Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tarzan Of The Television!


Despite the fact I have a luxurious backlog of wonderful vintage television shows yet to enjoy (Irwin Allen and Hanna-Barbera shows galore)I nonetheless found myself helpless after a week of enjoying all things Tarzan. I ordered up the Ron Ely TV series, both seasons (three dvds - two for season one) and hope to enjoy over the next few weeks. They showed up yesterday, the jungle games can begin.


Ely's Tarzan is "my" Tarzan, he's the first actor I ever saw portray Edgar Rice Burrough's iconic Ape Man and so like any child he's imprinted on my imagination. His sleek body style, his fluid modern speech patterns,  and his handsome friendly face all add up to Tarzan in my book. I was surprised to find that the TV series only lasted two seasons. I seem to remember watching it for what seems forever. Ely as Tarzan standing atop that magnificent waterfall in the opening credits is often the go-to image in my memory when the name of Tarzan is evoked. I didn't until recently know that waterfall was in Brazil.

After watching only a single episode, I can already tell my boyhood memories fail me when it comes to the texture of the show. It's editing is more hodge-podge with clear stock footage interpolated with shots of the Ape Man and his associates. The terrain seems to jump from grassland to deep jungle on a whim. None of these things bothered a young boy rapt with romance of Tarzan, the ultimate wish-fulfillment hero, assured, strong, agile, handsome, and most of all independent.

It will be interesting to watch these shows produced by Sy Weintraub after having seen for the first time the theater efforts starring first Jock Mahoney and Mike Henry. I can already tell this will be a most revealing trip through some outstanding and even some outlandish episodes.

Here are some more of Gold Key's tribute to the then-current TV Tarzan.




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4 comments:

  1. The first few episodes are VERY choppy. For various reasons the show got way behind schedule very quickly, and the early episodes were assembled on very tight deadlines to meet the network's air dates. The show does use stock footage throughout both seasons, but the producers did get their act together, and the quality improves rapidly.

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    1. Thanks for the info. It gives me hope that things will improve. I'm not bothered by the stock footage, but there were other odd editing gaffs which spoke of speedy storytelling. It's odd how these things bug me now, but I was never aware of them when a mere tyro.

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  2. Saturday evenings were never the same after this series finished a must watch in my household when I was growing up!

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    1. Tarzan was a family affair in my house too, in those ancient days of just one TV in the living room.

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