The First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages in Archive
Volume 0730
 A Collector's Hypertexted and Annotated Storehouse of Encyclopedic Resources
. . . by an Exhausted Scholar
DJ Image
1st Ed. Larger Cover Image by Frank Frazetta
Large Cover Art Image
ERB, Inc. Edition 2023 Cover Art by Joe Jusko
Written in three installments::
Tarzan and the Champion (July 1939)
Murder in the Jungle (Tarzan and the Jungle Murders) (January 1939)
The Quest of Tarzan (begun in November 1940)

Frank Frazetta Art ~ Alternate Covers ~ Pulps ~ Publishing History
Summary ~ Cast ~ Chapter Titles ~ Interior Art ~ Reviews



Blue Book Magazine: April 1940
Tarzan and the Champion
    L. R. Gustavson cover: numerous tinted and b/w interiors
Thrilling Adventures: June 1940
Tarzan and the Jungle Murders
    Rudolph Belarski: cover ~ C. A. Murphy: 12 b/w interiors
Argosy Weekly: 1941: August 23, 30; September 6
The Quest of Tarzan
    Virgil Finlay: first installment cover and  interior1 and interior2
Canaveral Press: 1965 with bibliographic note by Richard Lupoff ~ 229 pages
    Frank Frazetta: DJ and six interiors
Ballantine Books paperback: July 1965 ~ 191 pages
    Robert Abbett cover
Ballantine Books paperback: March 1974
    Robert Abbet: cropped version of his original cover
Canaveral Press: 1975
ERB, Inc. Matched Set Edition 2023 with Joe Jusko Cover Art
    Joe Jusko Cover
ERB-dom No. 13 ~ Page 10
Edition No. TCys-1

Publisher and Titles: Tarzan and the Castaways
L.C. No.: 64-25826
Illustrator: Frank Frazetta
Date Published Dec 4 1964
Price: $3.50
No. of Pages: 229p
No. of Illus.: 6
Binding: Dk Green

In Tarzan and the Castaways, the date "1965" appears on the title page, and "Copyright 1965" on the copyright page, of about 400 copies distributed in December 1964 ("TCys-1a). Further distribution was halted until January 2, 1965, for the printing of a sticker to be affixed to the copyright page of the remainder of the edition, correcting two other errors and giving the copyright date of this book as "Copyright 1964". This variant edition with the sticker we denote as TCys-1b. The ironic thing about all this is that the copies distributed in 1965 bear a 1964 date, while those distributed in 1965 are labelled 1964 on the copyright page.

Ballantine Books paperback
    Richard Powers cover
Ballantine Books paperback ~ September 1977
    Boris Vallejo cover
ERB News Dateline fanzine #34: May 1989
    The Quest of Tarzan reprint of the pulp version ~ editor Mike Conran analysis
    Mike Cody: colour cover ~ Virgil Finlay: back cover: reproduction of orignal cover
The Quest of Tarzan reprint of the pulp version ~ Fan publication by LOHAE Press ~ Dayton, Ohio ~ 2008
For detailed information, see Robert B. Zeuschner's
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Bibliography (ERB, Inc., 2016).
Click on or call 214-405-6741 to order a copy.
Tarzan and the Castaways
This book is a collection of stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the twenty-fourth in his series of books about the title character Tarzan. In addition to the title novella, it includes two Tarzan short stories. Of the three pieces, "Tarzan and the Jungle Murders" was written first, in January, 1939. It was first published in the magazine Thrilling Adventures in the issue for June, 1940. "Tarzan and the Champion" was written in July, 1939, and first published in Blue Book Magazine in the issue for April, 1940. "The Quest of Tarzan" was begun in November, 1940 and first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly as a three-part serial in the issues for August 23, August 30, and September 6, 1941. The three stories were gathered together and first published in book form in hardcover by Canaveral Press in 1965. At that time "The Quest of Tarzan" was retitled "Tarzan and the Castaways" to avoid confusion with the earlier Tarzan novel Tarzan's Quest. The first paperback edition was issued by Ballantine Books in July, 1965. "Tarzan and the Castaways" (originally entitled "The Quest of Tarzan"). Tarzan is stranded on a Pacific island inhabited by the remnant of a lost Mayan civilization. "Tarzan and the Champion". Tarzan, his monkey friend Nkima, and Chief Muviro and his faithful Waziri warriors confront an American prize fighter who has come to Africa to hunt the wildlife. "Tarzan and the Jungle Murders". Tarzan applies his jungle lore to solving a mystery.

