Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages and Webzines in Archive
TARZAN TV SERIES ~ 1991-1994
Starring Wolf Larson as Tarzan and Lydie Denier as Jane
Reviews by Charles Mento
15. KILLER’S REVENGE
16. TARZAN’S JOURNEY INTO DANGER
17. TARZAN AND THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIALS
18. TARZAN THE HUNTED
15. KILLER’S REVENGE
Episode aired Feb 16, 1992
Watch the Episode HERE
GUEST: Lorenzo Caccialanza
An evil rhino poacher Tarzan sent to prison escapes, and,
vowing revenge, kidnaps Roger and Simon to lure Tarzan.
“I live for days like this.”
“Roger is lucky that he lives at all.”
“Men who kill animals are cowards.”
“Aye, big monkey, if you come out, the woman is free.”
Simon’s journal is Tuesday the 15th. In 1992 this could be September or December. As this is production 124, it has to be 1992 or very maybe 1993. If it is 1993 it must be June and June only. I wonder if these dates given are just random. The production number is 124, which is probably meaning that this is the second to last episode in production for season one.
Roger is taking shots of Jane and asking her if she’d like to be a National Geographics Centerfold, a new concept. A falling boulder almost hits Roger but Tarzan throws another rock at it to divert it away from the boy and he is only hurt in stumbling. Later, in the treehouse, Tarzan puts something that Roger thinks smells like fermented gym socks on his wound on his leg to help it. Tarzan tells Roger, “Complaining does not improve the smell.”
When Jane suggests water from rain moved the boulder as it shifted, Tarzan does not believe water moves boulders. Roger thinks he is cursed. When Roger goes to leave, Tarzan stops him with one hand on his shoulder.
Simon, in his junky compound, hears a new report: 43 year old lifer Bruno Valletti killed two guards and escaped prison with a machete and a machine gun which were reported missing. He is 6 feet 5 inches tall and around 200 pounds. A plane stolen from the Bendali (or Bengali) airport is believed to be in his possession.
Simon goes through a box of Ham Radio news flyers and finds a news report in a newspaper about this escaped prisoner: he’s a rhino poacher. Tarzan feels something is wrong anyway. In the treehouse, Jane kisses Roger’s cheek when he asks for just a little sympathy. Tarzan tells Roger some day, if Roger feeds the iguana, maybe the iguana will do something for Roger. In the most terrifying scene up to now, a laughing Bruno breaks in on Roger back at Jane’s camp where Roger tries to feed the iguana and fails. Bruno laughs like a psychopath and has a large hunting knife which he takes out. Then, in seconds, it goes to ridiculous as Roger dumps water on his own head when faced with a machine gun. Roger tried to fight him but a knife was just knocked from his hand, and when he tried a kick, he just fell on his butt.
Tarzan had captured Bruno and his brother with 45 kilos of rhino horn. Jane explains the horns sell for three hundred dollars an ounce on the black market as an aphrodisiac. Simon leaves to go to Roger. His jeep has that crack in its wind shield. Knowing there is a killer on the loose bound for revenge on Tarzan, Simon’s not exactly stealthy and promptly gets his head hit over by a glass. He saw Roger tied up.
In one of the best moments up to now, Jane tries to tell a non-listening Tarzan, who is invested in watching the egg Cheetah was sitting on for Jane, that she is very worried about him and that sometimes in all of her plans and projects it might seem that she does not care but she tells him she likes him, likes him very much and if anything ever happened to him she’s be very upset and unhappy. She wants him to know that the things that matter to her is NOT just herself.
She then hugs Tarzan after the hatching. What’s odd is we do not see the hatchling. We hear a shot and Jane falls in his arms (almost as in TARZAN FINDS A SON). When we come back from the ads, it looks like she’s shot in the shoulder. It is all oddly filmed.
Bruno’s brother was named Salvatore. It sounds like the prison was called Castle Vatali Regions or Prisons? What? They were there for three years. Three weeks ago Salvatore came down with the cholera.
Bruno has tied Simon and Roger up, gagged them, and left them in chairs tied back to back in the hut base with dynamite tied to a trap.
In another set of spectacular stunts, Tarzan swings behind Bruno, knocks him down, and then avoids his machine gunning. A thrown grenade knocks him out of the trees! Despite somehow Tarzan surviving the fall and jumping in front of Bruno, he ends up with a machine gun in his face and on his back, having to be rescued by Jane but Bruno gets the gun from Jane and shoves it into Tarzan’s face. He will then kill Jane. First, he will take her for a walk, which might imply something worse.
