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Volume 7455

TARZAN TV SERIES ~ 1991-1994
Starring Wolf Larson as Tarzan and Lydie Denier as Jane
Reviews by Charles Mento


CONTENTS

4. Tarzan: Picture of Death
5. Tarzan: Unwelcome Guest
6. Tarzan and the Caves of Darkness

4. Tarzan: Picture of Death

Kendra, a spoiled model, arrives at the camp, with her pushy photographer.
She offends Tarzan with her furs and fake helplessness, then endangers their lives
when she heads into the jungle with her cameraman.
Will Tarzan arrive in time to rescue them?
Aired: October 27, 1991
Co-Stars: Gérard Hameline and Steve Hayes
Guests: Malick Bowens ~ Claire Cellucci ~ Richard Eden

“Tarzan’s not an ape man!”
Jane tells them, “Tarzan would die in the city. He’s a free man. He needs the space and freedom of the jungle.”
Kendra reacts with, “Too bad. Manhattan would never be the same after Tarzan landed.”

The first thing to notice is that slower paced and inferior theme music that opens the credits in this episode. What? Production 103 so maybe that’s why? BUT 101 had the superior theme. Maybe the theme heard in 103 (this episode) was the original and for whatever reason they didn’t replace it this time out?

Simon’s journal is Monday the 7th. In 1991, Monday the 7th can either be the month of October or January. If we consider 1990, it would be May. If we consider 1992, it would be September or December. Sigh.

I’m sorry but I really do need subtitles when it comes to what this Jane is saying. She talks fast, mumbles, and has a thick French accent that belies any meaning a lot of the time. Especially in the early episodes.

NY’s top model, Kendra Dixon, visits the jungle. Simon’s journal says that she will learn that animal coats should only be worn by animals. Interestingly, when Tarzan arrives by elephant to greet Kendra, while she’s impressed with what she sees, so is her male photographer Blake Evans, who says, “Oh, wow.” Tarzan on the elephant is not and IS barefoot, depending on the shot.

Tarzan only knows magazines because Jane has them. He seems not to be able to, at first, distinguish between a camera shoot and a gun shoot. Jane has one of the proofs of one of Blake’s photographs, FACES OF INDIA. He will autograph it for her before he goes. Tarzan also thinks it is rude for Kendra to go swimming because Jane can’t go swimming because she has to take care of her guests. What?

Roger tells Kendra, who’s digging for info on Tarzan, that he and Tarzan are like brothers and that Tarzan is single. Roger tells her Jane is a very professional woman, a scientist, like him (?), and that she and Tarzan are NOT an item. Roger looks Kendra over at the dinner table in a way that would never be allowed today!

Tarzan lives a mile away from Jane’s “huts” in a tree house. Roger tells her that Tarzan was raised by apes and can talk ape talk.

Roger sounds like he might have said, “I chide myself on my knowledge of the environment,” but it might be “pride.”

Roger might be playing classical music in the background.

Tarzan is barefoot as he is on the tree shooting his bow from an arrow…at fish?

While the music sounds like a slow dance, Tarzan vs the long snake to save Kendra who dove into the water near the treehouse in the morning. Tarzan throws the snake away from him after it tried to wrap him up. In keeping with this series, he seems NOT to kill it.

Am I getting Bo Derek movie vibes here?

SO…did Tarzan carry Kendra a mile to Jane’s? Or just transport while she was unconscious the whole time? Or is this area nearer to Tarzan’s treehouse and water area?

Jane tells an enterprising and annoying Blake, “Tarzan’s not an ape man.”

Jeepers, we sure get a look at Kendra’s…well, at Kendra’s cleavage as Tarzan carries her just before he dumps her on a bed without a care. This is most unlike THIS Tarzan.

Okay so I get the idea of killing for a leopard skin coat is wrong and it is but what is Tarzan wearing and what was it that he killed for that? Or is that synthetic? Blake also seems to have a better rapport with Tarzan than Kendra does.

In a shot of Jane’s “base”, there seems to be camera edges or something as if it were shot from an old fashioned camera. Was this deliberate?

When Jane tries to steal the permit Blake has, he tries to get it back and Tarzan gets in between them, literally and knocks Blake down. Tarzan and Jane worry that with more sales, more fur coats will be wanted by women and more leopards will be killed. Blake leaves to get the law.

Simon’s jeep had a flat. The plane won’t fly. Simon does not tell Blake that the road is washed out so Blake with Kendra leaves in a jeep. Who’s jeep? Was that Simon’s jeep? It sure did NOT look like his jeep and there is no wind shield. So who’s jeep did Blake take? Increasingly, despite signs they might be good people deep down, both Blake and Kendra become very annoying and display shallowness as both complain and plot.

