Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I've been reading a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs recently, and watching a bunch of Tarzan movies. I'm very impressed with the special effects in these old Johnny Weissmuller films. Sure, they pretty much ignore the bulk of the book, and Tarzan himself is portrayed as much more naive and savage than he really is ("really" as in the reality of the book and my own imagination), but how do they get him to swing through the trees like that? I know Johnny was an Olympic swimmer, but he was apparently also a trapeze artist. So impressive! And Jane too! Never mind their awesome tree house, and basic life of paradise living among the jungle animals in peace.

Tarzan is so iconic, it's hard to believe that one man's imagination invented him. I mean, can you imagine a world without Tarzan? Can you even remember when you first heard of him? It's like he's always been there in our cultural subconscious. Even if you've never read a single book or watched a single movie about him, you know who he is: an awesome white guy who swings through the trees, befriends animals, hollers through the jungle, and loves his Jane.

Has anyone ever made a movie about the primitive world of Pellucidar? Now THAT would be amazing. But I suppose it would just turn into another dinosaur effects spectacle, or some campy sex-fantasy type thing with scantily-clad women a la Raquel Welch (which is classic in its own right, of course). You could never properly portray the sense of adventure and exoticism in today's cynical and politically correct world. Thank god we still have books.

1 comment:

  1. You know, that's a pretty risque costume Jane's got on there, for the time, for any time really!