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Issue 0595
An ERBzine of the Silver Screen Compendium

Tarzan the Fearless

Part I

Tarzan the Fearless 1933 "front-of-house" display at Scollay Square Theatre, Boston, Mass

Serial Poster - Episode 10: Tarzan the Fearless

1. Credits
(Submitted by Jerry Schneider from ERB and the Silver Screen)
2. Production Notes
(Submitted by Jerry Schneider from ERB and the Silver Screen)
3. Trivia
4. Buster Crabbe Timeline
5. Photo Gallery
6. Filmography
7. Paying homage to Isles' Buster Crabbe
8. References on the Wild Wild Web

Principal Pictures/Principal Distributing Corporation. No Copyright.
Released August 11, 1933, twelve chapter's version (two reels each chapter) and a feature length first chapter (comprised of the first four chapters, 59 to 61 minutes in length, seven reels) followed by the last eight chapters version.

Directed by Robert F. Hill
Produced by Sol Lesser; based on the characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Screenplay supervisor, William Lord Wright; continuity, Basil Dickey and George H.Plympton
Dialogue editor, Walter Anthony
Photography by Harry Neumann and Joseph Brotherton
Film editor, Carl Himm
Musical supervision, Abe Meyer
Grips, Stan Young, Ralph Johnson, H. Burroughs, Geo. Robertson, and Harry Horning
Stunts, Bert Goodrich, Chas. Schaeffer, Jimmy Casey, and Olive Hatch
Double girl, Loretta Rush
Props, Mike Gordon, Bert King, and Ernie Smith

Buster Crabbe ... Tarzan
Jacqueline Wells ... Mary Brooks
E. Alyn Warren ... Dr. Brooks
Edward Woods ... Bob Hall
Philo McCullough ... Jeff Herbert
Matthew Betz ... Nick Moran
Frank Lackteen ... Abdul
Mischa Auer ... Eltar, High Priest
Carlotta Monti ... Madi
Symonia Boniface ... Sara, Mary's Maid
Darby Jones ... Unga, head bearer
Al Kikume ... Warrior
George De Normand ... Guard
Jerry Frank ... Zar Warrior
Bill Patton ... Zar Warrior
Joe Gidley ... Zar Warrior
Karl Krusada ... Zar Warrior
Monty Montague ... Zar Warrior
Edgar Lewis ... Zar Warrior
Ed. Cobb ... Zar Warrior
Bert Offord ... Zar Warrior
Jack Corrigan ... Zar Warrior
Also featuring: Al Priscoe and Ivory Williams.

Serial Chapter Titles:
1. "The Dive of Death"
2. "The Storm God Strikes!"
3. "Thundering Death"
4. "The Pit of Peril"
5. "Blood Money"
6. "Voodoo Vengeance"
7. "Caught by Cannibals"
8. "The Creeping Terror"
9. "Eyes of Evil"
10. "The Death Plunge"
11. "Harvest of Hate"
12. "Jungle Justice"

On January 14, 1929, Burroughs entered into a contract with G. Walter Shumway and Jack C. Nelson allowing them to create a feature or a serial entitled "Tarzan the Fearless" for which Burroughs would receive $10,000 in cash and 10% of the gross receipts. One of the stipulations of the contract was that James Pierce (Burroughs' new son-in-law and former screen Tarzan in "Tarzan and the Golden Lion") was to portray Tarzan in the picture.  On October 10, 1931, Shumway and Nelson still retained control of the contract, but early in 1932, Sol Lesser acquired the contract.

On March 26, 1932, Burroughs signed a contract with Lesser for one Tarzan film after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's "Tarzan, the Ape Man" was released. Lesser believed that casting Pierce as Tarzan (per the contract) was a huge mistake due to the lack of physical conditioning of Pierce. Lesser, nevertheless, allowed Pierce to test for the role. Because of the test and other factors (including a buyout), Pierce was rejected and Buster Crabbe was signed for the role.

Reported as being up for the female lead were Jeannette Loff and Frances Rich, but Jacqueline Wells was finally signed. In the shooting script, at the first appearance of Madi, it shows "(Helene Madison) (Note: This bit so written that anyone will do if the Madison not available.)". Since Carlotta Monti is the actress who portrayed Madi in the finished film, evidently Helene Madison was not available during production.

Filming commenced on June 1, 1933, at the Mack Sennett Studios in Studio City (soon to become Republic Studios) with a 21 day shooting schedule. It was released in two forms: (1) as a twelve chapter serial and (2) as a first chapter feature comprised of the first four chapters followed by the last eight chapters.

Unfortunately, many of the first-run theaters only showed the first chapter feature, which left many plot threads dangling and ended with a cliffhanger. This feature length first chapter was released in Great Britain with the ending of the serial added on, as an 85 minute film.

Location filming utilized the hills above Chatsworth, notably Iversons Movie Location Ranch, as well as the Lake Sherwood area.

As a cost cutting feature (as most serials have done), Chapter Eleven is the traditional recap episode in which scenes from earlier chapters are repeated in order to keep the budget down. The recaps in this chapter were from Chapters One, Three, Four, and Seven.

From the soon-to-be released book by Ed Hulse: WAGE SLAVES IN THE DREAM FACTORY. One of the ultra-rare, behind-the-scenes that will be included. It's a "continuity" shot of the jungle-cabin set in Sol Lesser's 1933 serial TARZAN THE FEARLESS. This was taken to have as a record of what the set looked like and where the props were. It was the script girl's responsibility to make certain that everything was where it should be at the beginning of each take. Note the cinematographer's slate at bottom centre.


Gale Gordon was the first actor to play Flash Gordon. He starred in the 1935 radio serial.
Gordon also had a major role in the Tarzan of the Apes radio serial.
Crabbe won a gold medal in the 400 Meter Swimming Freestyle ~1932 Summer Olympics in LA.
He also won a bronze medal in the 1500 Meter Freestyle at Amsterdam.
James Pierce had been granted rights to the Fearless part by his father-in-law, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzan the Fearless was released as both a feature and a serial
It was also released as a Big Little Book which contained a photo still on every second page

Buster Crabbe, Johnnie Weissmuller and Duke Kahanamoku, all practiced for the
        Olympics at Hawaii's Natotorium ~ a War (WW1) Memorial, Olympic size, salt water pool
The Flash Gordon serials took on a new life when they were re-run in the early days of TV.
Co-stars in his Captain Gallant TV series were his son Cullen
        and famous western sidekick, Fuzzy Knight
Brigadier "Flash" Gordon: Name of character he played on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Salaries: Alien Dead (1980) $2000 ~ Prairie Rustlers (1945) $3000

Crabbe starred in 9 cliffhangers: TARZAN THE FEARLESS (Principal, 1933) ~ FLASH GORDON (Universal, 1936) ~ FLASH GORDON'S TRIP TO MARS (Universal, 1938) ~ RED BARRY (Universal, 1938) ~ BUCK ROGERS (Universal, 1939) ~ FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE (Universal, 1940) ~ THE SEA HOUND (Columbia, 1947)  ~ PIRATES OF THE HIGH SEAS (Columbia, 1950) ~ KING OF THE CONGO (Columbia, 1952)

BUSTER CRABBE Name Analysis: The name of Buster Crabbe creates a very aggressive and independent nature, one with big ambitions, giving you original, progressive, large-scale ideas, salesmanship and promotional ability as well as the excellent business judgment which enables you to gain the financial accumulation to which you feel entitled. You have a versatile, restless nature, and could do any job well, although you would not like to do menial tasks. You are seldom satisfied and are always seeking something new. However, you do not know the meaning of relaxation, for when supposedly resting, your mind is forever active, planning out some new project or seeking new ways to improve your present enterprise. You could organize the work of others, though in your impatience to see the job done efficiently, you would likely step right in and do it yourself. Your intense, restless nature can bring on tension which affects the solar plexus and digestion, or the generative organs.
REFERENCE: Buster-Crabbe Baby Names Analysis