Blake’s “road” just disappears and he drives right into the water. Then, he backs up, stranding the jeep half off a cliff. What a jerk.

The Tarzan cry.

A lion sits on the front of the jeep to save them from falling off. Tarzan seems to call the lion “Chewba”?

Kendra will not model any more fur coats.

It’s Blake who says to Tarzan, “I hope I see you again and again thanks for saving my life so…” he gives Tarzan the roll of film with the pictures on it so that they can keep their paradise from civilization. Blake kisses Jane on the face as he leaves but it really seems as if he has a thing for Tarzan, even more than Kendra had.

And for his part, Tarzan says, “Blake is not a bad man.”

Kendra suggests Tarzan return with them to NY as an animal rights advocate.

Jane tells them, “Tarzan would die in the city. He’s a free man. He needs the space and freedom of the jungle.”

Kendra reacts with, “Too bad. Manhattan would never be the same after Tarzan landed.”

The end credits roll up unlike the other episodes which just change screen. The end theme is also akin to this episode’s opening theme, again, unlike the other episodes which have the usual and superior and catchy theme.

Despite a rocky start, this episode is not a bad one and the end, with the lion sitting on the jeep to save Kendra and Blake is a nice one. The relationships seems obvious but if you dig deeper…I don’t know that they all are. Tarzan compliments Jane as being better than Kendra.

All well it ends well. An entertaining if somewhat rocky start at the beginning of the episode and only in the middle does the whole animal rights thing come up, which is surprising and maybe best that way.


5. Tarzan: Unwelcome Guest

Roger Sr., who funds Jane's research, arrives in camp to end the project
and bring Roger Jr. back home.
But on a jungle trek with Tarzan, he experiences several revelations
concerning the value of the project and his son's part in it.
Guests: Chuck Shamata ~ Co-Stars: Gérard Hameline  ~ Steve Hayes
Aired: November 3, 1991
View this Episode: https://youtu.be/Mi4auZY4k68

“The jungle is free. No need for money.”
“Tarzan makes good medicine.”

Production 115. The superior and usual theme music is back, thank God.

Simon’s journal is Saturday, the 24th. 1991 has NO Saturday the 24th days. SO…since this is a later produced episode or mid produced episode, it might be 1992? October 1992 has a Saturday that is the 24th. 1990 has a February, an November and a March that is the 24th. I vote for 1992.

While we’re on this, I’m not sure how I feel about Simon’s journal giving away the entire plot of each episode BEFORE it happens. The ultimate spoiler before the word spoilers was introduced to our…uhm, culture. Here, he tells us that Roger’s father will be an integral part of the plot and visits the jungle. Sigh.

Air-wise, this is the first time Roger wears a sleeveless T shirt. Before this it was mostly button down short sleeve shirts. Roger seems to say that his mother gave him one (I could not tell if Cheetah stole one or two dolls, it seems to be just one) of the toy animals when he was eight? He calls his doll Boya?

Sean shows off his acting ability for what seems to be the first time air order (as well as episode 6-the first one produced and 10-the Christmas ep) as he faces a lion that is approaching his Roger who grabs Cheetah’s hand. Unfortunately the rescue that comes from a vine swinging Tarzan seems poorly executed and in slow motion (a left over from THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN day?) that at least does show case Wolf’s absolutely tremendous biceps. But what could have been a great stunt, just…sort of looks very stage. Still, I couldn’t do better.

Roger’s father arrives to check on Jane’s research. He meets Tarzan here for the first time, having heard a lot about him. Sometimes the dialog is hard to hear: for instance, Roger tells his father that Tarzan is going to catch them something but it’s hard to make out what. He is here to find out that the Wildlife Institute is well on its way to a breakthrough, whatever that means. In what? He also mentions that Jane is his company’s only environmental charity.

In the past, Jane broke into his office to give him a two and a half hour lecture on why they needed to save endangered species. He almost had her arrested. He is supposed to watch his cholesterol but doesn’t, eating a stake here. He also has a heart condition but doesn’t take his medication.

In the next scene (next day?), Roger has rolled up his long sleeves and opened the shirt a bit down to his chest.

During Cheetah’s disastrous “test” with blocks, Roger refers to Cheetah as a “he” so Cheetah is male.

When Jane suggests Tarzan go with Roger and his father on the canoe trip on the river Tarzan tells her no after a look from Roger, “Roger is strong.” Roger tells his father that Tarzan told him a tree near them is 400 years old but Roger adds that the way they are destroying their rainforests in 85 years they will all be gone. Roger’s father wants to be back in time for the Tokyo market opening.

