The Gridley Wave #304 ~January 2008
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Little is known about the first movie Tarzan, Stellan Windrow, who can still be seen swinging through the trees in Tarzan of the Apes (released in January, 1918, ninety years ago this month) because his replacement actor, Elmo Lincoln, was afraid of heights and did all his filming closer to the ground. Windrow’s parents were Swedish physicians, and while his father Sven Vindruvva (the Swedish version of "Windrow") remained in Sweden, his mother moved to Chicago where Stellan Windrow was born on September 2, 1893. His parents divorced, so mother and son stayed in Chicago where the boy grew up and earned a degree in Philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1915. He also excelled in athletics, winning events in swimming, track & field, and medals in discus and shotput. Not surprising when we find him at six feet-four inches tall, and weighing 200 pounds. He also excelled in photography which was useful to him in later life.

He had become friends with several Hollywood celebrities like Wallace Beery and was immediately signed by producer Bill Parsons for Tarzan of the Apes in 1917. The company relocated to Morgan City, Louisiana to shoot the film. (The Morgan City location was later destroyed due to off-shore oil drilling.) But after only five weeks on location, the Swedish Navy drafted him as an ensign, and off he went to serve his country in WWI. Enter Elmo.

After the war, Stellan Windrow settled in London where he married Marjorie Desborough, and the couple moved to the USA when the first of their two daughters was born in 1920. He worked at Paramount Pictures, playing bit parts in many movies before moving to Paris in 1923 where his two daughters were educated. By the end of the 1930s he returned to the USA as a freelance photographer for the American Red Cross, both during and after the war. Both Gabe Essoe and Jerry Schneider refer to him in their respective books on Tarzan films as "Winslow Wilson," but there is no indication that he used this name in his acting career. His fellow cast members in Tarzan of the Apes called him "Steamboat" because “S.S.Windrow” sounded like a steamboat name. Windrow died on November 25, 1958 in New York City.

For more information on him, visit Ed Stephan’s extensive website at

..."Ye Editor"

The Gridley Wave #304 ~ January 2008
Published monthly for the Burroughs Bibliophiles as a supplement to The Burroughs Bulletin. Edited by George T. McWhorter,
The Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection, William F. Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292.
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