CAST (in order of appearance)

Part 1
Tarzan and the Castaways (1941)
Saigon — Fritz Krause ~ German "Bring 'em back alive" badguy
Abdullah Abu Nejm former ivory poacher, slave trader
Janette Laon ~ beautiful French companion of Krause
Wilhelm Schmidt ~ 2nd mate of the Saigon
Hans de Groote ~  young Dutch 1st mate of the Saigon
 TARZAN of the Apes ~ John Clayton; Mayans' Che, Lord Forest
Chand, Jabu Singh, Chuldrup ~ Lascar sailors on the Saignon
Oubanovitch ~ Red Russian, engineer on the Saigon
Lum Kip ~ Chinese sailor on the Saigon
Larsen ~ Captain of the Saigon, ill (never appears)
Naiad — Algernon
Wright-Smith ~ fiance of Patricia Leigh-Burden
William Cecil Hugh Percival Leigh ~ Colonel, owner of the Naiad
Patricia Leigh-Burden  ~  niece of Col. Leigh
Penelope Leigh ~ whining, snobby wife of Col. Leigh
Tibbett ~ 2nd mate on the Naiad
Dr. Crouch  ~ passenger on the Naiad
Mayans — Thak Chan ~ Mayan hunter from Chichen Itza
Xatl Din ~ Mayan officer
Cit Coh Xiu ~ Mayan King of Uxmal Island
Chal Yip Xiu ~ Mayan High Priest
Itzl Cha ~ Mayan girl, victim-to-be

Part 2
Tarzan and the Champion (1940)
"One-Punch" Mullargan ~ Heavyweight Champion of the World
Joey Marks ~ Mullargan's manager
TARZAN of the Apes ~ John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
Nkima ~ little monkey, Tarzan's friend
Melton ~ truck driver, guide for Mullargan and Marks
Muviro ~ Chief of Tarzan's Waziri

Part 3
Tarzan and the Jungle Murders (1940)
TARZAN of the Apes ~ John Clayton, Lord Greystoke
RAF Lt. Cecil Giles-Burton ~ downed English pilot
Horace Brown ~ Chicago inventor of ignition disruptor device
Nikolai Zubanev ~ Russian exile in London
Joseph Campbell ~ aka "Joe the Pooch"
Mary Graham ~ Brown's blabby secretary
the Great Man ~ Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator
Lt. Torini ~ Campbell and Zubanev's pilot across Africa
Chemungo ~ son of Mpingu
Mpingu ~ Chief of the Buiroo cannibals
Lady Barbara Ramsgate ~ on hunting safari near Bangali
Lord John Ramsgate ~ her brother
Gerald Gault ~ Romanoff's English guide
Duncan Trent ~ on safari, in love with Lady Barbara
Mr. Romanoff ~ on photographic safari joined to Ramsgates'
Pierre Romanoff's valet, in love withViolet
Sergei Godensky ~ Romanoff's photographer, loves
Violet Tomlin ~  John Ramsgate's valet, in love with Violet
Violet Lady Barbara's maid
Smith & Peterson ~ derelicts with the Ramsgate safari
Col. Gerald Giles-Burton ~ Bangali Resident Commissioner, Cecil's father

Cast List Ref: Clark A. Brady's Burroughs Cyclopedia and Ed Stephan's Tarzan of the Internet

Book Blurb Summary
from Ballantine Books
Stranded on an uncharted Pacific island, Tarzan was forced to take command of an ill-sorted party—English aristocrats, a Dutch officer, a woman of doubtful reputation—to insure their safety from a band of mutineers led by a madman. A lost colony of Mayans, avid for potential victims for their barbarous human sacrifices, only added to the danger. But the Lord of the Jungle had unexpected allies...Cast away with his band was a shipment of African animals unknown to the island, striking terror in the hearts of Mayans and mutineers alike—but old friends and familiar antagonists to the man brought up among them...Tarzan of
the Apes.