Roger lets them get near the rapids. This “action” is strangely directed. Tarzan seems to hear Roger or his father call for help and goes swinging into action, not far from them. He does his Tarzan call. He lands. He seems unaware of what’s happening and just watching until he hears Roger call him directly as four crocs come into the water near their stranded canoe. To his credit, Roger’s dad lets Roger climb Tarzan’s safety line first.

After the rapids’ near disaster, Roger’s father tells Jane he is cutting her funding and taking Roger home with him!

In new clothes on a new day (?), Roger wears a blue/green shirt, button down shirt but has it open to show his chest and stomach. Roger tells Tarzan that his father could buy the entire state of NY and still have enough money for a good bottle of Scotch!

Roger’s father has contacted Jeff Buckley who will get Roger Jr. into the zoology department at Yale. Roger Sr. asks Tarzan to see his treehouse. Tarzan obliges but asks how the father does not understand the son. He also tells the father that the jungle has much responsibility. Roger Sr. owns 21 hotels in 12 different countries. But he would trade five of them for one good adventure. He used to like camping out.

A nest of baby birds is where Roger Sr’s hand is about to go but he falls out of the tree and does not break his ankle as Tarzan finds. Uhm, as ever, Tarzan, this time not a stunt man but Wolf himself jumping down, shows an awful lot of glute. Not sure even this amount of this male nudity would be allowed on TV today! Roger Sr brags that he’s been back and forth across four continents and the NY subway system.

Insisting on being left alone (?), Roger Sr is left with a lion approaching him and his heart giving him pains. Tarzan has to return to make the lion quit with only a hand signal.

Uhm, is Tarzan doing the Vulcan hand sign for LIVE LONG AND PROSPER?

I have to say that adventures sometimes rely on people doing and saying stupid things to be adventures but…Roger Sr is most unlikable a character. He even thinks as his heart pains continue and down him, that Tarzan would leave him. And this is AFTER Tarzan saves him from the lion and makes the lion “go!” He bullies Jane and runs Roger’s life for him and seems to care only about money. He doesn’t take his pills. And brags. A lot.

In addition, Jane is cavalier about WHEN she’s going to save endangered species and a bit too hands off when trying to “impress” Roger Sr IF she even is. AND Roger Jr doesn’t remember the rapids on a raft ride with his father because they were talking? Sigh.

Amazingly, how does Wolf do that with his knee almost perpendicular to his chest as he leans over Roger Sr. If I’m focusing on that instead of the plot, something’s wrong. It’s kind of all rather predictable here and with our first glimpse of Roger Sr, it really shouldn’t be.

We know Tarzan will find some leaf juice to make him better and he does.

Tarzan says, “After a fight, proud lions forget pride and come together.” Is that true?

After this, Roger Sr gives Jane six months? He also wants Roger’s reports on time.

Cheetah loves Roger’s monkey, which Jane wants Roger to give to Cheetah but Tarzan wants Cheetah to give back to Roger.

Sigh.

I’m sorry but wonderfully shot, this episode is rather boring and predictable, if a little annoying. It also makes everyone but Tarzan look rather…dumb.
 

Oh and Roger, after living with Tarzan in the jungle, tells him he's rather weird because he doesn't need...money. Terrific.
 



6. Tarzan and the Caves of Darkness

Tarzan captures a notorious elephant poacher Winslow who than escapes.
He tracks down Jane and Roger, who are visiting caves
where he has hidden some ivory and takes them hostage.
View the Episode: https://youtu.be/78WGl5chgYQ ~ Aired: November 10, 1991
Guests: Malick Bowens ~ Gavan O'Herlihy

“Tarzan wants to be your friend.”
“Your zoology lesson for the day is to examine the digestive tract of a crocodile. From the inside.”

I think this might have been the first episode produced and filmed?

Simon’s journal: Monday the 3rd. (the 3rd fell on a Monday in 1990 in September and December AND in June 1991, the only time the 3rd fell on a Monday in 1991). IF we think this takes place a year ahead, it might be Feb 1992 or August 1992.

BTW: Simon’s journal for POISONED WATERS is: Friday the 24th. There are NO Friday the 24th in 1990. There is only ONE place that the 24th fell on a Friday and that is MAY of 1991. There are NO Friday the 24ths in 1992. So far, 1991 seems the most likely year this took place in but does Simon’s other journal dates match up? Each episode so far (just two that I’ve done, number 1 and number 6) seems to have taken place over one day or so?

