Tarzan (Lord Greystoke), already well educated and fed up with civilization, returns to the jungle and, more-or-less assisted by chimpanzee Cheetah and orphan boy Jai, wages war against ... See full summary »
Tarzan (Lord Greystoke), already well educated and fed up with civilization, returns to the jungle and, more-or-less assisted by chimpanzee Cheetah and orphan boy Jai, wages war against poachers and other bad guys. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Mike Henry, who had just filmed several big-screen adventures as Tarzan, was intended to have also played the lead in the TV series, but backed out. Ron Ely, who took his place, was originally to have played a Tarzan imposter in a proposed episode of the TV series. See more »
I have fond memories of this show, which one of our local independent stations used to air on Sunday afternoons as part of `Tarzan Theatre.' I loved the show at first simply because I was a big Tarzan fan, but I truly came to appreciate it once I started reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels. This is one of the few times Tarzan is portrayed as ERB envisioned him: intelligent and articulate. ERB, however, gave Tarzan a savage and violent side, something you would never see on a `family' TV series of the 1960s. Fortunately, the producers compensated by loading the show with plenty of action.
All the elements came together nicely: Ron Ely had both the physical presence and the acting skill to play a convincing ape-man. I've heard stories of the punishment he took while making the series, injuries that would make Jackie Chan wince, but he kept going. The producers were smart enough not to film in a studio jungle set, but instead take the show on location. The Mexican locations were a gorgeous stand-in for the African savanna and rain forests, and they increase the show's credibility.
There's just one thing I never liked: Jai. I realize there's probably a lot of Jai fans out there, but the kid just irritated me. His main function was both to ask simplistic questions about what was going on so Tarzan could explain for his (and the audience's) benefit, and to eat up valuable screen time that could be spent on Tarzan. It's part of the whole `juvenile sidekick' syndrome in TV, movies and comics that drives me nuts. Ugh.
In spite of that, `Tarzan' was a great series, deserving of much more attention than it currently gets. It may not be the way * you * see Tarzan, but you can't deny it was a well-crafted, exciting and eminently watchable show.
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