and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life & Works of Edgar
1996 ~ Over 10,000 Web Pages in Archive
Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle
AL BOHL DOCUMENTARY FILM PROJECT
Q & A
Questions posed by Al Bohl
Answers supplied by
(Unreleased work in progress)
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Central Time Zone
What does the word Tarzan mean?
According to ERB’s Mangani/English Dictionary:
BTW: One of the first names that ERB came up with for his jungle hero
was ZAN TAR
A white man is called a TARMANGANI
A black man is call a GOMANGANI
ERB invented the mangani or ape language and sprinkled the words throughout
his Tarzan novels.
In the late ‘30s he formed a young peoples club – THE TARZAN CLAN
- based somewhat on the Boy Scout movement.
Is it fair to say that Tarzan is the first “superhero” of the 20th
This is probably fair. . . depending upon your definition of superhero.
He was also the inspiration for a multitude of imitators.
Bomba, Ki-Gor, Ka-Zar, Shanna - She-Devil, Jongor, George of the Jungle,
Jan of the Jungle, Conan, The Shadow, The Phantom, Sheena, Superman, Batman,
the Marvel Family, Flash Gordon, etc.
The inspiration for Tarzan was ERB's first hero - John Carter of Mars.
. . and of course these two heroes set the mould for a multitude of pulp,
comics, radio, TV, film, etc. heroes to come.
The original version of Superman did not fly. Like John Carter he was
an alien with muscles better developed and was able to leap great heights
as did John Carter on Mars.
Even the Star Wars films were inspired by the ERB heroes.
African fiction, documents by African explorers as well as experiences
of real-life feral children may have been some inspiration for the creation
of ERB's jungle hero.
One big difference is that ERB's two heroes did not rely upon "super"
powers or supernatural qualities as many of the others superheroes such
as Superman, Captain Marvel and The Shadow evolved into.
How many books did Burroughs write about
Full publishing info, cover and interior art, references, links, and
trivia are all featured there.
Difficult to make an accurate account because unpublished and unfinished
novels and short stories were published after his death.
The number is at least 25
How many people have played Tarzan in
movies or TV?
Difficult to determine but some number over 30
A good reference for ERB/Tarzan films is the ERBzine Silver Screen
Actors portraying Tarzan - in the authorized productions. . . there
were numerous other actors in unauthorized films done around the world.
* Gordon Griffith 1918 (young Tarzan)
* Elmo Lincoln 1918, 1918, 1921
* Gene Pollar 1920
* P. Dempsey Tabler 1920
* James Pierce 1927
* Frank Merrill 1928, 1929
* 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,
* Glenn Morris 1938
* Lex Barker 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953
* Clint Walker 1954 (uncredited, in "Jungle Gents,"
a Bowery Boys movie)
* Gordon Scott 1955, 1957, 1958, 1958, 1959, 1960
* Denny Miller 1959
* Jock Mahoney 1962, 1963
* Ron Ely 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970
* Mike Henry 1966, 1967, 1968
* Miles O'Keeffe 1981
* Christophe Lambert 1984
* Casper Van Dien 1998
* Tony Goldwyn 1999 (voice of animated Tarzan)
* Alex D. Linz 1999 (voice of young animated Tarzan)
* James Pierce 1932-1934
* Carlton KaDell 1934-1936
* Lamont Johnson 1950-1951
* Gordon Scott 1958
* Ron Ely 1966
* Robert Ridgely 1976 (voice, Filmation animated
series ~ Danton Burroughs did the Tarzan yell in this series)
* Joe Lara 1989
* Wolf Larson 1991
* Travis Fimmel 2003
* Josh Strickland 2006-2007
* Ron Link 2007-2009 in the Dutch production
* Anton Zetterhom 2008. . .
How many movies, TV shows, plays about
The number of Tarzan films is hard to determine because there have
been quite a number of titles that first appeared as serials and were re-edited
as feature films. Also a number of the TV shows were re-edited for release
as feature films. There were also a variety of animated releases. . . some
of which were direct to DVD. IMDB lists 89 movies with Tarzan in the title
between 1918 and 2008.
There also have been many unauthorized Tarzan films worldwide. . .
some with thinly disguised "Tarzan" names - Zan, etc.
most of which have faced legal battles with ERB, Inc. over copyright
and or trademark infringement.
As for movies being made about one central
character, where does Tarzan rank?
The count gets complicated. . . but certainly in the top 5.
What different kinds of merchandise
and media did Tarzan generate and continue to inspire?
Countless thousands of items and still growing:
Tarzan toys, (see the Collectibles section in the Comics Encyclopedia)
Tarzan gasoline and a multitude of licensed advertising campaigns for
various other products including Cialis
Tarzan underwear, Tarzan ice cream, records, lunch boxes, running shoes,
trading cards, radio & cereal premiums, action figures, gym equipment,
view master reels, glue, puzzles, clothes, credit cards, lighters, posters,
pins, Disney memorabilia, T-shirts, cups & mugs, key chains, cigar
bands, computer games ~ the list is virtually endless.
What is the ERBzine.com?
ERBzine is the largest ERB tribute site on the Internet. It is designed,
edited, hosted, etc. by Bill Hillman
a semi-retired university professor and musician from Brandon, Manitoba,
A weekly Webzine/fanzine appears at the site, which features 10-20 new
distinct Webpages each week.
These features are displayed in archive
This massive site is the largest single tribute site I know of dedicated
to a single author's life and works.
The entire site may be searched by inserting appropriate keywords in
the internal Google search engine displayed on the opening and archive
About 10 years ago Danton Burroughs of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. in
Tarzana, California discovered the work I was doing on the ERBzine Tribute
site and enlisted me to create and maintain the official ERB, Inc. Websites
which now include:
In addition to the ERBzine weekly fanzine I also publish two weekly
and one monthly zine at the Danton, JCB and Tarzan sites.
