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TARZAN TV SERIES ~ 1991-1994
Starring Wolf Larson as Tarzan and Lydie Denier as Jane
Reviews by Charles Mento
7. THE WOMAN OF STEEL
8. THE RIVER OF DOOM
9. KILLER LION
10. TARZAN'S CHRISTMAS
7. THE WOMAN OF STEEL
Jane's extremely fit cousin Patrice comes to visit and shows an interest in Tarzan, making Jane jealous.
As Tarzan and Patrice explore the jungle, Jane discovers a bottle of steroids,
leading her to confront her relative about endangering her health.
GUESTS: Marisa Pare ~ Brian Trenchard-Smith ~ Misha MacDonald :: DATE: November 17, 1991 #122
“You know, Tarzan, you have a very strange way of straightening out a girl’s priorities.”
Simon’s journal is Wed the 21st. The only Wed the 21st in 1991 is in August. 1992 has October have a Wed the 21st. 1990 has Feb, March and November all have a Wed the 21st.
Roger has his shirt off and is putting it on in the first scene. Roger swings on a vine. After Roger brings a box marked fragile to Jane, which proves to be a snake out of jar joke prank, the DVD has a brief TARZAN clip and title card. Patrice is Jane’s cousin who likes pranks. She and her family moved to Arizona because the doctors said French winters were bad for her. She is the four time holder of Miss Fitness America. As she tells them this, a dog walks past them or a hyena. Jane’s aunt (Patrice’s mother) is named Felica.
As Roger, Patrice and Jane get to the jeep, a huge overhead mike can be seen in the frame on the DVD. This Tarzan does not know what pecs are, despite having the best of them. He gets up early to fish with a spear.
In the scenes near the water, he is barefoot. A cutsy slow version of the theme is played as Tarzan walks, barefoot, to Cheetah and gives him/her a banana.
When Patrice ignores Tarzan’s warnings about swimming past a tree where there is danger, he has to rescue her. She kisses him and Jane sees it and when Tarzan sees Jane saw, he is shocked and worried so he knows what is going on…yet later he asks why she did not wait when he called for her. Jane is jealous.
There’s another Tarzan yell and promo title clip here indicating a break.
Tarzan brings a parakeet he calls Neeta to Jane telling her he found her.
Tarzan does not seem to know what “jealous” is and feels he has done nothing. Simon tries to explain it is what Jane thinks Tarzan did. Simon tells him to treat Patrice like a man.
Jane, taking Patrice’s supplements from Cheetah, who took them from her pack, finds steroids. When she asks Patrice about them, Patrice tells her that she hasn’t started taking them yet.
Jane uses the jeep to try to stop Patrice from running off into the jungle. Roger, shirt open, alerts Tarzan, who swings into action and goes after her. A mountain lion (or is it a cougar or some other lion)? Tracks Patrice. Tarzan and Jane save her, of course.
Another break, another Tarzan yell and clip.
Patrice tells Jane she thought people cared about her because of what she was not, not because of who she was. Now, she knows she was wrong.
Patrice gives Roger a kiss on the lips as she leaves. If she were a few years younger, she tells him, he wouldn’t have stood a chance. Earlier she did squats with Roger across her shoulders.
This ep number is 122 which means it might have been filmed later and aired earlier.
Okay, the DVD back cover says this episode is called WOMEN OF THE STREET, which might mean something else entirely. The DVD title menu called it WOMEN OF STEEL, which is also wrong.
Okay, there’s nothing really wrong with this episode as it stands but frankly, I’m only about nine episodes in and I’m finding the plots a bit pedestrian, almost GILLIGAN’S ISLAND where a guest star comes to visit and needs to learn a lesson from Tarzan in life or about themselves. There are a few villains thrown into the mix. Truthfully, I’m missing the action adventure format of Ron Ely’s show and missing Padilla and the non-Jane format. Here, things are a bit too safe for me. Ron’s show felt like almost anything could happen…often it didn’t but sometimes things were shocking and a turn of events happened that you didn’t expect. This feels a bit too Sat Morning show and a bit too cute.