Tarzan and The Castaways
24 untitled chapters

Tarzan and the Champion
No chapters

Tarzan and the Jungle Murders
I. The Hyena's Voice
II. The Thread of Fate
III. Broken Wings
IV. Jungle Call
V. The Safari
VI. The Coming of Tarzan
VII. Murder Will Out

John Clayton, Lord Greystoke

Pulp Magazine Covers
ERBzine Pulp Bibliography: ERBzine 0230
Blue Book - April 1940 - Tarzan and the Champion
Blue Book - April 1940 - Tarzan and the Champion

Thrilling Adventure Stories - June 1940 - Jungle Murders
Thrilling Adventures: June 1940 - Tarzan and the Jungle Murders

ERBzine Pulp Bibliography: ERBzine 0230

Argosy - August 23, 1941 - The Quest of Tarzan 1/3
Argosy - August 30, 1941 - The Quest of Tarzan 2/3
Argosy - September 6, 1941 - The Quest of Tarzan 3/3
Argosy - August 23, 1941 - The Quest of Tarzan 1/3Argosy - August 30, 1941 - The Quest of Tarzan 2/3 .Argosy - September 6, 1941 - The Quest of Tarzan 3/3


Virgil Finlay interior art for The Quest of Tarzan ~ Argosy September 6, 1941

Virgil Finlay interior art for The Quest of Tarzan in Argosy
Inspired by Frederic Leighton’s bronze sculpture: An Athlete Wrestling with a Python (1877)
The Leighton sculpture also inspired St. John's cover art for TARZAN LORD OF THE JUNGLE

*** 1914 Virgil Finlay (1914.07.23-1971.01.18) was born on this date in Rochester, NY, USA. He was a pulp fantasy, science fiction and horror illustrator. He has been called "part of the pulp magazine history ... one of the foremost contributors of original and imaginative art work for the most memorable science fiction and fantasy publications of our time." While he worked in a range of media, from gouache to oils, Finlay specialized in, and became famous for, detailed pen-and-ink drawings accomplished with abundant stippling, cross-hatching, and scratchboard techniques. Despite the very labor-intensive and time-consuming nature of his specialty, Finlay created more than 2600 works of graphic art in his 35-year career. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted Finlay in 2012.
    Virgil Finlay executed four illustrations for one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan serials, “The Quest of Tarzan,” including one cover and one interior drawing for each of the three parts, and published in Argosy Weekly, August 23 through September 6, 1941.

Frank Frazetta Gallery of Interior Art from Canaveral
6 of 6 interiors
Itzl Cha saw in one terrified glance that the god who bore her was flying through the air.
Itzl Cha saw in one terrified glance that the god 
who bore her was flying through the air.
He had me captured by an African Chief: Frank Frazetta art
He had me captured by 
an African Chief
Tarzan took in the picture in a glance
Tarzan took in the picture in a glance
A great tiger emerged from the underbrush.
A great tiger emerged from the underbrush.
The ape-man dealt him a terrific blow on the side of the head with his open palm
The ape-man dealt him a terrific blow 
on the side of the head with his open palm
Tarzan in perfect calm, raised his short heavy spear above his right shoulder and waited.
Tarzan in perfect calm, raised his short heavy spear 
above his right shoulder and waited.

Alternate Cover and Interior Art
By Frank Frazetta ~ Source ERBdom 2992

Click for full size cover and collages

This Frank Frazetta Art is also featured at our Frazetta Galleries

A more recent Colourized Version
Phil Normand's Recoverings
"The Mayan Princess Unbound!"


Frontispiece from the Authorized ERB, Inc. Edition

Joe Jusko Art

US Paperback Covers

Abbett Tarzan Art in ERBzine 3353
Boris Tarzan Art in ERBzine 3610

Robert Abbett art: Ballantine 1974

UK Paperback Covers
Four Square UK Edition 1966New English Library UK Edition 1967Tarzan and the Castaways - New English Library UK - 1974Tarzan and the Castaways: Japanese edition

UK 1966 Four Square Edition :: Art by De Gaspari Giorgio

Tarzan and the Castaways
Art by Motoichiro Takebe

Ed launched a 1939 project, described as the "New Tarzan Series." He quickly wrote the 16,000-word "Murder in the Jungle," January 10 to 18, 1939, and followed with "Tarzan and the Champion," July 17 to mid-August, 1939. Abandoning his plan to produce four stories, he finished the series at Honolulu with the 37,000-word "Tarzan and the Castaways," November 26 to December 13, 1940. Apparently, with this last novel he also turned away from his concept of an under-20,000-word series.