Are there many websites and conventions
dealing with Edgar Rice Burroughs and his character Tarzan?
ERBzine has been active since 1996 but many ERB Web sites come and
go. . . one of the most established sites is Bruce Bozarth's ERBlist
which specializes in fan fiction. ERBlist also maintains the most active
ERB Listserv on the Web. Other active listservs/groups include ERBCOFlist,
Barsoom, and many others that specialize in a variety of topics. Contact
information for many of the current listservs and fanzines is featured
at the Burroughs Bibliophiles
Recently the Internet has seen the growth of many blog sites and podcasts
that feature material of interest to ERB fans. There are also numerous
local chapters of ERB fandom: LA SubERBs, Washington DC Pan
There are often spin-off meets at the various science fiction/comics/pulp
magazine conventions around the world.
The two official annual ERB conventions are ECOF and the Dum-Dum
The doings of both conventions are reported at:
The Dum-Dum the largest and is hosted by the Burroughs Bibliophiles.
I also maintain and host the Burroughs Bibliophiles Web site at:
The Official publication of the Burroughs Bibliophiles is the Burroughs
Bulletin which is issued to Bibliophile members four times a year. It is
a large attractive glossy publication edited by George McWhorter, curator
of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection at the Ekstrom Library
- Rare Books in the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.
George also issues a monthly newsletter - The Gridley Wave - which I
release online a month after the print release.
Mr. McWhorter also sends content information for each month's Bulletin
release which I adapt to an online data base which makes searches of back
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
List the different jobs Burroughs had
before deciding to write books.
Refer to the ERB Bio Timeline
Also the various authorized biographies at:
1891-95: Student, Michigan Military Academy, Orchard Lake, Michigan.
During summers he worked on his brothers' ranch in Idaho as a cowhand,
mail carrier, miner, etc.
1895-96: Assistant Commandant, Tactical Officer and Cavalry instructor,
1896-97: Private, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Fort Grant, Arizona. Discharged
1898-99: Retail book and stationery business, Pocatallo,
1899-1902: Treasurer, American Battery Co., Chicago.
1903-04 Gold mining in the Sweetser-Burroughs operation in Idaho
1904-1905: Railway Policeman, Salt Lake City, Utah.
1904 to 1908 Temporary jobs included time-keeper ~ light bulb, pencil
sharperner and candy sales ~ peddling Stoddard's lectures, Alcola, etc.
1905-1906: "Expert Accountant," T.J. Winslow Co., Chicago.
1906-1908: Stenographic Department, Sears, Roebuck Co., Chicago.
1908: Sales Agency Business, Chicago - including many door-to-door
1908-1909: Magazine ad buyer for Physicians' Co-Operative Association,
1909-1911: Secretary-treasurer, Stace, Burroughs & Co., Chicago
1911: Secretary and advertising manager, Champlin-Yardley Co.,
Who was the Apache Kid?
See the Apache novels by ERB - Influences
While serving in the U.S. Cavalry at Fort Grant in the Arizona desert,
and ERB's mission, as he put it, was to "chase the Apaches." "I chased
a good many Apaches. But fortunately for me, I never caught up with any
On May 24, 1896: New recruit, Ed Burroughs, arrived at Fort Grant,
Arizona Territory to join Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry. The "Bloody Seventh"
had seen action at the Little Bighorn, Wounded Knee and the Chicago Pullman
strike. This was the start of many adventures, including a search for the
Apache Kid, separated by long periods of boredom. He had expected
to spend most of his time chasing Apaches but much of his time was spent
on guard duty and digging ditches. He passed much of his time sketching
and soaking up knowledge about the geography and history of the area.
"There was always a lot of excitement at Fort Grant. The Apaches were
coralled at a post not far distant and there were constant rumors of an
uprising similar to those led by old Geronimo. The Apache Kid and his band
of renegades were giving trouble in the south and Black Jack, the famous
bandit, was raiding towns in our vicinity." ~ ERB quote from a 1949 article:
On August 29, 1896, after being hospitalized for two weeks and still
suffering from dysentery and having been diagnosed with a "tobacco heart"
condition, ERB rode out with Troop B in pursuit of the Apache Kid and other
Is Burroughs really the father or grandfather
of “science fiction?”
A better term might be the one we use on our Websites:
"Master of Adventure and the Grandfather of American Science Fiction"
ERB set the mold and template for generations of writers to come. .
. before such fiction was popularized by American writers.
Previously, France's Jules Verne and England's H.G. Wells did excellent
work in this area, but ERB's style proved to be more accessible and exciting
to general audiences.
Define science fiction. Difference in
science fiction and science fantasy.
'Science fiction is a genre of fiction. It differs from fantasy in
that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely
possible within scientifically-established or scientifically-postulated
laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative
speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional
purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas".  Science
fiction is largely based on writing entertainingly and rationally about
alternate possibilities  in settings that are contrary to known reality."
ERB has been criticized for being long on fantasy and displaying little
emphasis on actual science. I dispute this and have listed the many scientific
inventions and prophecies that he put into his novels. An examination of
this list will show that much of the "fantasy" science that he wrote about
has come true.
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Prophet: Predictions and Images of
Future Innovations and Inventions.
Compiled by Bill Hillman
Part I: The Mars Series
Part II: The Venus Series
The Fantastic Inventions and Prophesies Gleaned from the Novels
of Edgar Rice Burroughs
What stories served to inspiration to
create Tarzan? shipwrecked sailor or woman story, Romulus and Remus, Kipling’s
There are a multitude of possible influences as we have explored in
The Ape-Man: his Kith and Kin
I have reprinted scores of stories and line drawings having to do with
the Dark Continent, apes and feral children. This was a major university
research project that I worked on with Dr. Georges Dodds of McGill University.