Tarzan’s hair looks more like a rock star.
Roger is a bit too clownish.
Simon is a bit too preachy.
And the lions look more like mountain lions and/or cougars.
I find I miss the almost James Bond-ish villains, the string of female guest stars for Tarzan and the string of rogue-ish semi villains, semi heroes for Jai and frankly I miss Jai. Sure, this Cheetah is cuter and probably more amazing but the plots a bit too tame for me.
The action needs to be amped up for this series and Tarzan needs to have some serious challengers and villains to face and fight. So far, it’s been way too tame with maybe one exception.
8. THE RIVER OF DOOM
Tarzan discovers the river has oil traces in it, jeopardizing wildlife and
Jane suggests it is coming from upstream.
Tarzan locates the source, a man named Hauser criminally dumping toxic waste.
He vows even Tarzan won't make him stop.
Guests: Henri Safran ~ Steve Hayes :: December 1, 1991 ~ 116
“I’m an idiot. That’s exactly what he would want you to do.
I’ve got it. The dynamite. Back at the truck.”
Simon’s journal: Thursday the 12th, which seems to follow on from WOMAN OF STEEL even though that was 122 and this is 116. An oil tanker had a spill near the jungle. Against Simon’s info, Tarzan and Jane think the oil must be coming from up river which is nothing but jungle and more jungle. Near Jane’s quarters we see for the first time what looks like a huge mountain vista of green and jungle in what could be a process shot…or not?
Cheetah and Tarzan find a turtle covered in oil, which Jane saves. Roger runs tests and finds that there are PCBs in the oil so it is not like oil from a tanker. Tarzan calls this elephant Tantor. Investigating, Tarzan finds Hauser who immediately starts hurling dynamite at the ape man.
He also hits him over the head with a rifle butt and Tarzan is face down in the water. Okay, so he survives that and Hauser hauls him out with a rope around his neck and then threatens to shoot him again. He gives Tarzan last words which is a Tarzan yell that brings elephants stampeding. Huh?
As if this villain can’t be any dumber, he leaves Tarzan to have the elephants finish Tarzan off? What? He even seems to know that “ape man” will follow him so tries to back track his footsteps.
I don’t know. Last time I wanted more villains but this is just a dumb villain. And while the river and the surrounding areas look lush and beautiful, it…doesn’t really seem like a jungle. At times, the Ely show had this problem, too but here it feels like there are roads and dare I say it, did I see wire fences of some kind in this and the last episode WOMAN OF STEEL?
It hardly looks like a thick jungle. But maybe Africa is more like this than the Weissmuller and company movies.
The resulting fight isn’t bad to be honest and Hauser almost seems as if he gets the best of TARZAN at times but ultimately Tarzan wins and blows up all the stuff but…wouldn’t that just spread it more? BTW Cheetah during this brought Tarzan his bow and arrows. Hauser gets sentenced to five years and a 50 thousand dollar fine.
The river is clear again as Jane and Tarzan wade in it.
Cheetah loses a fish he caught. Everyone laughs. Sigh.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this episode but for some reason I found it dull and uninspired. I don’t know what it is about this show but I love the casting and the cast (well, Simon’s still a bit stiff) and the visuals aren’t bad.
There’s stock footage but not as much as filled Ely’s show. It just feels more Saturday Morning and not even as exciting as some of those felt (LAND OF THE LOST, ARK 2, SPACE ACADEMY, THE RED HAND GANG). It just feels sort of …safe in a way that Ely’s show often didn’t. There’s not a real sense of danger or survival or death and in some ways that’s welcome but…
…this being a Tarzan show it really doesn’t have an edge to it at all. Wolf is fine in the action scenes but the rest of the cast don’t get to shine much to be honest. Tarzan shows often don’t have to win me over ---most do just by being TARZAN (though the CW show was one that DID NOT win me over at all). But this feels as if something is missing.
9. KILLER LION
Tarzan rescues a young woman from her crashed plane '
and it turns out she has a hidden connection to the jungle's past.