"Murder in the Jungle" did feature Tarzan acting as a detective. The story centers about his evaluation of various clues, first when an Italian aviator is found dead in his plane and the wound in his throat indicates that the bullet came from above, or, as Tarzan concludes, from another plane. One of Tarzan's assets as a sleuth is his sense of smell, and when the wind carries the strange odor of gasoline to him, he discovers a second wrecked plane, but in this case the pilot had bailed out.

Toward the end of the story Tarzan sniffs the breeze to detect the odor of a dead man, which is coming from a camp, and with the discovery of the body of Lieutenant Cecil Giles-Burton, the murdered British pilot, he proceeds to interpret the clues that lead to the killer. The detective story, with its requirement for an original plot, subtle devices, and a surprising denouement was not Burroughs' forte. His problem was compounded by the fact that the jungle offered too limited a setting for a murder mystery, and Tarzan, because of his typical, restricted associations, had little opportunity to do any real detecting.

In marketing "Murder in the Jungle," Ed's first submissions, as in the past, were to the high-paying magazines, Liberty, Collier's, and the Saturday Evening Post. The successive rejections came in February and June, 1939. When Munsey also returned the manuscript in August, the only remaining outlet was Margulies' Popular Library. After holding the story for several months, Margulies, on October 25, gave an evaluation and a conditional acceptance. He had hoped that the first Tarzan story to appear in Thrilling Adventures would be "full of Tarzan." Instead, as his letter revealed, in Ed's original manuscript Tarzan entered the story late and was referred to as "The Stranger," apparently a misdirected attempt to make a "mystery" out of the easily identifiable Tarzan. Noting the story was unacceptable "in its present shape," Margulies wrote:

. . . I took the liberty of turning it over to one of our editors for a revision job. It was revised according to what we think a Tarzan story — and this particular story — should be like. . . . Naturally, I cannot take the liberty of using our version unless it receives your okay . . . most of the changes have been made in rearranging the story, and making Tarzan a much stronger and more prominent character... .
Margulies also "rearranged" the title to "Tarzan and the Jungle Murders."
Ed promptly accepted the Margulies version, except for some corrections of errors in the names of animals.  The payment of $300 was only two cents a word. The story appeared in Thrilling Adventures in June 1940.

In the second of the series, "Tarzan and the Champion," the main character, One-Punch Mullargan, heavyweight champion of the world, chooses to take his vacation in Africa and hunt big game. Mullargan, "a notoriously dirty fighter," is an ignorant, stereotyped New York pug who communicates in broken English or "Brooklynese." He carries his indifference to sportsmanship to the jungle where his idea of hunting is to pursue zebras and elephants in an automobile and blast them with a machine gun. Naturally he runs afoul of Tarzan; in the fight that ensues, the world champion finds he is no match for the ape-man.

Later, when the two men have been captured by the Babango cannibals, Tarzan is outraged by Mullargan's statement about the suffering, wounded beasts: ". . . they're only animals. We're human bein's." In answer, Tarzan presents Burroughs' familiar philosophy:

" . You are worse than the Babangos. You had no reason for hunting the zebra and the elephant. You could not possibly have eaten all that you killed. The Babangos kill only for food, and they kill only as much as they can eat. They are better people than you, who will find pleasure in killing."
At the story's end, when Joey Marks, Mullargan's manager, offers Tarzan "one hundred G's" to return to New York and become a prizefighter, Tarzan merely stalks away.
With the writing of this story Burroughs quite evidently discarded his plan to create his jungle-sleuth series; in the brief, 10,000-word story there is no murder and Tarzan does no detecting. The unsuccessful "Jungle Murders" had taught Burroughs that the task was impossible. After the expected rejection from Liberty, Collier's, and the Saturday Evening Post, "Tarzan and the Champion" traveled to editor Post at Munsey's where it received a criticism that had been offered before. The early tales centered always around Tarzan: "He was menaced, he got in danger, and while he frequently rescued others, his own perils were always the chief attraction. . . ."  Post complained that Tarzan now was being "kept off the stage a good deal of the time," and when he did appear, he was like a miraculous deity who saved others without very much effort; as a result, suspense was lacking. Tarzan had become an "avenging angel," and this "super-heroic" role weakened the interest in him as a person. 

