ERBzine Summary ~ Guest Stars ~ Date Aired
47. THE CONVERT ~ 1968.01.12
(Malachi Throne ~ Larson, James Earl Jones ~ Nerlan, Diana Ross & Supremes ~ Nuns)
Three nuns who have come to a native village to set up a hospital become unwitting pawns
in a struggle between the village chief and a scheming land developer.
Ron Ely’s TARZAN
Episode 47. THE CONVERT
Review By Charles Mento
“This is our home. Our roots go deep.”
I was dreading this episode because I thought it would be a boring Diana Ross show case. I was very wrong. Ross is actually pretty good in the role of Sister Therese (though at times I thought her name was Theresa), a former tribe member from Muganda, now a nun who wants to open up a hospital for her former tribe. I think the very first shot she sees of her “home” village is a stock shot and with that muscular extra that usually appears. Her name in the tribe was Latonga.
Her two fellow nuns are also in the Supremes and rather than be a show case for the Supremes, there are only about two or three songs and all of them are quite good.
Cindy Birdsong (?) is sister Ann. She is from Pittsburgh, USA.
Mary Wilson is sister Martha. She is from Chicago.
James Earl Jones is back again as …against type, the not so bad Nerlan, who nearest I can tell is the old son of a chief. Therese, before she changed her name and left, was promised by Therese’s father to Nerlan to be his wife! Though aggravated by this turn of events (she became a nun!), he doesn’t take on the villain role and subverts our expectations by actually seeing her POV mid way through the story and he might even be the convert at the end. The chief is played by Virgil Richardson again!
Malachi Throne, that vet of TV (see his long list of credits from VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA to LOST IN SPACE to LAND OF THE GIANTS and many, many more) is Sam Larson, a land developer who acts kind to the tribe and to the sisters but who has already planned to kill his partner the big man Bleeker---who in one line of dialog seems to be a government man.
Sam wants it to look like the Batu tribe killed Bleeker so has a native (who is credited at IMDB as Batu) spear Bleeker in the chest. When Tarzan gets Bleeker to the sisters where Therese removes the spearhead and saves him, Sam has his other aide, a bearded mean blond man, burn the hut they are staying in. To make sure Bleeker dies, Sam, during the fire, smothers him with a pillow.
The blond villain man (not sure we ever learn his name) also takes Tarzan at gun point to their stone-ish wood building where he puts Tarzan in a noose atop some barrels. Jai and Cheetah rescue him. Cheetah steals the gun from the sleeping man’s lap and runs off while Jai undoes Tarzan from the trap. It’s a worthy moment.
In another odd moment, the sisters pray to God, though the name God is often avoided and Therese says she is married to the church rather than to God. The three nuns all seem to get an answer from God and then go to Larson and tell him they will vote for the hospital on his land. This gives the villain what he has already killed for!
It’s difficult to tell if Bleeker (Jerry is his first name) was part of the shady part of Sam’s dealing but it didn’t seem that way at first. He informed Sam that the gov’t was going to build a port right next to the Muganda village.
Okay, this episode is one of the better ones and a strong episode but…
…Jai talks about Cheetah a few times and…
…calls Cheetah a “she” and a “girl.” SO…now Cheetah is, after 45 earlier episodes (and CREEPING GIANTS), a she? Didn’t anyone realize this? Certainly Ely and Padilla Jr. should have known not to call Cheetah a she after the previous 45 eps didn’t!?
…and…the ending is hailed for trying to do what the comics and movies and animated shows have done: have a variety of animals come to Tarzan’s rescue. It works. Just. We see different clips of an elephant blocking Larson’s jeep; a lion that he shoots at and apparently misses…wouldn’t want to see him kill any animals but the fact that he misses or that the lion doesn’t die gives this a somewhat supernatural feel that I’m sure this show didn’t mean to depict and oh, the lion has a large metallic chain around its neck (!); and a leopard that Larson shoots at but misses but scares off. It’s really the only awkward thing in this episode.
Here’s the basic plot: Diana Ross and The Supremes play a trio of nuns, one of whom is a native of the village where they hope to build a hospital. The leader of the village is wary of Sister Therese because she left their belief and way of life for a new one. Also, the nuns do not realize that the white man claiming to be helping them actually wants to take over the village land for his own use.