Guest: Joanne Vannicola :: December 8, 1991 ~ 106
“Cheetah think you make air dirty.”
Cheetah's right. She does. Anyone who smokes needs help to stop and maybe that's all I should say now.
“Tarzan is not a guide.”
Simon’s journal: Wednesday the 17th. In 1991, that was July. In 1992, that would be June. IN 1990, that was Jan and October.
Joanne Vannicola has a long career for a young person and you can see her long list of credits including PSI FACTOR on IMDB.
Nikki’s story is that she wanted to tour the jungles but she grew tired of hotels in between tours and wanted to see the jungles so she hired out a plane but crashed it, at first it seems like she did it on purpose but then it seemed as if she crashed for real. Her last name is Robinson. Her mother died recently.
Cheetah objects to her smoking. SMOKING!?
In an embarrassing scene (this series has a few of those) Tarzan talks to Cheetah in monkey talk.
Tarzan instinctively feels something about Nikki. Simon feels he knows her from somewhere.
Roger’s hair is incredibly long here, longer than in any other episode before this one. He’s been promising to stack the wood for the past few weeks. He’s playing ball with Cheetah.
Cheetah takes a bullet from Nikki, who has an automatic gun in her tent. Cheetah throws the bullet near the camp. Tarzan and Jane take Nikki to see elephants and they see a baby. Chuuba, the lion seems to be hanging around with Tarzan now, and scares Roger from his hated manual labor.
Maruba had her baby so there are 15 elephants now.
Nikki being a huge pain the butt, sets a huge fire that quickly surrounds Cheetah, the first one to see the fire. I have to admit the fire stunts or effects here are amazingly well done and the fire looks very close to Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah.
Her father is Harold Robinson who ten years ago came to do field research with lions and found Chumma to study and made the paw print of Chumma. He wanted to live with lions. Another lion caught in a poacher’s trap and one that knew Simon’s scent.
As Simon tells the story, we see it in flashback as Harold ignores Simon’s warning and goes forward, taking pictures of the lion as Simon lets it out. Not sure but it seems Simon should have or could have watched Harold closer.
Shockingly and fairly brutal for this series, we see the lion pounce on Harold and start killing him and it takes a while before the camera cuts away. This is the harshest the series has been up to now.
Simon never spoke of this. He sent Harold’s things to his wife including the paw print. Nikki thinks the paw print is of the lion that killed her father. Nikki tries to kill the wrong lion and it tries to kill her but Tarzan intervenes. Nikki feels that this place killed both her parents. Her mother refused to speak about it. Tarzan thinks someday Nikki can return to the jungle with new eyes. She kisses Cheetah and Cheetah kisser her back. Nikki, who we never saw with Roger asks them to say goodbye to Roger for her.
Roger seems able to converse with Tantor so that they both understand each other.
In the episode Roger had breakfast cereal. Here, he talks about apple custard which he gave to Tantor last night.
The episode is numbered 106.
As this episode has a lot of action, it’s pretty good but it’s still in the mold of “GILLIGAN’S ISLAND” visitor causes trouble and then leaves, possibly learning a lesson. Still, it looks good, sounds great, and has some of that Tarzan cruelty of the jungle about it. I guess the lion that killed Harold got away with it? It’s never said.
On the other hand, Roger’s stacking wood while Tantor watches and then later does on piece and gets the credit is a lame second “story” for comic effect though Sean does his best and looks as fantastic as both Wolf and Lydie here. The flashback is as gruesome as the show got at least up to know. Harold was an idiot for not listening to Simon and getting too close to the cage, Simon was an idiot for not watching him and so was Nikki for wanting to kill a lion.
10. TARZAN'S CHRISTMAS
Jane is ready to get away from the jungle and spend a traditional Christmas with her sister.
She delays her departure when Tarzan needs her help as his elderly chimpanzee friend Maya is sick.
In the end the holiday brings sadness but also stronger bonds between Tarzan and his friends.