Some dickering followed at Blue Book, the final market. Kennicott, referring to the "scant 100,000 circulation," noted he could not compete with the "slicks." His top offer of $250 was accepted by Rothmund on November 16, 1939, and the story appeared in Blue Book in April 1940.

The last of the series, "Tarzan and the Castaways," included a lengthy assortment of characters, and the action, first aboard a ship for almost half the story, is followed by a setting on a South Pacific island where Burroughs utilizes a favorite device — an anachronistic return to a lost civilization. A group of Mayans migrated from Yucatan in 1452 and transferred their ancient society to the island of Uxmal where they built the familiar walled city, called Chichen Itza.

The unusual opening of the novelette, in Mombasa, finds Tarzan in a desperate situation: an injury, causing a brain lesion, has left him speechless. He has been captured by Arabs, placed in a cage, and delivered to the German Fritz Krause aboard the tramp steamer Saigon. Krause, a dealer in wild animals, has a varied cargo for transport to New York, including elephants, orangutans, tigers, and others. He plans to exhibit Tarzan in the United States as a wild man.

All of the standard Burroughs plot elements are crowded into the story. A mutiny, with the second mate Schmidt taking over the ship, is soon followed by piracy, with the seizure of an English yacht. Schmidt has a mania for putting everything behind bars, and the British passengers are assigned to cages adjacent to Tarzan. Abruptly recovering his health and his speech, Tarzan escapes from the cage and, with the aid of first mate De Groote and others, recaptures the ship.

The sequence brings Burroughs' next device — the storm and shipwreck and the landing on the island of Uxmal. Encounters with the primitive Mayans ensue, which include the familiar highpriest-altar-beautiful-girl-sacrifice scene with Tarzan coming to the rescue. Before the story ends the entire foreign assemblage of villains is eliminated in a wild gun battle.

The Burroughs concern for animals is demonstrated in Tarzan's actions when the Saigon is wrecked on the reefs of the island. Once all the people are safe ashore, Tarzan sets about freeing the animals. To Colonel Leigh's protest about the "dangerous beasts of prey," Tarzan replies, "Their lives are as important to them as ours are to us, and I'm not going to leave them here to die of starvation."

In the 1940 "Tarzan and the Castaways," with Germany and England at war, Burroughs again lapses into his characterization of Germans as a subhuman species. The story, forwarded to Rothmund from Hawaii, was submitted by him to Munsey.  An approval finally came on February 26, 1941, with Post offering only $450 for the novelette, and commenting, "If this seems a rather startling figure to offer for a Burroughs story, it is because we feel that a great deal of work would have to be done on the manuscript here in the office, and while there are features in the story that attract us, there are also a great many which will make it a thorny manuscript to edit. . . ." Burroughs accepted the price, and the story, retitled "The Quest of Tarzan," appeared as a three-part serial in Argosy, August 23 to September 6, 1941. 

A Review Submitted by Doc Hermes
From 1941, this first appeared in three parts in the August and September issues of ARGOSY WEEKLY as THE QUEST OF TARZAN (not a particularly relevant title, come to think of it). In 1964, Canaveral Press published an edition from Burroughs' original manuscript, now titled TARZAN AND THE CASTAWAYS, in which form it is most easily found. (Included are two short stories from that period, "Tarzan and the Champion" and "Tarzan and the Jungle Murders".)

Actually, TARZAN AND THE CASTAWAYS is pretty good, if not spectacular. While there`s nothing wildly new about it, the story does throw the familiar ingredients together in a new kettle and stirs them up a bit more. Away from Africa for once, the Apeman finds himself on a large island in the Pacific, babysitting a handful of survivors of yet another shipwreck. That`s not enough. Okay, there are also a half dozen thugs (a cliched German and Arab and Russian) skulking about and desperately eager to cause trouble, as well as twenty vicious Lascars (any Lascars out there? How do you feel about the way you were portrayed in pulp fiction?).

Still not enough gasoline on the fire. Okay, throw in a cargo of wild beasts from the ship that otherwise would never be found within thousands of miles of the island... some elephants, tigers and lions, even two lovable orangutans. (Tarzan frees these critters from the sinking ship because they are noble creatures whose lives are precious, but you notice he draws the line at snakes and lets those varmints die.)