Larson’s desire in itself doesn’t seem to be evil, though he wants the land for a hotel near the better hunting grounds…probably for people to hunt and kill animals, so I take it back: he IS evil.
The idea that religion vs a tribe’s beliefs is part of the direct plot is impressive for the late 60s and even more so that the chief’s son (or is he the chief now?) eventually sees that he wants to be one of them.
Batu or the man from the Batu tribe at least presents a visually physical presence to be of a challenge to Tarzan in a fight. I mean he still loses but after the small, chubby men that Tarzan has had to face in the past, it’s refreshing to again see him face a somewhat more formidable foe—except for losing his balance and falling into the croc waters! Did Tarzan ever lose a fight in the books?
Jai, at the start, is seen doing some things we haven’t seen him do. No, not have his feet bare, which they are since they are near the water on a wooden dock. He is learning to spell (though we’ve seen his spelling book in at least two other episodes and he’s referred to the book): here he spells crocodile and wash. Tarzan hands him soap and tells him not to forget behind the ears. His feet ARE bare. Otherwise in the rest of the episode, he wears his “new” boots.
Later, Jai seems to get rowdy when he asks, “BUT WHY, Tarzan!?” Tarzan is almost shocked at Jai’s tone and asks him, “What did you say, young man?” Jai tones it down a bit and Tarzan says, “Well, that’s a little bit better.” When Tarzan gives Jai a talk about how he wants him to stay and help Therese, he starts to explain why he promised Jai to the nun and spoke up for Jai, “Now, listen Jai, you and I are…uh…”
I would have liked for him to finish before being interrupted by Jai’s laugh and smile. Tarzan rubs the boy’s head and calls him a rascal. It’s a nice moment of the kind they used to have in the scripts but the two haven’t shared a lot lately.
When Tarzan wouldn’t let Jai come with him, I thought, for sure, it was an excuse to get Jai out of the story but this, too, is an expectation that is tricked by having Jai integral to Tarzan getting rescued and Jai’s involved in other ways, too. Tarzan mumbles this part: he’s going to meet the commissioner of the something or other? Staff? South? What? It actually gets Tarzan into more of the action (catching Jerry Bleeker after the man was hit by a spear to the chest).
Turns out Jai was teasing Tarzan about Tarzan promising him to help the nun but Jai even gets to point at Tarzan!
Jai, at Therese’s insistence, demonstrates how getting an injection is not going to hurt but he yells, “OW!” and this gets people to back off the treatment. The sisters, at Jai’s suggestion, sing and get people back but at the time, Nerlan gets the people to back off again.
In the end it works out: Sam and his evil men are stopped (Tarzan beats Batu, gets info from him---the native doesn’t seem to have ANY lines--?--- and Tarzan then beats the blond man down after Jai rescues him---!!!!) and the hospital will be built near the village which doesn’t have to move at all. And the gov’t gives the tribe money to do so.
Unless I mention an episode doesn’t have it EVERY episode has some stock footage of a younger and darker haired Ely as Tarzan running (usually but also swinging in the trees) from season one or earlier (?).
Surprisingly, this is a very good episode with little to no embarrassing things from Cheetah, though “she” is funny in a few scenes and has a usefulness that sometimes “she” or “he” does not. And the cast is rather good. Oh, but Tarzan, in the middle of his fight with the Batu man, has to jump in the water, fight a croc---yes, again but it’s been a long time since, kill the croc, and then get out and beat Batu into submission again. Oh, and earlier, a large hippo seems to capsize the nuns’ canoe.
The canoe is headed by the same extra –the shorter than Tarzan man, that Tarzan rescued in THE PROFESSIONAL and who only spoke Swaheli. Tarzan’s reaction to the singing at first is priceless, his hand motions indicate confusion and surprise. Like a WTH?
Another extra that appears is the muscular African man who must have some kind of record as appearing the most in these.
A HUGE fly lands on and stays on Larson’s shoulder. When he is trying to make a deal, a yellow jack bee of some kind buzzes his hat.
WHY would the tribe put Sister Therese in charge of the deciding vote when they KNOW that she wants to build the hospital badly? She then “prays” for guidance and the answer given is for her to have the hospital?! I’m not saying she’s just being selfish because she’s trying to save people with a hospital but…
Did the actual killer from Batu escape in the end?
