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 “The Fires of Tohr”
Radio Drama/Dell Four Color #161
A Character  Comparison
An ERBapa Reprint
Issue #68  Winter  2001

Duane Adams

Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr: Radio Spirits Re-issueTarzan and the Fires of Tohr #161 ~1947 Dell Comic

Introduction Even after my parents bought their first television set I spent my formative years glued to the radio because I was raised listening to the radio not watching the TV.  Often times in the evening the family would gather around the cathode-ray tube in the living room, and I would be in the kitchen listening to one of the programs to which I was addicted -- The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Suspense, etc.  I do not recall ever listening to a Tarzan radio program.  Perhaps they were off the air by that time.

 This comparative study stems not from any great interest in the radio serial “The Fires of Tohr,” but from the Dell comic project, which I have been working on for quite some time.  My goal for the project originally did not include the two Dell “one-shot” titles, “Tarzan and the Devil Ogre” and “Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr.”  However, because the comic was based on the radio play, it seems to me that a comparison of the radio show with the comic book would be a natural expansion of the project.  It is not as if the project needs more work added to it.  I suspect another five years will be needed as it is.

The Radio:  The radio drama was reportedly written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and produced under his personal direction.  Each episode has the cliff hanger suspense similar to his best pulp fiction.  The story could easily be added to the Tarzan canon.  With 39 episodes and nine hours of airtime a lot of action was to be broadcast.  The program was never aired.  The only flaw in the story line is that Toldo, Queen Ahtea’s lion, is killed twice by Tarzan: once in the arena and a second time near the elephant paddock.

With a 1939 copyright, it is dated in its attitude towards women and non-white races.  The expedition is overly protective of Jeanette Burton and has many references stating that the jungle is no place for a woman.  Several party members comment on a menial task that they claim is ‘work not fit for white people.’  Dr. Wong is referred to by the derogatory term chink.  It is also mildly surprising that ‘bastards’ and ‘blithering ass’ would make it past the censors.  Many of the characters appear to be stereotypical in their characterizations or in their voice characterizations.  Dr. Wong Tai is very much like Charlie Chan in his speech and actions.  Ukah, the Rhatohrian prince, is spoken with what could be described as a stereotypical American Indian.  Kai-luk, the prisoner in the jewel mines uses a curious Scottish accent.

For the most part the sound effects were adequate.  The crocodile and elephant sounds often times were poor.  But the most disturbing thing about the episodes is Tarzan’s victory cry of the bull ape.  It is truly awful.  It is a loud, “KRAM N GET EEEEEE!” It sounds like Tarzan is a hillbilly calling people to an evening meal or maybe he is just calling pigs.  But all and all this is secondary to a tremendous Tarzan story.

The Comic:  With only thirty pages devoted to a complicated and intricate story, the majority of the story was eliminated.  If a person were unaware of the radio play, the story probably would seem quite good with a lost city, an evil queen, and a chance for Tarzan to display his powers.  It does retain the essence of the radio drama but it is pale in comparison.

To get a good look at the differences between the comic and the radio program a close examination of the actions of the characters is most revealing.  The following is a synopsis of each character’s actions.  Names that are common to both the radio show and the comic presented no problem.  The spelling used in the comic is the spelling used for this article.  Characters who only appeared on the radio show presented a problem in their spelling.  The problem stems from having no written script available to me and the pronunciation of names varied from character to character as well as the narrator‘s pronunciation.  Therefore, a decision was made to use Kai-luk that could easily be Kaluk or Kailuk.  There was also the question of the spelling for Ukah’s city.  Is it Rhatohrian, Ratohrian, or Attarian, as in the comic?    Other names in question are Black Maluk, Vandor, Rutan, Tamor, Poltar, Kalu, Mantar, and the Shohn Rhatohr.

The Characters:

