Tarzan in film, television and other non-print media
Tarzan, a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in twenty-four sequels by Burroughs and numerous more by other authors. The character proved immensely popular and quickly made the jump to other media, first and most notably to comics and film. This article concerns Tarzan's appearance in film and other non-print media.
The earlier Tarzan films were silent pictures adapted from the original Tarzan novels which appeared within a few years of the character's creation. With the advent of talking pictures, a popular Tarzan movie franchise was developed, which was anchored by actor Johnny Weissmüller in the title role, which lasted from 1932 to 1948. Tarzan films under Weissmüller often featured the character's chimpanzee companion, Cheeta. Later Tarzan films after Weissmüller have been occasional and somewhat idiosyncratic.
The earlier Tarzan films were eight silent features and serials released between 1918 and 1929, most based on novels in the original series. Elmo Lincoln starred in the first Tarzan feature, Tarzan of the Apes (1918), a faithful cinematic rendering of Burroughs' first Tarzan novel. The first portion of the film featured Gordon Griffith as the young Tarzan, so Griffith could technically be considered the first screen Tarzan. (Early in the film, Tarzan is also shown as a baby played by at least two different uncredited children.) Elmo Lincoln returned for two sequels. Additional silents were produced in the 1920s with other actors (three of these films – The Romance of Tarzan (1918, Elmo Lincoln), The Revenge of Tarzan (1920, Gene Pollar), and Tarzan the Mighty (1928, Frank Merrill) – have been lost). One of the silents, Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927), featured the then-unknown Boris Karloff as a villainous native chieftain. Other actors who portrayed the character in 1920s films were P. Dempsey Tabler and James Pierce (who married the daughter of Edgar Rice Burroughs). The first Tarzan sound film was Tarzan the Tiger (1929), featuring Frank Merrill as the Ape Man, shot as a silent but partially dubbed for release. It was Merrill’s second Tarzan movie, and it cost him the role, as his voice was deemed unsuitable for the part.
The Weissmüller eraEdit
Me Tarzan, You Jane
The “Me Tarzan, You Jane” cliché probably originates from telescoping the dialogue of Tarzan and Jane’s first meeting in Tarzan the Ape Man (1932):
Jane Parker: Thank you for protecting me.
Jane Parker: I said, thank you for protecting me.
Tarzan: [points at Jane] Me?
Jane Parker: No. I'm only "Me" for me.
Tarzan: [points at Jane] Me.
Jane Parker: No. To you, I'm "You."
Tarzan: [points at himself] You.
Jane Parker: No... [Thinks for a second]
Jane Parker: I'm Jane Parker. Understand? Jane, Jane.
Tarzan: [points at Jane] Jane, Jane.
Jane Parker: Yes, Jane. And you? [Tarzan stares]
Jane Parker: [points at herself] Jane.
Jane Parker: [points at Tarzan] And you?
Tarzan: Tarzan. Tarzan.
Jane Parker: Tarzan...
Another dialogue moment that comes close is in Tarzan’s New York Adventure (1943). Tarzan emphasizes the couple’s mutual affection by pointing and saying “Tarzan…Jane…Jane…Tarzan.”
The most popular series of Tarzan films began with Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), starring Johnny Weissmüller and Maureen O'Sullivan. Weissmüller, the son of ethnic-German immigrants from Romania, was already well known as a five-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming. He became the most famous and longest-lasting screen Tarzan, starring as the Ape Man in a total of twelve films, through 1948, the first six produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the final six from RKO. The beauteous and scantily clad O'Sullivan was a major factor in the early popularity of the series. The role of Jane in the films was reduced after O'Sullivan departed in 1942 following the sixth film in the series (and the last for MGM), Tarzan's New York Adventure. Two Jane-less films followed before Brenda Joyce took over the role for the last four Weissmüller Tarzan films.
Starting afresh with an extremely free adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes which threw out everything that had gone before, the Weissmüller series was a boon to the franchise if not to the character. In contrast to the articulate nobleman of Burroughs's novels, Weissmuller's Tarzan was a natural hero with a limited vocabulary. The ersatz pidgin of his dialogue has often been mocked as "Me Tarzan, you Jane," although that particular line was never spoken in any of the films (see insert).
Tarzan and Jane were clearly married in the novels, but their legal status was left ambiguous in the Weissmuller films, even though they shared a jungle treehouse and (particularly in the second film of the series, Tarzan and His Mate) a strong sexual chemistry. In keeping with Motion Picture Production Code requirements, their son "Boy" was found and adopted rather than born to Jane. The "Boy" character, played by Johnny Sheffield, appeared in eight consecutive films in the series, starting with Tarzan Finds a Son (1939). Weissmüller's yodel-like "Tarzan yell" became so associated with the character that it was sometimes dubbed into later films featuring different actors. Cheeta the chimpanzee provided comic relief through the series.