BORN: Clarence Linden Crabbe on February 7, 1907 in Oakland, California, USA
Raised in Hawaii
Graduated from University of Southern California. and did bit parts in Hollywood films
In 1931, while working on That's My Boy for Columbia he was tested by MGM for Tarzan
Lost out to Johnny Weissmuller for the role of Tarzan in Tarzan the Ape Man
Won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1932 for the 400-metre freestyle
Starred as Kaspa, the Lion Man in Paramount Studio's King of the Jungle in 1932
Married to college sweetheart Adah Virginia Held from 1933 until his death in 1983
Signed by Paramount Studios in 1933 to play Tarzan in Tarzan the Fearless
Tarzan the Fearless was released in both feature and serial versions - neither was a success
In 1933 he starred in the first of what came to be a long string of western movies,
Many of his westerns were Zane Grey and Billy the Kid titles
Starred as Flash Gordon in three Universal serials:
        ~ Flash Gordon (1936)
        ~ Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)
        ~ Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
In the '50s he promoted a line of swimming pools: "Buster Crabbe Swimming Pools"
He devoted much of his time to the operation of a boys' camp in New York.
In the early '50s he hosted the kiddie show, "Buster's Buddies"
'1955-57: Starred in the syndicated TV series: Captain Gallant and the Foreign Legion
In the '60s through the '80s he worked in a many TV shows (Buck Rogers, etc.),
Also made a string of low-budget movies - mainly westerns (Alien Dead, 1980)
He died from heart problems at the age of 76 on April 23, 1983 in Scottsdale Arizona
Last movies: Alien Dead (1980) and Comeback Trail  (1982)


Click for larger images

Buster Crabbe and Maxine LeslieCrabbe as Flash GordonBuster Crabbe Comic BookCaptain Gallant and the Foreign LegionWeissmuller ~ Holme ~ Williams ~ Crabbe at Swimming Hall of Fame, Florida