Tarzan - The jungle lord traveling with his friend, Lt. Paul d’Arnot, detects smoke and white people.  He carries d’Arnot through the trees to find Terry O’Rourke threatened by a lion and a leopard.  He kills the lion with his knife and gives the victory cry of the bull ape.  Tarzan and d’Arnot agree to lead the remainder of the Burton-Ashleigh expedition to a village.  A claw-footed yellow man attacks the party, and Tarzan kills it with his knife.  He gives the victory cry of the bull ape.  He carries the body out into the jungle for dango, the hyena.  He carries Jeanette up into the trees where he has made a platform for the party to be safe from the yellow men.  He also carries Jeanette down from the trees as they attempt to make their escape from the yellow creatures.  When they try to steal a dugout canoe from a different group of yellow people, Tarzan kills one of them with his knife.  The party is captured.  Later, Tarzan and d’Arnot manage to escape.  When the yellow men throw Terry to the crocodiles, Tarzan swings out over the river and grabs Terry with his legs thus snatching him from the mouth of a crocodile.  Later he drops from the trees into the water and joins the others in the canoe.  Through a mountain on the river they approach a waterfall. Tarzan leaps into some overhanging trees, drops into the water, swims ashore, runs to the a tree overlooking the falls, throws the party his rope, and pulls them to shore.  Discovered by Mungo, a non-claw-footed yellow man, they are brought to the city of Tohr.  As they are brought to Queen Ahtea, Tarzan comments on how the wall murals resemble the Temple of Azur.  Tarzan assures the Queen that Jeanette is not his mate.  Ahtea wishes Tarzan to remain in Tohr as her mate.  Tarzan refuses.  Tongo, a claw-footed chief, claims the right of revenge on Tarzan for killing some of his people.  Tarzan kills him with his knife.  Ahtea forces Tarzan and the others to watch as she demonstrates her ruthlessness by having a convicted spy sacrificed on the statue of Pantu.  Ahtea attempts to seduce Tarzan with her beauty, wealth, and power.  Tarzan remains steadfast to his friends.  When Ahtea pushes Jeanette into the arena with Toldo, the guardian lion of the treasures of Tohr, Tarzan leaps into the arena, kills it with his knife, and gives the victory cry of the bull ape.  Ahtea would let the others go if Tarzan will stay with her willingly.  Tarzan insists that he must lead his friends to safety but promises he will return to Tohr.  While being led to their prison cells Tarzan conspires with Ukah, a Rhatohrian prisoner.  Tarzan knocks Mungo off the wall, thus creating a diversion that permits Ukah and d’Arnot to escape.  When it appears as if Dr. Wong has turned on the party and shoots Terry, Tarzan threatens him.  In their cave cell Tarzan discovers a ledge near the ceiling, which contains a passageway.  He carries each one of the party members individually up to the ledge.  Through a maze of corridors they come across a black panther tied to a wall.  Sheeta appears to be protecting a passageway.  Tarzan holds the leopard at bay so the others can make it into the new corridor.  Tarzan carries Jeanette across the natural bridge that extends over the fires of Tohr.  They are recaptured in the armory.  Tarzan claims the Tohrian rite of revenge on Mungo for killing Major Ashleigh.  Ahtea will pit Tarzan against Mungo in the games during the Feast of Pantu.  In the meantime he is to serve in the elephant paddock. Tarzan is given the task to train Black Maluk, an uncontrollable elephant.  He does this easily with calm soothing tones.  He sends Ukah and d’Arnot on a second escape attempt on the back of Black Maluk.  Because of the escape he is sentenced to dig in the jewel pit mines.  In the mines Tarzan incites rebellion amongst the slaves.  Ahtea visits the jewel pits. Her elephant goes berserk and rushes towards a pit.  Tarzan stops the elephant with calm words.  For saving her life, Queen Ahtea will give him anything except allowing him to leave Tohr.  When Rutan, master of the elephant slaves, attacks O’Rourke in the jewel pits, Tarzan chokes him unconscious.  He manages to get Ahtea to stop the whipping of Kai-luk, a Rhatohrian prisoner, with his promise to tell her who instigated the slave revolt.  Tied to the public whipping pole he calls to Black Maluk who aids the prisoners in their escape.  Hunting lions are released into the streets.  Tarzan saves Kai-luk by killing a lion with his knife.  He gives the victory cry of the bull ape.  Discovered in the elephant paddock by Mungo and the yellow men, Tarzan snaps Mungo’s neck and gives the victory cry of the bull ape.  While Terry unlocks the chains of the jewel pit slaves, Tarzan holds back the guards by mowing them down with a length of chain.  During the attack on the palace they realize that the Rhatohrians are attacking the city.  Tarzan uses Black Maluk to open the city gates.  Once inside the palace, Tarzan deduces that Jeanette is in the Chamber of Sacrifices.  With a sword he cleaves a path through the guards at the chamber door.  Mantar, a priest, is about to pull the lever, which opens the trap door over the fires of Tohr.  Tarzan throws his sword through the priest.  A second priest makes for the lever.  Tarzan throws O’Rourke’s sword through the priest.  After the death of Ahtea, Tarzan declares that the treasure of Tohr should remain where it is.  He and d’Arnot continue on their original mission of investigating slave and illegally ivory trading.