No, no, no. We need a lost civilization. What hasn`t been used so far...hmmm. A Mayan outpost! Yes, this is the city of Uxmal, founded by emigrants from Yucatan hundreds of years ago. This means we can throw a weak minded king and an insincere high priest into the plot, as well as a saucy young maiden snatched right off the sacrificial altar before the knife can do some impromptu cardiac surgery on her. Now we`re ready.

The story falls neatly into two halves. First, we have a suspenseful shipboard melodrama, where a German brute named Schmidt has taken over the ship SAIGON (the genuine captain is bedridden with fever). Schmidt is terrifying some European passengers who only want to get home alive. Remember after WWI, when Burroughs started throwing in an occasional good German? Well, with a new war starting up, the heinous Hun is back,as nasty as before. Actually, there are only two or three halfway likeable people in the entire cast.... and two of them are decent only because the formula demands a young couple fall in love and go through some misunderstandings. (Burroughs reminds me of Robert E. Howard in that regard, most of the characters in both writers` stories are unlikeable scoundrels always on the edge of turning on each other. Howard would just as soon skip including the young lovers, though, as just being that mushy stuff.) 

The oppressive German has a naked wildman in a cage which he has purchased from a venial Arab who captured the guy. He plans to exhibit the growling savage in a sideshow back in Berlin, eating raw meat and drawing in the rubes. Of COURSE it`s Tarzan. Be serious. Lord Greystoke has suffered another severe concussion, which has left him temporarily unable to speak or comprehend ohers` speech. As soon as this corrects itself, he promptly gets creased across the noggin with a bullet, knocking him unconscious for a while. Considering how many traumatic head injuries Tarzan has survived, it`s amazing he doesn`t walk around in circles all the time, twitching and laughing for no reason.

The shipboard sequence does have some clever moments. At one point, Tarzan amuses himself by letting the passengers think he is actually eating the dead captain. What a card. Of course, since we never do see the captain (who is described as being deathly ill and never mentioned after the shipwreck, you have to wonder just where the villains got all that raw meat they were giving the Apeman.... waste not, want not.) The big storm that endangers the ship, the daring escape by our hero as he bends the iron bars of his cage enough to get out, and the mutiny against the tyrannical German who has usurped command, are all presented briskly and vividly.

Once our menagerie both human and beast are castaway on the uncharted island of Uxmal, things settle down into a much more typical exploit for the Apeman. There`s friction between the bad guys (who just will NOT stay in their own camp) and much badmouthing of our naked hero by a rather dim and unreasonable old dowager. Then, of course the Mayans turn up and Tarzan is on a familiar game again... saving maidens from being sacrificed, leaping over walls and racing to the rescue, even killing a lion with only a knife. (The only lion for thousand of miles in any direction, and sure enough the Apeman drops down from a tree to wrestle it and then stab it in the heart.)

Because the story is considerably shorter than the typical Tarzan book, there is none of the padding where three parties chase each other back and forth. In fact, the book moves briskly and suddenly finishes up with a startling bloodbath that drops most of the bad guys dead in the dust with little fuss. Our hero survives a rather mild trial by ordeal that any reasonably fit lifeguard could manage. The castaways are rescued so promptly after the plot has been resolved you might think a ship has been waiting just offshore, the captain watching through binoculars until he got his cue. ("Looks like Greystoke`s got the girl. Now the Mayans are praising him as a god. All right, let`s go in and pick them up.")

By this time, Burroughs' writing style is streamlined and breezy, very modern. He obviously did some research on the Maya but doesn`t clog the narrative with too much detail. The story shows some signs it wasn`t polished much; a tribe of cannibals on the island are mentioned but never appear, and the ending just rears up abruptly. 

There are some interesting little bits of business. When asked if he is an Englishman, the Apeman replies, "My father and mother were English"... not quite the same thing. When a cute little Mayan heartbreaker throws herself brazenly at Tarzan, he turns her down with no explanation. It`s a writing dilemma. Tarzan is after all still married to Jane, who cannot be killed betwen books because the fans won`t allow it. But if Burroughs dislikes Lady Greystoke and doesn`t want to mention her, then he has a problem explaining why our hero rejects the several stunning wenches who fling themselves at his brawny bod.