REFERENCE: Internet Movie Data Base
  1.Comeback Trail, The (1982) .... Duke Montana
                            2.Alien Dead (1980) .... Sheriff Kowalski
                              ... aka Alien Dead, The (1980) (UK: video title)
                              ... aka It Fell from the Sky (1980)
                              ... aka Swamp of the Blood Leeches (1980)
                            3.Swim Team (1979)
                            4.Buck Rogers (1977)
                              ... aka Planet Outlaws (1999) (USA: video box title)
                            5.Deadly Ray from Mars (1966) (TV) .... Flash Gordon
                            6.Destination Saturn (1966) (TV)
                              ... aka Buck Rogers: Destination Saturn (1966) (TV) 
(USA: video catalogue title)
                            7.Peril from the Planet Mongo (1966) (TV) .... Flash Gordon
                            8.Purple Death from Outer Space (1966) (TV) .... Flash Gordon
                              ... aka Purple Death from Outer Space 1940 (1966) 
(TV) (promotional title)
                            9.Spaceship to the Unknown (1966) (TV) .... Flash Gordon
                           10.Bounty Killer, The (1965) .... Mike Clayman
                           11.Arizona Raiders (1965) .... Capt. Tom Andrews
                           12.Tarzan the Fearless (1964) (TV) .... Tarzan
                           13.Gunfighters of Abilene (1960) .... Kip
                           14.Badman's Country (1958) .... Wyatt Earp
                           15.Lawless Eighties, The (1957) .... Linc Prescott
                           16.Gun Brothers (1956) .... Chad Santee
                           17."Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion" (1955)
TV Series- Captain Gallant (1955-57)
                              ... aka "Foreign Legionnaire" (1955)
                           18.Planet Outlaws (1953) .... Col. Buck Rogers
                           19.King of the Congo (1952) .... Thunda/Roger Drum
                              ... aka Mighty Thunda, The (1952)
                              ... aka Thunda (1952)
                           20.Captive Girl (1950) .... Barton
                              ... aka Jungle Jim and the Captive Girl (1950)
                           21.Pirates of the High Seas (1950) .... Jeff Drake
                           22.Caged Fury (1948) .... Smiley
                           23.Code of the Plains (1947)
                           24.Sea Hound, The (1947) .... Captain Silver
                           25.Last of the Redmen (1947) .... Magua
                              ... aka Last of the Redskins (1947) (UK)
                           26.Outlaw of the Plains (1946) .... Billy Carson
                           27.Swamp Fire (1946) .... Mike Kalavich
                           28.Overland Riders (1946) .... Billy Carson
                           29.Prairie Badmen (1946) .... Billy Carson
                           30.Ghost of Hidden Valley (1946) .... Billy Carson
                           31.Terrors on Horseback (1946) .... Billy Carson
                           32.Gentlemen with Guns (1946) .... Billy Carson
                           33.Shadows of Death (1945) .... Billy Carson
                           34.Prairie Rustlers (1945) .... Billy Carson/Jim Slade
                           35.Fighting Bill Carson (1945) .... Billy Carson
                           36.Border Badmen (1945) .... Billy Carson
                           37.Rustler's Hideout (1945) .... Billy Carson
                           38.Stagecoach Outlaws (1945) .... Billy Carson
                           39.Gangster's Den, The (1945) .... Billy Carson
                           40.His Brother's Ghost (1945) .... Billy Carson
                           41.Lightning Raiders (1945) .... Billy Carson
                           42.Drifter, The (1944) .... Billy Carson/Drifter Davis
                           43.Thundering Gun Slingers (1944) .... Billy Carson
                           44.Oath of Vengeance (1944) .... Billy Carson
                           45.Wild Horse Phantom (1944) .... Billy Carson
                           46.Fuzzy Settles Down (1944) .... Billy Carson
                           47.Contender, The (1944) .... Gary Farrell
                           48.Valley of Vengeance (1944) .... Billy Carson
                           49.Frontier Outlaws (1944) .... Billy Carson
                           50.Nabonga (1944) .... Ray Gorman
                              ... aka Girl and the Gorilla, The (1944)
                              ... aka Gorilla (1944)
                              ... aka Jungle Woman, The (1944/II) (UK)
                           51.Western Cyclone (1943) .... William 'Billy the Kid' Bonney
                              ... aka Frontier Fighters (1943) (USA)
                           52.Devil Riders (1943) .... Billy Carson
                           53.Blazing Frontier (1943) .... Billy The Kid
                              ... aka Billy the Kid in Blazing Frontier (1943)
                           54.Renegade, The (1943) .... Billy the Kid
                           55.Cattle Stampede (1943) .... Billy the Kid
                              ... aka Billy the Kid in Cattle Stampede (1943)
                           56.Fugitive of the Plains (1943) .... Billy the Kid
                              ... aka Billy the Kid in Fugitive of the Plains (1943)
                              ... aka Raiders of Red Rock (1947) (USA: reissue title)
                           57.Kid Rides Again, The (1943) .... William 'Billy the Kid' Bonney
                              ... aka Billy the Kid Rides Again (1943) (USA)
                           58.Law and Order (1942) .... Billy the Kid
                              ... aka Billy the Kid's Law and Order (1942)
                              ... aka Double Alibi (1942) (UK)
                           59.Mysterious Rider, The (1942) .... Billy the Kid
                              ... aka Panhandle Trail (1948) (USA: reissue title)
                           60.Sheriff of Sage Valley (1942) .... Billy the Kid/Kansas Ed
                           61.Wildcat (1942) .... Mike Rawlins
                           62.Queen of Broadway (1942)
                           63.Jungle Siren (1942) .... Captain Gary Hart
                           64.Billy the Kid's Smoking Guns (1942) .... Billy the Kid
                              ... aka Smoking Guns (1942) (UK)
                           65.Billy the Kid Trapped (1942) .... Billy "The Kid" Bonney
                           66.Billy the Kid's Roundup (1941) .... Billy the Kid
                           67.Jungle Man (1941) .... Dr. Robert "Junga" Hammond