In the comic Tarzan traveling with his friend Paul d’Arnot discovers Major James Barton and his niece Ruth who are lost.  He agrees to take them to the nearest village.  The next day they find a canoe.  Tarzan sends them to the canoe as he holds off the approaching natives.  He throws a spear at them and leaps into the trees.  Later he swims out to the canoe.  After going through a mountain on the river, they make camp.  Tarzan finds a man-made trail down around the waterfall.  Mungo finds them and brings them to Tohr. They observe a natural rock formation in the middle of the city of Tohr and fantastic murals along the walls of the buildings.  Queen Ahtea questions them.  She forces them to watch a rebel being sacrificed on the statue of Pantu. Ahtea wants Tarzan to stay as her mate.  Tarzan refuses.   She wants Tarzan to remain willingly.  Tarzan remains steadfast to his friends and says he must lead them to safety.  At the arena a jealous Ahtea throws Ruth in the pit with Toldo, the lion guardian of the treasures of Tohr.  Tarzan leaps into the arena and kills Toldo with his bare hands.  Tarzan again refuses Ahtea’s advances.  They are lead to a cell.  Tarzan leaps to a ledge that was found by Ukah.  Tarzan pulls them up to the ledge.  Through the maze of tunnels they come upon a black panther chained to a wall.  Tarzan holds sheeta at bay while the others make it into the passageway that sheeta was guarding.  Tarzan carries Ruth across the natural bridge over the fires of Tohr.  They come out in an armory where the yellow men recapture them.  Once again Ahtea makes her demands, and once again Tarzan remains steadfast to his friends.  Ahtea attempts to throw Ruth into the fires of Tohr.  Ukah pushes Ruth out of the way and tries to carry himself and his Queen into the fire.  Tarzan grabs Ukah but Ahtea falls into the fire.  Tarzan closes the trap door to the fires of Tohr.  Tarzan says he may return someday.

The Tarzan of the radio program kills easily and often: three lions with a knife, three yellow men with a knife, Mungo with his bare hands, two priests with thrown swords, unknown amounts with a sword, and unknown amounts with a chain.  The Tarzan of the comics is a wimp by comparison with only one lion killed with his bare hands.  The radio Tarzan carries people to the top of trees and to the impossible to reach ledge.  The comic Tarzan needs help to pull people up to the ledge.  The radio Tarzan is capable of amazing feats: the dazzling rescue of O’Rourke, the superhuman strength of pulling the canoe from the raging river, and the fantastic holding of a struggling black panther at bay.  The comic Tarzan only gets the panther action.  Both Tarzans display the honor of friendship.  The comic has no elephants so that Tarzan does not get to display his mastery over elephants.

Paul d’Arnot
Paul d’Arnot - a French naval officer and friend of Tarzan.  While on their way to investigate possible slave and illegal ivory trading, d’Arnot and the ape-man discover the remainder of the Burton-Ashleigh expedition.  Paul shoots a leopard that is attacking Terry O’Rourke.  The Lieutenant explains Tarzan’s background and lineage to the party.  After their capture by the claw-footed yellow men, he and Tarzan manage to escape.  When Tarzan distracts their captors, d’Arnot frees the other captives.  Later, they are lead to Tohr by Mungo, a non-claw-footed yellow man.  He suspects that the second set of yellow men is of a higher genetic material.  While being ushered to a cell in Tohr, he picks up on Tarzan’s signal to be prepared.  During the melee started by Tarzan, he and Ukah escape.  As d’Arnot lowers himself down the wall, an elephant patrol approaches.  He loses his grip and falls to the ground unconscious.  The recaptured pair is to be cast into the fires Tohr.  Tarzan and O’Rourke rescue them only to be recaptured again in the armory.  Assigned to the elephant paddock Tarzan arranges for he and Ukah to escape on Black Maluk.  Once in the jungle Ukah saves d’Arnot from a charging lion.  They steal an elephant from the Tohrian jungle patrol and make their way to Ukah’s home city.  He tells the Rhatohrians that Tarzan will have the gate open for them when they attack Tohr.  He overhears Tamor and Poltar plotting to betray them to Queen Ahtea. The two traitors capture him.  They do not tie him very well and he manages to get loose when Tamor returns.  D’Arnot seriously wounds Tamor in a sword fight and leaves to warn the Rhatohrians of the traitor’s plot.  He gives the Shohn advice on how to attack the city of Tohr.  He enters the city with the warriors and the Chamber of Sacrifice with Tarzan.  After the death of Ahtea, he and Tarzan continue on with their original mission.

In the comic d’Arnot accompanies Tarzan as they find Major Barton and his niece Ruth.  Paul has never heard of Tohr.  He and Tarzan will guide the pair to a village.  He hustles them into a canoe as Tarzan holds off a group of natives.  On shore d’Arnot smokes a pipe.  In Tohr he suspects Ahtea will try to eliminate them one by one.
 The comic d’Arnot is basically a non-entity.  He really has nothing to do, and except for the canoe incident, he  could have been left out of the story.  The radio d’Arnot has a lot to do but for the most part is overshadowed by whomever he is with at the time.  He starts off well with helping the party escape from the yellow men.  Later during another escape attempt, he falls off the wall, which results in his recapture.  Plus, Ukah must save him from a lion and he struggles with his simple task of unlocking the lead elephant.  He manages to get himself captured by the Rhatohrian traitors.  However, he does redeem himself by besting Tamor in a sword fight.