Fan publication by LOHAE Press ~ Dayton, Ohio ~ 2008

Review contributed by Doc Hermes ERB Reviews
From April 1940, where it appeared in BLUE BOOK magazine, this is a minor story in the Tarzan saga. It has some good points, but it also misses some great possibilities.

What we`re dealing with here is an American heavyweight boxing champion who has taken it into his head to travel through Africa and shoot hundreds of wild animals for trophies. Not only does he come up against Tarzan, who takes a dim view of the whole proceedings, but there are also some particularly unpleasant cannibals in the area, so things don`t go well for the boxer and his manager.

Part of the problem with this story is that "One Punch" Mullargan is such a cardboard character, an incredibly ignorant brute who never really comes to life. His limited intelligence and careless habits with his fists are quickly tedious, and his stereotyped New York slang is supposed to be amusing but is only tiresome. Also, I know Tarzan is strong and quick bordering on the superhuman, but it might have been more interesting if Mullargan had put up a good fight in their inevitable duel. Warch old newreels of Joe Louis in action and you can see how someone like that could give even the Apeman a hard time.

Mullargan does show signs of being redeemable. After Tarzan chastises him for shooting dozens of zebra (with a machine gun, no less), the boxer struggles with the idea and eventually apologizes, saying that he never thought about animals having feelings. To his credit, Tarzan takes this belated apology into account. Also, when Mullargan`s manager is captured, the champ doesn`t escape but turns back in a hopeless attempt to rescue him. This impresses the Apeman. ("...self-sacrificing heroism is not a common characteristic of wild beasts. It belongs almost exclusively to man, marking the more courageous among them. It was an attribute that Tarzan could understand and admire.") This is one of the rare times when Burroughs has something nice to say about people, and it`s worth noting.

The best part of the story is actually the menace of the Babanos, a tribe of canibals who relish their diet. ("They eat human flesh because they like it, because they prefer it to any other food...they hunt man as other men hunt game animals, and they are hated and feared throughout the territory they raid.") The Babanos are genuinely scary, and they provide Tarzan with a worthwhile challenge that every hero needs to show his mettle. The Babango prepare their victims by first breaking the prisoners` arms and legs in several places and then letting them soak in the river for a few days to make them tender. (I`m pretty sure I saw Rachael Ray doing this on 30 MINUTE MEALS on the Food Channel, or maybe it was the Two Fat Ladies. Anyway...)

Contrasting with the Babangos are the Waziri, who are their usual stalwart, noble selves. The porters in the safari recognize the Waziri as great warriors, whom they do not have to fear. I always thought the Tarzan movies would have benefitted from having the impressive Muviro and his tribe in the action more. Finally, as brief as this story is, Tarzan manages to find an opportunity to drop down on a lion, then wrestle with it and stab it to death. Was there ANY Tarzan book where he didn`t kill at least one lion? (Even on Sumatra, in TARZAN AND "THE FOREIGN LEGION" he sent a tiger or two to their afterlife.)

Review contributed by Doc Hermes ERB Reviews
Phew. This is awful. "Tarzan and the Jungle Murders" appeared in the June 1940 issue of THRILLING ADVENTURES and was later collected with two other stories into the book TARZAN AND THE CASTAWAYS. It's really unrewarding material. According to Irwin Porges' book EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS: THE MAN WHO CREATED TARZAN, the original manuscript had the Apeman show up late in the story and was only identified as the Stranger (as if this nearly-naked bronzed giant in Africa in an Edgar Rice Burroughs yarn would be tough for readers to identify). Leo Margulies had one of his editors rewrite the story so that Tarzan appears from the start, and evidently this revision was extensive, uninspired and clumsy. (I would like to see what the Burroughs version was like, if it still exists somewhere.)

Here's an attempt to show the Apeman as an amateur detective. Well, why not? Burroughs normally showed Tarzan as shrewd, well-read and very observant. He should be as good at sleuthing as any other amateur, if not better. The Apeman also possesses an ability matched only by Doc Savage among his pulp peers, an enhanced sense of smell. Tarzan can not only tell by a lion's body odor whether the animal is hungry or full, he can recognize scents too faint for the average person to detect even when pointed out to him. All just dandy, but this story doesn't use the super-nose power fairly.