Cheetah almost shoots a man with his own gun. Still, it is the blond evil man who set the fire and helped corral Bleeker to his death. No one man is that unlucky in TARZAN: he is held at gunpoint, speared but survives, is in a fire and smothered by a pillow and left in the smoke filled hut, to be rescued by Tarzan but die anyway!
Is the writer Jo Pagano, a man or a woman? The spelling of Jo would indicate a woman. Which would explain the sensitivity of this wonderful episode.
In the scene where Jai watches Therese remove the spearhead or is trying to and before Tarzan sends him out with Jai’s own agreement, there seems to be a long scar on Jai’s right cheek.
ERBzine Summary ~ Guest Stars ~ Date Aired
48. THE KING OF THE DWSARI ~ 1968.01.26
(Robert Loggia ~ Brown, Ernie Terrell [boxer] ~ Zwaka)
Tarzan is imprisoned when he tries to free a native tribe
that has been duped by a smooth-talking American expatriate.
Ron Ely’s TARZAN
Episode 48. THE KING OF THE DWSARI
Review By Charles Mento
“Now is the time to kill Tarzan. While you still can. You don’t know this man. He will fight you.”
“You call dumping Jai into a lion pit a little friendly competition?”
Action packed! Jai over a pit with a hungry lion in it! Tarzan vs a larger foe over a spear forest! An unconventional villain trying to bring culture to a savage land! No guns! A stealer of souls! A ju ju curse! Tarzan finally overpowered! A gambler of death! A chief in a trance on a starvation protest! An entire tribe after three men! Con artist vs con artist!
This was set to be the episode of all episodes and with Richard and Esther Shapiro (two of my favorite writers for LAND OF THE GIANTS with some of that show’s best episodes), and a new, fresh producer, who has already had at least one or two hits, this episode can’t go wrong! Right?
Well, the episode starts out well enough with the great Robert Loggia playing a man who seems very 1960s using terms like chick and groovy and such. He’s an unconventional villain who appears in an unconventional way. He has “his” natives, though he is a supposedly cultured white man who is trying to bring civilization and refinement to the tribe here…while they dig for gold for him to use rather than have them just wear it as jewelry, under his control…and his first move is for him to use his natives to free Tarzan from under a huge rock.
Loggia’s name is Arthur Brown (say, didn’t we have a villain named Brown in CREEPING GIANTS?...is that foreboding warning or what?).
Tarzan had to save Jai from a falling bunch of rocks and in so doing was trapped under one. How he survived that is beyond me and even he seems surprised. The man is named Arthur Brown and he calls himself King Arthur. For a brief moment I thought we were going to get an insane villain who fancied himself King Arthur. We don’t.
Arthur, it seemed, was dying of fever in the jungle at one point and was found and saved by the chief’s daughter, Abena (the beautiful Judy Pace) who now regrets it.
Her father, the real king and chief, Umbura, is in a wooden structure, a prisoner and her people now forced to dig for gold.
When Jai and Tarzan first see these people they look like slaves and some of them, women, too, are put on a type of X cross and either dehydrated, whipped, or both. The real King is in a wooden cell on a hunger strike and puts himself in a trance. He scares Jai when they first see him. Tarzan knows him a long time and know him to be a good and kind man. I believe they were friends. Tarzan knows of his daughter.
In several tense scenes, Tarzan stops her tormentor ---Brown’s right hand man, Zwaka or sounds like Gwako, (Ernie Terrell, who was once considered the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World) from even starting to whip her by threatening to poke a hole in Brown’s neck.
The girl wanted to kill him but for some reason, Tarzan stopped her!?
In other tense scenes, Tarzan defends Jai and though he fells several natives, he is overpowered and put under a net. Jai punches Brown and is smacked down by him so Tarzan tries to kick Brown. And rages like we’ve not seen him rage before.
Even so, Brown wants Tarzan to play games with him! Incredible villain so far. In order to force Tarzan to do this, he has Jai suspended in a basket over a cage with a lion in it! Every time Tarzan loses a move or doesn’t make a move in their game (dice) another rope holding the basket up will be cut. A tremendous set piece and to get him out, Tarzan goes ape SH*T! Finally. He rushes to the cage, hits the man cutting the ropes, catches Jai as the basket falls and lets the lion out! Everyone runs. We needed more scenes like this!