Major Burton-Ashleigh - leader of the Burton-Ashleigh expedition in search of the lost city of Tohr.  His safari members desert when they approach a taboo area.  Lost and without their maps, he and the remainder of his party are befriended by Tarzan and d’Arnot who plan to take them to the nearest village for help.  While attempting to escape from savage claw-footed yellow men, Major Ashleigh speaks of a second expedition to search for Tohr.  Called Uncle Jim by his American ward, Jeanette, Ashleigh suspects that the claw-footed people are descendants of cavemen.  He is surprised to learn that his captor, Mungo, has brought them to Tohr.  During the battle in the armory room Mungo fatally wounds him.  Before he dies Dr. Wong speaks with him privately, creating the impression that Dr. Wong may not be the traitor he appears to be.  Ahtea gives the slain Major ceremonial burial rites.

In the comic he is Major James Barton from New York, a leader of an expedition in search of the lost city of Tohr.  His niece, Ruth, who calls him Uncle Jim, accompanies him.  He expected to find ruins, but the taboos of the area cause his safari to desert.  They have lost their supplies in the Kilindini River when Tarzan and d’Arnot find them.  Captured by yellow men and brought before Queen Ahtea, he is surprised to learn that he is in the city of Tohr.  He explains that the fires of Tohr leap into the Hall of Pantu because of the draft caused by opening the stone block in the floor.

 For the most part Major Ashleigh-Burton/Major James Barton character is a minor figure with little to do in either venue.

Jeanette BurtonJeanette Burton
Jeanette Burton - the Major’s American ward.  She is the first one to spot the yellow face staring at the party.  Tarzan leaving the body of the yellow man for dango, the hyena, repulses her.  When there is talk of a second expedition to find Tohr, she does not want to participate.  She shoots a rifle at the crocodiles as they swim towards Terry O‘Rourke.  She faints after Tarzan rescues the party from the waterfalls.  Queen Ahtea is very jealous of her and pushes her into the arena with Toldo, the guardian lion.  Ukah, a Rhatohrian captive, catches her.  Tarzan kills Toldo.  After Dr. Wong grazes Terry in the head with a bullet, she confesses to the Irishman that she loves him.  Her capture in the armory room results in the surrender of Tarzan and the others.  They feel very protective over her.  She weeps as her Uncle Jim, Major Burton-Ashleigh, dies from a spear wound.  She endures continual verbal abuse from Queen Ahtea and is made the prize for the winner of the fight between Tarzan and Mungo.  Dr. Wong pressures her into stealing the key to Ahtea’s treasure cave.  She finally manages to convince Ahtea that she is in love with O’Rourke and not Tarzan.  As she is about to be searched for the missing key, she slips it to Wong.  Ahtea has her taken to the Chamber of Serpents.  Dr. Wong saves her from a huge cobra.  Wong takes her to the treasure cave, but she wants none of the gold or jewels.  When caught in the cave, she tells Ahtea that she stole the key.  Ahtea brings her to the Chamber of Sacrifices where she plans to throw her into the fires of Tohr.   Wong rescues her.  She and Terry are to be taken back to civilization.

In the comic she is known as Ruth Barton or Miss Ruth, the niece of Major James Barton.  She accompanies her Uncle Jim on an expedition to find the lost city of Tohr.  Tarzan and d’Arnot discover the girl and her uncle who have been abandoned by their safari.  They end up in Tohr.  Queen Ahtea is infatuated with Tarzan and is jealous of Ruth.  She throws Ruth into an arena containing Toldo, the lion guardian of the treasures of Tohr.  Ukah, Attarian rebel, catches her.  Tarzan rescues both of them as he kills Toldo with his bare hands.  After their escape from the dungeons they are recaptured.  Ahtea attempts to throw Ruth into the fires of Tohr, but she is saved by Ukah.

Why they changed her name from Jeanette to Ruth is baffling.  She is a little stronger character in the radio play as she gets to shoot at crocodiles and shows strength of character when facing Ahtea.  In the comic she is the same object of Ahtea’s jealousy only instead of pushing her into the arena, Ahtea physically throws her to the lion.  Her final rescue from the fires of Tohr is by different characters, but the resulting death of Ahtea is the same.

Terence O’Rourke -  a happy-go-lucky adventurer and a member of the Burton-Ashleigh expedition.  An Irishmen with a thick accent, often referred to as Terry, has some jungle experience and is always looking for action.  However, the action often times puts him in a situation where he must be rescued.  Right from the start a leopard and a lion simultaneously attack him.  He manages to wound the leopard, but they both fall from the tree into the path of a charging lion.  Paul d’Arnot shoots the leopard, and Tarzan kills the lion.  After the claw-footed yellow men capture the party, Terry is thrown to the crocodiles because of Tarzan and d‘Arnot‘s escape.  A dramatic rescue has Tarzan swinging on a vine out over the river to snatch Terry with his powerful legs from the jaws of croc.  Terry is constantly impressed by Tarzan’s feats of strength.  He finds the trail around the waterfall.  As a different set of yellow men walk up the trail, he wants to fire on them.  He also wants them to fight their way out as Mungo leads them to Queen Ahtea.  When Dr. Wong appears to have turned traitor, Terry threatens him.  The only way Wong can stop him is by a grazing bullet to the Irishman’s scalp.  When he is revived, he admits to Jeanette that he is in love with her.  He is exuberant when Jeanette reveals that the feeling is mutual.  He discovers how to open the gate, which bars the way to the natural bridge across the fires of Tohr.  After being recaptured and sentenced to dig in the jewel pits of Tohr, Tarzan has to caution him to be patient.  Mungo places a gold collar around his neck signifying that he has been selected to fight lions in the upcoming games during the Feast of Pantu.  When Rutan, the leader of the elephant slaves, is brought to the jewel pits, Terry attempts to talk with him.  Rutan attacks him, and Tarzan rescues him.  Suspected as instigators of a slave revolt Tarzan and Terry are to be whipped to death.  Terry is shocked when the apparent traitor, Wong, cuts him loose and gives him his knife.  He helps Tarzan free the jewel pit slaves and opens the gates, which allows the Rhatohrians to enter the city.