Due to complex licensing issues relating to Tarzan, a number of competing films starring other actors were made during the Weissmüller period. The first of these was Tarzan the Fearless (1933), featuring another Olympic swimmer, Buster Crabbe, that was the first Tarzan film produced by Sol Lesser, later to become producer of the franchise when it moved to RKO. The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935), hearkening back to the original concept of the character as an intelligent Englishman, was a serial featuring Herman Brix that was reedited into two feature films, the first released in the same year and with the same title as the serial, and the second, Tarzan and the Green Goddess released in 1938. Brix, another Olympian (shotput) changed his name in 1939 and, as Bruce Bennett, enjoyed a long career in film and television. Tarzan's Revenge, also released in 1938, starred Glenn Morris, gold medal winner in the Olympic decathlon in 1936 and female swimmer Eleanor Holm who was expelled from the 1936 Olympics and featured opposite Weissmüller and Crabbe in Billy Rose's Aquacade; the film again produced by Sol Lesser.
With the exception of The New Adventures of Tarzan, which was partially filmed in Guatemala, the Tarzan movies of this period were mostly filmed on Hollywood sound stages, with stock jungle and wildlife footage edited into the final product.
The franchise after WeissmüllerEdit
After Tarzan and the Mermaids in 1948, Weissmuller retired from the series, believing that he was now too old to play the loincloth-clad character. He went on, however, to appear in a long series of similar adventures wearing a safari suit as Jungle Jim.
After Weissmüller's departure, producer Sol Lesser led a nationwide search for a replacement, auditioning over 200 actors. The winner was Lex Barker, a tall and strikingly handsome 29-year-old who had grown up in wealth and privilege in New York City. Barker portrayed Tarzan in five films (1949–1953), each with a different actress portraying Jane (the first one being Brenda Joyce, a carry-over from the Weissmüller series). These were mostly low budget affairs similar to Weissmuller's RKO films, although the third one, Tarzan's Peril (1951), was an attempt to upgrade the series by filming on actual African locations and using local Africans in the cast. Despite Barker's aristocratic bearing and good acting credentials, Lesser insisted that he emulate Weissmüller's "Me Tarzan, you Jane" characterization.
Next came six films starring Gordon Scott (1955–1960), a bodybuilder who was discovered while lifeguarding at a hotel in Las Vegas. His first three Tarzan films, produced by Sol Lesser, continued in the Weissmüller formula. Lesser also produced several episodes of a Tarzan television pilot starring Scott that was edited into a feature film called Tarzan and the Trappers.
Then the series was taken over by producer Sy Weintraub, who wanted to move the character closer to Burroughs's original conception. The result starred Scott in two of the best-received entries in the entire franchise, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959) and Tarzan the Magnificent (1960). MGM released a remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man in 1959, a poorly received film starring Denny Miller. The Weintraub series continued in two films featuring veteran stuntman Jock Mahoney (1962–1963), three with former pro-football player Mike Henry (1966–1968), and two (feature versions of television episodes) with Ron Ely (1970). The Mike Henry films were filmed before the Ron Ely TV series, but were released to theatres after the TV series debuted. Weintraub had intended Henry to star in the TV series, but Henry declined because of the injuries and illnesses he had suffered during back to back location filming.
The Weintraub productions, including the Ron Ely television series (see below), dropped the character of Jane and portrayed Tarzan as an intelligent but apparently rootless adventurer. The Mike Henry entries, starting with Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), were produced at the height of the James Bond craze, and had a well-tailored Tarzan jetting around the world to take on dangerous missions. In contrast to most earlier Tarzan films, the Weintraub productions were in color and were shot in exotic locations such as Kenya, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, and Brazil.
After 1970, the movie Tarzan went on hiatus until 1981, when MGM released its third version of Tarzan, the Ape Man with Miles O'Keeffe in the title role and Bo Derek as Jane. The film was financially successful, but critically panned.
The better-received Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes followed in 1984, starring Christopher Lambert. Returning to the source material, it updated Burroughs’ original novel in the light of 1980s sensibilities and science, utilizing a number of corrective ideas first put forth by science fiction author Philip José Farmer in his 1972 mock-biography Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke. While restoring Tarzan’s identity as an intelligent human being, Greystoke portrayed his adaptation to civilization as a failure, and his return to the wild as a matter of necessity rather than choice.