I noticed the muscular extra here again AND the other new extra, the man Tarzan saved from drowning in THE PROFESSIONAL. Both are tribe members here.
So far, so excellent. Brilliant, in fact. From their hiding spots, Tarzan, Cheetah, and Jai plan to free the people of the village from Brown’s control.
Brown doesn’t seem to have a gun or to use it to threaten. He doesn’t have to because he uses a camera to take the photographs of the natives and they believe he has stolen their souls with this and he has a whole area where he keeps the photographs. Tarzan is told this by the daughter.
Cheetah steals the photographs from the Shrine of Souls. Jai and Cheetah somehow hide in a long pole with a top and use this as a con along with Tarzan who claims to free the souls of the tribe, essentially fooling them, too! It’s a good plan, though and it almost works.
Though…how did Cheetah and Jai get up there without anyone noticing?
Uhm, and ugh, and ewl: when the chief gets his “soul” back, the photograph…he EATS it!
THEN, this terrific plot, premise and episode at about 30 minutes turns…totally SOUR and awful. What the heck happened?
Somehow, when the tribe feels free of Brown’s control, he somehow gets the photographs back from the ground AND has a gun already pulled (?), even though Tarzan is standing right there! Then the episode goes completely bonkers! Editing?
And terrible. In one minute, the episode, set to become the best episode of the entire series, turns into one of the worst.
First, Tarzan has what is the strangest, oddest conversation of the entire series with Brown in the chief’s lair and Tarzan uses a shrunken head to dangle in front of Brown.
Second, Brown, who is using superstition and fear to control the natives, starts to, uncharacteristically fear superstition and the ju ju curse the real chief puts on him due to Tarzan’s conversation in all things supernatural. What?
Tarzan has to fight his right hand man again but this time over a spear forest on a bridge of sorts. Again and on the plus side, the right hand man is a big muscular man that can give Tarzan the fight for his life and for once around this time, the enemy is bigger and looks stronger than Tarzan and the threat is more palpable than most episode where Tarzan has to fight a chubby shorter weak white guy. This fight works, even though the enemy won’t even let Tarzan climb up to the platform, fairly and attacks him before he reaches the top.
From here, nothing about the episode works anymore at all. Which is startling because before the 30 minute mark, EVERYTHING about this episode works.
At 32 minutes in, Jai, who was totally free and unnoticed, is now out in the open and with the re-prisonered Tarzan smiling at the drum beating. The drums are being played by Cheetah and another chimp in a hilarious moment.
Where to continue?
Brown, later, spooked as if he is in a TWILIGHT ZONE episode wonders if his food is poisoned and starts to use a pistol to shoot and miss natives. Eventually he will kill several. He also pulls out of his hut two unseen white man accomplices Hooper and Blaine, who seem to appear out of the hut with rifles and start shooting. They hit Zwaka in the shoulder and while he goes down, he seems to recover far too fast and leads a hunt for the three villains when they escape shooting their way out and wounding or killing several of the men in the tribe, even after the tribe gives chase. Hooper and Blaine seem played by two vets but they are given very small parts. Both are killed by spears. Brown takes a canoe and thinks shooting at Tarzan who was in the trees the entire time the tribe chased the bad guys but was unseen, a hero lost in his own show---is a good idea!
Add to that DOZENS of slotted in animals fleeing the scene that has no bearing on the action or plot…and we have a badly edited sequence in the chase, which almost does not have Tarzan in it.
Brown also point blank shoots at Kwako again and seems to miss. Is the native being protected by some unseen force? Some of the chasing natives look white or South Pacific?
How an episode that was so great for 30 minutes changed so drastically is beyond me. Maybe there being two writers, one stopped and the other started? All hell breaks loose after 30 minutes and not in a good way. The dialog, the execution, the last minute surprises (again, not in a good way), the shooting, the chase without Tarzan, and more are all terribly executed. Even Ely doesn’t seem up to this as his speech to the tribe is awful.
AND…Tarzan, under threat by Brown via the tribe, stops them from executing him or Brown’s orders and threats by saying “Wait a minute!” or “Stop, listen to me!” and then giving the longest of interminable speeches, patronizing and annoying, something the series has never been even at its worst. He then essentially tells them about the camera and that Brown lied to them. BUT SO DID HE!
The whole thing is startling eye opening in how great goes to bad at the 30 minute mark.
During the scene where Tarzan passes him food that Brown thought might be poisoned, Jai has never looked so mischievous. The look on his face should give it away to Brown, who now seems like a totally different person!?
With a brilliant cast, hair raising action, Tarzan raging, formidable villains, and a beautiful girl, this episode should have become the best of the entire 57 episodes. It almost goes nowhere and while it’s not the worst, it comes close in those last 20 minutes. It’s so Jekyll and Hyde that it can be shown as to how to start a great story and then how not to finish one!
Tarzan eats a pickle.
Tarzan offers Brown a suggestion: find a con man or something? And buy himself a reverse ju ju. What?
Just after that, Loggia almost runs into the extra’s spear that he’s holding on Tarzan (the water drowning shorter guy extra).
THEN, we switch to a scene where Tarzan is surprised that Brown has strung up the old chief and is about to skin him. Tarzan then insults women when he says, “This is the work of women, not warriors.” Oh dear. When Brown orders Tarzan strung up, Tarzan says, “No, wait a minute.” And the warriors listen to him and hear his speeches. Starting with Tarzan says, “I’ll make it easy for you, ladies!!!” Oh dear again. As Tarzan makes his speech, a young boy in the background his nodding YES.
One or two of the warriors look, as in last episode, very young, possibly and probably still in their early teens. Which makes sense.
Kwako fights dirty, even knocking the ladder down so Tarzan can’t get up it. WHY he’s still fighting for Brown when all the other tribemen have turned against Brown is beyond me but it does make for a good set piece –the fight on the platform, which, of course, despite Kawako being bigger and stronger, he loses. I also like that Tarzan DOESN’T help him up from the edge after the enemy falls over the side. It seems he was promised the gold, too but Brown will not share. Kwako turns on him and sides with Tarzan.
Ely has on almost unseen boots, not unlike Jai’s, in the scene where he and Jai walk the path just before the landslide.
As usual, the shot of Jai being taken into coverage from the landslide by Tarzan is a slightly different shot in the coming attraction at the start of the episode to the one used in the actual episode. Each promo now also seems to have its own soundtrack.
During the platform fight, ludicrously, cowardly Brown is enacting the moves by his champ. WT? It makes the villain look stupid, which he didn’t in the first 30 minutes.
Is the script trying to imply the ju ju curse on Brown was real? What else could have changed him so drastically? If so, it fails miserably. Either way it fails. He went from a man who smokes cigars, plays records, gambles, and more using a con job on the tribe to being a complete coward who believes he’s cursed (and has two back up men that he doesn’t use until the last moment when it is far too late and gets both of those idiots killed quickly).
I must admit that after Brown is apprehended and the tribe is burning his things, there’s a savage, primal quality about this that’s often missing from this series, especially season two. It’s…oddly disturbing and seems to show nature at its…most complicated.
As soon as Brown replaces the gold he took he will be allowed to leave.
ERBzine Summary ~ Guest Stars ~ Date Aired
49. A GUN FOR JAI ~ 1968.02.02
(Ed Bakey ~ Prince, Peter Whitney ~ Mulvaney)
While protecting a trigger-happy safari group from angry natives, and from themselves,
the jungle lord must search for the wounded Cheetah the chimp.
Ron Ely’s TARZAN
Episode 49. A GUN FOR JAI
Review By Charles Mento
“There’s no need to be sweatin’ anymore, boys. Whatever’s the matter, Tarzan himself will take care of it.”
“Son, there’s nothing funny about guns. Guns kill.”
Robert DoQui appears (he was in three earlier episodes including THE DEADLY SILENCE) as good guy Charlie (last name is hard to hear…possibly Troubeaur or maybe even DoQui, his real last name).
Charlie helps save Tarzan and recover the jewel (or jewels?) of the Mayko (a much saner Geoffrey Holder appearing again as the Mayko, who does have some morality and reasoning and is not just a villain) of the Bomba (yes, the bomba). Tarzan knows Charlie from a previous encounter or encounters. They seem to be friends.
The main bad guy is Patrick Mulvaney, this time instead of a British man, he’s Irish and more secretive. He comes off as the good guy who just needs Tarzan and/or Jai to lead he and his aide Prince (who’s more openly vicious and even shoots at Cheetah quite a bit) back to the government base. Their guide has been killed after they claimed Price and the guide went back to find another man with them who vanished.
We do hear from Price to Tarzan that the missing bearer is dead. We don’t know the circumstances of his death. Was it just for the stolen treasure or did he try to stop Price and Mulvaney stealing? We never will know.
Patrick also speaks like a cliché Irishman, “Saints preserve us,” but this is Jackson Gillis who also wrote LAND OF THE GIANTS-OUR MAN O’REILLY where an Irish man speaks the same way. He also claims the medicine man is a great big hairy one.
Mulvaney’s huge crime is to give Jai a gun and encourage him to shoot it off at trees and/or up in the air. This gets Cheetah shot, though it’s hard to tell how the monkey (called a monkey by others) gets in front of Jai when she (yes, BOTH Tarzan and Jai calls Cheetah a she again) WAS behind Jai and Mulvaney.
It’s ironic that Mulvaney tells Jai about his “gift” of the gun, “A small enough price for three such visitors coming to our rescue,” in that he includes Cheetah in that and he’s the real reason Cheetah gets shot…that and Jai and the faceless man who shoves Cheetah off when the chimp tries to take refuge between this man’s legs.
Laughably, Mayko has a great big fake colorful jaguar head on his chest as an adornment.
Tarzan once more fights with his feet when his hands are tied and he fells a guard right away. One of the Bomba men seems to have lied and told the Mayko that Tarzan killed one of their men, which Tarzan, of course, did not.
This is never addressed again (that is, Tarzan having killed one of the natives, which, this time, he did not, and we don’t get to see the “death of a thousand knives” and Mayko just seems to believe Tarzan and by ep’s end, know he is an honorable man. Ely does well in this fight and all the other fights, of which there are many. Charlie proves his merit too but getting Prince at gunpoint to run away…where he’s shot down by the guns carried by the Bomba, which he and Mulvaney GAVE them!
Jai also lied outright to Mulvaney when he told him he HAD shot a gun before. Or did he? Tarzan seems to think Jai didn’t but Jai at least held a gun in THE CIRCUS. I can’t recall if he actually shot it.
There’s a real effort here to make the natives ALL talk in a foreign language, which hardly ever breaks for English other than Mayko.
Jai even says, “Ombasa,” when talking to one of the bearers (the same one who spotted and almost shot he and Tarzan). This means chimp? Later it sounds like OWSAMBA.
When Price points a rifle at Tarzan and tells him he is leaving the boy and monkey behind, a large red or orange butterfly flies past them.
In one grotesque moment, Cheetah is eating at her wound? Ewl.
Stock footage of Ely with shorter, much darker hair and running is used.
For the second swing/save, Jai seems to have his boots on the entire time. It’s an amazing bit of tree stunts from both Ely and Padilla.
In this episode, all the animal action blends in nicely with all the other action, mostly an errant and wandering Cheetah, her leg bloody and dragging behind. She seems to put mud on it or dirt and also a plant of some kind at one point. She encounters a snake, a lion, a leopard, a mother lion and cute cubs, a panther and a leopard fighting another lion. On top of that she encounters another chimp that seems to reject her, maybe because she is wounded.
What doesn’t detract from the episode but is odd is that Tarzan goes up a tree to find this other chimp, thinking this chimp IS Cheetah. Doesn’t Tarzan know the difference from one chimp to another, especially Cheetah?
What’s more puzzling is the odd medallion thing. Jai wears an odd medallion. Was he given this in another episode? An unaired episode? Or an unmade episode? Or an episode that was made first and aired later in the season? Either way, there is NO explanation for him wearing this medallion and frankly it’s annoying as it hangs loose as he runs and during the action scenes.
What’s puzzling more than that is that at one point, an attacking Bomba native pulls it off and looks at it as Jai runs off and escapes. The native drops it, not caring about it. Jai makes NO mention of it at all and doesn’t seem to care about it either. The Mayko finds it and looks at it and drops it, too. What? What was that all about? Cheetah finds it and seems to want to put it around her neck but doesn’t. She DOES carry it and kiss it as it represents Jai. I don’t believe she ever gives it to Jai and it’s not seen again. WTF? I mean really WTF?
