News Archive Edition
Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt will explore some of the secrets behind the making of two classic Tarzan films with screenings of Tarzan and His Mate (1934) and Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939). Both evenings will include rare, behind-the-scenes photos revealing how certain technologies were used in making the films. The program will also examine the MGM rear projection technique used to create the illusion of a charging rhino.
Sound effects played an enormous role in these films. “Tarzan and His Mate” is one of those rare action films in which no music score was added; instead, the filmmakers relied on the power of sound effects alone to magnify the drama.
Burtt will perform live audio demonstrations to illustrate why this was successful, and he will reveal the secret of how the classic Tarzan yell was created (as well as other fun, quintessential Tarzan sounds).
Saturday, October 16, 7 p.m.
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
Premiering a new print from the Academy Film Archive
Jane’s (Maureen O’Sullivan) former love Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton) returns to the jungle bearing expensive gifts in an effort to convince her to return to civilization. Holt and his business partner embark on an ivory expedition to the elephant burial grounds, and Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) does everything in his power to stop them. Because censors found the aquatic interlude too racy, this version of the film was released only briefly and in just a few theaters.
Directed by Cedric Gibbons. Produced by Bernard H. Hyman. Screenplay James Kevin McGuinness. Adaptation Howard Emmett Rogers, Leon Gordon. Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Cinematography Charles G. Clarke, Clyde De Vinna. Film Editing Tom Held. Art Direction Arnold Gillespie. Sound Douglas Shearer. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 35mm. 105 mins.
Sunday, October 24, 7 p.m.
Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)
Featuring a new print courtesy of Warner Bros.
When a plane flying to Cape Town crashes over the jungle, the only survivor – a baby boy – is rescued by Tarzan’s chimpanzee Cheeta. Tarzan and Jane adopt “Boy” (John Sheffield) and raise him as their own, but the new family is threatened when a search party arrives five years later looking for the child, who happens to be the heir to a fortune worth millions.
Directed by Richard Thorpe. Produced by Sam Zimbalist. Screenplay Cyril Hume. Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Cinematography Leonard Smith. Film Editing Frank Sullivan, Gene Ruggiero. Art Direction Cedric Gibbons. Sound Douglas Shearer. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 35mm. 81 mins.
This week-long display highlights the studio production methods used in the MGM “Tarzan” films starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan. Materials on view will include two rare, original matte paintings on loan from the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, from the Elephant’s Graveyard scene in “Tarzan and His Mate,” illustrating the tradition of realistic painting used to create the illusion of exotic locations; a Mitchell camera of the type used to film several “Tarzan” films, and other items. Original multimedia content by Craig Barron and Ben Burtt will provide a look at behind-the-scenes footage showing how the films’ various jungle illusions were created. Admission to the display is free.
Tarzan’s Technology Treasures
October 16–24 in the foyer of the Linwood Dunn Theater
Visit the Oscars.org Web site for more information.
From ERBzine News:
Submitted by Laurence Dunn
Traditional Tarzan is being revamped for the 21st century
Sunday Times ~ September 19, 2010
Me Tarzan, you Facebook girl. Nearly a century after he first appeared swinging through the jungle, Tarzan is being updated for the Internet age.
ERB NEWS ARCHIVE
Screenwriter Enchanted by 'A Princess of Mars'
LA Times ~ December 10, 1988The call from Disney Studios came last August, just after the writers strike ended. Producer Michael Engleberg had read Terry Black's screenplay for "Dead Heat," a 1988 horror-detective film starring Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo, and was calling the Costa Mesa writer to see if Black would be interested in writing the screenplays for two film projects he was developing.
Black wasn't interested in the first project Engleberg mentioned and was just about to hang up when the producer said the other one he had in mind was called "A Princess of Mars." Black did a double take. "Do you mean the classic novel of Edgar Rice Burroughs, written in 1911, about John Carter going to Mars, meeting the gorgeous princess, exploring the fantastic lost cities, and fighting giant, four-armed green barbarians?"