An interesting character who is not a part of the comic.

Dr. Wong Tai - a Chinese scientist and member of the Burton-Ashleigh expedition.  He is a Charlie Chan type of character who constantly spouts oriental maxims.  He is one of the most interesting of the characters, as he never appears to be what other people think he is.  He asks the most provocative questions about Tarzan’s background, speculates about the races they meet, and creates tension between the expedition and the Tohrians.  When the wily Chinese gets a view of the gold and jewels of Tohr, he appears to switch his allegiance.  Ahtea seeks his council.  Terry takes offense at Wong’s change of loyalty and constantly threatens him.  Wong, an expert with handguns, is forced to graze O’Rourke with a bullet.  He has the uncanny ability to analyze people and situations.  His actions make both the expedition and Queen Ahtea questions his loyalties.  Later it appears as if Wong has gained Ahtea’s confidence only to help Tarzan and his friends.  But he also pushes Jeanette to get the key to Ahtea’s treasure vault, which looks like he is merely satisfying his own greed.  When the chips are down, Wong does free O’Rourke from the whipping pole.  This allows Terry to free the others.  Later he also saves Jeanette from a black cobra.  But his greed obsesses him.  He and Jeanette are caught in the jewel cave and sentenced to the fires of Tohr.  His loyalty to his companions comes forward when faced with death.  He pushes Jeanette away from Ahtea as she plunges the sacrificial knife downwards.  With the knife in his back, he grabs Ahtea and falls in the fiery pit.  In the end the entire party comments on his loyalty and friendship.  As Dr. Wong said, “you can’t escape your destiny.”

A great character who is not a part of the comics.

Ackmet - Arab slaver and ivory poacher.  Tarzan and d’Arnot are on their way to investigate Ackmet when they come across the remainder of the Burton-Ashleigh party.   After their adventure in Tohr, Tarzan and d’Arnot state that they will look into Ackmet’s activities.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

claw-footed yellow men - yellow hairless skin people who wear loincloths.  Their feet end in talon like claws.  They have small red eyes, low cranium, protruding jaw, and thick lips.  They carry twisted cudgels and copper bladed spears.  They capture Tarzan and the last of the Burton-Ashleigh expedition.  The party suspects that they may be cannibals and have the ability to call crocodiles.  They throw their dead to the crocodiles.  They dance around their victims and shake their spears at them.  When Tarzan and d’Arnot escape, they throw Terry to the crocodiles.  They live in caves over looking the river where it enters the mountainside.  Ashleigh believes they may be descendants of cave people.  Wong suspects they are the result of a grafting experiment.

(See: yellow men, Tohrians)

yellow men (Tohrians) - inhabitants of the city of Tohr.  They speak English as well as their own language.  Ahtea, a white queen, rules them.  They worship Pantu, the god of fire.  They have a priesthood and warriors.  They are somehow related to the claw-footed yellow men.

In the comic they are the same except they are the claw yellow men not claw-footed yellow men.  However, they do not have the nasty disposition of the radio claw-footed people.

Mungo - yellow man favorite of Queen Ahtea.  Reportedly the strongest man in Tohr.  He speaks English.  He finds and brings Tarzan and his party to the Queen.  He places a prisoner, a convicted spy, on the grill in Pantu’s arms as a demonstration of Ahtea’s power.  He is instructed to force Tarzan to watch the victim be consumed by the fires of Tohr.  As he leads Tarzan and the other captives to their cells, Tarzan knocks him off the wall so that d’Arnot and Ukah can escape.  When the yellow warriors have Tarzan and his companions trapped in the armory, he spears Major Ashleigh, killing him.  When Tarzan demands the Tohrian rite of revenge, Mungo accepts the challenge.  Tarzan and Mungo are to fight to the death in the games during the Feast of Pantu.  He fails to stop the Queen’s elephant, which goes berserk and charges towards a jewel pit.  Later at the whipping pole the elephant, Black Maluk, throws him from his back in order to get to Tarzan.  He catches up with Tarzan in the elephant paddock.  In the fight with the ape-man, Tarzan snaps his neck.
In the comic Mungo is a leader of the claw yellow men of Tohr.  He speaks English.  He brings Tarzan, d’Arnot, Major Barton, and Ruth Barton to Tohr and Queen Ahtea.  He delivers the party to the dungeons of Tohr.  After the death of Ahtea, he is advised by Ukah to put away the hateful rule of Ahtea and choose another leader.  Mungo thinks this is a good idea.  He is to lead Tarzan and his party to the nearest settlement.
 Mungo is a major character in the radio drama with many key scenes culminating with his fight with Tarzan.  In the comic he is claw-footed, but Jesse Marsh avoids showing the yellow men’s feet except for the initial panel.  His role has been greatly reduced in the comic, but at least he does not get his neck snapped by Tarzan.