The next live-action Tarzan movie was Tarzan and the Lost City (1998) which starred Casper Van Dien. Essentially a follow-on to Greystoke, this film was set in the 1920s and attempted to capture the flavor of some of the later novels in the Tarzan series, in which the ape-man encountered increasingly fantastic civilizations hidden in the deep jungles.
The latest live-action Tarzan film The Legend of Tarzan (2016), produced by Warner Brothers and Jerry Weintraub & directed by David Yates, was released on July 1, 2016. It stars Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie as Tarzan and Jane, along with Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz and Djimon Hounsou. The new approach blended the characters and aspects of the setting from the Burroughs novels with the events of the Congo in the 1890s and historical figures with a significant role at the time, such as Leon Rom as portrayed by Waltz.
Disney's animated Tarzan (1999) marked a new beginning for the ape man, taking its inspiration equally from Burroughs and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Its major innovations were recasting the original fictitious ape species that adopted Tarzan as gorillas and turning William Cecil Clayton, his paternal cousin and rival for the affections of Jane in the early novels, into a brawny out-and-out villain known only as "Clayton." Tarzan was voiced by actor Tony Goldwyn and Jane by Minnie Driver.
Two direct-to-video sequels followed, Tarzan & Jane (2002), and Tarzan II (2005), a re-exploration of the ape man’s childhood. In Tarzan & Jane, Goldwyn and Driver were replaced by Michael T. Weiss and Olivia d'Abo.
In 2013, Germany's Constantin Film released a Tarzan 3D animated feature in CGI with motion capture. Reinhard Klooss directed. Kellan Lutz and Spencer Locke voiced Tarzan and Jane Porter, respectively. The film opened in a number of countries in late 2013 and early 2014, but received mostly negative reviews and as a result no theatrical release was planned for the U.S. Instead, the film was released directly to DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. in August 2014.
The film Tarzan corpus also includes a number of documentaries, most of them either made for television or to accompany video sets of Tarzan movies, a number of derivative foreign-language productions from China, India, and Turkey, and various spoofs and parodies. Among the latter is Starzan, a Philippine Cinema comedy film loosely based on the original Tarzan franchise satirizing western entertainment. It stars Filipino comedic actor Joey De Leon as Starzan, Rene Requiestas as "Chitae", and Zsa Zsa Padilla as Jane.
Steve Sipek also known as Steve Hawkes played Tarzan in two films produced by a Spanish company and intended for world markets. The first was variously titled Tarzán en la gruta del oro/King of the Jungle/Tarzan in the Golden Grotto (1969) and portions were filmed in Suriname, Florida, Africa, Spain and Italy, with interruptions when the producers ran out of money. Sipek claimed the film company couldn't pay the huge licensing fees from Edgar Rice Burroughs' estate and settled for the name "Zan" or "Karzan" for the character.
A 1921 Broadway production of Tarzan of The Apes starred Ronald Adair as Tarzan and Ethel Dwyer as Jane Porter.
In 1976, Richard O'Brien wrote a musical entitled T. Zee, loosely based on the idea of Tarzan but restyled in a rock idiom.
Tarzan, a musical stage adaptation of the 1999 animated feature, opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway on May 10, 2006. The show, a Disney Theatrical production, was directed and designed by Bob Crowley. The show played its final performance July 8, 2007. Tarzan was played by Josh Strickland. Jane was played by Jenn Gambatese. Terk, Tarzan's best friend, was played by Chester Gregory. Kerchak, Tarzan's ape father was played by Shuler Hensley and Robert Evan. Kala, Tarzan's ape mother was played by Merle Dandridge. Professor Porter (Jane's father) was played by Tim Jerome. Mr. Clayton (Jane's "love interest") was played by Donnie Keshawarz. And Young Tarzan was played by Daniel Manche, Dylan Riley Snyder, J. Bradley Bowers, and Alex Rutherford.
The same version of Tarzan that was played at the Richard Rodgers Theatre played throughout Europe and was a success in the Netherlands.
Tarzan also appeared in the Tarzan Rocks! show at the Theatre in the Wild at Walt Disney World Resort's Disney's Animal Kingdom. The show closed in 2006. The Tarzan Encounter currently plays in Disneyland Park (Paris), similar to the show at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
See main article, Tarzan (radio program).
Tarzan was the hero of two popular radio programs. The first began on 12 September 1932 with James H. Pierce in the role of Tarzan, adapting the novel Tarzan of the Apes in 77 installments, airing three times each week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each episode, not counting commercials, ran for about ten minutes. This series was followed by two original stories, written by Rob Thompson, "Tarzan and the Diamond of Ashair", 39 episodes airing every weekday starting 1 May 1935, and "Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr", 39 episodes, airing during 1936. Both of these stories Rob Thompson later adapted for the Tarzan comic strip and again for the Dell Tarzan comic book.