Not sure if Roger’s and Simon’s efforts cause it but a candle is on the wire to the stick of dynamite after Roger falls from his chair.
So what the heck happens next? Bruno has Jane in front of him and Tarzan has followed…and they are all UP in the treehouse now? What? Huh? How’d that happen?
Proving that Tarzan villains are the stupidest villains ever, he doesn’t see Cheetah hand Tarzan a metal dish nor that Tarzan has something behind his back. Even stupider, instead of killing Jane to hurt Tarzan, he says, “See who I want,” and he throws Jane down to face Tarzan. Tarzan throws it in his face. Now, this dope had Tarzan at least ONCE where he could have killed him outright and between that and getting hit in the face with the plate, he could have shot Tarzan at any time. Why didn’t he? I guess he wanted hand to hand battle? Then why still use the gun?
The trap was set by Bruno who brags Tarzan’s two friends will soon be gone. It goes out but goes on again. Tarzan manages to get there just in time and cuts the wire with his knife, stopping the fuse from burning. Later, they all have a celebration dinner where they celebrate Bruno getting another 50 years. Simon says, “May your jungle always be peaceful.” Roger says, “And may the next poachers you put away lose our address.” Jane kisses Cheetah.
Mmmmm. Again, another sort of good episode. It was a mainstay of 1990s shows (and 1980s too) to sort of have a sort of romance. STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION was the worst offender by promising (well, many things they never delivered on) that Picard and Dr. Crusher would have some sort of romance and they never did. Instead, out of nowhere comes this mating of Trio and…and Worf? FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES did sort of the same thing but wasn’t Micki cousins with Ryan even distantly? And there’s the over rated MOONLIGHTING and others. Some delivered like BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and LOIS AND CLARK and when their couples married or mated, it lost something. Here, we get ---after 14 episodes, Jane seemingly declaring strong ….erm, friendship for Tarzan? Romance? Hardly. BUT she does hug him and then they both look a bit…he looks lost, she looks happy and then she’s shot. And it’s almost as if nothing happened there….she says, “OW!”
The action is well staged as always, perhaps better as a grenade is used to down Tarzan from the trees and the fight is okay, even if Tarzan, FOR ONCE, LOSES! Yes, he does.
That the villain had everyone at his mercy more than once and failed to kill anyone is …well, no one wants to see any of these characters die but…having the villain so dumb is beyond me. Maybe if he expressed no desire to kill anyone but Tarzan this might have worked but more than once he declared he wanted to see Tarzan’s face when he killed those he cared about. And when he has his chance with Jane, he totally blows it more than once.
Again, there is a feeling more could have been done with this premise but a returning villain out for revenge has been done before and probably even in this show or at least a returning villain. For his part, Bruno is a strong adversary and the actor does a good job in making him insane and hateful, so there’s that. There’s also some great stunt work, even if the stunt double is noticeable on DVD, he wasn’t on regular TV of the 1990s.
ALSO: so much is made of the iguana helping Roger some day that I thought part of the resolution would be it put out the fuse. We don't even find out if it starts eating again and it's just forgotten about by the script and the production. Sigh again.
16. TARZAN’S JOURNEY INTO DANGER
Episode aired 1991
Watch the Episode HERE
GUEST: Norman Beaton
A storm damages the radio and airplane leaving Jane's life in peril
after she is bitten by a deadly spider.
Tarzan must seek out a native healer he knew as a child as the only way to save Jane.
Simon’s journal is Tuesday the 16th. In 1992 this is in June only. In 1991 this is April and July. This is production 102 so it is an early one produced, possibly. As such, the theme song is referenced in the episode and Roger’s hair is very long. Roger’s father bought him a ham radio set when he was five. Gosh, the older I get the less likely I am to want to watch a tarantula. One bites Jane here and she manages to, quickly, scoop it up before collapsing. Cheetah finds her in the morning and alerts Tarzan on Tantor to this. On the copy I’ve seen, there is, at times, a sort of viewmaster look to the corners of the screen as if we’re watching from an old TV or from a framed photograph or something!?
The plane is knocked out and the radio is dead after a storm from last night.
The clip of Tarzan finding the spider in the jar from the credits comes from this episode.