                           68.Billy the Kid Wanted (1941) .... Billy the Kid
                          69.Buck Rogers (1940) .... Buck Rogers
                              ... aka Buck Rogers Conquers the Universe (1940) 
(USA: video title)
                              ... aka Buck Rogers: Destination Saturn (1940)
(USA: recut version)
                           70.Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) . Flash Gordon
                              ... aka Perils from the Planet Mongo (1940)
(USA: recut version)
                              ... aka Purple Death from Outer Space (1940) 
(USA: recut version)
                              ... aka Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe (1955)
(USA: TV title) 
71.Sailor's Lady (1940) .... Rodney
                           72.Million Dollar Legs (1939) .... Coach Baxter
                           73.Unmarried (1939) .... Buzz Kenton
                              ... aka Night Club Hostess (1939)
                           74.Call a Messenger (1939) .... 'Chuck' Walsh
                           75.Colorado Sunset (1939) .... Haines
                           76.Hunted Men (1938) .... James Flowers
                              ... aka Crime Gives Orders (1938)
                           77.Illegal Traffic (1938) (as Larry Crabbe) .... Steve
                           78.Red Barry (1938) .... Red Barry
                           79.Mars Attacks the World (1938) .... Flash Gordon
                           80.Tip-Off Girls (1938) (as Larry Crabbe) 
.... John A."Red" Deegan
                           81.Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938) .... Flash Gordon
                              ... aka Deadly Ray From Mars (1938) (USA: recut version)
                              ... aka Flash Gordon: Mars Attacks the World (1938) 
(USA: video title)
                              ... aka Space Soldiers' Trip to Mars (1938)
                           82.Daughter of Shanghai (1937) .... Andrew Sleete
                              ... aka Daughter of the Orient (1937) (UK)
                           83.King of Gamblers (1937) .... Eddie
                              ... aka Czar of the Slot Machines (1937)
                           84.Sophie Lang Goes West (1937) .... Steve Clayson
                           85.Thrill of a Lifetime (1937) .... Don
                           86.Forlorn River (1937) .... Nevada
                              ... aka River of Destiny (1937) (USA: TV title)
                           87.Murder Goes to College (1937) .... Strike Belno
                           88.Flash Gordon (1936/I) .... Flash Gordon
                              ... aka Flash Gordon: Rocketship (1936)
(USA: recut version)
                              ... aka Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (1936)
(USA: video title)
                             ... aka Space Soldiers (1936) (USA: TV title)
                              ... aka Spaceship to the Unknown (1936)
(USA: recut version)
                           89.Flash Gordon (1936/II) .... Flash Gordon
                              ... aka Atomic Rocketship (1936)
                              ... aka Rocketship (1936)
                           90.Rose Bowl (1936) .... Ossie Merrill
                              ... aka O'Riley's Luck (1936) (UK)
                           91.Arizona Mahoney (1936) .... Kirby Talbot
                              ... aka Arizona Thunderbolt (1936)
                              ... aka Bad Men of Arizona (1936)
                           92.Lady Be Careful (1936) .... Jake
                           93.Arizona Raiders, The (1936) .... Laramie Nelson
                              ... aka Bad Men of Arizona (1951) (USA: reissue title)
                           94.Desert Gold (1936) .... Moya
                           95.Drift Fence (1936)
(as Larry (Buster) Crabbe) .... Slinger Dunn
                              ... aka Texas Desperadoes (1936)
                           96.Hold 'Em Yale (1935) .... Hector Wilmot
                              ... aka Uniform Lovers (1935) (UK)
                           97.Nevada (1935) .... Nevada
                           98.Wanderer of the Wasteland (1935) .... Big Ben
                           99.Badge of Honor (1934) .... Bob Gordon
                          100.Search for Beauty (1934) .... Don Jackson 
101.You're Telling Me! (1934) (as Larry 'Buster' Crabbe)
.... Bob Murchison
                          102.Oil Raider, The (1934) .... Dave Warren
                          103.She Had To Choose (1934) .... Bill
                          104.We're Rich Again (1934) (as Larry 'Buster' Crabbe) .... Erp
                          105.Island of Lost Souls (1933) (uncredited) .... Beast
                              ... aka Island of Dr. Moreau, The (1933) (USA)
                          106.King of the Jungle (1933) .... Kaspa the Lion Man
                          107.Sweetheart of Sigma Chi (1933) .... Bob North
                             ... aka Girl of My Dreams (1933) (UK)
                          108.To the Last Man (1933) .... Bill Hayden
                          109.Man of the Forest (1933) .... Yegg, a henchman
                              ... aka Challenge of the Frontier (1933) (USA: reissue title)
                          110.Tarzan the Fearless (1933) .... Tarzan
                          111.Thundering Herd, The (1933) .... Bill Hatch
                              ... aka Buffalo Stampede (1934) (USA: reissue title)
                              ... aka In the Days of the Thundering Herd (1933)
                          112.Hollywood on Parade (1932)
                          113.That's My Boy (1932) (uncredited) .... Football Player
                          114.Movie Town (1931) (uncredited)
                          115.Maker of Men (1931) (uncredited) .... Football Player
                              ... aka Yellow (1931)
                          116.Good News (1930) (uncredited) .... Student With Pipe
                            1.Most Dangerous Game, The (1932) 
(stunt double: Joel McCrea) (uncredited)
                              ... aka Hounds of Zaroff, The (1932) (UK)
                           1."Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" (1979) 
playing "Brigadier Gordon" in episode: "Planet  of the Slave Girls"
                            2."Star Tonight" (1955) in episode: "Night, Be Quiet"
(episode # 2.10) 11/3/1955
                            3."Star Tonight" (1955) in episode: "Murderer, The" 
(episode # 1.7) 3/17/1955
                            4."Philco Television Playhouse, The" (1948) 
in episode: "Cowboy for Chris, A" (episode # 4.16) 5/18/1952