Meanwhile, television had emerged as a primary vehicle bringing the character to the public, as the corpus of Tarzan films, especially those of Johnny Weissmuller and Lex Barker, became staples on Saturday morning TV. In 1958, in the middle of his six-film reign as Tarzan, Gordon Scott filmed three episodes for a prospective television series. The program did not sell, and in 1966 the three pilots were edited into a 90-minute television feature entitled Tarzan and the Trappers.
A live action Tarzan series starring Ron Ely ran on NBC 1966–1968 (57 hour-long episodes). The executive producer was Sy Weintraub, and the series was basically a follow-on to Weintraub's series of Tarzan films that began with Tarzan's Greatest Adventure in 1959. Weintraub had dispensed with Jane and portrayed his ape man as well-spoken and sophisticated. Though Ely's Tarzan did not have Jane, he was accompanied by Cheeta the chimpanzee from the movies and a child sidekick, the orphan boy Jai (Manuel Padilla, Jr.), who also played the similar roles of Ramel and Pepe in Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966) and Tarzan and the Great River (1967). The character Jai first appeared in the film Tarzan Goes to India, played by a young actor of the same name.
An animated series from Filmation, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, aired from 1976–1977, with new and repeat episodes in the anthology programs Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour (1977–1978), Tarzan and the Super 7 (1978–1980), The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour (1980–1981), and The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour) (1981–1982). In that show, Tarzan is voiced by Robert Ridgely and Danton Burroughs.
Following this Joe Lara starred in the title role in Tarzan in Manhattan (1989), an offbeat TV movie, and would later return in a completely different interpretation in Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996), a new live-action series. In between the two productions with Lara, Tarzán, a half-hour syndicated series, ran from 1991 through 1994. In this version of the show, Tarzan was portrayed by Wolf Larson as a blond environmentalist, with Jane turned into a French ecologist.
The latest television series was the live-action Tarzan (2003), which starred male model Travis Fimmel and updated the setting to contemporary New York City with Jane as a police detective. The series failed to meet studio expectations and was cancelled after only eight episodes.
Netflix aired an animated series titled Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Jane set in modern-day where 16-year-old Tarzan (voiced by Giles Panton) returns from the African jungle to a London boarding school where he meets Jane (voiced by Rebecca Shoichet), who helps him solve environmental injustice, crimes and mysteries.
A 1981 television special, The Muppets Go to the Movies, features a short sketch entitled "Tarzan and Jane." Lily Tomlin plays Jane opposite The Great Gonzo as Tarzan. In addition, the Muppets have made reference to Tarzan on half a dozen occasions since the 1960s.
In an episode of The Fairly OddParents, a spoof of Tarzan appears as "Lord of the Drapes", and "Lord of the Shapes", instead of Lord of the Apes.
Series One, Episode Two of The Two Ronnies includes a "Tarzan in Suburbia" sketch with Ronnie Barker as Tarzan.
The British ITV Schools series Writers' Workshop has a 1976 episode called Our Hero, discussing the character of Tarzan and featuring Arne Gordon as Tarzan in an extended sketch.
The Japanese Jungle no Ouja Ta-chan (King of the Jungle Ta-chan) series, originally a manga by Tokuhiro Masaya, was based loosely on Tarzan. It featured the characters of Tarzan and his wife Jane, who had become obese after settling down with Tarzan. The series begins as a comical parody of Tarzan, but later expands to other settings, such as a martial arts tournament in China, professional wrestling in America, and even a fight with vampires.
In another anime, One Piece, Roronoa Zoro is seen doing a Tarzan call imitation during the Skypiea arc.
Taito's 1982 arcade game Jungle King featured a character who resembled Tarzan. Copyright issues required Taito to rename the game, producing Jungle Hunt. The company retained the original character, albeit dressed in safari clothing complete with pith helmet. Gameplay remained unchanged; the player still fought crocodiles and swung from trees, but by ropes instead of vines. Jungle Hunt was subsequently adapted for play on numerous video game consoles and personal computers.
Tarzan Goes Ape was released in the 1980s for the Commodore 64.
Other games focusing on Disney's version of Tarzan include Tarzan Untamed (2001) for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube and Disney's Tarzan: Return to the Jungle (2002) for the Game Boy Advance. Characters from the animated film have also appeared in Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure and Kingdom Hearts.
There have been several Tarzan View-Master reels and packets, plus numerous Tarzan coloring books, children's books, follow-the-dots and activity books.