Tarzan calls it a kiefer spider, which means death. A man on the other side of the river is named Tabutu and he is a healer. Tarzan knew him when he was a boy. Once a little girl from the Dubora or Vodora tribe got bitten and he made medicine from a plant and the girl lived.
Tarzan uses his crossbow (shots which may also be in the credits) to save Cheetah, who accidentally launched the rowboat and is headed toward a water fall.
Part of Tarzan’s allure is that it takes us to different places we might never see and part of why this series is so …sterile in a way is that it almost never does that: we see the same areas almost all the time. This episode doesn’t do that. Tarzan’s healer friend shows him that the men from the city came and burned the area where the plants that held the berries that go into making the antidote to Jane’s bite reaction.
So…why did the healer have to take him to show him that? Couldn’t he have just told him there were none there? Then he says he must go with Tarzan on a dangerous journey down a trail that only he, the healer knows and that he must go with Tarzan for Tarzan has to watch him make the medicine? What?
The healer also says things that make us think he has little time left, despite Tarzan feeling the healer does. Tarzan scares off a leopard, then swings with the man on his back to get to the berries.
The healer shows Tarzan in case they need more and he will be the only one alive who knows this. The healer tells Tarzan if he carries him, he will not be in time to save Jane so he leaves him there, the healer insisting his spirit will be here and that Tarzan should not forget him or this area of the jungle. Wolf does a good job of looking happy and sad.
Couldn’t Tarzan go back for him? The healer seemed healthy enough.
Jane recovers of course but the ending, where Tarzan returns to bury his friend is haunting as we hear his chanting and hear his comment that when Tarzan returns his spirit will be here. Tarzan has already buried him when we see this last scene.
Then we hear no music and the chirping of insects before the end theme.
The DVD cover calls this TARZAN’S JOURNEY TO DANGER or rather just JOURNEY TO DANGER.
An odd episode as it feels a series about to find its feet and yet it is a bit above the others so far in that it has a journey and death, too. Of course, someone needing medicine is an old stand by of Tarzan and especially of the Ron Ely series and this will not be the last of this type of plot that we’ve heard.
Good but strange.
17. TARZAN AND THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIALS
Episode aired Mar 1, 1992
Watch the Episode HERE
GUEST: Aubrey Morris
Edmund Hampton, a retired schoolteacher, arrives at the jungle camp
believing it is near an alien landing site.
After the concept is explained to Tarzan, a walk in the jungle disillusions Edmund.
Yet a mystical experience by Tarzan leads to questions about his special senses.
“You have power, also. You. Not the people from the stars.
You can save the sky, the water, the land, and the animals.”
On the dvd back it says EXTRA-TERRESTRIALS but typically on the DVD menu internally, it says THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIALS.
(as you might well know every episode –or rather mostly every episode---is really TARZAN AND THE…so here, it is TARZAN AND THE EXTRA TERRERSTRIALS).
This, production 117 (so fairly late in the season) is an odd episode. Very odd.
Simon’s journal: Monday the 10th. Feb and August have a Monday the 10th in 1992. In 1993, it seems to be in May.
Tomorrow night is a lunar eclipse. In 1992, that would be either June 15th (and visible in Africa) or December 9th (visible in Africa).
In 1993 that would be June 4th or November 29th (W. Africa).
In 1991: Jan 30th, June 27th, July 26th, Dec 21st.
First we have this man, Edmund Hampton (Aubery Morris who passed away in 2015), who comes to the jungle. He’s a retired teacher (we don’t find out what he taught or what age group) who means well and wants to stop the Earth being polluted (rivers, atmosphere, rainforests being cut down) and help save the animals from being slaughtered (Tarzan tells him he knows about all that) and save the world.
He also believes for some reason (possibly only his dream of a warrior that told him this info?) that extra terrestrials once saved mankind when a meteor hit (was it the one in Russia in 1908?). He seems to say it was four centuries ago.
Tarzan uses the Mr. Spock hand “LIVE LONG AND PROSPER” again to ward off a lion in what seems like it might be stock footage?
Edmund: he’s one of those heavy set (okay, chubby) characters who entertain us but who we don’t really want to befriend or have around very long (Dr. Smith on LOST IN SPACE, Fitzhugh on LAND OF THE GIANTS) though once they tend to amuse us and get into our hearts we see their value and their worth shine through (usually).
Here, it works but only just. This man goes into the jungle on his own in a tent to find the area the aliens came to. Now, in the past, it seemed that going off into the jungle without guns or some protections is a bad idea but here is this guy who immediately has to be saved by Tarzan.