Co-Stars: Malick Bowens ~ Simon Govier :: AIRED: December 15, 1991 ~ #114Simon’s journal is Dec 23rd. By the time this episode was made, they stopped giving the actual day of the week but you can take it as 1991? Sadly, an old chimp falls from a tree she was hiding up when a cat of some kind (cougar?) attacked she and Cheetah.
Tarzan scares it off but the chimp fell. Simon’s journal already tells us that an old friend’s death will include a message for Tarzan. Sigh.
What? Is it cold? When Wolf picks up Maya, the old chimp, his lips look…thoroughly and solidly BLUE!? Was he eating an Italian ice?
This is Jane’s first Christmas away from home which is Paris. This is Roger’s first Christmas away from home, too. She will try not to think of snow. Jane has not heard from her sister in almost a year and she had an argument back then. She gets a card or a message of mail from her via Simon. Jane tells Tarzan that the old chimp Maya (but in the first utterance of her name it sounds like Tarzan is saying Naboy) is old and her system is run down. Maya was Tarzan’s friend even before Cheetah and she is, in human years, at least 80.
Roger has on Ride of the Valkyries for some reason (it helps him concentrate) as he and Simon ride for the medicine Jane needs.
Tarzan does not seem to understand what Christmas is. Jane explains that it is too late for her to go home for Christmas as it would take too long.
As Simon and Roger return, at about 8min16sec, we see a microphone in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
A night goes by as Tarzan tells Jane to go home to her sister and Simon is trying to arrange it.
Roger’s hero is Albert Schweitzer. Upset by Roger’s music (Wagner again), Simon tells him there are 1001 things about Roger that annoy him.
Tarzan frees the turned over jeep after an avalanche of rocks nearly hits Jane and Simon’s jeep…or did it hit? They survive and return.
When Tarzan returns, Roger tells him that Maya is…Tarzan yells, “NO!” Hasn’t this Tarzan experienced ANY death before? Of loved ones?
Also what is it with Europeans and sad Christmas stories? I mean in England it seems a tradition to show “special” episodes during Christmas where…old people die, fires burn down houses, kids get hit by cars or are gay bashed or killed, trains hit houses, planes crash, people die of horrible diseases. I remember a FRENCH movie called THE CHRISTMAS TREE with William Holden about a son dying of cancer. WTF? At least America had fun Christmas episodes of BEWITCHED, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, and others as well as those Rankin Bass puppet RUDLOPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER and SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN. What is wrong with Europeans? And apparently Canadians?
Roger wears his shirt open mid shirt.
Simon gives Roger a Christmas gift: loud classical music as he apologizes for losing his temper with Roger.
Tarzan has told Jane many times that “nature must be allowed to follow its path.”
Tarzan makes it snow for Jane, from the roof. Jane stayed with her friends after Maya died. She did not go home to her sister.
Roger gave Simon his torn apart stereo as a gift.
The next day (after Christmas?) Roger’s dad’s gift arrives late (“Dad’s a busy guy.”) and it is a new stereo boom box. Roger wears a SAVE THE EARTH colorful almost tie dye shirt. The implication is that Roger’s dad doesn’t care about him but anything could delay a gift by a day.
As a Christmas episode this is pretty lame. There’s not much Christmas spirit about it. It’s about the death of an animal friend of Tarzan’s so it’s melancholy. It doesn’t work on that level either in a way that THE MIGHTY ISIS episode LUCKY about a boy’s loss of his dog which leads him into danger, specifically where Isis explains to the boy about the cycle of life and death and new beginnings. That was classic. This is just sort of there and not terrible but sort of just…well, there.
It doesn’t fit with Tarzan either as he is supposed to be all about nature and the rough side of things, too. In fact, anyone that knows anything about Tarzan’s origins knows he lost his parents, then his ape mother and more.
The Roger / Simon thing isn’t funny either but shows the animosity between them.
So, nothing about this episode really works to be honest. There’s NO action whatsoever. Jane will write her sister and tell her the reason she could not come home so there’s only that for closure in that storyline unless we get a future episode about Jane’s sister.
The snow is rose petals and the only reason I found that out was by reading it in the book KINGS OF THE JUNGLE. Sigh.
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