Selected 19thCentury Simian Fiction (1830-1914)
The books most likely used by ERB in his research before he brought
Tarzan of the Apes to life:
Heroes of the Dark Continent by J.W. Buel (1889)
How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa by Henry Morton
Stanley. Although this was not a work of fiction, the
historic events leading up to his meeting of the great Victorian explorer,
Livingstone, seemed almost fantastic. Stanley followed this book with Through
the Dark Continent. See the ERB Personal Library section:
Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa (1861)
by Paul Du Chaillu
The African adventure stories of H. Rider Haggard, including King
Solomon's Mines were also most likely an influence.
A major influence that has been overlooked was General Charles King
who served as commandant at the Michigan Military Academy while ERB was
a cadet at that institution. King was a best-selling writer of adventure
stories documenting wild west adventures of the US military and the Indian
See the ERB/King Connection
In ERB's own words from the 1932 article: The Tarzan Theme
"I recall that when I wrote the first Tarzan story twenty years ago,
I was mainly interested in playing with the idea of a contest between heredity
and environment. For this purpose I selected an infant child of a race
strongly marked by hereditary characteristics of the finer and nobler sort;
and at an age at which he could not have been influenced by association
with creatures of his own kind. I threw him into an environment as diametrically
opposite that to which he had been born as I might well conceive. . . ."
What format was the story of Tarzan
first printed in 1912? 1912 – 2012 marks 100 years in print.
Tarzan of the Apes was printed in its entirety in All-Story Magazine:
This was a popular pulp magazine that usually serialized adventure
stories, but due to the popularity of ERB's first story: Under the Moons
of Mars (A Princess of Mars) in that magazine -- and because
of the unique nature of this story -- they featured the entire novel in
The cover painting was by Clinton Pettee and Fred W. Small did the
interior b/w title headpiece
See the personal correspondence between ERB and All-Story editor, Thomas
What did it take to find a book publisher?
ERB kept serial rights to the Tarzan story and had good success in
serializing it in newspapers across the country.
Despite all this popularity the story was turned down by many publishers.
Finally it was accepted by the Chicago publisher A. C. McClurg who
published it in a first edition hardcover in 1914.
They went on to publish ERB's stories until the late '20s when, after
dabbling with other publishers, he incorporated himself and eventually
published his books through Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Until that time A.L. Burt and Grosset and Dunlap published the reprints.
How much was Burroughs paid for the
Ed received $700 June 26, 1912. For
the time this was a significant amount of money for a newbie author.
This provided a great boost in confidence and finance for ERB since
the Burroughs family was living at a near-poverty level. Although his first
novel was a success, his follow-up story -- The Outlaw of Torn -- was rejected.
What animal in the story is not indigenous to Africa?
ERB came under considerable flack for placing "tigers" in Africa. He
came by this mistake honestly. Since he had never been to Africa his knowledge
of the Dark Continent came through his library research. At that time the
Boers in Africa call all large cats, tigers. ERB corrected his mistake
in the book edition. Sabor, the mangani name he had used to identify the
tiger, became the name for a lioness. The male lion was numa.
2009 Dum-Dum host, Richard Spargur, published a book in which he did
a line-by-line comparison between the pulp and hardcover versions of Tarzan
of the Apes.
What was Burroughs’ interest in Darwin
ERB had worked as a geology professor at the Michigan Military Academy
and as such had a scientific background. He was also a free thinker, who
was very skeptical of organized religions and the thousands of deities
that man has invented through the ages.
Survival of the fittest and natural selection were a vital part of
his description of wildlife and survival. He used evolution themes in many
novels. . .most notably The Land That Time Forgot, where all stages
of evolution were in evidence across different parts of the lost island
Eugenics was a popular theory of the day. . . but ERB didn't take it
much past the explanation of Tarzan's inherited noble character which allowed
him to raise above an animal level even though he was raised by "apes."
See the quote above (repeated here)
"I recall that when I wrote the first Tarzan story twenty years
ago, I was mainly interested in playing with the idea of a contest between
heredity and environment. For this purpose I selected an infant child of
a race strongly marked by hereditary characteristics of the finer and nobler
sort; and at an age at which he could not have been influenced by association
with creatures of his own kind. I threw him into an environment as diametrically
opposite that to which he had been born as I might well conceive. . . ."
He was strongly critical of Hitler and the Nazi's idea of "the master
race". . . and wrote a biting satire of these concepts in the Venus novel,
His description of the "Zanis" is a biting satire of Hitler's Nazis
that would plunge the world into global conflict a few years later.
Unfortunately dull or malicious critics of ERB have taken this satire
at face value and have accused him of being a racist.
What were the major differences between
the first printing in the All Story magazine and the book version released
There were, basically, only minor changes between the two scripts.
ERB often allowed magazine editors to make changes and overrule certain
elements in his scripts. But he always had final say in the book editions.
. . often reinserting material that had been cut out by the magazine editors,
and very often expanding the word count to fill out the story.
The changes to the book script were modest - mainly the removal of hyphenated
adjectives and other words, alternate spellings and punctuation, slight
grammatical revisions, added words and sentences for clarity, as well as
different or more adverbs and adjectives. In ERB's handwritten manuscript,
Lord Greystoke was originally Lord Bloomstoke.
2009 Dum-Dum host, Richard Spargur, published a book in which he did
a line-by-line comparison between the pulp and hardcover versions of Tarzan
of the Apes.
Why did ERB incorporate?