"Oh, so you've heard of it then," Engleberg said.
Black, a lifelong science-fiction devotee who read all 10 of Burroughs' "Mars" books in junior high school, said with a grin: "I just couldn't turn it down. It's the opportunity of a lifetime to write something like this." Black, 34, recently turned in his completed "A Princess of Mars" screenplay and the studio is now considering revisions.
Although Burroughs is best known for his 26 Tarzan books, the Chicago-born author wrote many science-fiction novels about life on other planets. His first "Mars" book, "A Princess of Mars," was originally published in 1912 as a magazine serial titled "Under the Moons of Mars." John Carter, the hero of Burroughs' story, is a former Confederate Army captain who mysteriously finds himself transported to Mars in 1865. As Burroughs envisioned it, the red planet is the home of a once-great civilization whose technology was vastly superior to Earth's. But as the sun steadily cooled, Mars became increasingly uninhabitable--to the point that it is now virtually a dead world except for the last remaining great cities and roving bands of ferocious, warring barbarians.
"Three-quarters of a century and the book is still popular, which says something," Black said. "Even at that, the studio wanted to change the whole story around. At one point, they wanted me to throw out the whole book--which I thought was foolish advice." With characteristically wry humor delivered in a rich baritone voice, Black added: "Not everything they said was stupid. They wanted the story to be more dramatic. Basically, the book has kind of a leisurely pace, especially in the beginning, and if you're going to tell the story in 2 hours, you have to heighten, exaggerate and make it bigger than life."
In writing his screenplay, Black said he had to condense the number of events portrayed in the book. "You don't have time for an elaborate back story," he said. "The audience won't sit still for that." As an example of the condensing involved in translating "A Princess of Mars" to the screen, Black said that in the book John Carter learns the Martian language over a period of several months. "In the movie we just made up this time machine that instantly re-educates his speech centers so he can talk Martian."
Black said, however, that he has remained fairly faithful to the book, which he describes as essentially an adventure romance: the story of star-crossed lovers from different worlds. Although the four-armed green Martians in Burroughs' story have tusks and large, bulging eyes, the red Martians are more human-like. John Carter's love interest, Princess Dejah Thoris, is a red Martian. "At the end of this book, they get married; she becomes pregnant and lays an egg with his child in it," says Black with a laugh. "I don't think we can do that in the movie because it will not be taken seriously."
Black said he had to throw out most of Burroughs' dialogue, which is written in a florid, Victorian style. He said, however, that he used much of the dialogue between Carter and the Martian princess because it did not seem dated. Black commented: "The sad fact is that men and women have been misunderstanding each other for centuries."
Surprisingly, although Hollywood has made a string of movies based on Burroughs' Tarzan series, none of the author's "Mars" books has ever been made into movies. "The stories are good enough, the only reason (they haven't been made) is because it would be so fantastically expensive to animate all the creatures and do the special effects," Black said. Without the phenomenal success of "Star Wars," Black believes, Disney would not be willing to invest in a movie based on "A Princess of Mars." In fact, he said, "they want this to be the next 'Star Wars.' " Black, however, did not feel intimidated by having to write the screenplay for a film that is expected to compete with one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. "All you can think about is whatever you're working on and do the best job you can with this individual project," he said. "You can't make comparisons because it's foolish to do that. But they always do."
Black said the studio is debating whether the movie will be released as a traditional family-oriented Disney film or under the studio's more adult Touchstone banner. Either way is fine with him. "The advantage of releasing it under Touchstone is that we might be able to deal with more mature scenes, more gruesome fight scenes, more mayhem. But the story has such a sense of childlike fun throughout the book that I'd like to capture, which is exactly what you'd expect from a Disney picture."
