..... you know they owe it all to a simple tale first penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs over a Hundred Years Ago.
Here is my version of Tarzan of the Apes.
Tarzan's may have felling Love with his Jane, but before her there was Cheeta the Chimpanzee . Maybe he-she was never originally created by Mt Burroughs but became part of the legend in the 1930's. The original Cheeta lived a long full life and was one of Hollywoods longest living Movie Stars.
Maybe the line "Me Tarzan, You Jane" may have been miss quoted a number of times during the years, but we all know what it really means !
and a Finally look at the Tarzan Family Unit
|Setting up home Jungle Style|
Next time another hero from a forgotten time.
Until then ENJOY !