On March 2, 1923 Ed incorporated himself as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
to cut down on taxes, to gain more control over his work and to provide
security for his family. All literary rights were turned over to the company
and shares were distributed among the family. Ed drew a salary for the
rest of his life.
On July 14, 1927 ERB started the move of offices to the new store and
three-office complex on Ventura Boulevard (the present ERB, Inc. offices).
The new office was fully occupied by the next day. The building is of old
Spanish farm type architecture and is almost completely hidden by a
black walnut tree.
Was Tarzan the first movie made based
on a character or book written by Burroughs?
The Lad and the Lion (1917) was the first film made of a Burroughs
story and the Selig Polyscope Company paid ERB $100 per reel for this five-reeler.
Despite his considerable efforts to get film companies interested in his
stories, this was the only success he had until Tarzan of the Apes
was filmed the next year. The Lad and the Lion had the distinction
of having its premiere (May 14, 1917) coincide with the print release of
the story in All-Story Weekly. The film story was loosely remade in 1937
under the title The Lion Man.
What was ERB paid for the rights to
make Tarzan of the Apes? Was he a producer?
Burroughs sold the film rights for Tarzan of the Apes to the National
Film Corporation on June 6, 1916. He received a record $5,000 cash advance
on royalties, $50,000 in company stock and five percent of gross receipts.
Although ERB had input in many areas in the film he did not have a
production credit. The producer was William Parsons and director was Scott
What did ERB think about the movie industry
ERB tried to crack the movie industry for two years before hitting
it big with the Tarzan film.
Some of the film ideas or treatments he submitted were "The Lion Hunter,"
(a five-page comedy), "The Mucker," "His Majesty, The Janitor," "The Prospector",
a synopsis expansion of "For the Fool's Mother," etc.
On December 2, 1917 Ed, dissatisfied with the motion picture industry
and the progress made on adapting his writings, dumps his 10,000 shares
of capital stock. Throughout his life, while usually putting a positive
spin on his feelings about the industry for the media, privately expressed
many frustrations and feelings of disappointment in the Hollywood version
of his Tarzan.
What did he think of this first film?
Tarzan of the Apes was one of the first motion pictures to gross
more than a million dollars. Whatever critical thoughts he had on this
film at the time were largely hidden since it was such a great money maker
and made possible his dream of moving to Southern California and buying
a ranch in the San Fernando Valley. Later he expressed some disappointment
in the choice of beefy Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan, since he had described the
jungle hero as being far more lithe and athletic.
It was reported that 60 ape suits were made from specifications supplied
by Darwinian students and Tarzan of the Apes location teams travelled
to Manaos, Brazil - Iquitos, Peru - Banff, Canada and Louisiana.
Gathered at the shooting locations were native huts, 1100 native extras,
40 aerial acrobats, four lions, six tigers, several elephants, and 18 apes.
He had to have been impressed and must have felt pride that so much planning
and effort were being put into the adaptation of his novel. Ed's dissatisfaction
and threatened legal actions over the business dealings with the movie
company were assuaged somewhat by substantial royalties and cash advances.
Much later after years of frustration he eventually formed his own production
Did ERB visit the set and location in
Not to my knowledge.
Did Burroughs use the money earned from
the first Tarzan film and spike in sales for the book as a result of the
film’s success to purchase the Tarzana Ranch from the estate of General
Harrison Gray Otis, founder and publisher of the LA Times newspaper and
a crony in the water scheme made famous in Chinatown movie?
Were the apes of Tarzan novel gorillas
or chimpanzees or a missing link?
Tarzan's "apes" or mangani were neither gorillas as they were depicted
in the Disney movies, nor smaller chimps such as Cheetah. They were actually
a sort of advanced simian species that could be placed somewhere between
modern man and primitive anthropoids. They were human-like in many ways
and even had a primitive language.
Do the special apes in the book cause
the novel to be classified as science fiction or science fantasy?
Ninety-nine per cent of species that ever lived on earth are now extinct.
It is within the realm of possibility that being such as the mangani could
have once existed and did not survive evolution. With this in mind I would
classify the novel as science fiction.
What was a Dum-Dum ceremony?
The dum-dum is a ritual gathering and celebratory dance ceremony held
by Tarzan's tribe of "apes" or mangani. The name dum comes from the mangani
name for drum. . . and the ceremony involves some members of the tribe
beating of an earthen mound (drum) while others leap and dance around while
shouting their ape cries skyward . . . often at the moon.
How did the Dum-Dum 2009 convention
get started and who attends?
The name Dum-Dum has been adopted by the Burroughs Bibliophiles as
the official name of their annual convention, attended by Bibliophile members
and other devoted ERB fans, media and merchandise hawkers.
MORGAN CITY, LOUISIANA
Why was Morgan City selected to make
Tarzan of the Apes?
Louisiana was chosen as the main shooting location because of the cooperation
of the residents of Morgan City, the lush jungle vegetation, bayous, waterways,
abundant black extras, and facilities such as hotels, a railway-serviced
wharf and an adjacent storage warehouse.
How much of the film was shot in Morgan
Most of the location jungle and swamp
How long did it take to make the entire
Louisiana filming took place during
August and September 1917.
How many African-Americans were used
in the film and what were their parts?
Over 300 local Louisiana negroes were
hired as cannibal extras for $1.75 a day.
Was Tarzan the first big budget feature
film to use all blacks to play blacks?
How many animals were taken to Morgan
New York Times, February 3, 1918 after film release said four lions,
six tigers, several elephants, 18 apes. Irwin Porges page 273.
Gathered at the shooting locations were native huts, 1100 native extras,
40 aerial acrobats, four lions, six tigers, several elephants, and 18 apes.
Were the apes released and still live
in the Louisiana swamps?
Not to my knowledge.
How hard was it making the movie in
Morgan City on the health of the crew and how hard was it to do the shoot?
