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Issue 0599
An ERBzine of the Silver Screen Compendium

Jerry Schneider

(Serial Version)
With illustrations from Bill Hillman's ERBzine files

Part V
Synopsis of the 12 Serial Episodes
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

Click for full-size poster
The synopsis for this serial is taken verbatim from the continuity recaps in the script,
followed by the ending chapter "Next Week" text.

Chapter One - "The Dive of Death"
Seeking to prove the existence and learn the origin of a lost white tribe in Africa, Doctor Brooks (E. Alyn Warren) is captured in the sacred temple of the tribe and sentenced to imprisonment and probable death, lest he carry back to civilization tidings of the lost people and their god, Zar of the Emerald Fingers. Tarzan (Buster Crabbe), wild white man of the jungle, who consorts and wars with the beasts and birds, rescue the doctor and takes a message from him to Mary (Jacqueline Wells), Brooks' daughter. Meanwhile, however, Mary has become alarmed at the failure of her father to meet her and with the aid of Bob Hall (Edward Woods), an admirer, organizes a safari and starts into the jungle in search of Brooks. The expedition is guided by a pair of adventurers, Jeff Herbert (Philo McCullough) and Nick Moran (Matthew Betz).

While the safari marches, Brooks is recaptured by the people of Zar. Deep in the jungle, as the safari is about to go into camp, the cry of a strange creature is heard which the frightened black bearers name Tarzan. A short time later Mary leaves the camp and coming to a jungle pool, determines to bathe.

Tarzan, swinging through the trees is on his way bearing Brooks' message and a picture of Mary by which he will identify. From the top of a tree he sees and recognizes the girl in the water. As he watches her, she is attacked by crocodiles. Tarzan dives to her rescue and fights the crocodiles as the chapter closes.

Has mighty Tarzan met his match in this slimy saurian of the swamp? Is Mary Brooks' quest for her father to end in another jungle tragedy?

Chapter Two - "The Storm God Strikes!"
Tarzan, making a daring leap into the water below to aid the terrified Mary, engages the crocodile in a death struggle. They both disappear before the eyes of the horrified girl, but it is Tarzan, knife raised triumphantly aloft, who appears at last. While Bob Hall, Jeff and Nick are searching for her, Tarzan helps Mary to shore in a secluded spot. Though awed by him, she tries to learn who and what he is. She is amazed when he produces her picture and the letter from her father. Tarzan shows an interest in her which is fully returned by the pretty girl, but upon hearing approaching footsteps, he leaves abruptly. Bob sees him and starts to shoot, but Mary prevents the shot. Bob's suspicions and jealousy are aroused.

Tarzan trails the safari as it starts again. Jeff discovers his nearness and resolves to meet him. He lays in wait for the ape man but is in turn, stalked by a lion. Tarzan sees the man's peril. He leaps onto the lion and kills it after a terrific struggle. Jeff then indicates his interest in Tarzan and reveals why he has come after him; but before he can say more, Tarzan is again frightened away by the approach of the others.

The safari reaches Brooks' deserted hut just as a high wind starts to blow. Mary is distressed to find her father gone. Bob discovers the diary which tells of the emerald treasure. Nick and Jeff overhear them talking about it.

Later, Nick enters the hut in an attempt to steal the diary. Mary discovers him. Her screams arouse Bob, and also Tarzan in his nest. Bob and Nick engage in a terrific struggle in the hut, which is being buffetted by the storm. Jeff breaks in upon them with drawn gun. He demands that HE be given the map to the treasure caves. Tarzan swings thru the trees on his way to the hut. As he nears it, a branch breaks, struck by lightning, and Tarzan rides the huge limb to earth as it crushes the hut and all the people in it.

In the grip of the raging elements! Crushed beneath a falling monarch of the jungle! Of what avail even the mighty strength of Tarzan?