Black did not began writing his screenplay until October and had it completed in 4 weeks. If that sounds impressively swift, consider that he wrote the screenplay for "Dead Heat" in 3 weeks in 1985. "It doesn't take long to write a screenplay," insists Black, who teaches a screenwriting class at Irvine Valley College. "A 21-day screenplay is perfectly reasonable, especially if you have thought out the story in advance. You should have a fairly detailed outline of the story before you start. Otherwise, you kind of flounder around."
In 1985, Black was working days as a computer programmer and taking an evening screenwriting class at Orange Coast College when his younger brother, Shane, fresh out of UCLA, sold his first screenplay, "Lethal Weapon," for $250,000. Spurred by his brother's success, Black decided to give up trying to write scripts for television and instead write a screenplay. He had a 3-week vacation in December and he was determined that he wasn't going to return to work until he had finished his script.
"Dead Heat," in which a police detective is killed and turned into a zombie in order to solve a case in which a scientific syndicate revives corpses to do its criminal dirty work, died at the box office when it was released earlier this year. It also received a critical lambasting, best summarized by The Times' Michael Wilmington, who described it as "a repulsive potpourri of the bloodily obvious . . . shish-kebabed on an empty high concept." Black commented: "I don't agree with that, but I kind of like the way it sounds."
Despite the critical drubbing, Black said there is nothing to compare to the experience of seeing his own story on the silver screen. "I could die tomorrow and they can't take that away," he said. "Just the fact that I wrote a movie seen by thousands, if not millions. It's essentially made a career for me."Black, a member of Fictionaires, the Orange County writers critique group, has been writing "seriously" since he was in high school, he said. Before "Dead Heat," he had sold eight short stories to Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine and had two "sexy" Westerns to his credit. (He describes a "sexy" Western as an action Western with three obligatory sex scenes).
Black finds that his experience writing books and short stories has benefitted his screenwriting. "I find many of the people writing screenplays in Hollywood don't read," he said. "They don't like words and don't understand books. If you have a literary background and have kind of a prose style, that gives you an incredible advantage over these yay-hoos."
Although he now makes his living as a screenwriter, Black has other writing projects in mind. "I'd like to break into comic books," he said. "I hope to write a nonfiction book about 'The Fugitive' television series. And I've always loved short stories. I just wrote a bunch of 100-word short stories for someone who is doing an anthology. I used up about a week when I should have been working on something else."
He's currently doing a rewrite of an earlier script he wrote. It sounds like vintage Terry Black: "It's about a machine that accelerates the process of evolution and changes an ordinary ferret into a human-like creature with fantastic reflexes and a vicious killer instinct--so he becomes a private eye."Copyright 2010 Los Angeles Times
Is Tarzan Out on a Limb Over Jungle Romance?Los Angeles, Calif. -AP- While Tarzan and Jane were living together in that tree all those years, where they also living in sin?
The Milwaukee Journal ~ December 28, 1961
Belated rumors of such a jungle scandal are circulating in near-by Downey, where some of the restless natives may be trying to drum Tarzan books right of their elementary school libraries.
Their suspicions: That there is nothing to indicate that Tarzan and Jane were ever legally married. And, if this is the case, that children are being exposed to tales about an ape man who was up to a little monkey business when he whisked Jane over the threshold of his primitive penthouse and invited her to stick around for breakfast.
The celebrated fictional hero created by the late Edgar Rice Burroughs has been through this sort of thing before. Once, in fact, he was in effect of being a dupe of the Communists. Happily, it appears that Tarzan's reputation is as indestructible as Tarzan himself.
Supt. Bruce Moore of the Downey unified school district said the trouble started at the last school board meeting. Board member Robert L. Ryan said he had been told that a librarian at one of the schools removed all the Tarzan books because of Tarzan's alleged inability to produce a marriage certificate.
"I can assure you," Moor said, "that the board unanimously feels the other way -- that the books should stay."
Sol lesser, who produced many of the Tarzan movies, said the same objections were raised years ago.
"I had a long correspondence with a number of people who objected to the fact that Tarzan and Jane were living in a tree house and had a son, all apparently without benefit of matrimony," Lesser said.
"We established that the son (known only as 'Boy') was adopted by them. But that didn't help much and the correspondence went on."
"Finally I spoke to Burroughs. He said: 'I would advise you to read my books. In one of my early books it was established that Jane's name was Jane Porter, that she was the daughter of a minister in Baltimore, Md., and that the father went to the jungle and there married Tarzan and Jane.'"
Actress Maureen O'Sullivan, most famous of all the Janes in the Tarzan films, said similar objections were raised in her day. So, she said, Tarzan and Jane were married on the screen.
"That seemed to satisfy everybody," she said.
At the time of Burroughs' death in 1950, it was estimated that nearly 40 million Tarzan books had been sold and some had been translated into more than 50 languages. And, over the years, Tarzan has drawn more at the box office than any other single movie hero.
TARZANA, Los Angeles Co. - UPI- Publishers of the Tarzan books rose up in arms today against critics who tried to besmirch the fair name of the apeman's mate Jane.
Tarzan Publishers Stand Behind Jane's Fair Name
The Modesto Bee ~ December 27, 1961
Cause for the indignation was a report from nearby Downey stating that an elementary school banned the Tarzan books and the western stories of Zane Grey from its library.
It was intimated in hushed tones that Tarzan and his mate had an offspring without benefit of wedlock and therefore the books, Tarzan of the Apes and The Return of Tarzan might have a deteriorate effect on young minds. In connection with the Zane Grey books, it was said that some of his characters used language a little stronger than "shucks" or "gee whiz.
'They Were Married'
Tarzan's main defender was Ralph Rothmund, general manager of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., the firm established by the late author of the TArzan books which gave the name to this Los Angeles suburb.
Said Rothmund in high dudgeon: "They were married. They were married. Anyone who has read the books at all closely should know they were married.
"Jane and Tarzan took the marriage vows in the jungle with her father present. The father may not have been an ordained minister but after all things were pretty primitive in those days in the jungle. It is common practice in some primitive areas for betrothed couples to take their vows of marriage without the presence of an ordained clergyman.
Jack of All Trades
"You'll find that most churches recognize such marriages. Jane's father had to be - like all white men in the jungle - a jack of all trades. Such a man would be a minister, a doctor, a carpenter, anything you want to name.
"Why it's ridiculous if the Tarzan books have been banned by some narrow minded people. But I guess it takes all kinds to make a world. They say there are even people who hate God.
In Downey, Superintendent of Schools Bruce Boore was under instructions from the school board to investigate the reported banning of the books as soon as teachers and librarians return from Christmas vacation.
Board member Robert Ryan said he was told the books were removed from a school library because some parents thought Grey's books "contained obscene words and that there was no indication that Tarzan and his mate were ever married."
Did the Downey library really ban Tarzan books?
Staff Report ~ March 26, 2015 ~ The Downey Patriot
DOWNEY – In the early 1960s it was reported that the Downey City Library had banned all of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan" books because Tarzan wasn't married to Jane when they conceived Boy. This was widely believed throughout Southern California during the 1960s and 1970s and is still believed by many today. This rumor implied that the people of Downey were ignorant, intolerant, right-wing prigs.
This belief has surprising staying power. Over 45 years after this ban was supposed to have happened, the 2007 book "Tarzan: The Broadway Adventure" by Michael Lassell claimed that a national ban of Tarzan books started in Downey in 1962.
Almost 10 years after the "ban," the Los Angeles Times still considered it newsworthy. In May 8, 1970, the popular Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Smith wrote "Downey Sends L.A. Back to the Bush League." In it, he stated, "Wasn’t it Downey, a few years ago, that tried to get the Tarzan books out of the town library on the grounds that Tarzan and Jane were living together but weren’t married? Yes, it was Downey."
Ray Loynd's September 8, 1971 Los Angeles Times article, “Stage Review: Downey Guild Offers ‘Evening of Theater’” (see p. H9) called Downey “a community that is capable of banning Tarzan from the public library.”