During the many weeks that Lincoln
posed before the camera, he became so deeply tanned from contact with the
sunlight that when studio work was occasionally required of him, he was
obliged to paint his face and arms white in order to keep from registering
as pronounced a brunette as the real descendants of Africa who supported
him in the cast.
Who played apes in the film?
Sets, costumes and equipment were sent from Los Angeles by rail car.
Additional ape costumes were made in Morgan City. Twenty young men from
the New Orleans Athletic Club were hired to augment the team of circus
acrobats"apes" brought from California.
Describe the ape costumes, where they
were made and the difficulty of their use.
The ape players were costumed in goat
skins and elaborate masks Perhaps foolishly there were a number of
closeups shown which killed the illusion somewhat. The costumes were designed
to the specifications recommended by Darwin students.
TARZAN OF THE APES SILENT FILM
Silver Screen at:
Is the film close to the novel?
The film is probably as close to the novel as any Tarzan movie later
Who was Smilin’ Bill Parsons?
Parsons a multi-talented performer who produced Tarzan of the Apes
and The Romance of Tarzan for the National Film Corporation
He was married to popular silent screen actress Billie Rhodes.
He died soon of a diabetic coma soon after completing the two Tarzan
He seemed to be always just one step of the creditors during the films'
production. He and ERB had numerous legal battles over royalty payments.
What are the biggest differences between
the novel and the film?
The film covered the first half of the novel and introduced the character
Binns which twisted the plot a bit.
Who is the Binns character? Was he in
the book? How did his character change the story in the film from the story
in the book?
Binns was not in the original book.
Binns, the sailor who saved the Claytons and who has been held by Arab
slavers for ten years, finds the young Tarzan and then heads for England
to notify his kin.
In the book, Tarzan doesn’t swing on
vines, but he does in the first film. Is this the point in the development
of the character where swinging on vines originated?
Yes. Vine swinging was originated by the athletic Stellan Windrow and
Frank Merrill for the movies. It later became an important part of the
popular Weissmuller films.
Where was the last portion of the film
shot after Morgan City?
Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, USA ~ Manaus, Amazonas,
Brazil ~ San Pedro, California, USA (schooner scenes) ~ Selig Zoo,
California, USA ~ Topanga Canyon, California, USA
Did Elmo Lincoln kill the lion on camera?
What are the different accounts given of that experience?
Ref: ERBzine 0503 - Volume
The legend is that in one scene a lion is supposed to crawl through
the window of Tarzan's cabin to devour Jane. Tarzan grabs him and pulls
him out. The
old and drugged lion turned on Elmo Lincoln who stabbed and killed
him. "I stepped on him to beat my chest. As my foot pressed down on him,
remaining air in his lungs escaped with a loud whoosh. I was already
shaken and you should have seen me jump!" The lion supposedly wound up
as a lobby
display when the picture opened on Broadway.
Elmo's Version as told to Burroughs Bibliophile founder, Vern Coriell
(Source: My Father, Elmo Lincoln by Marci'a Lincoln)
"I and a couple of other fellows tested for the part and I got it.
The other candidates for the part disappointed the producer by falling
out of trees. I asked for $100.00 a week for Tarzan. They wanted to pay
me $75.00 Maybe someone else started the picture. . . but one day I received
a telegram okaying the hundred I'd asked for and that was it.
"The only animal we had in the whole picture was "Old Charlie," a lion,
and I killed him. Other a nimal footage was added to the film when it was
edited. The lion I killed was in a scene where the lion was trying to get
into a cabin to devour Jane. The lion was doped and tied up. I was supposed
to jump on his back and stab him with a knife, but they gave me an old
butcher knife to use and the damned thing broke when I tried to stab it.
The next day the tough hided old cat was doped again and they did a
retake. That's when I started using a bayonet that I had filed down. This
time I was successful in getting through the lions hide with the bayonet.
The next scene was to show Tarzan with his foot on the dead lion and pounding
his chest as he yelled his victory cry. Then he was supposed to leap across
the lion. This caused the dead animal to make a sound which sounded like
a roar. I thought "Old Charley" was still alive. I set a new record for
the broad jump trying to get away.
Note: Vern Coriell doubted the accuracy of this story until he asked
Enid Markey about it and she substantiated the whole thing. Another report
has it that Enid Markey, who continued to work in film and TV into the
1960s, had no recollection of the event and it is possible that Lincoln
concocted the story at a later date when he had fallen on hard times.
Producer William Parsons said that in the scene where Elmo's Tarzan fought
the lion, the tranquilizer used to drug it seemed only to make the feline
ferocious, and he attacked Elmo for real, as the cameras were rolling.
According to this tale, Elmo battled the beast for his very life, finally
killing it with his prop knife, all the while the impromptu battle taking
place before the camera and crew remarkably remaining within focus. Elmo,
with his experience with Griffith as a professional actor, allegedly did
not ruin the shot but stayed in character, planting his foot on the dead
lion and giving out a savage cry after he had slain the maddened beast.
The scene is in the movie, and the story made good copy for the fan magazines.
Elmo had some thrilling experiences in the filming of Tarzan, and one
surprise that he probably will never forget. In one of the scenes, a lion
was supposed to be crawling through the window of a hut to devour the beautiful
leading lady. Elmo grasped the lion by the tail, pulled it from the window
and leaped upon its back. The lion was then killed, and in the next shot
Elmo was supposed to place his foot upon its carcass and give the victory
cry of the bull ape. He did it all except the victory cry, for as he placed
his foot upon the supposedly dead body, the lion voiced terrific roar.
In telling what happened immediately thereafter, Elmo says that he is positive
that he holds the unofficial standing broad jump record.