Chapter Three - "Thundering Death"
The people in the Brooks hut are stunned by the lightning and the crashing tree. It is not until the storm is passed that they start to revive. Tarzan is first to recover. He drags Mary from the wreckage and crudely tries to bring her back to consciousness.

Nick and Jeff have been thrown outside. They have the diary. Recovering, they are on the point of taking the map and going after the emeralds, when they discover that the map has been taken from the book. Jeff then says that he will have to square them for Nick's attempt to steal the diary.

Bob revives and interrupts what looks like a tender love scene between Tarzan and Mary. Bob's jealousy is calmed when he learns who Tarzan is and what he has done. Hearing Nick and Jeff coming, Tarzan takes the phonograph and goes. Jeff and Nick enter. There is a stormy scene, but Mary intercedes for the men and persuades Bob to let them stay with the party. They decide to leave at once in search of Brooks.

Returning to his cave, Tarzan hears a cry for help in the jungle. A small chimp has fallen into an animal pit. Tarzan races to aid it, but before he arrives, Tantor, the elephant, has lifted the little animal out with his great trunk. Finding the chimp's leg broken, Tarzan fashions a crude splint. Sara (Symonia Boniface), Mary's maid, and Abdul (Frank Lackteen), the Arab overseer, now conspire to carry Mary off. They steal her boldly as the others are packing for the journey. Sara leaves evidence which makes Bob think Mary has been taken to Zar. With Jeff and Nick, he sets out on that trail, leaving the safari.

Tarzan is informed of Mary's abduction by the little chimp. He speeds thru the trees to save her. Mary is taken to an Arab village, there to be sold to the chief.

On the trail to Zar, Jeff leaves Bob and Nick for a moment to scan the country from a ridge. Nick treacherously strikes Bob down and steals from him the map showing the location of the entrance to the treasure caves.

At the Arab village, Tarzan bursts in to save Mary. He goes into a terrific fight while Mary flees. The Arab horses are stampeded by an elephant which the little chimp is riding. Mary finds herself in their path. Panic-stricken, she stumbles and falls. Tarzan again races to her aid. But just as he lifts her from the ground, the maddened horses sweep on and over them.

Helpless in the path of the fear-driven stampede? Did Tarzan sacrifice his life in vain beneath those flashing hoofs?

Chapter Four - "The Pit of Peril"
In the village of the Arabs, Tarzan rescues Mary from beneath the thundering feet of the stampeding horses and carries her away unconscious, leaving the Arabs in a panic of terror and Abdul dead in the road with his faithful Sara bewailing his fate.

Meantime Bob Hall, recovering from the blow on the head which was given him by Nick Moran, is rejoined by Jeff Herbert. Discovering that Nick has taken the chart they start to pursue him. Nick discovers that he is followed and determines to ambush and kill the two but as he is about to fire upon them is himself attacked by a lion. He flees but stumbles and falls and is killed by the beast. Jeff and Bob arrive too late to save him and drive off the lion. They recover the chart and start on in search of the lost emerald mine and the Temple of Zar, in the belief that Mary is a prisoner there.

Tarzan takes Mary to his cave home where she revives and the interest which each feels in the other begins to grow. Tarzan brings fruit for her to eat and to music of the phonograph their love story develops while, in the surrounding jungle the birds and beasts hear music for the first time and react in their various ways to the strange and pleasant sound. Tarzan claims Mary as his own. She begs that he first go to the rescue of her father while she waits for him at the cave. Tarzan, who knows that Brooks is a prisoner of Zar's people, swings off through the trees to the rescue.

Bob and Jeff, aided by their map, find the secret entrance to the Temple. Unaware that their coming has been seen by the magic of the high priest (Mischa Auer), they make their way stealthily into the Temple itself, where they are surprised and captured. Here they are confronted with Doctor Brooks and all three are sentenced to be sacrificed to Zar for desecration of the temple. While the priest holds solemn ceremonials in the Temple, Mary waits in a [forest ____] while Tarzan swings swiftly through [the trees and the] prisoners are thrust into a [deep pit with the bones of] past offenders. Then a door [opens and] lions spring in. [Tarzan leaps into the pit.]
J.S. Note: The brackets [] contain information missing from the original that I used.