From a wild cat that ate some berries that it should not have and it has made it wild in a sense that it will attack and kill not just to eat but for pleasure.
Tarzan—or rather Wolf, in the scene when he finds and brings Edmund to Jane after he’s hurt his leg (Tarzan sets it and the pain goes away and it seems better), has some kind of bruise on his right shoulder (real or “TV make up” remains to be seen; it does not seem to be in most other scenes). How Ely of him?
Roger tells Edmund Tarzan can read minds and sense the weather and heal animals. Jane’s breakfast also consists of 100 percent oat bran with raisins. Edmund seems to record “in the event of my demise,” meaning he might expect to die?
Ironically, while Jane is chiding Cheetah for being annoying…he’s not being that, he’s trying to warn Jane, Roger, Simon and the man that the cat is in the base house…Cheetah is actually saving their lives and they never find out that he did.
Even more strange than that is …well, later for that.
What’s interesting is that when Roger tells Edmund about Tarzan’s traits (speaks to animals and they speak to him, heals humans and animals, can jump, run and swim faster than any other person he knows, gets animals to calm down---here his touch gets the cat to calm down enough for him to save it), Edmund believes Tarzan to be one of the aliens that was left here. Roger also tells Edmund that most people that visit seem to believe Tarzan is not human.
Jane adds that Tarzan seems to have a sixth sense of some kind.
Edmund sees Tarzan’s hand bleed red when the cat hits him for a moment. Tarzan calms it. Edmund feels his dream has died and starts to feel foolish and shattered.
While looking for the cat, Tarzan talks to and gets help from a lion.
Okay, then the weirdest part: Tarzan seems to go to a temple he visited with Edmund when tracking the cat (and like Fitzhugh might on LAND OF THE GIANTS or Penny on LOST IN SPACE, Edmund was caught up in one of Tarzan’s net traps). It looks, on the exterior like the temple in one of the other episodes, TARZAN IN THE SACRED CAVE but I can’t be sure. Tarzan seems to cure the cat and then lays down in the temple and a light hits him as he lays down. He seems aware of it all. He has know of this temple for many years. When he comes to, there’s a strange plastic like crystal near him. He gives it to Edmund who now believes in extra terrestrials and that he can, indeed, still make a difference.
Not a bad episode again and very mystical in a way and shows Tarzan in a new light from Edmund’s POV. Roger gets close to Edmund. Edmund cries in one scene, real tears and although it sounds pat, it’s effective and touching. Simon’s jeep has that glass crack.
As usual, for this show and sometimes 1990s TV in general, we don’t get a lot of answers but more questions. Tarzan also didn’t think it was foolish for Edmund to believe in aliens.
The lion told Tarzan the wild cat ate unger berries.
Tarzan, as a boy, has seen the “alien” temple or its markings many times before. He never understood what it meant. If Edmund thought the “left behind” alien that was transformed into a human named Tarzan, why is he so surprised that the blood Tarzan bleeds is normal and red?
Roger uses the 1990s term, “YELLLOW” instead of hello when looking for Tarzan and Edmund in the treehouse.
Tarzan’s touch calms the cat into resting. He calls the cat Grigor?
The tent is by Eurolan? The alien helmet looks like…a motorcycle helmet but it scares Roger when Cheetah dons it. It seems to scare Jane, too. Everyone laughs at the end.
In a second go at this ep, it IS clear that the crystal will get the people in the city (which city?) will listen to Edmund’s fight for the environment and the animals now that he has it. Or at least Tarzan (and Edmund) believe so.
18. TARZAN THE HUNTED
Episode aired Mar 8, 1992
Watch the Episode HERE
GUEST: Ron Ely
Gordon Shawn, a noted hunter, comes to the jungle camp
and he craves the ultimate experience. Tarzan becomes the hunted.
“You want to kill Tarzan?”
“Riiiiggght. And you try to kill me, all within 24 hours.”
“Hunt is not equal unless man has no weapon.”
Production 107 would place this early in the production order. Ron Ely returns to TARZAN as…a villainous hunter in one of TV’s old stand by plots: THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME where a human is hunted by a nut job hunter who wants more of a challenge. Here, the hunter refuses to use guns, thank goodness but uses what seems to be a low tech crossbow (not as low as Tarzan’s). He starts by trying to shoot arrows into Tantor and is stopped by Tarzan. Ely’s character is named Gordon Shaw and he is aided by a native type man in civilian clothes (was this meant as a role for Manuel?). Shaw rips up his hunting license. Simon’s journal states that Shaw is after his last and greatest kill: Tarzan.