SCREEN PLAY Magazine ~
How many versions of this first movie
were there based on length and content?
The original length of the film was
ten reels but later many of the English scenes were cut reducing the length
to eight reels and much later approximately three reels more were cut for
the video tape release.
What is a “digest version” of the film?
The "digest version" of the film is
the that currently is making the rounds in video stores.
When and where did the original film
The film premier was at New York's
Broadway Theatre on January 27, 1918 and its run was held over to April
How was the film promoted in the lobby
of the Broadway Theatre in New York?
The premier was ballyhooed with hundreds
of posters and ad sheets, as well as huge billboards and banners on Broadway.
The theatre lobby was done up as a jungle decorated with hanging moss,
large tree boughs, and many stuffed animals, including the lion that
Elmo had supposedly killed during production. Monkeys and apes swung through
the faux foliage and theatre boxes while a 30-piece symphony orchestra
provided a jungle-themed musical score. Similar displays were adopted by
other theatres when the film opened nationwide.
The Broadway premier, organized by Harry Reichenbach, was one of the
most successful openings in history. Newspaper reviews were glowing describing
the film as a daring spectacle, educational, an unusually entertaining
picture, the most thrilling picture ever shown, a production nothing short
of marvelous, and the greatest film of the age. An estimated 5,000 people
were turned away for the first showing.
How much were the ticket prices?
Evenings: 25 cents to $1.00 ~ Matinees:
25, 50 and 75 cents.
Projected cost for the film of $100,000 rose to an estimated $250,000.
The film earned over $1.5 ~ one of the first six films to gross over one
THE ROMANCE OF TARZAN
Silver Screen at:
Is this film the first sequel for a
feature film or was it “Fall of a Nation 1916?
It was the first sequel film.
“Fall” was not a sequel. It had nothing to do with “Birth of a Nation”
except cashing in the popularity of “Birth.”
Why did Parsons make the sequel?
Did Parson have to pay any more to Burroughs for the rights to make
Parsons had bought the rights to "Tarzan
of the Apes" but claimed that he had filmed only half of it. He argued
that since "Romance of Tarzan" was actually the second half of "Tarzan
of the Apes" he wouldn't have to pay additional licencing fees. ERB fought
its release until they paid him off with $2,500.
Was it as successful as the first film?
The sequel "Romance of Tarzan" just
broke even while Tarzan of the Apes was one of the first films to gross
one million dollars. The third Tarzan filme, "The Adventures of Tarzan"
however, was a box office smash, ranking as the fourth biggest money-maker
Is there a print in existence today?
No known print of "The Romance of Tarzan"exists
Was any of the Morgan City film footage
in this film and did any of the Romance of Tarzan footage end up in the
Some of the Tarzan of the Apes
footage shot near Morgan City, LA was possibly used in the sequel.
The original All Story magazine version
was called, “Tarzan of the Apes: A Romance of the Jungle.” Is this why
the sequel film had the
word “romance” in the title?
Was Elmo a cop in Arkansas? Where did
he come from?
Elmo Lincoln, born Elmo Linkenhelt,
was an Arkansas peace officer when he went to work for D.W. Griffith who
changed his name to Elmo Lincoln.
See the more complete biography at the My Father, Elmo Lincoln site
in ERBzine 0283
Was Tarzan his first acting job?
Lincoln had an already established
reputation as a Hollywood strong man due to his role as the Mighty Man
of Valor in the 1916 DW Griffith classic "Intolerance." Lincoln was offered
$75.00 a week for the role but held out for and received $100.00.
Was he Burroughs' first choice?
Elmo Lincoln was the second choice
to star as Tarzan. He won the role when WWI broke out and and Windrow joined
Was he really afraid of heights?
Lincoln was stockier than Winslow and
did not feel at ease in the trees. He had trouble doing the tree sequences
so they kept the footage shot of Windrow.
Was Tarzan of the Apes the only time
he played the character of Tarzan?
He starred in The Romance of Tarzan and The Adventures of Tarzan (1921).
He also starred as an imitation Tarzan character in two Elmo movies: Elmo
the Mighty and Elmo the Fearless. Elmo went on to play in a Rayart serial
of 10 chapters in 1927 called 'King of the Jungle'. He played the elevator
operator in Tarzan's New York Adventure and a fisherman in Tarzan's
What happened to the bloody knife that
Elmo kept with the lion’s blood on it?
How many parts did he play in the film
“Birth of a Nation?”
The Blacksmith (uncredited)
Was he good friends with D. W. Griffith?
Yes. He worked in a number of Griffith
films starting with "The Battle of Elderbush Gulch" (1912) and including
"Mighty Man of Valor" in the 1916 DW Griffith classic "Intolerance."
Where did he come from and what did
he do after this film?
The earliest movie Tarzan was actually
Gordon Griffith, a child star who began his career four years earlier in
five Charles Chaplin one-reelers. After the initial Tarzan role he played
the son of Tarzan, Huckleberry Finn, and a few more child parts. As an
adult he joined Monogram as an assistant director and was affiliated with
both Robert Sherwood Productions and Gregory Ratoff Productions as a director
and associate producer. In 1941 he became production manager of Columbia
Pictures. He also served as associate producer on RKO's "Never Wave at
a Wac" and UA's "Monsoon".
Does Gordon hold the distinction of
being nude on film the longest for a major motion picture?
As far as I know.
Do you know anything about him as a
He had a very long career in Hollywood.
. . a survivor. From child star to major film company (Columbia) executive
Why did he stop being Tarzan in this
In 1917 he was hired by producer Bill
Parsons to play Tarzan, becoming the first actor ever contracted for the
part. Stellan Spent several weeks shooting the tree-work and jungle scenes
on location in Bayou Teche, Louisiana. Filming was interrupted by
the United States entering the Great War. Stellan enlisted as an ensign
in the navy.