Eye patch wearing (he must be bad!) Cordell Winslow came to the jungle to kill, Simon tells us in his journal and his first targets were the elephants. I’m sorry but if you’re going to hurt or kill something as wonderful as an elephant you must be a bloodthirsty maniac savage or hard up for money and either way, you’re a low life. “Soon to follow would be Roger, Jane, and Tar-zan.”

The first encounter between them goes well…for Tarzan and us. This extended fight scene and show of power might never be done today where a 5’6 female deputy of say the NEW CW TEXAS WALKER has to save him from ONE assailant whereas the old TEXAS WALKER would easily beat up ten guys at once. This show of machoism from Tarzan is nice to see even if it does feel like a rock music video from the 1980s. Oh come on, with a blond long haired pec showing Tarzan accompanied by rock music (we’ve had rock action music before in SPACE: 1999, both seasons and it worked there, too), it just does. It also impresses. Wolf actually impresses, maybe not in a Ron Ely way, but in his own way. Despite the long hair, lack of scars on his body and smooth skin, he really does feel like Tarzan, confident and somewhat innocent, even after beating up a scum like Winslow.

Here, as in the credits, we hear the Tarzan yell as demonstrated by …Johnny Weissmuller. It works again as it almost always does

Tarzan calls the elephant Tantor. This Tarzan wears boots all the time or almost all the time. Cheetah watches Jane take a shower, keeping up with the rock music video style.

Tarzan calls the elephant that Winslow tried to murder Aton?

For some reason, Jane discusses where she is going so that Winslow can hear. She is going to go to the Gumback Caves (?name?) but Tarzan as her friend, or wanting to be her friend, warns her there is danger there. She will go anyway.

Simon will take “that scum” to Bengali prison. Bengali doesn’t necessarily mean Africa or “not Africa.” It’s a large area in Asia and more specifically a language and not an area at all. Found this: Bengali is an official language in Africa's Sierra Leone. Bengali was announced as an official language in the west African nation of Sierra Leone to recognise the contributions of the Bangladeshi peacekeeping forces in the country's civil war.

Tarzan carries a bow and arrows and lives in a treehouse. Jane seems to live in what looks like a treehouse or wooden house, too?

Roger’s father taught him how to make a tree enclosure. Sort of.

Winslow escapes with a small lock pick in his boot and he uses the pick to pick the lock and get away to two men (are two henchmen all this show can afford?) in a jeep.

Jane walking across a bridge over a waterfall or near it anyway is impressive.

I miss Jai as Roger is a good enough comic character boy/post teen who will get into as much trouble as Jane and/or Jai but…I still miss Jai and a Tarzan Boy like character. Roger isn’t much of a jungle boy to be honest. He seems to be Jane’s protégé.

Creepily, when Winslow learns Jane’s name, he says, “Jane was my mother’s name,” and he spits. He spits a lot. Roger is knocked out by him and Jane quickly captured in the dark cave where Winslow keeps his ivory. One of his henchmen might be named Mano. He other might be named Milo. The falls look the same as the ones in POISIONED WATERS.

The dive off the water fall is spectacular as Tarzan saves Jane from a trap that is designed to drown her.

To further understand he’s a villain murderer, Winslow smokes.

Tarzan then has to dive in to save a tied up Roger who was thrown to a croc (or two?). At first, the croc leaves and then comes back? Why does Roger totally make it to shore and then collapse? The croc, bested, leaves, alive and the fights are short, thankfully, much unlike the Ely ones, which were fine ONCE but after five or six times, a bit much.

This Cheetah looks quite intelligent. It’s almost scary. He or she kisses Roger.

Why does Tarzan give his yell when he’s swinging to chase Winslow. In a jeep with a bullet hole or cracks on it? Is that Simon’s? Or his men’s jeep? I think it is Simon’s jeep.

Tarzan drops a snake into Winslow’s jeep, which crashes his jeep, dumps him out and crashes his caged vehicle with his two men in it. Tarzan then fires burning arrows at the vehicles and the gasoline tanks, blowing the vehicle up and stopping the men. In the end, we see Tarzan, Jane, Roger and Simon bringing Winslow to the plane to take him to jail (Simon will fly him there) and Winslow is tied up. Where are his two men? Did they survive? It looked like they were thrown clear of the blast. Winslow vows to return despite Tarzan’s, “Do not return” and Tarzan’s, “Tarzan will be waiting,” and Roger’s warning that he will have to answer to him.

The theme music, while not as catchy as the Ely theme music (all three of them), is catchy enough and memorable.

This episode is functional as it has the prerequisite action, danger, traps, and dark caves with ivory and Tarzan action and rescues. It’s entertaining and none too deep, which is okay every now and then. I’m sure Winslow will be back.

Jane calls Cheetah a “he.”



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