In the film Histoire de Pen there is a character named after Tarzan and another named after The Phantom.
There is a song by Danish pop group Toy-Box called "Tarzan & Jane", first released as a single in Germany in 1998, and then released worldwide in 1999 to coincide with the release of the Disney film Tarzan (see "Film").
|Studio||Film title||Starring||Produced by||Directed by||Theatrical release||DVD release||Notes|
|National Film Corporation of America||Tarzan of the Apes||Elmo Lincoln||William Parsons||Scott Sidney||1918||based on the first part of the novel Tarzan of the Apes|
|National Film Corporation of America||The Romance of Tarzan||Elmo Lincoln||William Parsons
|Wilfred Lucas||1918||based on the second part of the novel Tarzan of the Apes|
|Goldwyn Pictures||The Revenge of Tarzan||Gene Pollar||Samuel Goldwyn
Edgar Rice Burroughs
George M. Merrick
|1920||Based on the first part of the novel The Return of Tarzan|
|Film Booking Offices of America||Tarzan and the Golden Lion||James Pierce||Edwin C. King||J. P. McGowan||1927||based on the novel Tarzan and the Golden Lion|
|Studio||Film title||Starring||Produced by||Directed by||Theatrical release||DVD release||Notes|
|National Film Corporation of America||The Son of Tarzan||P. Dempsey Tabler||David P. Howells||Arthur J. Flaven
|1920||Based on the novel The Son of Tarzan|
|Numa Pictures Corporation||The Adventures of Tarzan||Elmo Lincoln||Louis Weiss||Robert F. Hill
|1921||Based on the second part of the novel The Return of Tarzan|
|Universal Pictures||Tarzan the Mighty||Frank Merrill||Unknown||Jack Nelson
|1928||Though nominally based on Jungle Tales of Tarzan, it is mostly an original story and includes only a few scenes and themes from that collection of short stories.|
|Universal Pictures||Tarzan the Tiger||Frank Merrill||Unknown||Henry MacRae||1929||Based on the novel Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar|
Filmed as a silent but partially dubbed to become the first Tarzan sound film; Last silent serial
|Studio||Film title||Starring||Produced by||Directed by||Theatrical release||DVD release||Notes|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan the Ape Man||Johnny Weissmuller||Irving Thalberg||W. S. Van Dyke||1932||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller||First MGM film|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan and His Mate||Johnny Weissmuller||Bernard H. Hyman||Cedric Gibbons||1934||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan Escapes||Johnny Weissmuller||Bernard H. Hyman
|Richard Thorpe||1936||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan Finds a Son!||Johnny Weissmuller||Sam Zimbalist||Richard Thorpe||1939||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller||Johnny Sheffield debuts as "Boy"|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan's Secret Treasure||Johnny Weissmuller||B.P. Fineman||Richard Thorpe||1941||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan's New York Adventure||Johnny Weissmuller||Frederick Stephani||Richard Thorpe||1942||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller||sixth and final appearance of Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane|
Last MGM film
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan Triumphs||Johnny Weissmuller||Sol Lesser||Wilhelm Thiele||1943||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller: Volume Two||franchise moves from MGM to RKO under producer Sol Lesser. Jane does not appear in this or the next film.|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan’s Desert Mystery||Johnny Weissmuller||Sol Lesser||Wilhelm Thiele||1943||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller: Volume Two|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan and the Amazons||Johnny Weissmuller||Sol Lesser||Kurt Neumann||1945||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller: Volume Two||Jane returns to the series, now played by Brenda Joyce.|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan and the Leopard Woman||Johnny Weissmuller||Sol Lesser||Kurt Neumann||1946||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller: Volume Two|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan and the Huntress||Johnny Weissmuller||Sol Lesser||Kurt Neumann||1947||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller: Volume Two||eighth and last appearance of Johnny Sheffield as "Boy"|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan and the Mermaids||Johnny Weissmuller||Sol Lesser||Robert Florey||1948||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller: Volume Two||Last film to star Weissmuller |
partially filmed in Mexico
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan's Magic Fountain||Lex Barker||Sol Lesser||Lee Sholem||1949||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Lex Barker||first film to star Lex Barker. Fifth and final appearance of Brenda Joyce as Jane.|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan and the Slave Girl||Lex Barker||Sol Lesser||Lee Sholem||1950||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Lex Barker|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan's Peril||Lex Barker||Sol Lesser||Byron Haskin||1951||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Lex Barker||partially filmed in Kenya|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan's Savage Fury||Lex Barker||Sol Lesser||Cy Endfield||1952||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Lex Barker|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan and the She-Devil||Lex Barker||Sol Lesser||Kurt Neumann||1953||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Lex Barker||Final film to star Lex Barker|
|RKO Pictures||Tarzan's Hidden Jungle||Gordon Scott||Sol Lesser||Harold D. Schuster||1955||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Gordon Scott||First film to star Gordon Scott|
Final RKO Picture produced film.