Ahtea - white queen of Tohr.  Tohr has existed for thousands of years and has always been ruled by a person with white skin.  Ahtea is the last of the line.  If she does not produce an heir before she dies, a yellow skinned person will be chosen as ruler.  Beautiful yet cruel, Ahtea rules with an iron fist and sentences everyone who does not bend to her will to the fires of Tohr.  Tarzan and the remainder of the expedition are presented to her.  She forces them to watch as a convicted spy is placed on the statue of Pantu and consumed by the fires of Tohr.  This was a demonstration of her power and also of her ruthlessness.  She falls in love with Tarzan and becomes extremely jealous of Jeanette Burton.  She tries repeatedly to seduce Tarzan with her beauty, wealth and power.  Tarzan remains committed to help his friends and insists that he must lead them to safety.  He would then return to Tohr.  This infuriates Ahtea, as she does not trust him to return.  In fact, Ahtea does not trust any man.  She pushes Jeanette into the arena with Toldo, her guardian lion.  She is enraged when Tarzan kills Toldo.  She makes a connection with Dr. Wong and seeks his advice and consul.  When Tarzan demands the Tohrian rite of revenge on Mungo, her favorite guard, she agrees and prepares elaborate games for the Feast of Pantu.  She gives Major Burton-Ashleigh ceremonial burial rites.  She delights in verbally abusing Jeanette.  She sentences Tarzan and the male members of the party to the elephant paddock in the hopes that all but Tarzan will be accidentally killed.   This way Tarzan could not blame her for his friends’ deaths.  She suspects Jeanette of stealing the key to the treasure cave of Tohr but can not prove it.  She has Kai-luk whipped to discover the instigator of the slave rebellion.  When Tarzan and Kai-luk escape from the public whipping pole, she loses confidence in Mungo and instructs him to turn the hunting lions loose in the streets.  She blames Jeanette for all her troubles and wants to be rid of her.  She has Jeanette sent to the Chamber of Serpents.  Later she finds Jeanette and Wong in the treasure cave.  She plans to throw Jeanette in the fires of Tohr, but Tarzan kills the priest before the trapdoor can be opened.  She signals another priest to open the trapdoor.  She threatens to kill Jeanette with a sacrificial knife and to throw her into the fires if the Rhatohrians do not quit the city.  Wong knocks Jeanette from her arms as she drops the knife downwards.  With the sacrificial knife in his back, Wong grabs Ahtea, and they both fall into the fires of Tohr.

The comic has a similar beautiful but evil white queen of Tohr.  All her subjects are yellow skinned claw people.  When Mungo, a leader of the claw men, brings Tarzan to the Queen, she becomes infatuated with him and jealous of Ruth Barton.  She forces the party to watch as she has a rebel consumed by the fires of Tohr on the statue of Pantu.  This was a demonstration of her power and also of her ruthlessness.  She commands Tarzan to stay with her as her mate.  She physically throws Ruth into the arena with her guardian lion, Toldo.  Tarzan kills Toldo.  When Tarzan refuses to stay in Tohr with her, she has the entire party thrown into the dungeon.  She recaptures the party after they escape from the dungeons and brings them to the Hall of Pantu.  She attempts to throw Ruth into the fires of Tohr.  Ukah saves Ruth and attempts to throw himself and Ahtea into the fire.  Tarzan grabs Ukah, but Ahtea falls into the fiery pit.

Ahtea falls into the fiery pit
Ahtea is, remarkably, the same character in both stories.  She is an excellent villain for Tarzan -- reminiscent of Nemone in “Tarzan and the City of Gold” and to some degree like La of Opar.  Ahtea does show a surprising sensitivity in the radio drama (and a bit out of character) by giving Major Burton-Ashleigh a ceremonial burial.

Tongo - a chief of the claw-footed yellow men.  He comes to Ahtea and demands the Tohrian right of revenge on Tarzan because he killed some of his men.  The Queen grants him this right.  He swings his cudgel at Tarzan.  Failing to touch the ape-man, he tries using a sword on the jungle lord.  Tarzan kills him with his knife.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

Pantu - idol of pure gold.  The ‘God of Fire’ is worshipped by the Tohrian people.  The statue is made up of a man’s body with a lion’s head.   It has a grill between its extended arms.  The statue is kept in the Hall of Pantu (Chamber of Sacrifice) in the city of Tohr.  Human sacrifices are placed on the grill.  A stone block is opened in the floor beneath the grill, which creates a draft of air so the fires of Tohr will leap up into the room consuming the victim.