Has Tarzan a plan to save his friends? Or must they suffer the cruel fate to which they are condemned?

Chapter Five - "Blood Money"

Doctor Brooks, Bob Hall and Jeff Herbert have been placed in a lion pit to be sacrificed to the God of the Emerald Fingers. Tarzan comes to the rescue and saves them after a terrific battle with a lion, taking them out of the pit and through the temple of the Lost Tribe, the battle cry of Tarzan frightening off the guards and people.

In the temple, they learn from Tarzan that he knows where Mary is but he refuses to disclose the place, claiming the girl is his. Bob wishes to attempt force upon him but the more subtle Jeff tells Bob to return to the hut with Brooks while he will track Tarzan to his lair.

When they have left the temple, the priest discovers that one of the emeralds is missing from the finger of the god and calls upon the god to exact vengeance, stir up all people of the jungle to find the thief. His cry reaches the witch doctor of the Koso Tribe through magic and voodooism. The witch doctor prepares to send out his people in search of the lost emerald. The telegraph drum beats out its message which reaches Bob and Brooks as they arrive at the hut and with the aid of Unga (Darby Jones), a black, they are able to learn the purport of the drum code.

Meantime, Mary, waiting in the cave for Tarzan is trapped by Bolgani, a giant gorilla. Terrified, she tries tricks and cajolement to stave off the attack of the beast and finally is about to be seized when Tarzan arrives. He and the gorilla face each other but before they can grapple, Jeff coming in on the trail of Tarzan, sees and fires a shot which sends the gorilla scurrying into the brush. Tarzan pursues.

Jeff comes on to Mary and tries to take her away. She refuses to leave before the return of Tarzan. Jeff shows her evidence that Tarzan is heir to property in civilization and discloses that his death will be worth ten thousand pounds to Jeff. He tells Mary that he loves her and that by agreeing to marry him she can save Tarzan. Tarzan has overtaken the gorilla and killed him in a fierce battle. Mary, refusing the offer of Jeff, attempts to warn Tarzan by a cry of the danger that awaits him in the cave. Jeff holds her and puts a hand over her mouth and stands with his gun leveled at the opening where Tarzan will appear to meet what seems to be certain death.

Can Mary warn Tarzan in Time to save him from the certain death awaiting him?

Chapter Six - "Voodoo Vengeance"
Mary compromises with Jeff, by asking time to think over his proposition, and prevents him from shooting Tarzan down as the latter enters the cave. She tells Tarzan that Jeff will take her to her father; but Tarzan lets them know that he will do it himself.

Jeff is forced to leave without her. At Brooks' hut, the doctor and Bob are worried because Jeff does not return with Mary; but they realize that all they can do is wait. The sound of the native drum comes to them again and reminds them of the stolen emerald. Each denies that he took it. They see, therefore, that it must have been Jeff. Their worry increases as they realize that evil forces are reaching into the jungle after Jeff and that Mary may also be involved.

In the native hut, the witch doctor conjures up a vision of Jeff hurrying thru the jungle. He sends some warriers [sic] out to punish him for the theft of the emerald. They encounter Jeff and there is a fierce running fight. Jeff reaches the hut with the Koso after him. Bob and Brooks fire on them and scatter them.

Questioned as to why Mary is not with him, Jeff arouses the others by saying that Tarzan would not let her come. Bob is jealous again; but in spite of Jeff's insinuations, Brooks declares that Tarzan is his friend and will return his daughter in good time. Bob then makes Jeff give up the emerald he stole, saying that it is apt to enfold them all in its sinister evil.