Paying homage to Isles' Buster Crabbe

By Will Hoover ~ HONOLULU ADVERTISER ~ July 20, 2000

Folks in the Islands tend to know all about the late Duke Kahanamoku, Hawai‘i surfer, Olympic Gold Medal winner and International Swimming Hall of Famer.

Fewer recall the late Buster Crabbe, the other Hawai‘i surfer, Olympic gold medal winner and International Swimming Hall
of Famer.

On the Mainland, Crabbe may be the better known of the two, perhaps because of his Hollywood connection.
Film buffs revere Crabbe as "King of the Serials," the man who played "Flash Gordon" and "Buck Rogers." For a time, he and Johnny Wiesmuller went head-to-head as competing celluloid Tarzans.

Crabbe starred in more than 170 films, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, including six dozen Westerns and gangster films. He inspired the "Buster Crabbe" line of comic books. As an athlete, he logged 51 world and national swimming records, in addition to winning medals at the 1928 and 1932 Olympics.

For those who would like to get more acquainted with this legendary character, Hawai‘i sports collectors and brothers-in-law Mike Hirano and Nelson Oana will exhibit a special Buster Crabbe display at the annual All-Collector’s Show this weekend at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

"I didn’t really collect Buster Crabbe collectibles because he was Flash Gordon," said Hirano. "I’m someone who collects Hawai‘i sports athletes. And Buster Crabbe falls into that category. But with him, you can’t avoid Flash Gordon."

Crabbe memorabilia sells daily on eBay. Entire Web sites are devoted to him, sometimes repeating incorrect information.
(Crabbe’s birth date is listed variously as Feb. 7 and Feb. 17 in  1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910.)

Crabbe collectibles usually focus on his Hollywood career, which spanned nearly half a century, from 1933 to 1981. Rarer is Crabbe memorabilia dealing with the athlete. Hirano’s display will feature both star and athlete, as well as highlight Crabbe’s life in Hawai‘i.

Island life

Crabbe’s ties to the Islands precede the turn of the 20th century. His grandfather, Clarence L. Crabbe, was known as "the father of the GOP" in Hawai‘i. His father, Ned Crabbe, was a territorial  prohibition agent during the 1920s.

Crabbe himself was born in Oakland, Calif., on Feb. 7, 1908 (according to Social Security records). By age 1, he was living in
Honolulu. Although he spent most of his childhood on O‘ahu, he resided on Maui and the Big Island at times. He attended the
Honolulu Military Academy and, in 1927, graduated from Punahou Academy, where he lettered 16 times.

Not many people are around who knew him personally. Fewer still are those who knew him as a kid. But there are some.

"I knew Buster Crabbe when he was about 18 years old," said Charles Penhallow, 87, of Kahala. "He and his younger Brother, Buddy, were living at the Grand Hotel in Wailuku at the time."

