First created by Edgar Rice Burroughs
in 1912, Tarzan has since swung through dozens of books, films and TV series, both straight and parodied. Tarzan
is the quintessential jungle hero
; white but at home
in Darkest Africa
. Often seen in a leopard Loin Cloth
In the original books
, Tarzan was the son of Lord Greystoke, raised by apes
after being orphaned in Africa as a baby. After meeting Jane and learning the basics of human interaction, he left the jungle in search of his true love. They married and settled in England, where they had a son, but eventually grew tired of civilization and returned to the jungle.
Most of the films
omit Tarzan's English sojourn and his status as Lord Greystoke. Instead, he has often been provided with a pet chimpanzee
and an adopted son — the latter because the film Tarzan never formally married Jane, and thus was not allowed by the Hays office
to actually have gotten her pregnant.
Tarzan's further adventures generally have one of two plots: either Tarzan discovers a Lost World
, or he defends his African friends against European villains. Along the way, Tarzan and his family became immortal, if only in the literary sense.
The quote at the top of the page is a Beam Me Up, Scotty!
, as Tarzan did not say it in any of the books, or even, exactly, in any movie - he just slapped his chest and said "Tarzan", then poked Jane and said "Jane". (In the books, Tarzan was very intelligent
, and by the end of the series, spoke something like thirty languages.)
The earlier Tarzan novels are out of copyright
in the US, but not in Europe, and The Other Wiki
suggests he's also trademarked by the author's company. Altogether, that explains why The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
only refers to him as "Lord Greystoke"
The Jungle Princess
is his Distaff Counterpart
For details of the novels, see Literature.Tarzan
Adaptations of the Tarzan
books include:Film - Live Action
Film - Animated
- Johnny Weissmuller starred in the best known film series, starting in 1932 with Tarzan the Ape Man, followed up by eleven sequels up to 1948.
- Tarzan the Fearless (1933) was released as both a movie and a serial. It starred Buster Crabbe, making him the only actor to play Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers. Crabbe, like Weissmuller, was an Olympic gold medalist in swimming, and a rivalry between the two was publicized. (In truth they had been friends for years.)
- The 1984 film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan was an attempt at both a more naturalistic and slightly more faithful adaptation of Burroughs' work, including a depiction of Tarzan's returning to England. Notable that except in the film's subtitle, the name Tarzan is never used in any dialog.
- Bo Derek and Richard Harris once starred in another film titled Tarzan The Ape Man in 1981, which was a more adult look at the Tarzan mythos, focusing mostly on Jane and featuring a large supply of Fanservice. The film was a flop since children could not see it, male audience members hoping to see a naked Bo Derek were disappointed to see what was mostly a romance film with Tarzan playing a supporting role, and female audience members were turned off by the more blatant scenes of nudity (if they were interested in seeing a "Tarzan film" to begin with). Derek reportedly firing most of the cast and crew before filming ended did not help matters, either.
- (from celebuzz.com) Warner Bros. is planning a film for 2016 directed by David Yates with True Blood's Alexander Skarsgård as the lead, The Wolf of Wall Street's Margot Robbie as Jane, Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz as the bad guy and Samuel L. Jackson as a friend of the hero.
- The Disney feature-length Tarzan cartoon was relatively free of gross instances of the studio's usual Disneyfication, although it did turn Jane from an American to a Brit among other things. It also had a villain named Clayton (note that Tarzan's real name in the book was John Clayton, not to be confused with this character who was Jane's fiancé, William Clayton, as well as Tarzan's cousin). The Disney Tarzan franchise also spawned an animated Spin-Off TV series (The Legend of Tarzan) and a stage musical (Tarzan the Musical).
- An upcoming 3D animated film featuring Tarzan defending an ancient meteor crash site from the Corrupt Corporate Executive who killed his parents.
- Several TV series. The best known in the United States is the 1966 series Tarzan, starring Ron Ely, which lasted for two seasons on NBC.
- A 2003 revision on The WB had the title character (Travis Fimmel) meet Jane (Sarah Wayne Callies) in New York City. Broadcast 8 episodes.
- A daily newspaper strip from 1929 to 1972 and a Sunday paper strip from 1931 to 2000, both distributed by King Features Syndicate and featuring the work of a variety of writers and artists.
Various adaptations provide examples of: