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Volume 6306

ERB of the Silver Screen
A Resource Guide to the Movies of Edgar Rice Burroughs
An ongoing ERBzine and ERB C.H.A.S.E.R. ENCYCLOPEDIA project

From TARZAN ON FILM by Scott Tracy Griffin


Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #40
“The Romance of Tarzan” premiered at New York’s Strand Theater on October 14, 1918. Briefly re-titled “The Marriage of Tarzan” before its release, it ran 96 minutes in seven reels. The film did not achieve the commercial and popular success of its predecessor, "Tarzan of the Apes." Publicist Harry Reichenbach attributed this to producer William Parsons’ unwillingness to spend additional money on promotions or publicity; instead, Parsons staged a contest for exhibitors, offering a total of $1,200 in Liberty Bonds for the most creative promotional campaigns.
Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #41
“Her false heart swelled with pride and love as Tarzan, fighting bare handed as in his jungle combats, crushed the would-be murderers and hurled them from him.” In a scene from “The Romance of Tarzan” reminiscent of the second ape-man novel, “The Return of Tarzan,” the seductress La Belle Ondine (Cleo Madison) lures Tarzan (Elmo Lincoln) to his intended doom at the hand of a band of ruffians. Tarzan’s jungle-bred fighting skills were up to the challenge.
Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #42
“As Delilah with Sampson—she sought to enslave Tarzan’s will by drugging his senses.” La Belle Ondine (Cleo Madison) uses her wiles to overpower Tarzan (Elmo Lincoln) in “The Romance of Tarzan.”
Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #43

Cleo Madison: Director and Actress
In “The Romance of Tarzan” (1918), blue-eyed, auburn haired Cleo Madison portrayed “La Belle Ondine”, the seductress recruited by Tarzan’s caddish cousin William Clayton (Colin Kenny) to lure Tarzan (Elmo Lincoln) away from Jane (Enid Markey).

Madison, who was born Lulu Bailey in Bloomington, Illinois on March 26, 1883 and educated at Illinois State Normal University, began appearing onstage in 1907, emigrating to California in 1910 to join the Santa Barbara Stock Company. She was contracted by Universal Pictures as a in 1913, where she won widespread fame the following year in the dual role of twins, the heroic Ruth and evil Judith, as well as their mother, in the cliffhanger serial The Trey of Hearts, helmed by “Romance of Tarzan” director Wilfred Lucas. Madison then became a pioneering director under the tutelage of “Tarzan of the Apes” scripter Lois Weber and other women, shooting 16 shorts and two 1916 features. In 1917, Weber quit directing and returned to acting as a freelancer.

Madison, who married businessman Don Peake in 1916, retired from Hollywood in 1921, citing “nervous exhaustion,” but made a brief comeback attempt before leaving the film industry for good in 1924. She died of a heart attack at her sister’s home in Burbank, California on March 11, 1964.

Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #44
Nigel de Brulier appeared as the priest in "The Romance of Tarzan." Slim and gaunt with piercing eyes, he was typecast as a religious figures or ascetics; he played Cardinal Richelieu four times, in “The Three Musketeers” (1921), “The Iron Mask” (1929), “The Three Musketeers” (1935) and “The Man in the Iron Mask" (1939).

Born Francis George Packer in Bristol, England on July 8, 1877, de Brulier attended public schools as a boy and sang tenor in church choirs. He immigrated to Canada and then to Chicago in 1898, where, like “Tarzan of the Apes” author Edgar Rice Burroughs, de Brulier tried unsuccessfully to enlist in the Spanish American War.

After losing his singing voice, De Brulier moved on to California in 1899, working in a Borax mine in Borate, in hopes that the desert climate would rejuvenate him. Other jobs included rowing a glass-bottomed boat in Catalina, and picking oranges. De Brulier launched his stage career, with the Carla Rosa Opera Company taking his stage name from his French wife’s lineage. His film debut was in the original “Robin Hood” (1909) at the Selig Company’s Edendale Studios.

De Brulier successfully transitioned to sound films, accruing more than 100 credits in his five-decade career. Other notable credits include “Ben Hur” (1925), “The Gaucho,” “Salome” (as Jochanan), “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” “Viva Villa,” and “Charlie Chan in Egypt.” He was the model for the sorcerer in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequence of Walt Disney’s “Fantasia.”

De Brulier resided in the Los Angeles suburb of Eagle Rock, where he directed a theater group in his spare time and served as the vice president of the Adventurers Club, after a spate of overseas travels. Favorite plays included “Mary Queen of Scotland,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and “Salome.” He died January 30, 1948 in Los Angeles.

Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #45
Monte Blue played the role of Juan, the heavy in the 1918 film “The Romance of Tarzan,” the sequel to “Tarzan of the Apes,” both starring Elmo Lincoln and Enid Markey as Tarzan and Jane. Like the film, the precise nature of Blue’s role is lost, but undoubtedly the 6’3” stuntman tangled with Tarzan.

Like Lincoln, Blue was discovered by director D.W. Griffith, garnering an upgrade from day laborer to extra and stunt man on “Birth of a Nation” before moving on to leading parts and eventually character roles in talkies and television as he aged.

He was born Gerard Montgomery Bluefeather in Indianapolis Indiana on January 11, 1887, the son of a French/Indian father who died in his childhood; when his mother could not raise Blue and his four siblings, he and a brother were placed in the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home. He attended Purdue University and drifted west, working as a fireman, railroad man, coal miner, cowboy, and lumberjack. He is remembered by genre fans as the villainous Indian shaman Yellow Weasel, opposite Herman Brix in the 1938 Republic serial “Hawk of the Wilderness.”

Married three times, with two children, Blue died on February 18, 1963 of a heart attack and influenza in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while traveling as an advance man for the Morton Shrine Circus. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #46

Happy Birthday Enid Markey!

Born February 22, 1893, in Dillon Colorado, the Tarzan films’ first Jane began acting as a child, moving to California with her mother Catherine in 1910, following her graduation from Denver High School and her father’s death.

In Los Angeles, she enrolled in the Egan Dramatic School and made her West Coast stage debut in “Oliver Twist,” earning $10 a week portraying a maid in the Oliver Morosco production. She soon began playing ingénue leads and was discovered onstage by one of Thomas Ince’s talent scouts, who lured her to Inceville with a $50/week contract, where she played opposite William S. Hart in Westerns.

She was eventually cast in “Tarzan of the Apes” (1918) opposite Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan; she returned for the sequel, “The Romance of Tarzan” (1918), before leaving Hollywood for Broadway, determined to pursue “real” acting. She won the lead in “Up in Mabel’s Room” in 1919 and appeared on the Great White Way for decades, eventually returning to film and guesting on popular television series.

Markey died of a heart attack in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York on November 15, 1981. She was preceded in death by her husband, businessman George Watson “Ty” Cobb, Jr.; the couple had no children.

Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #47
On February 16, 1918, Hollywood trade papers announced that ten percent of the box office proceeds from the January 27 premiere week of “Tarzan of the Apes” would be donated to the Our Boys in France Tobacco Fund “to supply the American boys in khaki now in France with smoke comforts.” The February 23 “Motion Picture News” announced that the amount, after the war tax was deducted, came to $622.88
Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #48

Elmo Lincoln’s lead in “Tarzan of the Apes” and its sequel “The Romance of Tarzan” earned a contract with Universal for three serials and a feature film, to be produced by Universal’s partner, the Great Western Producing Company.

In “Elmo the Mighty” (1919), filmed in Griffith Park, Bronson Canyon, and Big Bear Valley, Lincoln portrayed Captain Elmo Armstrong, a heroic forest ranger. Directed by Henry MacRae (“Tarzan the Tiger”) and J.P. McGowan (“Tarzan and the Golden Lion”), Grace Cunard starred opposite Lincoln in the 18-chapter serial.

“Elmo the Fearless” (1920), another 18-chapter serial, cast Lincoln as “The Stranger.” McGowan directed, with Louise Lorraine replacing an ailing Grace Cunard in the lead.

In “The Flaming Disc” (1920) Lincoln played a two-fisted dual role of brothers with “Feats of Strength and Daring such as the Serial Screen has Never Known.” Lorraine again played lead, with Robert F. Hill helming; the trio would re-team for the 1921 serial “The Adventures of Tarzan.”

The feature film “Under Crimson Skies” saw Lincoln cast as “Yank Barstow” a heroic ship’s skipper who battles a typhoon, mutiny, and a Latin American revolution. Directed by Rex Ingram, the Jack Londonesque picture co-starred Mabel Ballin as Lincoln’s love interest.

Celebrating the Tarzan Film Centennial #49
Before “The Romance of Tarzan” was released in theaters, author Edgar Rice Burroughs received an inquiry into the Tarzan film rights by producer Pliny P. Craft of Monopol Pictures in New York.

Notifying Craft in a letter on August 5, 1918, that two films had been made from the first novel, Burroughs opened negotiations by requesting the same terms of payment as William Parsons’ contract for “Tarzan of the Apes”: Burroughs would sell Craft rights to the second apeman novel, “The Return of Tarzan,” for a $5,000 cash advance on royalties, $50,000 in stock and 50 percent of the gross. The contract was further revised on August 11 to include Burroughs as co-director (for a $5,000 salary), dedicate a maximum of 30 percent of the budget to distribution, and, if two pictures were made from the novel, the contract must indicate this and provide a “reasonable time limit” for the second production.

The contract was signed on September 21, and Apex Picture Corporation was founded. Burroughs refused Craft’s request to name the company Tarzan Pictures Corporation, stating, “. . . this name is worth more to me than the picture rights to any of the Tarzan stories. If I give permission to you to incorporate under the name ‘Tarzan Pictures Corporation’ and you were to produce other pictures, you would of course feature the name of the corporation which would be only natural so that in a little while the world would be entirely meaningless to the motion picture public as far as my stories were concerned . . .”

Above: The hardbound novel “The Return of Tarzan” was released in 1915 with the same art by N.C. Wyeth (titled “Jungle Man”) that appeared on the August 1913 cover of “New Story” magazine, which contained the third installment of the serial.




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