Why wasn’t he given screen credit?
He attended the premiere of Tarzan
of the Apes as a guest of Parsons, but was uncredited in the film despite
having done all the location jungle scenes used in the film. The studio
offered Windrow $1000 for a release so he wouldn't be credited in the film.
Is any of his footage still in the film?
Nearly all the tree acrobatic sequences.
What happened to Enid Markey (Jane)
after this film?
She had a long and successful movie
and stage career until the '40s. She had made a successful transition to
talkies. In the '50s she made the transition to working as a dramatic television
actress. In the '60s she appeared in major comedy TV shows such as Andy
Griffith, Gomer Pyle, Ozzie and Harriet, Bringing Up Buddy, etc.
Was she on the Andy Griffith Show?
How many babies were used in the film and who were they?
Bossier City artist is 'Way Out There!'
Times ~ July 22, 2009
By Jane Bokun ~ email@example.com
Bossier City artist Al Bohl has always had a love of the arts and a
sense of humor to match.
That love has led to a deal that may strike gold. Bohl recently finalized
a development deal for his cartoon series "Way Out There!"
"I'd been working about a year and a half when I got the call from Canada,"
Toronto-based animation and distribution company 9 Story Entertainment
bought the concept and is making a pilot about a boy who attends a boarding
school on the Planet Nu-B-On. The fish-out-of-water story has the boy as
an intergalactic foreign exchange student whose best friend is in a city
in a glass jar, whose bully is a jock and whose teacher goes by "Blah Blah."
The deal is even sweeter because for the last 10 years, Bohl has been
the art director at Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center in Shreveport.
During the summers, Bohl teaches cartooning and animation classes for all
ages through the Continuing Education Department of LSUS.
For years, Bohl had been developing "Way Out There!" and pitching the
concept at festivals and animators workshops. At the Ottawa International
Animation Festival, Bohl was approached by 9 Story. The story is meant
to appeal to young boys who can identify with the main character.
"We were thrilled to be introduced to such a fresh and highly creative
property," said Liliana Vogt, vice president of development for Story 9,
in a release. "Al's designs and concept for the series instantly resonated
with our sensibilities, our brand and our objective, which is to find unique,
character-driven comedy material with solid international appeal."
Bohl has been freelancing his cartoon ideas since earning his bachelor
of arts degree in liberal and fine arts in 1984 from LSUS. All told, he
has designed covers for and written or illustrated nearly 50 books, including
his futuristic superhero, Zaanan.
He is married to Doris Gibson who has worked as a surgical nurse for
the past 20 years. They have three grown children. Capt. Aaron Bohl is
a Cobra Attack Helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marines. Allison Bohl is a
filmmaker who mostly produces documentaries. Allison and her co-producer,
Connie Castille, were selected as the Louisiana Filmmakers of the Year
in 2007 for their film "I Always Do My Collars First." Al and Doris' youngest
son, Alex Bohl, a recent La. Tech graduate and works at CenturyLink in
Al Bohl is always willing to talk to others about cartooning and the
arts. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doubling Up?: Filming Louisiana
1 of 2
This barn on the grounds of Central Hospital in Pineville will make
you think you are in Kansas in the soon to be released movie My Own Love
Song. Photo courtesy of the Alexandria Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
How cinematic trickery transforms our beloved Louisiana into something
else—and often somewhere else. ??
By JEREMY ALFORD
WEB EXTRA: Click here to see photos from the Louisiana set of My Own
Love Song, starring Renée Zellwegger and Forest Whitaker.
The first narrative feature film shot and produced in Louisiana had
nothing whatsoever to do with Louisiana. It was 1908 and William Selig,
a Chicago magician-turned-movie mogul, was moving around the country and
shooting in far-flung locales in an effort to outrun Thomas Edison. And
Selig wasn’t the only one—Edison, true to form, was completely paranoid
of anyone else using celluloid film to create moving pictures since he
partly invented the process and his lawyers were filing suit again anyone
infringing on his patent.
New Orleans surfaced as a safe haven, like it often has for everyone
from pirates to gangsters, and Selig set up a fly-by-night production company
in the Big Easy to shoot a single-reel version of the Faust legend entitled
“Mephisto and the Maiden.” It’s a classic German tale where the protagonist
makes a pact with the devil in exchange for knowledge, but in the 1908
version, the trade off was for two hours with a particular female character.
At the time, south Louisiana was viewed as being among the major American
regions that could potentially become a hub for the burgeoning motion picture
industry. But a number of factors ranging from weather to politics pushed
that dream out of the frame. Instead, the Bayou State had to settle for
brief glimpses of starlets and only samplings of life on the set—until
recent years, that is, which have given birth to a number of aggressive
film tax credits to revitalize interest in Louisiana.
Unbeknownst to Selig and his team, they created a foundation for movies
that are actually shot in Louisiana, but appear on the screen as somewhere
else. Some folks in the industry call it “doubling,” although you could
as easily dub it cheating. For instance, some location scouts swear by
a small stretch along Baronne Street in New Orleans that can stand in for
a New York City from just the right angle, or a nearby alley that can travel
back in time after a few clotheslines are thrown up to mask air conditioners.
In short, it’s that proverbial movie magic we hear so much about; it’s
the ability to visually transform a place you’ve seen countless times in
the flesh, but recognize it as something and somewhere else as you sit
in the darkness of a theater or your living room.
Nowhere else is this better exemplified than in the 1917 version
of Tarzan of the Apes, which was partly filmed in Morgan City. It
was a watershed moment not only for Louisiana film history, but also national
cinema, as this Tarzan feature was among the first movies ever to gross
more than a million dollars at the box office. The Atchafalaya swamp served
as Tarzan’s jungle and more than three hundred locals were hired on as
extras—read: cannibals—for a daily rate of $1.75 each.