This is exactly the same as the comic.

Toldo - lion guardian of the treasures of Tohr.   Ahtea attempts to frighten Tarzan and Wong with Toldo in the Caves of Pleasure.  Later Ukah is placed in an arena with the lion.  Ahtea pushes Jeanette into the arena.  Tarzan jumps in and kills Toldo with his knife.  Tarzan kills a hunting lion with a knife near the elephant paddock.  Mungo announces to Ahtea that Tarzan has killed Toldo.  (This brings up the question: is the name Toldo a title for the chief lion or did Burroughs or some revisionist forget that Tarzan had already killed Toldo in the arena?)

In the comic Toldo is the guardian of the treasures of Tohr.  Queen Ahtea calls Toldo her mightiest lion.  Ukah, a rebel, is placed in an arena with the lion.  Ahtea throws Ruth Barton into the arena.  Tarzan kills Toldo with his bare hands.  There is no second Toldo.

Ukah - son of the Shohn, king of Rhatohr.  He is described as a yellow giant.  He is placed unarmed in an arena to face Toldo, the Queen’s favorite lion.  He catches Jeanette when Ahtea pushes her into the arena.  He conspires with Tarzan in a plan to have himself and d’Arnot escape. The plan is to have his father and the Rhatohrian warriors attack Tohr.  Ukah chooses d’Arnot to accompany him because of his military skills.  He kills a Tohrian elephant patrol guard trying to help d’Arnot who has fallen from the wall.  They are recaptured and brought to Ahtea.  He tells the Queen that it was his idea for the escape attempt.  Tarzan and O’Rourke save him and D’Arnot from the fires of Tohr.  He discovers the secret to open the armory door.  Captured once again, Tarzan uses Black Maluk, the wild elephant, to get Ukah and d’Arnot over the walls of Tohr.  In the jungle he kills a lion with a spear to protect d’Arnot. He stabs a guard as he and Paul steal an elephant from the Tohrian jungle patrol.  His father comes to the water hole where he and Paul are hiding.  He enlists his father’s help to mount an attack on Tohr in the hopes of aiding Tarzan and company.  He directs the final placement of the troops around the city of Tohr.

In the comic he is the son of Attar, the rebel leader.  Ahtea, Queen of Tohr, accuses him of conspiring against her.  He is placed in an arena with Toldo, the Queen’s lion, which guards the treasure of Tohr.  He catches Ruth Barton as she is thrown into the arena with him.  Tarzan kills the lion with his bare hands thus saving them both.  After their escape from the dungeons, he finds the secret to open the gates, which bars the way across the fire pit of Tohr.  They are recaptured and taken to the Hall of Pantu.  When Ahtea attempts to throw Ruth into the fires of Tohr, he saves the girl, grabs Ahtea, and tries to dive into the fire with his Queen.  Tarzan grabs onto him, but the Queen falls into the fire.  At the end of the comic he is the peacemaker with Mungo and the Tohrians.  He consuls Mungo to put away the hateful rule of Ahtea and choose another leader.  Mungo thinks this is a good idea.

 Key character in the radio play with many pivotal tasks, which he does with great skill.  He overshadows Paul d’Arnot with whom he is often teamed.  He is also a key character in the comic as he does many of the same tasks.  In the comic he is responsible for the death of Ahtea but does not have to pay with his life, as did Dr. Wong in the radio program.  In the comic he does call Ahtea, ‘his Queen,’ which is a major change from the radio play that has him being a part of a city in opposition to Tohr.  His feet are shown in the comic during his struggle with Ahtea.  It appears as if he is also a claw yellow man.

sheeta - a black panther that guards a passageway in the underground corridors of Tohr.  It is chained to the wall.  As Tarzan approaches, the leopard leaps.  Tarzan dodges and lands on its back.  The ape-man holds the panther at bay so the other members of his party can slip into the tunnel.  He squeezes sheeta almost to the point of unconsciousness and drops it on the ground so that the Tohrians will not discover which way they went.

This is exactly the same in the comic.

