ERBzine Summary ~ Guest Stars ~ Date Aired
50. TREK TO TERROR ~ 1968.02.09
(Michael Ansara ~ Regis, Booker T. Bradshaw ~ Dr. Kenny)
Tarzan is duped into helping a corrupt police inspector
who arrests a crusading missionary and intends to kill him.
Ron Ely’s TARZAN
Episode 50. TREK TO TERROR
Review By Charles Mento
“You do have a habit of coming back from the dead, don’t ya?”
“I have a habit of doing what I set out to do.”
A doctor who has come to be a friend of Tarzan, named Dr. Kenneth Kiley, is trying to control an outbreak of disease among the tribes (or a tribe) is wanted for murder that he later tells Tarzan was committed by a narcotics ring. When Kenny reported the ring to his superior and he to his superior, the two men were killed and it was blamed on Kenny. Tarzan intervenes to allow the doctor to complete his work before being taken into custody by Inspector Regis played by the great Michael Ansara. Regis has two men with him named Haines (a big man who becomes quite a fight for Tarzan) and Elson. Tarzan is concerned however that the charges against the man may not be all they seem to be.
It turns out that Regis himself committed the murders but if so, why would he want to bring the one man who would expose Regis. Regis, it seems, wants the reward for finding Kenny and bringing him in. Regis also plans, with his two men, for accidents to befall, first Kenny and then Tarzan, when and if Haines can figure his way out of the area.
Lougna is the leader of the tribe that Kenny is the doctor to.
Tarzan is seen carrying a baby. Ely, in a few scenes, wears flesh colored slippers. Jai has on his boots throughout. Jai appears to have grown a bit and looks a bit older and taller.
At about 31 minutes or so, the story doesn’t go totally south but …the villains are a bit…dumb again. First, Haines is the only man who can lead them out of the area so Regis SENDS HIM to go kill Tarzan WITHOUT a gun (it has to look like an accident!). I guess Regis might have figured Kenny and/or Jai could lead him and Elson out and he does claim Kenny could but never really considers Jai at all. In fact, Regis tries to kill Tarzan by hitting him over the head and dumping him over a hill near a rock to make it look like an accident, seemingly forgetting Jai might be a witness against him…unless he was planning on killing Jai but he never says he would do that.
THEN, Elson is talked by Tarzan into killing Regis but…off screen Regis shoots Elson and Elson dies off screen. Oh, and Elson keep your shirt closed, please.
Most of this doesn’t make much sense. That plus at various times, Tarzan could have let a few of the villains fall down several nasty looking (and they DO look like dangerous falls) ravines and mountains and doesn’t.
AND when Haines is defeated by Tarzan in a good fight, Haines is making his way back with Tarzan when he slips and falls…though it looks like the actor THREW HIMSELF into the water sideways…and dies as the undertow takes him. If Haines was the only one that could lead them out (he’s not) why send him?
The trek has a lots of dangers. When Regis leaves Tarzan to die and a lion comes, it’s almost a scene by scene redo of when Tarzan was saved by Joey in TARZAN’S SAVAGE FURY though here Jai does not yell UNGOWA at the lion (sadly) but chucks rocks at it. It works and Jai checks Tarzan’s arm for a break as taught to him by Kenny.
Jai also, once again, proves his usefulness with that AND spotting the boulder that Elson plunged over a hillside toward the handcuffed Kenny. In an amazing scene, Tarzan uproots the tree Kenny is handcuffed to in order to save the doctor!
The scene where Tarzan lures Elson over to him by practicing Jai’s mathematics table (the two times table, then the four times table, then the five times table) is either forced or one of the best bits of scripting ever. I don’t know which!
The inevitable climb over a rapid river via a thick vine held by Tarzan is well done though at times it looks VERY dangerous at other times it looks like it is a few feet off the ground. Jai doesn’t not seem to have a stunt double…nor do any of the actors seem as if they have either and the stunts are well done. On the other hand, the opening titles shot of Jai in a canoe with Cheetah and some bearers looks, briefly, like a stunt double and not Padilla.
This time when Jai attacks the villain, namely Regis, though he is, at first, tossed aside easily, the second attack Jai makes, makes Regis relent as Jai hits him in the stomach.
The last scene with Jai as a doctor and Cheetah as his assistant is a funny one.
Although ALL the episodes are visually stunning, even by today’s standards, this one stands out as being beautifully photographed and the settings stand out as stunning and colorful, different, varied and lively. The action starts right away as Regis has his men shooting at him so he looks like a victim so Tarzan can save him and lead them to Kenny…which he does!? Inadvertently? Tarzan didn’t know the men followed him and/or Jai, Cheetah and the med supplies to the village? Tarzan took some of the serum on ahead of Jai and the supplies.
Regis claimed he was from the Kingsville Police. Haines robbed or tried to rob a safari which is why he was given ten years in jail. Regis got him off five years in. Haines knew the area. The village Kenny is helping is Watumbi, which had an epidemic. Kenny’s gun was found at the scene of the crime. Tarzan wonders why the Utori inspector didn’t take Regis to Watumbi himself which is customary.
At times, even a bit less than letting them live when he could let them slip and fall or even shoot them with their own rifles on the cliff side, Tarzan seems more than magnanimous, even tapping Regis on the arm when he doesn’t trust him and telling him, “Good luck,” when he leaves him and refuses to take him to Kenny right off.
Tarzan even dives into the rapids to try to save Haines!
Jai thinks Tarzan is, once again, dead after Haines and Tarzan seem to vanish in the rapids.
The music is a nice mix of previous music, used well here.
The real story is that Kenny told Dr. Ramsey, the head of the hospital about the evidence of a narcotics plot. Ramsey went to the governor and that was the last time either of them were seen alive. Kenny fled, thinking he was next to be killed. They say they found Kenny’s gun there.
During the fight with the big man Haines, Tarzan uses whatever tactics he can, including slamming his own body against the big man before the man can fully pull a knife on him, splashing him in the face, and after he wins, nearly drowning him to get answers. It ALL works. In fact, all the action in this episode works. Ely, is, as ever, amazing.
Just after Tarzan talks Elson into trying to kill Regis, Tarzan gives Jai his knife and tells him to run and get as far as he can. He also seems, just as they are going to recite the times table, to grab Jai’s hair?! He also pats Jai on the side or the buttocks to get him to “go boy.” This might be the only time a hero gave a young boy a weapon on TV (though I would suspect CSI, NCIS, CRIMINAL MINDS, WITHOUT A TRACE, COLD CASE and others but probably not?).
Jai doesn’t listen but seems to hear the shot from a sitting position and opens some foliage to see what’s happening next.
For a brief moment when Tarzan recovers thanks to Jai after his forced fall, the music sounds a bit like Richard LaSalle music (who scored episodes of LAND OF THE GIANTS, PLANET OF THE APES tv show, WONDER WOMAN, BUCK ROGERS, and scores of other TV shows and movies). Jai gives him some kind of liquid from a plant after scaring away the lion with rocks. Jai also springs the trap by letting loose a heavy rock tied to a thick vine from a tree to knock Regis down away from Kenny.
I wish I had subtitles on these DVDs. Is it me or does Tarzan, when Cheetah is crossing the vine over the rapid river say to her/him, “Go on, sweetheart.” ? Or is it, “Go on, swing on.” ?
Jai proves his worth time and time again in this episode alone (and in most of the series itself) but…there’s some evidence here that he left Kenny face down in water after Regis hit him down!?
After Regis is defeated (again!), Kenny says he is allright thanks to Tarzan (and not Jai!).
Also in that same scene, Padilla and Ely really seem to have a strong love for each other.
In the very last scene as the village celebrates, one of the drummers that Tarzan waves to looks like the muscle man extra but as it is in long shot, it’s difficult to tell.
ERBzine Summary ~ Guest Stars ~ Date Aired
51. END OF A CHALLENGE ~ 1968.02.16
(Woody Strode ~ Bangu, Chill Wills ~ Montrose, Henry Jones, Pedro Gonzales)
Tarzan and Chief Bangu are forced to forget their mutual animosity
as they team up to search for the chief's son and Jai, who have been kidnaped by a gun-toting thief.
Ron Ely’s TARZAN
Episode 51. END OF A CHALLENGE
Review By Charles Mento
“Your son and the boy who is like my son.”
“It’s not the animals you have to be afraid of in this jungle.”
Jai and a friend ---Ubi, son of the chief of the Masai, Chief Bangu (played by a Tarzan actor who plays villains and frequent guest star Woody Strode -- who presents as a formidable opponent for Tarzan every time) come across a seemingly wounded and medicine reliant man named Ronald L. Montrose the third, soldier (?!) of fortune, a mercenary soldier.
They stop to help the man after they hid for some almost unknown reason (other than the fact that they wanted to see what a mine looked like) in a crate (they say they never saw something like this before) atop an elephant who was with a payroll parade of me. Jai eventually sends Cheetah to Tarzan for help when he suspects (smart boy) Montrose of being with the two men that killed many of the men (all of them?) in the parade carrying the payroll.
Stupidly (because they will decide to cut him out of the stolen money), Montrose sends what seem to be his two cousins (?) Leech (the talented Henry Jones in a small role) and the seemingly Mexican or Spanish Sebastian. Sebastian is played off as the real bloodthirsty villain (not sure this would be allowed today?) as he machine guns down men left and right and later pushes Leech into rapids when he learns the man cannot swim. Sebastian is one of the most evil villains, laughing and making jokes as he kills Leech and even tossing him one gold coin of the stolen money as Leech drowns in the rapids because of him, “You forgot your money!”
Leech, earlier lied to him that he COULD swim. Therefore Sebastian kills most of the people in this though Leech did, too. Sebastian eventually fires upon and cause Montrose to die. He’s a terrible shot at Tarzan however.
As they began to help the man Montrose, Jai soon guesses that the man is one of a trio of thieves, and that he is planning to meet up with his two partners, who are carrying the payroll they have stolen. It’s not clear but Montrose didn’t do any of the killing and it looks as if…he has NO hold over the boys, though they both suspect him of wanting to kill them once he meets up with his two partners (cousin?). Montrose doesn’t deny this.
It is hard to feel anything for Montrose. He’s nasty from the start, ordering the boys around, and is ---unlike most characters like him in 1960s TV shows---a sort of cliché to have a kind of old man semi villain, crankly older man as a model of Long John Silver from TREASURE ISLAND who usually befriends a boy or boys---unlikeable.
Shows that did this and will do in the future this included FLIPPER, LOST IN SPACE (and not just with Dr. Smith but with Captain Tucker and probably half a dozen other characters), LAND OF THE GIANTS (Mr. Fitzhugh), and this show TARZAN has already done it at least half a dozen times.
Montrose had none of the charm of any of the others in other TV shows or in TARZAN and when he falls into quicksand, we sort of hope Jai and Ubi let him sink. Of course, Jai saves him and he and Ubi are then, on the verge of totally escaping, tied together by their wrists (Montrose using the SAME vine they used to pull him out of the quicksand!) and pulled by the fat man. Just second before Montrose falls into the quicksand, Jai swings on a vine by himself for probably the only time in the series. Over the quicksand.
A few things make this unbelievable. First, Montrose is so chubby and unhealthy, even two YOUNGER boys than Jai and Ubi could easily escape him AT ALMOST ANY TIME. He didn’t seem to even have a gun before this or at least didn’t use it to threaten the boys. Jai’s escaped from tougher villains, hasn’t he?
Though Jai tells Ubi that the Masai don’t even (judgmental?) let a trapped animal die, it seems the boys should have!? Sure, Montrose does one of those TV moments of truth in the end and seems to save the boys and Tarzan from the horrid Sebastian but it comes almost out of left field. He shows almost no fondness for either boy before this. He also has almost no athletic ability or threatening tone about him at all. He’s sort of just there. It doesn’t help that some of the time when he’s shown we hear the music mimic WHEN JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME.
I think as he dies Montrose murmurs some of the lyrics, that or he’s murmuring something to Jai or about Jai. It’s that bad a death scene, probably the worst of the entire series. Sure, he saves the boys but…does he? I mean they all could have gotten away as the machine gun man was further off. Montrose does save Tarzan, who probably should have been shot anyway as he was so close to the machine gun killer.
When Tarzan gets the message, he and the father of Jai's friend, the chief who is hostile to Tarzan, search for the boys together despite their differences. Okay, Woody is excellent, it must be said but Ubi is played by a rather uncharismatic boy actor who is actually pretty bad and makes a viewer realize how good Manuel Padilla Jr. is as Jai. I mean to be fair, the boy actor who plays Ubi is adequate but he just doesn’t give any drive or realism to the show at all.
Added to all of this is the fact that we’ve seen a lot of this before. The adventure and action is still there, sort of…but it’s almost as if the show started out in season one to flex itself in all manner of settings and give us a mix of action and adventure that made sense and a mix of diseases, tribes, settings (like a volcano), and even some horror and mystery. Then, it, at the end of season one it started to experiment with season two continuing that at the start and definitely in the middle, mixing religious pilgrimage, at least one sort of supernatural horror curse with the action and adventure and a few two parters sprinkled throughout and at times, a James Bond-ish flavor. Then, it sort of, in these last sprinkling of episodes, seemed to find itself again and relax into more action and adventure.
We’ve also seen Jai drop stuff to leave a trail for Tarzan before, in other episodes such as THE FIGUREHEAD.
Trouble is Ubi’s father Bangu is a villain. He robs, using his tribe, the poor and steals things that are not his, burning villages and it is intimated that he and his men have even killed fathers and possibly their sons. He’s sort of not sympathetic. He even tells Tarzan, who tells him that the jungle has laws, that man here makes his own laws and that his stealing and taking is just fine. Tarzan, of course, saves him several times along the trek.
Frankly, though, visually a treat again and showing us things that were never shown on TV before (and probably not after unless we’re looking at Wolf Larson’s TARZAN, possibly Joe Lara’s TARZAN, and definitely the more stagey PETER BENCHLEY’S AMAZON) or after (?), the trek of Tarzan and his rival Bangu, grows rather quickly stale and boring. The shots of them traveling over rocks, tracking the boys through a rock wall, and traversing rapids are pretty, nice, and even exciting at the outset of each new set piece but the camera loves them and their surroundings a bit too much. At first, the rapids look completely different to those in TREK TO TERROR but then…not so much.
The ending is set on a rocky beach of stone hills (the area and the natural rock wall(s) as well as the surrounding jungle/forest and quicksand are called the Never Never by Jai) and giant boulders set in the water and is like nothing you will ever see in the movies or TV. It tricks your eyesight, too. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the villains betray the villains a dozen times, over greed as well as over turning good. Irwin Allen’s shows did the whole “moment of truth” thing far better than this show AND honestly across every season of every Allen show you can find examples of people facing the truth and usually choosing the positive and good side over their own nasty nature. Bangu never does that. He is just let off in the end and what is interesting is that Jai blocks him from trying to kill Tarzan while Ubi blocks Tarzan from defending himself. The kids stop the fight. It would have been REALLY interesting to have a sequel to this where Tarzan HAS to stop Bangu and perhaps Jai and Ubi’s friendship HAS to come to end or not. Either way it’s Bangu who gets off scott free of his crimes and he is not the first TARZAN villain to do so.
Another thing that might have been interesting to see is a past confrontation the two have had. It is clear Bangu has it in for TARZAN because of something Tarzan stopped in the past and has issued a challenge to Tarzan, which Tarzan has NOT accepted, even at the end of this episode. Does this mean the challenge is ended as the title suggests? It would appear so.
Jai wears a plot driven pendant again, an entirely different one from the one he wore in A GUN FOR JAI. Ubi wears a different one from either of Jai’s. Jai gives both pendants to Cheetah to alert Tarzan to come help them.
BTW, once more Jai is calling Cheetah a HIM.
The foursome bury Montrose and put a cross up on a hill (?). Did they bury Sebastian?
This isn’t a bad episode at all but it sort of strains believability and charm. It also feels padded with endless climbing, crossing over rapids and going over hills and such. Sure, THAT’s TARZAN but …well, really?
On the other hand, with an ineffectual villain with the boys, one of the boys played by a VERY novice actor (Ubi), a chest throwing Bangu, and a cliché Mexican killer along with set pieces that almost work but don’t always quite measure up (the rhino, more rapids, bad shot villains), this episode isn’t the strongest. It also seems to take its time. Jai leaves a trail to follow including a ripped off part of his loin cloth.
It is not lost on me that two villains who seem to be close or even related have a conflict that causes one to kill the other over greed while Tarzan and Bangu passing over what could be the same rapids that Sebastian killed Leech (did we have that name for a past villain already?) don’t kill each other despite their outright honest rivalry. The comparison falls apart when we think Bangu might just be as bad as Sebastian anyway!
More notes: Cheetah seems to be gumming Montrose’s back shoulder when he/she first meets him. Cheetah also starts necking at the man’s neck! Cheetah, much later, gums Jai’s shoulder, too.
The rhino footage is grainy and yet somehow the brief action sequence manages to be quite okay. Though it’s also a bit confused. There seem to be two rhinos. Tarzan’s plan is to distract HIS attention. What about the second one? Then in the actual flight, there seems to be ONE rhino. What?
Bangu forbid the friendship of Jai and his son. They have both ignored him.
Tarzan seems to know Lt. Cosi, who lets him go after the thieves first in order to get the boys to safety.
To the wounded Montrose, Leech says something like, “We’ll meet at the Dwango Rot.” What?
This is the first time Tarzan verbally announces that Jai is “the boy who is like my son.”
Also why does Bangu tell his men that if he doesn’t return alive to burn the jungle naked and find his son? Wouldn’t burning the jungle naked kill his son? What?
That sure looks like Ely handling a real giant snake. Impressively.
In what may be Cheetah’s best acting scene, he looks very sad as Montrose plans to let Tarzan and Bangu get killed while killing Sebastian and leaving the boys to their fate, too? He looks very sad and convincing.
The kids blocking the adults from killing each other reminds me a bit of THE SKY IS FALLING episode from LOST IN SPACE’s first season where the adults think each alien family has stolen the other’s son.
ERBzine Summary ~ Guest Stars ~ Date Aired
52. JUNGLE RANSOM ~ 1968.02.23
(Fermando Lamas ~ Ramon Cortinez, Barbara Bouchet, Ted Cassidy)
As Tarzan and a bandit engage in a battle of wits,
a young woman tries to use both men in an effort to free her husband, a hostage in the bandit's camp.
Ron Ely’s TARZAN
Episode 52. JUNGLE RANSOM
Review By Charles Mento
“In death do us part.”
“That I would never do. Lie never. But to kill a hostage every now and again, that’s good business.”
“There are outlaws and there are outlaws. At least when I stab you, I don’t stab you in the back.”
“What an outlaw he would make, ayh?”
The biggest shock moment comes when two natives come screaming and jump over the cooking boar just after other natives, in close up, are drumming and singing peacefully. All during the day. During this fun time there are pretend spear and knife fighting and shaking dance rituals with one woman and two men…uhm…
Jai pulls a goat into the scene after Tarzan and Cheetah. A male dancer lures Cheetah into the dance and the chimp gets a bit too close to his privates it seems. All harmless fun.
It seems a young native, M’Guyser (spelling?) is getting married. He is the son of the chief of the Houbutu, who is played by Virgil Richardson (and yes, again and why not---he’s good in these parts). The chief has not done one thing that Tarzan warned him to do to prepare against a villain Tarzan knows called Velasquez. During the LONG battle (well filmed) that later ensues, it is clear that Velasquez and Tarzan are meeting here for the first time, face to face.
As the battle rages on, Tarzan and Velasquez exchange dialog in a cleverly written and staged scene with a pole of knives stuck in it between them. The villain attacks Tarzan with a knife and the two circle around the pole while exchanging dialog. Brilliant! AND Ely and Lamas are terrific in it.
Lamas gets the best lines (and I’ve quoted some above), to be honest and he’s quite funny in saying evil things that make him seem sort of good in a small way. The character is not; Lamas is worth every penny they must have paid him to be in this.
Late in the episode, he tells Tarzan that his father and grandfather before him were bandits, “So I’m doing the best work the best way I know how.”
The chief doesn’t believe in the danger and thinks it is far away. Tarzan tells him with this villain, he is never too far away.
As the ceremony or wedding seems almost over, the chief is wounded and almost killed and Tarzan grabs Jai to run for it and…a native running at the screen who is under attack seems to be…smiling?
The attack turns into a battle which is most violent but for once, there is a huge amount of …Velasquez’s men as a kind of troop attacking and some of them get killed. The villain and his henchman, Sampson (played by the rough and ready and wonderful Ted Cassidy) are VERY formidable foes for Tarzan and this time in the series seems to be throwing very heavy weight villains at Tarzan finally and giving him a huge challenge, rather than some of the chubby, short, and older villains of the past episodes.
Velasquez himself is played by the wonderful Fernando Lamas, who in tandem with Ted, both have a huge canvas of acting credits between them. Both have presence as villains and nasty ones at that.
This battle might be the best large scale battle the show ever did; for both sides lose combatants, women are carried away, so are goods; I don’t think I saw right when it looked like a child might have been carried away because it was too fast a shot. Pigs run loose, men struggle with rifle in hands of each other; young men run chased by what look like Mexican bandits only other natives jump from above and knock them off their horses; the attackers are speared in the back and front; and then Velasquez himself for some reason joins in after enjoying the sights of battle from afar (against a blue sky filled with big white clouds).
The muscleman extra might be the one who throws a spear from the roof and then gets shot in the stomach and falls off it. He was definitely seen drumming earlier, though after the attack he seems to be one of the guards bringing Velasquez to the boat of the captain (played as seemingly French or something by the great Jacques Aubuchon, who was in VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and LAND OF THE GIANTS, as two entirely different characters and made a great job of both).
The captain tells Tarzan he is the only one stupid enough to come up river this far. Another Irwin Allen guest is the beautiful Barbara Bouchet who I think was only in one VOYAGE episode THE LEFT HANDED MAN. She plays Angela Fraser, whose husband Larry has already been kidnapped by Velasquez.
The interplay between all of these great players and characters is a joy to watch, Lamas particularly good at playing against the others in a realistic and sarcastic manner. AND it all works.
In many ways, once this gets underway, this is not unlike an Irwin Allen production (in particular THE LOST WORLD from the 1960s) as the girl comes along and brings luggage, there’s a little boy (Cheetah finds the girl’s hidden ransom money in a tree and brings it to Jai), not yet along for the ride, a chimp, a serio comic maybe sort of villain sort of ---and Jac’s character in LAND OF THE GIANTS made for a case of mistaken identity with Kurt Krazner’s similar looking Fitzhugh turned giant in GENIUS AT WORK---and Ted Cassidy, who worked for Allen in LOST IN SPACE-THEIF FROM OUTER SPACE. And Nelson Riddle music. I believe Lamas was even in THE LOST WORLD! To make it more Irwin Allen-ish, Jai eventually finds the crashed river boat and joins up with the captain, ala Fitzhugh and Barry (or Will and Dr. Smith). The writers Richard and Esther Shapiro are two of my favorite writers from LAND OF THE GIANTS.
Tarzan wins the fight and it is 30 miles to AdamsTown where Tarzan has to bring the villain, an outlaw and kidnapper. For some reason, Tarzan and the chief both stop M’Gai, the son from killing Velasquez.
This time, smartly, Tarzan wants Jai and Cheetah to stay behind in case Velasquez’s men attack en route to bringing him to justice and the hangman.
Perhaps not smartly Tarzan ties his wrist to Velasquez’s.
Mrs. Frazer gives Velasquez a cigarette to smoke but claims she has no matches. He throws it into the river which Tarzan sees but says nothing about (where’s Wolf Larsen’s eco friendly Tarz?!).
Frazer’s money seems to be not American money. Jai’s hair seems to be multi colored: brown and black or different shades of brown or black. He knows Tarzan says if you find something someone lost and do not give it back, that’s as bad as if you stole it yourself.
Angela crashes the boat after starting a fire (we’re not sure until later if the captain survives her attack) with one of the matches she claimed not to have had. She wants to go to Velasquez’s camp to free her husband and then she will tell Velasquez where she hid her two hundred thousand dollars. He claims he she will not get out of his camp alive. Tarzan agrees to help her.
Once Jai, with Mrs. Fraser’s money is caught by the captain, the captain tries to con him into giving him the money so he can return to the girl, which he probably will never do. Jai doesn’t fall for it. Jai has to use his foot to gently nudge Cheetah into action off the boat.
Tourists on the dock smoke. Sampson smokes a cigar as he waits for the boat to dock.
There is yet another climb up a rock face to another bridge over a high fall and rapids. It all looks grand though and is faster paced than past episodes.
We learn that Larry was on a safari and believed dead when Angela does finally get to him. He says thanks to Velasquez is he is NOT dead. Larry doesn’t want to save Tarzan, worrying he and his wife will be killed, too. Tarzan suspects the man was not really a prisoner. Tarzan tells him that a lot of widows and orphans would not agree that Velasquez is a man of his word. He also mumbles something about the Portuguese authorities. Is Velaquez from Portugal?
When Harry tries to betray Tarzan to Velasquez, Tarzan stops Velasquez but then stops Sampson with a gun to the back of his head, threatening to shoot him. While smart for Tarzan to do, it seems most un-Tarzan like. Tarzan subsequently, quickly, gives the gun to Angela.
In Velasquez’s camp, there seem to be girls who are either captives or former victims or there of their own free will.
The captain steals the money from Jai, who gives chase, but the captain is stabbed in the back by Sampson who followed Tarzan, who was released by Velasquez to get the money! The captain is too …good (?) a character to die so he lives…to the end, somehow, and is seen bandaged up in the very end of the episode.
Okay so why didn’t Sampson use a gun as he was doing and which he even has holstered onto his belt even as he uses the knife? He’s now fighting Tarzan with a knife? Which he then throws away (after licking it?), perhaps knowing he can’t beat the ape man who is skilled with a knife? Huh?
Both actors are terrific in this fight, which doesn’t last very long, as most realistic fights do not but again, Cassidy is a strong contender against Tarzan and the fight is believable. Tarzan wins, of course.
Just after the fight, Ely seems VERY ApeMan-like and maybe part of it is his body language but also his hair seems to have been straightened out from its usual curly state and he looks a lot like Tarzan should after giving a deserved beating to a downed enemy of strong stature. It works.
Then, he goes and turns his back on the downed enemy! No matter, Tarzan finds leaves in the bag that was supposed to have the money, in a surprise twist!
Jai hid it from the captain by taking it out of the bag. THEN why did he chase the captain? Maybe to make sure the captain didn’t stumble upon where he hid it?
As Tarzan tells Jai his plan (and we do not hear but just see his face), Manuel expresses the utmost joy spreading out across his smile. Wonderful.
Larry say something strange: “I always had pretty taste in clothes. Men’s clothes, anyway.” What?
Larry’s rantings sound like he claims to have been married to Angela for five years. He married her for her money. He tells her he is going to Europe and she should look him up if she ever gets there. She’s relying on Tarzan to stop him.
Tarzan returns to the bandito camp with a rifle at Sampson’s back and a smaller gun in his other hand and kicks a shirtless hench man of Velasquez’s down and smacks another one emerging from a tent down as well as another. Impressive.
Velasquez’s and the episode’s creepiest moment comes when he makes Larry walk the line, his men just far too happy to commit the violence of beating him using sticks from either side of the line. Tarzan, faced with watching Angela do it next, attacks ALL the men and fares pretty well against some 20 of them! Velasquez machine guns down Sampson when Sampson seems on the verge of getting all the men to turn against Velasquez. He also shoots down Larry who crawled to a gun to try to kill Velasquez.
Tarzan calls Jai and Cheetah, who were, previously riding an elephant, now on a horse, to come in with the money and toss it out among the dirt! This is to save Angela. Tarzan de-guns Velasquez in the distraction and beats him down, holds a knife to his throat and tells him he will see him make an appointment in Portugal. He’s good great a villain to kill off and I suspect if the show went to a third year, he would have been back.
The men are rounded up and most of Angela’s money is returned. She gives some of it to Tarzan to give to Velasquez’s victims.
Even after Larry betrayed her, Angela seems to care about him not being killed.
The episode ends with Tarzan taking Velasquez toward his justice but asking the bandaged captain to take them. The cap quits and gives his cap to Cheetah.
This is, probably, with some other strong contenders, one of the best episodes of the series. It has strong action, constant tension, FOUR majorly different and interesting villains, a beautiful female heroine (btw, she covers the men with the machine gun so they can’t go back for their guns), an important story thread for Jai (and Cheetah), intense and realistic fight sequences, a savage yet just Tarzan, terrific use of stock music, almost NO stock footage that we’ve seen before, a wonderful setting and location work, and non stop thrills. Ely is at his best as is Padilla (riding a horse with Cheetah on back, chasing—unsuccessfully, the captain when the chubby man steals what he and we think is the money), and a tight, uncomplicated plot. Just what this show needed and I mean that.
If only the show went to a third season!
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