Penhallow, who was four years younger than Crabbe, said people sensed that the over-achieving high school student, surfer and star swimmer would probably amount to something someday.

"He was the sort of person a child my age would look up to," said Penhallow. "Buster, I thought, was an all-right guy. It’s unfortunate that more people in Hawai‘i don’t remember who he was."

Beneath the photo of a clean-cut "Clarence Crabbe" in the 1927 Punahou yearbook are the words, "A sea-god in khaki ... this husky lad from the red-dirt school has brought fame to ’27."

‘King of the Jungle’

Crabbe received a scholarship to Yale, but ended up studying law at the University of Southern California, graduating in 1931. The following year, he won the Olympic Gold in the 400-meter freestyle, coming from behind to beat world record-holder Jean Taris by a tenth of a second.

For the rest of his life, Crabbe said his career and fame hinged on that tenth of a second. Hollywood took immediate notice of the handsome, brawny Olympian, which it immediately cast in the starring role in "King of the Jungle," pitting him against Weissmuller, who was already famous as Tarzan.

Don Brown, curator of film at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, said part of Crabbe’s enduring appeal comes from the fact he was a star in the 1930s and 1940s, and then got a second lease on fame with the advent of television and the baby boomer generation.

"I would call Buster Crabbe the king of the B pictures," said Brown. "There was a whole generation that grew up in the ’30s and ’40s who identifies with him."

Crabbe’s 1930s Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials, as well as his Tarzan and cowboy pictures, were made to order for Saturday morning viewing in the 1950s. Crabbe was such a household name that in 1956 he starred in his own television series, "Capt. Gallant of the Foreign Legion."

Crabbe’s importance is that, along with Weissmuller, he blazed the athletic action hero trail for stars that followed, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger. For that alone he should not be forgotten, says Brown.

"I don’t think Buster Crabbe is really forgotten here," added Hirano. "It’s just that younger people don’t know about him."

The Crabbe display could do something to remedy that. Memorabilia, including original movie posters, comic books, pins
and watches, along with seldom-seen athletic photos and sports cards, document Crabbe’s contributions.

While none of the items in the special display are for sale, Hirano and Oana will have a nearby booth that offers Crabbe memorabilia similar to the display items. And there’s plenty of other fodder for collectors: The Hawai'i All-Collectors Show features 200 booths, with tens of thousands of items.


Featured at ERBzine 0595b


Jerry Schneider's ERB and the Silver Screen
Jerry Schneider's Movie Making Locations
Autobiography of Buster Crabbe
Buster Crabbe Biography at Brian's Drive In Theater
Buster Crabbe: Cowboy and Serial Movie Hero
Movie Art of Sweden
HONOLULU ADVERTISER: Paying Homage to Isles' Buster Crabbe
Buster Crabbe Sexy Photos
Ode To Buster
Buster Crabbe: The Rock Opera
History might have differed if Tarzan had worn sneakers
Tarzan Flicks
Tarzan Posters and Pics
Matt's Movie Guide
Buster Crabbe Photo Gallery
Jerry L. Schneider's
Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Silver Screen
Vol. I ~ The Silent Years
Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Silver Screen 
Vol. II ~ The Sound Years
Jerry Schneider's Movie Making Locations

Click for full-size poster collages

Tarzan the Fearless Movie Compendium
ERBzine Silver Screen Series

ERBzine 0595 Tarzan the Fearless I: Credits ~ Trivia ~ Posters
ERBzine 0596 Tarzan the Fearless II: Summary Pt. 1
ERBzine 0597 Tarzan the Fearless III: Summary Pt. 2
ERBzine 0598 Tarzan the Fearless IV: Summary Pt. 3
ERBzine 0599: TFV Jerry Schneider Presents: Serial Synopsis
ERBzine 0595a: Tarzan the Fearless Gallery I
ERBzine 0595b: Tarzan the Fearless Gallery II
ERBzine 4581: Film Script: Chapter 1


Lobby Card and Photo Stills Gallery

While in a Hollywood vein, visit the Movie Guide to all of our ERBzine Movie Features
ERBzine 0502 ERBzine Silver Screen: Intro

Volume 0595

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