Rather unusually, this is the first (and maybe the only) episode we see Jai in the trees swinging. Of course, he’s not BOY from the TARZAN movies and he is not swinging on his own. In fact, in one moment when he’s trying to reach a monkey that is NOT Cheetah, he falls out of a tree and has to be rescued by Tarzan who swings by and grabs him in an impressive stunt. Jai has boots on again and for that scene. HOWEVER, it is hard to tell but in an earlier swing scene, Tarzan swings with Jai on his back. This MIGHT be stock footage because, while it is hard to tell because the swing is VERY fast, it looks like Jai has on his sandals again. Now, I’m pretty sure if this is stock footage from an earlier episode in season one or two, Jai was never on Tarzan’s back as he swung in any aired footage. So maybe this was filmed for an earlier episode or maybe it was filmed for this episode and maybe he has on his boots but it sure looks like the sandals again.
Checking the still pause, Jai, during the first swing IS wearing sandals and also does not appear to be wearing this medallion (was this to be a part of the plot as the medallion might look like a treasure from the Bomba?). Jai also looks a bit younger in the swing, too. After they are shown landing and then walking on solid ground again, Jai, as he and Cheetah approach the guns, one of which Mulvaney will gift to him, Jai has on his boots again.
After the first swing, it looks as if there’s a bit cut out of the episode as Charlie moves to stop the man who spots Tarzan and Jai from shooting them. Tarzan and Jai land and then suddenly they’re walking up to Charlie. It’s curious that this swing is even included at all but I’m glad it was. It looks great. Jai’s hair looks slightly shorter in the swing, too.
While Jai and Cheetah hug when they reunite, it’s not made sentimental enough or doted on. Not sure that’s a good thing or not.
Manuel is FANTASTIC in this episode, worrying about Cheetah more than anyone else…that is until Tarzan is captured and his acting is up to it all. His guilt at having shot Cheetah and not wanting to leave her in the jungle wounded is palpable. AND believable.
This is a great episode but is also hard to watch in a way that I could never watch Lassie. Some animals is always hurt or killed in LASSIE. Here, Cheetah seems badly injured at first but by episode’s end, she catches up with Jai and the men he’s leading out of the jungle. Jai hopes to get to the gov’t at Williams Town, which Mulvaney promised him would help get Tarzan back from the Bomba, who captured Tarzan, who was looking for Jai and Cheetah. Mulvaney lied and plans to somehow shut both Jai and Charlie up…probably killing them so the gov’t does not find out they stole from the tribe.
BTW there’s some stunning footage of what looks like a leopard fighting with a lion. It’s uncomfortable to see but at least we see both animals walk off alive. There also looks like new footage of crocs in a lake or river.
A terrific plot, a wonderful warning about guns, and excellent action sequences, Ely, Padilla and Cheetah all in top form, all gather to make this a winning episode. Somehow it feels when Tarzan avoids James Bond like villains and plots, or bizarre ones, it does far better. Mixing two plots, a standard white men steal native treasure and lie to Tarzan and the boy as well as the unconventional one of having Jai accidentally and unknowingly shoot Cheetah (was she grazed or did pieces break off and wound her? We’re never told the extent of her injuries, just that Jai worries she’ll be killed or may already be dead and later, Tarzan says casually that they will just fix her up) and maybe having Cheetah avoid Jai because of that is a huge plus.
After beating Mulvaney senseless, Tarzan recovers the jewels for Mayko and…against other episodes’ resolutions and Tarzan morality he tells Charlie that he will leave Mulvaney to nature. What? Does this mean he will not lead Mulvaney out with the rest of them? Not bring him to the law like all the other surviving criminals in the series? This is odd. It sounds as if he plans to leave the chubby man out in the jungle and let nature kill him? Unlike EVERY other episode ever made.
The lion that Tarzan take a bullet out of early in act 1, seems to want to really take a bite out of Ely but perhaps not really as it licks him and then lips him a few times. Ely smacks it a few times gently, probably to convince him or her who’s boss and not get bitten. It is uncomfortable but fascinating that Ely did this himself.
In the final scene where Jai breaks the gun he was gifted against a tree, there seems to be something in his hair that looks like an inch worm. Let’s hope it’s just some kind of grass?
An entertaining, fast paced and emotional episode.
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