Returning thru the jungle that night with Mary, Tarzan is amazed to see a tiger lurking thru the brush. He does not know that it has been conjured up by the voodoo rites of the witch doctor, who has transformed himself into the beast. Tarzan tracks the animal. Mary sees the hut nearby and races to it. She tells what she has seen. The others do not believe it until they see the tiger coming to the hut. They fire at it but their bullets have no effect. The native porter, Unga, gives them a silver bullet to use.

Tarzan, tracking the tiger, plunges into an animal trap and lies stunned. Lions appear at the top and sniff about it, then leap down into it. Bob fires at the tiger with the silver bullet and apparently kills it. But when they all rush out to see what it is, they are dismayed and horrified to discover in its place the inert, grotesque body of the native witch doctor.

Over natural terrors of the jungle Tarzan has proven his mastery--but can he match strength with the SUPERNATURAL?

Chapter Seven - "Caught by Cannibals"

Brooks and the others are greatly dismayed when they find that Bob's shot has killed the witch doctor, for they know that the tribe will come, seeking vengeance for the slaying. They return to the hut to talk things over. In the animal pit, the lions are sniffing at the unconscious Tarzan. They are frightened away by the approach of Tantor, the elephant. The latter locates Tarzan, then lifts him out of his trap. He stands over his unconscious friend to guard him thru the night.

At the Brooks' hut, they decide to return to Dorango as soon as it is light enough to travel. Jeff wants to take the emerald with him, but Brooks orders him to leave it where the priest can find it. They are better off without it, he says. Mary saddened at the thought of leaving. Her father assures her that she will forget Tarzan amidst other scenes, but she tells him sadly that she never will.

The party leaves at dawn. Tarzan awakens, thanks Tantor for saving him and comes to the hut to see if Mary is safe. He is dismayed to find her gone. He sees the emerald, lying outside, and puts it in his pouch. Then he senses the trail which Mary took and speeds after her. The wild natives are informed that the party has killed their witch doctor. They leave their village to avenge his death. They surround the Brooks party so suddenly that a fight cannot be made. The whites are all made prisoners.

Tarzan comes in time to see them marching toward the village. By means of a long vine, Tarzan swings down and grabs Mary from the midst of her captors. The latter, frightened, hurry the rest of their prisoners on their way.

Tarzan and Mary arrive at the cave. She is worried about her father and Bob, but Tarzan does not seem to be willing to do anything about them yet. She is dismayed to see that Tarzan has the evil emerald. She tries to make him throw it away. But he will not. The little chimp comes in to them. They tend his hurts and nurse him tenderly. Brooks, Bob and Jeff are brought to the native village. A council is held over them and it is decided that they shall be killed. The whites are horrified when they see the natives heating spear heads in the fire.

Brought to a white heat, the spears are withdrawn. Gripped by grim warriors, they are brought closer and closer to the bound and helpless bodies of the white prisoners, as the chapter ends.

Tarzan miles away across the jungle--Zar's fanatic worshippers roused to a frenzy--what possible hope of escape from their torture?

Chapter Eight - "The Creeping Terror"
Brooks, Bob and Jeff are about to be killed by the Koso when the savages discover a shadow creeping over the disc of the sun. Brooks then remembers that it is the day of a total eclipse and taking advantage of the situation works upon the superstitions of the savages, making them believe that it is he who has brought about the coming darkness. Terrified they cut the bonds that bind the prisoners. Meanwhile the premature coming of darkness leads beasts and birds of the jungle to think that night has come and Tarzan too, in his cave with Mary, points to the coming shadows and orders her to bed, Mary protesting all the time that they must go to the aid of the others, taken by the Koso. At the temple of Zar the priest has used his magic to locate the missing emerald in the cave of Tarzan and sends one of his girls to seek out Tarzan's cave and use her wiles to secure the jewel.

At the native village, the eclipse becomes complete and the savages in dispair are about to destroy the whites for the killing of the sun. Then Brooks agrees to bring back the light and does so, with the passing of the eclipse. The blacks are so overjoyed that they refuse to let him depart, demanding that he remain as witch doctor to the tribe. They consent however that Jeff may go with Unga in search of Mary and allow him a body guard of warriors.