Final Black-and-white film originally produced for theaters.
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan and the Lost Safari||Gordon Scott||Sol Lesser
|H. Bruce Humberstone||1957||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Gordon Scott||first Tarzan film in color|
|TV Film||Tarzan and the Trappers||Gordon Scott||Sol Lesser||Charles F. Haas
|1958||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Gordon Scott||A black and white pilot film, re-edited from three unaired TV episodes and issued to theaters. The re-edited version was finally aired on TV in 1966.|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan's Fight for Life||Gordon Scott||Sol Lesser||H. Bruce Humberstone||1958||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Gordon Scott||in color, as would be all subsequent Tarzan films; |
last Tarzan film produced by Sol Lesser
the last in the franchise to follow the Weissmuller formula of a pidgin-speaking Tarzan living in a treehouse with Jane. Final appearance of the Jane character in the mainstream Tarzan film franchise until 1981.
|Paramount Pictures||Tarzan's Greatest Adventure||Gordon Scott||Sy Weintraub
|John Guillermin||1959||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Gordon Scott||first of the Sy Weintraub productions, revamping the character as an educated lone adventurer|
|Paramount Pictures||Tarzan the Magnificent||Gordon Scott||Sy Weintraub
|Robert Day||1960||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Gordon Scott||Not based on the Burroughs novel of the same name |
Last film to star Gordon Scott
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan Goes to India||Jock Mahoney||Sy Weintraub||John Guillermin||1962||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Jock Mahoney & Mike Henry||First film to star Jock Mahoney|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan's Three Challenges||Jock Mahoney||Sy Weintraub||Robert Day||1963||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Jock Mahoney & Mike Henry||Last film to star Jock Mahoney|
|American International Pictures||Tarzan and the Valley of Gold||Mike Henry||Sy Weintraub||Robert Day||1966||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Jock Mahoney & Mike Henry||First film to star Mike Henry|
|Paramount Pictures||Tarzan and the Great River||Mike Henry||Sy Weintraub
|Robert Day||1967||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Jock Mahoney & Mike Henry|
|Paramount Pictures||Tarzan and the Jungle Boy||Mike Henry||Sy Weintraub
|Robert Gordon||1968||WB: The Tarzan Collection Starring Jock Mahoney & Mike Henry||Last film to place Tarzan in the present day|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan the Ape Man||Miles O'Keeffe||Bo Derek||John Derek||1981||First and only film to star Miles O'Keeffe|
First appearance of Jane since Tarzan's Fight for Life in 1958 and last time her surname is "Parker" instead of "Porter"
Last appearance of Cheeta
First film to treat Tarzan as a 1910s period piece, which becomes the norm afterwards
|Warner Bros||Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes||Christopher Lambert||Hugh Hudson
Stanley S. Canter
|Hugh Hudson||1984||First and only film to star Christopher Lambert|
|Warner Bros||Tarzan and the Lost City||Casper Van Dien||Stanley S. Canter
|Carl Schenkel||1998||First and only film to star Casper Van Dien|
|Warner Bros||The Legend of Tarzan||Alexander Skarsgård||Jerry Weintraub
|David Yates||2016||First and only film to star Alexander Skarsgård|
Serials and remakesEdit
|Studio||Film title||Starring||Produced by||Directed by||Theatrical release||DVD release||Notes|
|Principal Distributing Corporation||Tarzan the Fearless||Buster Crabbe||Sol Lesser||Robert F. Hill||1933||Also released as edited feature film of same name.|
|Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises Inc.||The New Adventures of Tarzan||Herman Brix||Edgar Rice Burroughs
George W. Stout
Wilbur F. McGaugh
|1935||Also released as edited two feature films, first The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935) of same name and second feature film version titled Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938)|
|Twentieth Century Fox||Tarzan’s Revenge||Glenn Morris||Sol Lesser||D. Ross Lederman||1938||Produced by Sol Lesser, after he argued that he still had binding contract to produce at least five Tarzan films, Lesser would later move on to take over the Weissmuller series.|
|Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer||Tarzan, the Ape Man||Denny Miller||Al Zimbalist||Joseph M. Newman||1959||Remake of the 1932 film of same name, starring Johnny Weissmuller|
|Studio||Film title||Voiced by||Produced by||Directed by||Theatrical release||DVD release||Notes|
|Sony Wonder||Tarzan of the Apes||Unknown||Diane Eskenazi
|Unknown||1999||Direct to video animated feature|
|Walt Disney Feature Animation||Tarzan||Tony Goldwyn||Bonnie Arnold||Kevin Lima
|1999||Theatrical Animated Feature Film.|
|Walt Disney Television Animation||Tarzan & Jane||Michael T. Weiss||Steve Loter||Victor Cook
|2002||Direct to video animated feature, edited from three episodes of the Disney's animated TV series The Legend of Tarzan|
|Disneytoon Studios||Tarzan II||Harrison Chad||Carolyn Bates
|Brian Smith||2005||Direct to video animated feature.|
|Summit Entertainment||Tarzan||Kellan Lutz||Reinhard Klooss
|Reinhard Klooss||2013||CGI/Motion Capture German film.|
Tarzan originated in a series of novels, from which a large number of serial films were derived. Television later emerged as a primary vehicle bringing the character to the public. From the mid-1950s, all the extant sound Tarzan films became staples of Saturday morning television aimed at young and teenaged viewers. In 1958, movie Tarzan Gordon Scott filmed three episodes for a prospective television series. The program did not sell, but a number of later series were produced.