Kai-luk - part of Ukah’s hunting party, which was captured by the Tohrians.  He is a slave in the jewel pits of Tohr when Tarzan and O’Rourke are brought to the pits.  Tarzan convinces him to talk to the other slaves about a slave rebellion.  He does, and they will join the revolt.  He tells Tarzan about the Feast of Pantu and his fears that there will not be enough slaves to produce a successful revolt.  Ahtea has him whipped when she discovers the rebellion plan.  He won’t talk.  Tarzan, Terry, and Kai-luk make their escape from the public whipping pole on elephants.  He tells Tarzan that the gong they hear signals the release of hunting lions onto the streets.  Tarzan saves him from Toldo.  And he helps the ape-man hold off the guards as Terry releases the jewel pit slaves.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

Rutan - master of the elephant slaves of Tohr.  He assigns Tarzan to train Black Maluk, an uncontrollable elephant.  After Black Maluk’s apparent escape from the paddock he commands Tarzan and Terry to find and bring him back.  Queen Ahtea commands him to search all of Tohr and the surrounding area for d’Arnot and Ukah.  His failure results in him being sentenced to the jewel pits and to fight lions during the Feast of Pantu.  He attacks O’Rourke in the jewel pits of Tohr.  Tarzan chokes him to unconsciousness.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

Black Maluk  - uncontrollable elephant that is a part of Ahtea’s riding beasts.  Rutan, master of the elephant slaves, commands Tarzan to train him.  Tarzan calms him with ape language.  He carries d’Arnot and Ukah to the wall so they can escape.  He rescues Tarzan and Kai-luk from the whipping pole by throwing Mungo off his back and charging forward.  He seals off the paddock thus preventing the yellow men from helping Mungo fight Tarzan.  And he carries Tarzan and O’Rourke to the main gate where he pushes open the gate so the Rhatohrians can enter the city.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

Vandor - son of Rutan.  He is in charge of the jungle elephant patrol unit from which d’Arnot and Ukah steal the lead elephant.  He is condemned to jewel pits and is scheduled to fight lions during the Feast of Pantu.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

Tanya - slave of Queen Ahtea.  Like all of Ahtea’s slaves, she has had her tongue cut out.  She has the job of preparing Jeanette to be the Queen’s personal servant.  When the treasure cave key is discovered missing, Ahtea commands her to search Jeanette, the other slaves, and their quarters.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

Shohn Rhatohr - from the city of Rhatohr, the leader of the Rhatohrians and father to Ukah.  It is unclear if ‘Shohn’ is a title or a first name.  He and some of his warriors are hunting elephants when they find Ukah and d’Arnot at a water hole.  He musters his warriors to march on Tohr even though their last three attempts were very unsuccessful.  He believes d’Arnot when he tells him that Tamor and Poltar are traitors to Rhatohr.  He and his troops march on Tohr.  He asks d’Arnot for battle advice.\

In the comic he is known as Attar, the rebel leader, and father to Ukah.  He is mentioned but never seen.

Tamor - Rhatohrian chief.  His mother was a Tohrian captive who married a Rhatohrian.  This is probably why he seeks revenge against the Rhatohrian people.  He is blackmailing Poltar to help him plot against the Rhatohrians.  He captures d’Arnot and uses his blood soaked shirt as evidence of the Frenchman’s death in the lion pits.  The Shohn believes him and grants him the honor of leading an advanced guard on the attack on Tohr.  When he returns to his quarters, d’Arnot has managed to free himself. During the ensuing sword fight, d’Arnot seriously wounds him and leaves.  He and Poltar escape on an elephant.  He is killed before reaching Tohr.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

Poltar - Rhatohrian warrior who is in league with Tamor, a chief.  Tamor tricked him into giving a signal, which he thought was to friendly troops.  Tohrians who capture Ukah, the chief’s son, intercepted the signal.  Tamor instructs him to go to Tohr and tell Queen Ahtea about the pending attack.  He and Tamor capture d’Arnot who has overheard their traitorous plot.  He is killed before reaching Tohr.

The comic makes no mention of this character.

Kalu  -  Black Maluk’s mate.  Terry and Kai-luk mount the elephant and follow Tarzan on Black Maluk towards the elephant paddock.  The riders dismount before reaching the paddock.  The elephants continue on their way.

The comic makes no mention of this creature.

Mantar   - high priest of Tohr.  As he reaches for the lever to open the fires of Tohr, which Ahtea plans to throw Jeanette into, Tarzan throws his sword through the chest of the priest, killing him.

The comic makes no mention of this character.  In the Dell story, Mungo is given the job to open the fires of Tohr, which Ruth is to be cast into.  Tarzan does not kill him.

Return with us now to those thrilling ERBzines of Yesteryear:
Electrical Transcription ET Label
Visit our other ERB of the Air OTR Sites
ERBzine 0011
Tarzan in Radio's Golden Age
ERBzine 0141
ERB of the Air
ERBzine 0142
Tarzan of the Air Radio Promo Handout
ERBzine 0143
Tarzan Radio Casts
ERBzine 0144
Tarzan and the Diamond of Ashair
39-Episode Radio Serial
Summarized by Bill Hillman
ERBzine 0659
Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr
Dell Comic ? Radio Serial Comparision
By Duane Adams
ERBzine 0660
Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr
Radio Serial Episodes 1-18
Summarized by Duane Adams
ERBzine 0661
Tarzan and the Fires of Tohr
Radio Serial Episodes 19-39
Summarized by Duane Adams


WEEK 1 ~ 99.05,14

Issue 0659

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