There's something here that's impossible for me to forgive in a mystery. I don't mind if the all-important clue is casually dropped in the middle of a distracting action scene or dismissed by one of the characters as unlikely, as long as it is presented to the readers early enough to give us a chance to use it. When, at the literal tail-end of the story, Tarzan explains who the murderer is by describing physical characteristics which were never mentioned before....! That's when the book goes sailing across the room to knock over a lamp and I have to retrieve it, grumbling under my breath.

Also, Tarzan sniffs a glove left at the first murder scene. Okay, we realize that he can therefore recognize the owner if he should meet him. But to give the reader a sporting chance, Tarzan should mutter something like "sulphur", so that we can keep an eye out for a suspect lighting matches with his thumbnail. Give us something to work with, Burroughs! (Since the glove's scent lets Tarzan identify the killer immediately at first meeting, the other deductions our boy works out must be for the benefit of the other characters.)

Aside from the fact that the mystery angle is lame, the story falls flat as jungle action as well. Tarzan finds two crashed planes, and he reconstructs what happened. This part isn't too badly done, as the Apeman realizes the dead pilot in the first plane has a bullet hole in the throat, left of the larynx, at a downward angle. Therefore, he could only have been shot from another plane. Tarzan finds two men had survived the crash and sets out to track them down.

It turns out two nearby safaris have merged for expediency, and they are made up of a typical Burroughs steamy mixture of a noble British lady, an arrogant and abusive guide, two men in love with the same maiden, a spy or two involved in the theft of some plans for a weapon vitally important to the upcoming war, all that lurid tangle of lust and greed we've seen in many Tarzan stories before. This unhappy group has just been joined by two dishevelled and half-starved men who wandered out of the jungle (gee, could they possibly be the two men from the downed airplane?! Hmmm....)

The Apeman turns up only to be blamed for a stabbing murder which has just happened in the camp, and then there's a second death which is also attempted to be laid on him (but he has an alibi). Finally, the motley crew assemble in the Resident Commissioner's bungalow for the big revelations. This is Colonel Gerald Giles-Burton of the Bangali government, by a remarkable coincidence the father of one of the murder victims. (Bangali? Say, you don't think this Colonel is part of the Jungle Patrol and he knows a man with a mask and a skull ring, do you?)

Tarzan doesn't quite recap all the events and then point his finger and say, "You - are - murderer!" with a Chinese accent, but he does explain who is really hiding under what name, and who did the killings. But, as noted above, he basically is pulling clues out of his loincloth that weren't available before. That's not how the game is played, old boy.

In case the crime-solving part of the story isn't enough to satisfy Tarzan fans, there's an interruption in the storyline as the Apeman is captured by unapologetic cannibals and has to summon a herd of elephants to rescue him. This is told in such a drab and uninspired style that it reads more like an outline than the finished story. So many other details seem odd or out of synch with the established Tarzan canon that I would guess there's as much of that anonymous editor's wordage in this story as Burroughs', maybe more.

At this point, all I have left to re-read in the series is TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD MEN (a lukewarm potboiler), JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN (some interesting and offbeat short stories of our hero's youth) and the first book itself, TARZAN OF THE APES (I'll be using the HIGH ADVENTURE reprint of the original 1912 magazine edition). And I have to say, "Tarzan and the Jungle Murders" looks like it will rank as the absolute lowest point of the entire saga. 

Tarzan and the Castaways art: Giorgio de Gaspari Four Square BooksBack cover by Rudolph Belarski for Thrilling Adventures, June 1940
Burroughs Bulletin: Tarzan and the Castaways edition ~ No. 65
Tarzan and the Castaways art: Giorgio de Gaspari Four Square Books
           Back cover by Rudolph Belarski for Thrilling Adventures, June 1940

DC Tarzan Comic 240: Castaways ~ Facebook Collage (click for full-screen image)

Other Tarzan and the Castaways features in ERBzine
ERBzine 0309: Nkima Chattering from the Shoulder #8
ERBzine 0302: Nkima Chat #3: Tarzan and the Champion
ERBzine 0306: Nkima Chat #6: Tarzan and the Jungle Murders
ERBzine 0285: Tarzan: Jungle Detective

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