|Title||Aired||Episodes||Broadcaster||Type||Tarzan actor||Jane actress||Notes|
|Tarzan||1966–68||57||NBC||TV series||Ron Ely||None.||Produced by Sy Weintraub.|
Tarzan's Jungle Rebellion (1966) (pilot for the NBC TV series, also released to theaters)
Tarzan's Deadly Silence (1970) (a two-part television episode also released to theaters)
|Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle||1976–80||36||CBS||Animated TV series||Robert Ridgely||Linda Gary (guest only, in episode 30)||Produced by Filmation; episodes later incorporated into the Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour (1977–78), Tarzan and the Super 7 (1978–80), The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour (1980–81), and The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour) (1981–82).|
|Tarzan in Manhattan||1989-04-15||1||CBS||TV movie||Joe Lara||Kim Crosby|
|Io Jane, tu Tarzan||1989||4||? (Italy)||TV miniseries||Sebastiano Somma||Carmen Russo|
|Tarzán||1991–94||75||TF1, syndication (U.S.)||TV series||Wolf Larson||Lydie Denier||In this version, Tarzan is a blond environmentalist, and Jane is a French ecologist.|
|Tarzan: The Epic Adventures||1996–97||22||Syndication (U.S.)||TV series||Joe Lara||None||Tarzan's Return – two part TV pilot.|
|The Legend of Tarzan||2001–02||39||UPN||Animated TV series||Michael T. Weiss||Olivia d'Abo||Produced by Disney as a spin-off from its animated film.|
|Tarzan||2003||8||The WB||TV series||Travis Fimmel||Sarah Wayne Callies||This version is set in contemporary New York City, with Jane as a police detective. Cancelled after eight episodes.|
|Tarzan and Jane||2017||13||Netflix||TV series||Giles Panton||Rebecca Shoichet|
- Tarzan: The Legacy of Edgar Rice Burroughs (1996)
- Tarzan at the Movies, Part 1: Johnny Weissmuller (1996)
- Tarzan at the Movies, Part 2: The Many Faces of Tarzan (1996)
- Investigating Tarzan (1997)
- The One, the Only, the Real Tarzan (2004)
- Tarzan: Silver Screen King of the Jungle (2004)
- I,Tarzan (1996)
- Tarzan in the Golden Grotto (1969) (Steve Hawkes) (unauthorized by Burroughs' estate)
- Tarzan and the Brown Prince (1972) (Steve Hawkes) (unauthorized by Burroughs' estate)
- Adventures of Tarzan (1985) (Hemant Birje) (unauthorized by Burroughs' estate)
- Lady Tarzan (1990) (Silk Smitha) (unauthorized by Burroughs' estate)
- Tarzan Ki Beti (2002) (Hemant Birje) (unauthorized by Burroughs' estate)
Actors portraying TarzanEdit
On film (adult)Edit
- Elmo Lincoln 1918, 1918, 1921 (all silent)
- Gene Pollar 1920 (silent)
- P. Dempsey Tabler 1920 (silent)
- James Pierce 1927 (silent)
- Frank Merrill 1928, 1929 (all silent)
- Johnny Weissmuller 1932, 1934, 1936, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948
- Buster Crabbe 1933
- Herman Brix later billed as Bruce Bennett 1935, 1938
- Glenn Morris 1938
- Lex Barker 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953
- Gordon Scott 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960
- Denny Miller 1959
- Jock Mahoney 1962, 1963
- Mike Henry 1966, 1967, 1968
- Ron Ely 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970
- Miles O'Keeffe 1981
- Christopher Lambert 1984
- Casper Van Dien 1998
- Tony Goldwyn 1999 (voice of animated Tarzan)
- Kellan Lutz 2013 (performance capture)
- Alexander Skarsgård 2016
On film (youth)Edit
- Gordon Griffith (1918, 1918)