The rumor about Tarzan was, however, a wild exaggeration of what actually happened. According to a Dec. 28, 1961 Los Angeles Times article, "Zane Grey Also Safe: Tarzan’s Marital Status No Issue as Downey School Ban Is Denied," a rumor spread that one of the Downey elementary schools had removed Edgar Rice Burroughs and Zane Grey books from its library because "1—There was no indication that Tarzan and his mate, Jane, were ever married before they took up housekeeping in the treetops," and "2—Grey was known to put such expletives as ‘damn!’ and ‘hell’ in the mouths of his western cowhands."
In a later article, ("Downey Furor Result: Schools Take Over Control of Libraries," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 6 1962) the Times explained that the superintendent of the Downey Unified School District heard this rumor and investigated the situation to find out what happened.
He discovered that there was no "ban." What had happened was that in one elementary school, a parent had put two Zane Grey books “out of site (sic) in a desk drawer." No Tarzan books were involved.
The Zane Grey books were subsequently put back on the shelves.ERBzine Editor: Believe it or Not, Folks :)
Flames Speep Toward Encino
LA Times ~ November 27, 1938
Fresh Winds Off Pacific Whip Fire Across Mulholland High Way,
Periling Homes of San Fernando Valley NotablesFresh winds off the Pacific whipped new brush fires over the ridge of the Santa Monica Mountains across Mulholland HIgh Way early last night to endanger Encino, where many motion picture stars' homes are located.
In two or three places the flames were only a mile from the homes of Al Jolson, Joel McCrea, film stars; Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan, and Phil Harris, orchestra leader. . . .
See the Tarzana Hall of Fame
WOULD DIVORCE NOVELIST
The Montreal Gazette ~ December 5, 1934
Los Angeles, December 4.- Mrs. Edgar Rice Burroughs, wife of the novelist-creator of "Tarzan," said today she plans to file a divorce action soon against her husband in which she will charge incompatibility. Mrs. Burroughs said a property settlement has been arranged and that she may name a woman co-respondent. Burroughs is in Las Vegas, Nev., working on a story. Mrs. Burroughs and the wirter have a married daughter.
"GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES: LIMITED EDITION
La-La Land Records presents the premiere CD release of composer John Scott's (THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, SHOOT TO KILL, NORTH DALLAS FORTY) magnificent orchestral score to the 1984 Warner Bros. feature film
GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES,
starring Christopher Lambert, Andie MacDowell, Ralph Richardson, Ian Holm and James Fox,
directed by Hugh Hudson.
"Scott's brilliant score bursts with the violence and vitality of the jungle, yet is also heart-moving and surprisingly gentle.
This re-issue was produced by MV Gerhard and remastered by James Nelson from the original Warner Bros. ¼ inch album masters. While no elements were secured to give this wonderful score the expanded treatment it deserves, we were able to pull the OVERTURE and END CREDITS off the original magnetic track and present it here as Bonus Material. CD Booklet features in-depth liner notes by film music writer Jeff Bond. This release is limited to 3000 Units."
The Family (2:52)
Child Of The Apes (2:30)
Pygmy Attack (1:16)
D’arnot’s Vision (1:31)
Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes (2:13)
Tarzan Leaves The Jungle (1:32)
Edge Of The World (3:09)
(Gardens Of Greystoke) Chanson De Matin (0:55)
The Weight Of Greystoke (2:50)
(The Dancing Lesson) Sontag Polka (1:07)
Dance Of Death (3:10)
Half Of Me Is Wild (1:06)
Return To The Jungle (3:11)
Closing (End Titles) (2:59)
Total Running Time: 38:30
RETAIL PRICE: $19.98
Other labels that have released "Greystoke" over the years
From the Museum of the San Fernando Valley Blog
A young Danton Burroughs at the Burroughs home on Catalina
Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERB Companion Sites Created by Bill Hillman