With the coming of the light Mary and Tarzan have started out in search of her father and the others. From the top of a tree they see Jeff's party. Tarzan forces Mary to remain in the tree, while he goes forward to intercept them and question Jeff. Mary, fearful that ill had befallen her father, climbs from the tree and starts to follow.

Tarzan meets Jeff and refuses to tell him where Mary is. Jeff threatens and a fight is started. The black warriors swarm to the aid of Jeff. Tarzan shouts his battle cry and Mary hearing it starts to run and falls into the clutches of a man-killing plant. The blacks swarm over Tarzan while Mary lies unconscious with the tentacles of the plant tightening about her throat.

Her plight unseen--will the jungle's murder vine claim its victim where beats [sic] and men have failed?

Chapter Nine - "Eyes of Evil"
Tarzan is wounded in battle with Jeff and Kuso warriors, who are driven off by the arrival of Tantor. Jeff, believing Tarzan dead, finds Mary trapped by the strangler plant and rescues her. He determines to take her away with him and makes her believe that Tarzan left in pursuit of the Koso and that he will take her to join her father and Bob on the road to Dorango.

Meanwhile Tantor has summoned the chimp to his aid and together they have revived Tarzan and taken him away. Jeff tells Mary that she must keep her promise to forget Tarzan and marry himself, when they arrive at the town. She consents but remembers that the Zar emerald is in the cave of Tarzan and insists that they go there first and remove this ever present danger from Tarzan.

At the Koso village the arrival of the blacks who went out with Jeff, with one man blinded and several missing, upset the power which Brooks has maintained over them. They are again disarmed and told that if the missing men have not returned by moon rise, their lives will pay the penalty. Madi (Charlotte Monti), sent out by the high priest of Zar to recover the lost emerald, arrives at the cave of Tarzan and finds the stone but before she can make her escape with it, Tarzan arrives and takes it from her. Seeing that he is groggy and will sleep, she bides her time for a second chance.

When darkness comes and Tarzan sleeps she steals upon him to take the stone and it is at this moment that Jeff and Mary arrive outside the cave unseen. To them it appears to be a love scene between Madi and Tarzan and they turn away, Jeff elated and Mary shocked and disheartened.

At the black village the time limit is up on the prisoners and the Koso advance on them. In a last desperate effort Brooks plays the light of an electric flash upon them. They are terrorized and the scheme seems about to save them-then the light falls on the blinded man who, unable to see their magic, advances to kill.

Whose heart did the knife of the sightless savage find?

Chapter Ten - "The Death Plunge"

Bob wrests the knife from the advancing blind savage. He trips and fells him. The other natives start menacingly toward them. Thinking fast, Bob takes a handful of cartridges from his pocket and hurls them into the fire. The ensuing explosions terrify and stampede the natives. Bob and Brooks escape, retrieving their weapons as they go.

Jeff and Mary have paused on their march to take refuge in a cave. They light a fire to keep animals away. Jeff now tells Mary how he lied to her previously to induce her to hire him as a guide. But he says that it was his love for her made him do it and he insists that he is now a changed man because of her influence. An animal creeps from inside the cave towards them. But Mary sees it in time. Jeff fires a shot that scares it off. As dawn nears, the two resume their journey.

At Tarzan's cave, Madi gets the emerald of Zar from the sleeping man. She speeds off to rejoin her waiting followers. The latter, meanwhile, have encountered Mary and Jeff. Recognizing the latter as an escaped prisoner from their temple, they attack. In the fight, Jeff is disabled and disappears; Mary is made captive.

Tarzan awakens and misses the emerald. But he is more concerned about Mary. Remembering where he left her, he starts back for the place. Picking up her trail, he speeds along it. Madi is seen by Jeff, who has recovered from his hurts. He pursues her. She eludes him by a daring swim thru crocodile-infested waters and rejoins the men who hold Mary. They set out for Zar.