The original Tarzan flick left such a footprint, in fact, that Bossier
City producer Al Bohl is working on a documentary set for release in 2011.
He says the silent motion picture is a fascinating story “with more layers
than an onion.” Live apes were used for the shoot and many were left behind
when the film wrapped—that nugget alone got Bohl hooked. He says his documentary,
entitled Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle, hopes to not only
find out if there were really monkeys running around the bayous, but also
if a real lion was killed on screen (a popular myth).
More recently, funny man Jim Carey portrayed a con man in I Love
You Phillip Morris, which was shot in Angola, even though the script
calls for a Texas prison. In an interview with SpoutBlog, an industry Web
site, Carey said he had no idea what kind of “extras” he was working with
inside Angola: “At one point I asked the warden, ‘So, who are we talking
about here? We’ve got like a hundred people in this room that we’re in
the center of. What are these guys, drug infractions or something?’ He
goes, ‘Rapists, murderers.’”
The vibe was considerably less heavy on My Own Love Song, which wrapped
up shooting earlier this year. Starring Renée Zellweger and Forest
Whitaker, it’s a buddy flick about a wheelchair-bound singer and her best
friend’s road trip to Memphis. It could have easily been about a road trip
through Louisiana, though. Scenes were shot in Lecompte, Pineville, Cheneyville
and Bunkie, all used as backdrops for a story that’s supposed to be told
in Kansas—the rolling prairielands were a perfect fit for wheat fields.
The crew also filmed for two days in downtown Thibodaux on the corner of
Third and Green Street. The so-called paparazzi even caught images, which
were well-circulated, of one scene where Whitaker carries Zellweger into
and out of Buhlow Lake in Pineville.
Then there are those times where producers and directors are shooting
in Louisiana, but it’s the wrong part of the state. Alicia Allain, originally
of Brusly, has been there and done that. As a co-producer on The Badge
with Billy Bob Thornton in 2001, she had the crew shoot in downtown Baton
Rouge with the Mississippi River Bridge in the background when a scene
called for downtown New Orleans. Likewise, as a line producer on Lush with
Campbell Scott, she pointed her team to the Baton Rouge Garden District
when a scene called for NOLA’s Garden District, specifically in the St.
Charles Avenue area. “It’s amazing what you can get away with when you
put your mind to it,” says Allain.
Louisiana certainly has a rich history of doubling. In Ray with
Jamie Foxx, the Louisiana House of Representatives doubled as the Georgia
House of Representatives. In The Brooke Ellison Story, Tulane passed
for Harvard. In Crazy in Alabama, Houma served as Alabama. A few
years ago, there was even an indie film called Anytown that was
shot in Baton Rouge—thematically, Red Stick was supposed to be a generic
anytown. The picturesque courthouse square in Clinton will soon become
for millions of viewers vampire stomping grounds as the ficticious town
of Bon Temps in North Louisiana. There was also the forgettable Harold
& Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which was shot in Shreveport and
made to look like Los Angeles and Cuba at times.
On the horizon, downtown Alexandria becomes Chicago in the thirties
for an upcoming production of The Story of Bonnie and Clyde, and
additional shooting for the picture is slated for the Felicianas. There’s
no doubt that more pictures will be made in Louisiana that aren’t always
dependent upon sleepy bayou towns and alligators crossing the road. And
that’s a good thing; it shows that Louisiana is a versatile locale to shoot
any kind of film, whether it’s a period piece or sci-fi fantastic.
Movie magic can take you anywhere—without ever leaving home. Jeremy
Alford is a freelance journalist based in Baton Rouge. You can reach him
TARZAN: LORD OF THE LOUISIANA JUNGLE NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release 2-16-09
Media Contact: Al Bohl 318-426-8530 email@example.com
Tarzan’s Louisiana Connection Explored in Documentary
A documentary film is being made about the 1918 silent motion picture
"Tarzan of the Apes" which was shot in Morgan City. Executive producer
Al Bohl is working in partnership with the award winning Cinematic Arts
Workshop of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to produce this documentary.
“The making of the original film is a fascinating story,” says Bohl, “with
more layers than an onion.”
Mr. Bohl lives in Louisiana and has always been a fan of the Ape man
created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. According to Bohl, years ago a man
from Morgan City told him about the film and said live apes had been used
in the film and just left behind when the film wrapped. That bit of information
was enough to keep the Bossier City native hooked into the story.
However, it wasn’t until the movie industry started coming to Louisiana
that Bohl began investigating more into this particular Tarzan film.
“This film was the first feature film made on location in the U.S. and
one of the first films to gross one million dollars at the box office,”
says Bohl. That is about $25 million in today’s money. This documentary
to be entitled “Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle,” hopes to not
only find out if there are monkeys in the bayous but also find out if a
real lion was killed on screen and why, of all places, Louisiana was chosen
as the place to make the movie.
Bohl and the Cinematic Arts Workshop team will travel throughout the
United States interviewing scholars and fans finding these answers and
much more. The project is already stirring interest among Tarzan
enthusiasts around the nation and has the blessing of Edgar Rice Burroughs,
Inc. Elmo Lincoln played the part of Tarzan in the first film.
Mr. Lincoln passed away in the 1950s but his daughter has been very excited
about this documentary project.
Mr. Bohl would like anyone with first or second hand knowledge of the
Morgan City film to contact him through his website www.albohl.com. “I
have high hopes that at least one person is still alive and willing to
talk to us who was somehow affiliated with the movie made some 90 years
ago. A great find would be an ape costume worn in the movie.
I can always dream,” adds Bohl.
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