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Volume 2986

"The Return of Tarzan"
Coming to Jefferson Next Wednesday
Fort Wayne Gazette ~ July 18, 1920
The Return of Tarzan starring Gene Pohlar

"The Return of Tarzan," which comes to the Jefferson starting Wednesday, is the screen version of the famous story by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This second screen story of Tarzan, the ape man, one of the most picturesque fiction personalities conceived, depicts his thrilling experiences among civilized peoples, and his eventual return to his jungle home.

The story opens with Tarzan aboard a France bound steamer. Hardly has the ship left her pier when Tarzan, watching a card game, exposes a couple of card cheats who are trying to humiliate the Count de Coude, in the hope that they can obtain from him, by blackmail, some valuable papers in his possession, as a member of the French diplomatic service. One of them, Rokoff, the Countess de Coude's brother is an agent of the Russian government. Resenting his interference, the two conspire to revenge themselves upon the indifferent Tarzan, who is a willing victim of their plots. Arrived in Paris, he is drawn into a duel with the Count de Coude through Rokoff's efforts to compromise him with the countess.

Still desirous of getting rid of Tarzan, who he realizes is a formidable enemy, Rokoff contrives to get him into a house on one of the dark Paris streets where are a band of Apaches hired to kill him, but the mighty ape man overpowers them and escapes.

Soon after this, Tarzan accepts a diplomatic position and leaves for Algiers, where again he encounters Rokoff and his accomplice, who are aligned with the very man Tarzan has been sent to track. After numerous hand to hand fights Tarzan is finally made captive, bound to a tree in an oasis and left to be killed by desert beasts. A dancing girl who had tried to help him escape, unbinds him just in time for him to grapple with a huge lion, which he finally kills with his bare hands.

Receiving instructions to go to Cape Town, he boards a steamer for South Africa and again comes under the Russian and his ally, who, determined to get rid of their enemy for good, toss him overboard one night as he stands unsuspecting by the rail. Tarzan after floating and swimming for hours is finally cast up on the African shore, to the very jungle in which he had lived and been brought up by the ape.

Meantime, Jane Porter, the girl Tarzan loves, who, with her father and her fiancee is cruising on the private yacht of a Lord Tennington, arrives in Cape Town, and there meets the villain Rokoff, traveling under an assumed name, and an old schoolmate, Hazel Strong, who had been on the same ship. When the party leaves Cape Town they all go as guests of Lord Tennington on his yacht. A ship fire sends everyone to the lifeboats, and Jane finds herself in the boat with her fiancé and Rokoff, without provisions and separated from the others. After days of drifting under the torrid sun the boat finally reaches the African coast. Then begins a series of adventures that end with Tarzan's rescue from a ferocious lion of the girl he loves -- and who, he finds to his great happiness really loves him.

Huge Menagerie In Coming "Tarzan" Film
If you think the making of an animal picture is not difficult listen to the wail of Director Harry Revier, who had charge of the making of "The Return of Tarzan,"  which comes to the Jefferson for four days, commencing Wednesday.

Mr. Revier, in addition to handling more than six hundred human artists was blessed with sixty-three beasts, some of which had no previous experience working with groups of people and others totally new to captivity.

Nine lions, five leopards, fifteen apes, six tigers, two chimpanzees, two elephants and twenty-four monkeys constitute the animalistic contribution to "The Return of Tarzan," and in some of the scenes ten or more animals of varied specie were used and it was in these episodes that Director Revier's work was cut out for him.

In a scene in which Gene Pollar as Tarzan drops from among a group of apes, nestling in trees, to the ground and has his bare handed fight against the lion, it required hours upon hours to induce the apes to remain quiet in the presence of the jungle king.

Again when Tarzan rides off on the head of his elephant, the huge beast, scenting the lion, balked and tore off through the underbrush and several days were spent trying to accustom the elephant to the lion.

At no time would the monkeys properly face the camera if any lions, tigers or man-eaters were within smelling distance, and a continual combat between the apes of different species so disturbed the director and players that a number of highly interesting scenes were deleted because of the apes' actions.

The two fights between Tarzan and the lions were staged just a s shown on the screen. A well trained lion, but with teeth and talons untampered with, actually battled with Tarzan and of course, permitted the man to win, and at a word from its trainer, "played dead" just as a trained dog would -- with the result that a most unusual effect is achieved.

Ten days of constant companionship between Tarzan and the apes were necessary to induce the apes to follow Tarzan about.

Pollar lived at the studio and fed the apes each day for more than a week, then when the animals became used to his kindness, the scenes were staged and in order to get proper camera effects, the scenes were made over no less than ten times.

Elephants became tempermental, lions aggravated, apes and monkeys over-playful and human artists scared to death, all of which contributed to the director's worries, but a sensational film recruited and the 60,000 feet of negative exposed and 7,000 feet of entertainment achieved therefrom, were well worth the time and danger.

From the Ron de Laat Collection

Mr. Pohler, I Presume
Tarzan No. 2 Alive!
Our reporter finds Elmo's successor in darkest New York
By Ernest Leogrande ~ Sunday News ~ August 14, 1966
The Management of this newspaper is proud to present, in an exclusive engagement, star of that 1920 jungle thriller, "The Return of Tarzan."

Not only proud to present him but relieved.

About a month ago we described the upcoming TV Tarzan, Ron Ely, and compared him with his predecessors of the movies. One of these was Pollar, whom we mourned as having gone on to that big tree house in the sky.

The other day the telephone rang and a robust voice asked, "Do you believe in reincarnation?"

Before we could come up with an answer the voice said, "Well, you better, because this is Gene Pohlar and I'm alive."

All Tarzans present or accounted for?

That's how we came to meet one of the legendary silent screen Tarzans, and who assuredly is alive and helathy, as we and any of his neighbors in Hollywood, Fla, will testify.

Pohler was in New York City with his wife Kay, visiting friends, and he came up to THE NEWS office to offer proof that at 73 he is still in excellent health. He is a vigorous 6 feet 2 inches and weighs in at 205 pounds. In his youth, his weight varied between 190 and 200 so he obviously still is in solid shape.

This is no accident. He swims, does calisthenics and has a home massage machine, which he finds a lot more comfortable than being massaged by a lion. Which he was.

Because his film career spanned exactly one year and he never sought prublic attention afterward, Pohler has managed to keep his private life private. He's been so successful that film buffs from time to time have asked hopelessly: "Whatever happened to Gene Pohler?

An Edgar Rice Burroughs-Tarzan expert, Vern Coriell of Kansas City, Mo. had written us that "Gene Pohler is still living in Florida," but a subsequent report from a qualified film researcher here that Pollar had just died was published.

If prompted, Pohler will spin out funny yarns about his life as Tarzan, but the yarns are laced with bitterness. Like all other Tarzans, including TV's Ely, he hated the role.

It was a short, unhappy year that he spent in the movie jungle and it so soured him that he gave up any chance of continuing as a movie celebrity and returned to a job he found much more satisfying, a New York City fireman.

Back in 1920, Joe Pohler was a husky 27, living in the Yorkville . . .[. . . page 2 is not available at this time.]

Click for full-size promo collage
ERBzine Silver Screen: The Revenge of Tarzan / The Return of Tarzan
ERBzine Silver Screen Resource Guide

Gene Pollar in Wikipedia
Gene Pollar in IMDB

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