Jeff is found in the jungle by Bob and Brooks. He tells of Mary's capture. They start for Zar to rescue her. Mary sees the party coming to save her. But other guards also discover them. Bob and the others are suddenly overpowered and captured. The entire party is about to resume the journey to Zar when Tarzan is seen coming toward them. Pausing on a huge rock, Tarzan draws his knife and prepares to drop upon the party. But a guard with a bolo appears behind him and strikes him down. Tarzan plunges from the rock, before the horrified eyes of Mary and the others. The guards shout in triumph that they have killed their powerful enemy.

Tarzan, their only friend--dead! Does there remain to them any further hope of escape from the dangers of the jungle?

Chapter Eleven - "Harvest of Hate"
With Tarzan apparently left for dead, the men from Zar leave for their temple with the rest of the Brooks' party in captivity. In the cave of the emerald fingers, the lost emerald, stolen by Madi from Tarzan, is returned to the finger of the god. Tarzan is reported dead to the priest; but the latter consults his smoke vision and sees that Tarzan is not dead. He announces this, to the others, to the terrific reaction of Mary and the rest, then sends guards out to finish Tarzan. The others, he says, must be sacrificed to their god. But Bob thinks quickly. He tells the priest that even though he destroy them, there is a map of the secret entrance which will bring others there. Bob forces the priest to promise to release them in return for the map. The priest is amazed when Bob takes it from his person, but he stands by his promise and lets them go.

Taug finds Tarzan where he lies. He saves him from the guards who have been sent to finish him and drags him off into the jungle. Led by Mary, the others also come to try to help Tarzan. But he is gone. They find, however, evidences of a struggle as well as a dead guard, and they conclude that Tarzan has safely escaped. They return to the Brooks' hut to outfit for the journey to the coast. There Jeff reminds Mary of her promise to marry him if he spared Tarzan's life. She asks to be released, saying that she loves Tarzan. Bob overhears her declaration and for the moment is heartbroken. But when Jeff becomes angry and insistent, Bob comes to Mary's aid and drives Jeff from the camp. Jeff leaves, muttering vague threats. It is not until he has gone from view that Mary realizes he will kill Tarzan if he can find him. She persuades the others to go with her. They set out on Jeff's trail.

Tarzan sees Jeff coming thru the jungle. He swings down on him and knocks him to the ground. But Jeff retains his rifle and as Tarzan leaps high thru the air for him again, Jeff fires a shot which apparently brings Tarzan to earth before the horrified eyes of Mary.

Who sent Jeff Herbert into the jungle to kill Tarzan, the unknown? Who was so willing to pay for news of his death--and why?

Chapter Twelve - "Jungle Justice"

In an attempt to kill Tarzan, Jeff is mortally wounded by the accidental explosion of his own rifle. Tarzan, himself badly hurt, is aided to his cave by Taug, the ape. Mary, Bob and Brooks find Jeff dying and take his last words of confession, promising him a grave that will protect him from the prowlers of the jungle. Taug gets Tarzan to the cave, thinks he is dead or dying and runs into the jungle to alarm the beasts, and start a search for Galu the chimp. Galu is reached by the trumpet of Tantor. The chimp is bathing his head at a pool trying to get rid of his hang-over. He goes to the cave and sets to work to revive Tarzan.

Mary and her father with Bob and the reorganized safari, start in search of the cave of Tarzan. It takes them several days to locate it and they arrive to find Tarzan and his belongings gone. Thinking he is dead Bob again tries to persuade Mary to leave but she refuses, making it clear that all is over between them. Brooks undertakes to wait with Mary and search for Tarzan. Bob takes the safari and starts for Darango to send back supplies and carry word of Tarzan to England.

Mary and her father return to the hut and find that Tarzan is there before them, having moved in and brought the chimp and the phonograph with them. Everyone is happy as the education of Tarzan is begun with an illustrated natural history.

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

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

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

Volume 0599

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