Simon’s journal: Tuesday the 4th: Feb and August in 1992 have this date. 1991, which might be when this was filmed, has just June. 1993 has May.
Roger’s efforts with a crossbow almost kill a parrot of some kind and are terrible. He claims his father bought him one once and he practiced. He claims to shoot like Robin Hood. Or Robin. Shaw, in a jest, poke Roger with an arrow tip. Roger seems impressed by this and by this man.
Jane tells him that Tarzan’s parents died shortly after the plane crash. Shaw was told by her that he was raised by the Great Apes.
Cheetah wanted to go with Simon (did Cheetah has a premonition of Simon being in danger?). What’s interesting here is that Simon, caught up in a net, is captured by Shaw and his man. He’s watched by the man but Simon keeps quiet when a snake crawls on Simon’s leg and Simon kicks it onto the man and the snake seems to wrap around the man’s neck. The man falls and Cheetah unties Simon.
Now, this man is the first shown to physically attack Cheetah …by throwing a stick and seemingly hit him or almost hit him (probably not for real). Cheetah, after the man is down, hits the man over the head with the stick. Simon and Cheetah leave the man there. Is he dead? We never hear from him again or see him.
As for Ely, he does a good job, not over playing things but it’s hard to see him as a villain against Tarzan. I also wonder if at times his voice was dubbed over as it sometimes sounds strange. Frankly, though I love Ely and think he’s probably the best Tarzan, visually Wolf is probably a better Tarzan (and Mike Henry, too, while we’re at and Joe Lara and…).
Simon was captured to insure Tarzan’s cooperation. Frankly, this plot is almost always good and here, it works well. On the other hand, watching an arrow almost hit Tarzan every time as he passes a tree, gets a bit tedious after about five minutes of that. We also see him fall when his vine is hit, which is predictable too and if it didn’t happen, I think I’d feel disappointed. Shaw uses a knife on Tarzan and strikes a bit of chest, too but ultimately in their fight, he falls off a cliff but clings on. He begs Tarzan to save him. Which of course this Tarzan does, “Tarzan wins.”
Shaw also claimed to use only ten arrows but when frustrated by Tarzan’s escapes, he starts reusing arrows. Tarzan also faked he was hit with one and used a dummy of himself he made of wood or plant leaves.
It must be noted that in almost all of these episodes at times, Wolf looks almost 80 percent naked, bar his boots and of course, his private area.
Tarzan fires an arrow at Shaw’s arrow to save Tantor and hits his arrow away with that shot. He does the Tarzan call, which he does in almost every episode (it’s Weissmuller). Tarzan sends Tantor away with herd until the hunter leaves. Not sure if that is Wolf in the long shot as Shaw spies on Tarzan and Simon using binoculars nor as Tarzan in long shot goes for a drink from the river.
Jane is to go to the Livingstone Caves to record something or other (food paths? Foot paths?).
At one point, when desperate, Shaw uses arrows that have tips that explode. There is one blast that Tarzan flips out of that seems to be used in the opening credits each episode.
The “tracker” aide smokes. Which shows he’s messed up.
It must also be noted, positively, that there are some excellent camera angles in this episode throughout, during the chase and even not during the chase. Low shots, high shots, arrow POVs, and more. All well done and different for this show and possibly all TV.
There are also a few zoom in shots, the best being when Tarzan seems to be wondering if he should let Shaw fall off the cliff Shaw found himself clinging from after an ill timed lunge at Tarzan with his knife.
Jane has recordings of bats.
Having won by sicking the lion on Shaw, Tarzan then calls it away, turns his back on Shaw and walks away! What? This is when Shaw starts firing the exploding arrows and when that fails, pulls a knife on Tarzan. He’s defeated anyway but Tarzan STILL lets this creep live. Ely, for his part, does a fine job of acting and I’ve noticed this before but never made note of it in the reviews: he uses his eyebrows to act and it works.
Despite all the inherent flaws (not many) and the cliché old hat plot, this is one of the best episodes and presents Tarzan with a very formidable opponent in Ely’s Shaw. I wonder if this villain returns?
BACK TO THE TARZAN TV SERIES INTRO
Visit our thousands of other sites at:
BILL and SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2022 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.