- Tali McGregor (1984)
- Peter Kyriakous (1984)
- Danny Potts (1984)
- Eric Langlois (1984)
- Alex D. Linz 1999 (voice of young animated Tarzan)
- Harrison Chad (2005)
- Craig Garner (2013) (performance capture of 4-year-old CGI/Motion Capture Tarzan film)
- Anton Zetterholm (2013) (voice of teen CGI/Motion Capture Tarzan film)
- Rory J. Saper (2016)
- Christian Stevens (2016)
- Ronald Adair 1921 (Broadway)
- Josh Strickland 2006 (Original Broadway Cast – New York, NY)
- Daniel Manche (Tarzan as a youth) 2006 (Original Broadway Cast – New York, NY)
- Alex Rutherford (Tarzan as a youth) 2006 (Original Broadway Cast – New York, NY)
- Dylan Riley Snyder (Tarzan as a youth) 2006 (Original Broadway Cast – New York, NY)
- Anton Zetterholm 2008 (Original German Cast – Hamburg)
- Gordon Scott filmed 1958, aired 1966
- Ron Ely 1966–1968
- Robert Ridgely 1976–1982 (voice, Filmation series)
- Joe Lara 1989, 1996
- Wolf Larson 1991–1994
- Michael T. Weiss 2001 (voice, Disney series)
- Travis Fimmel 2003
In video gamesEdit
- Tarzan of the Movies, Gabe Essoe, 1968
- Mike Fleming (2 June 2011). "Craig Brewer Makes 'Tarzan' Deal, Writing Ape Man Saga As Trilogy". Deadline.
- Dunkley, Cathy (27 June 2003). "August ape for 'Tarzan'".
- "Exclusive: Director Stephen Sommers Says "Yo Joe!" - SuperHeroHype". 3 August 2009.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (18 June 2012). "CAA Signs Jack Ryan Reboot Scribe Adam Cozad".
- "Exclusive: David Yates Committing to Tarzan at Warner Bros". 7 November 2012.
- Kroll, Jeff Sneider,Justin (14 November 2012). "Alexander Skarsgard swings into 'Tarzan' frontrunner".
- "Exclusive: Alexander Skarsgård Isn't Sure About Tarzan - CraveOnline". 4 April 2013.
- Staff, PageSix com (6 March 2013). "Me Tarzan, you Jessica?".
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (10 April 2013). "'Tarzan' Dying On The Vine At Warner Bros?".
- Kroll, Justin (26 September 2013). "Warner Bros. Eyes Christoph Waltz for Villain Role in 'Tarzan' (EXCLUSIVE)".
- Kroll, Justin (11 December 2013). "Samuel L. Jackson in Talks for 'Tarzan' at Warner Bros. (EXCLUSIVE)".
- "'Tarzan' to Swing Into Theaters July 1, 2016". Variety. 2014-02-11. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- McNary, Dave (9 August 2010). "'Tarzan' returns in 3D".
- "Promo Images for Pompeii , Tarzan 3D and Step Up 4 - ComingSoon.net". 2 November 2011.
- "Promo Posters and Synopses for TARZAN 3D and THE IMPOSSIBLE; First Synopsis for THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES". 4 November 2011.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (4 May 2012). "'Twilight Saga's Kellan Lutz To Play Tarzan In Constantin Movie".
- "Steve Sipek aka Steven Hawkes - The Wild Eye".
- KINGOFTHEJUNGLEWORLD (30 September 2007). "KARZAN MASTER OF THE JUNGLE" – via YouTube.
- "BUNKUM - Interview with Steve Hawkes".
- p.85 Hollis, Tim Glass Bottom Boats & Mermaid Tails: Florida's Tourist Springs Stackpole Books
- Robert R. Barrett, Tarzan on Radio, Radio Spirits, 1999.
- "The Animated Tarzan". cartoonresearch.com. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
- Spangler, Todd (June 3, 2015). "Netflix Orders 4 Animated Kids' Shows, Including 'Tarzan and Jane' Series". Variety. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- "ERBzine 0592: Tarzan the Mighty".