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Volume 7462

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



TBA TBA May 3, 1992        112
“Tarzan, I know you don’t mean to be irritating…but I don’t need any of your jungle philosophy
…what I do need now…is some water.”
“Jane is not a fool. Just wrong.”
“Tarzan bag.”
“As Roger would say you’re something else.”
“Tarzan is not a something. Tarzan is a man.”
“I know that.”
Simon’s journal is Wednesday the 9th (which is odd because the next ep is Wed the 8th!?): as this is production 112 it seems to be smack in the middle of the production season so it could be either 1991 or 1992 so…

…1991 has Jan and October. 1992 has Sept and December.

Later in the episode, Simon tells Jane and Tarzan that TODAY is Sunday and no gov’t office is open. So he might be journaling a few days before or a few after the events? Then…what?

As I have trouble understanding Jane’s English, the nearest I can figure is that she and Roger are out gathering Dab Chick Eggs for her incubator to hatch them safely.  Roger’s going to find bee eaters? I really need subtitles on these DVDs. Sigh. Roger stumbles into a rhino, which he believes is near sighted but he screams and runs anyway. Just before he runs, Roger gets an internal monologue about what to do. No, I’m not kidding.

This being this show, we never see the rhino and Roger in the same frame at the same time as the rhino is stock footage of some kind. Tarzan pulls Roger up to a tree using a vine around him to save him.

The next scene, though not emphasized too much, has Jane take out the “poor babies” whose shells were so thin, they thought they had a chance to hatch mature…so, again it’s not stated but THEY’RE DEAD! Jane guesses pesticides and Roger explains Tarzan gathered these eggs (Goshawks?) from the Ubangi cliffs, a remote area. Tarzan is shown the dead babies by Jane! Tarzan will show Jane where the Goshawks live (?), he knows another area. Between predators and natural dangers, these birds are in danger of going extinct.

Tarzan orders Cheetah to watch the tree house. In a jeep, Tarzan and Jane watch a hawk.

Of note: is Tarzan’s right hand thumb broken? It looks bent in an unusual way. Jane tells him the hawk cannot find a mate without their help. So WHAT is the plan here?

Jane wants to get some eggs from the Virunga cliffs to get an egg and a female for this gosshawk?

Okay, the Virunga cliffs are far away, Tarzan says. This is in Central Africa and part of the Congo nation. Finally, we get some clue as to where we are.

Simon cannot take them via plane because he has to deliver an urgent delivery of penicillin at Orongo (?). Simon recalls and finds a notice that the Ubangi cliffs were sprayed to kill off mosquitoes to stop an outbreak of encephalitis. Next is the spot Jane and Tarzan want to go to. The spraying will begin at dawn.

It’s implied Tarzan cannot drive…at least not Jane’s jeep. Jane has driven in Paris and thinks the jungle is easier.

Even in his stoic manner, Tarzan looks worried about Jane’s driving. The radiator steams up and the jeep stops. Jane blames Roger. She asked him to check the water in the radiator and assumes he must have forgotten. She says stuff in French. When Tarzan talks about an elephant being smarter than a car, Jane, for the only time in the series, gets irritated by his talk. He gets water.

I don’t know who is it sitting next to Jane as she drives through water in the jeep but it sure is NOT Tarzan. It looks like a kid. Maybe a stock shot of Roger in the jeep passenger side? Not sure but it is a curly haired person.

Jane’s driving too fast and the jeep gets a blow out and turns on its side. Tarzan has blood on his head but he is okay and she feels his head. The incubator is not broken but the jeep’s axle is. To make time, Tarzan swings with her in front of him, on a vine or vines. Then, he puts her on his back, much to her wide eyed, at first, fear.

In any case, she looks as if she thinks the swinging is romantic.

Jane does not listen to him again and wants him to treat her as an equal but loses the canoe in the river. The canoe was full of holes. Jane thinks men are all the same at this angry moment and brushes her shoulder into Tarzan. This friction feels phony.

Jane, then acting even more stupid than in any other episode (and that’s difficult as she’s acted dumb in any number of them), doesn’t listen about where to cross the river, tries on wood that cannot hold her and falls into the mud. She mentions the Coconut Hilton. Tarzan calls elephant Tantor to clean Jane. Tarzan believes two lions will not bother them because they’re on a hunt (again the dialog is mumbled so I cannot understand it). It looks like, horribly, that the two lions are eating out a kill they’ve had of some horned animal (a buffalo like animal?).

Tarzan is shown again to fish and kill fish. He seems to enjoy it. Two fish fill him up. At night, they eat.

Tarzan does not know what a doggie bag is but makes his own to contain extra left over fish.

Instead of staying the night there, when Tarzan expresses that he is a man after the doggie bag thing, Jane thinks they should be going. He looks serious.

They arrive in moments of the spraying at 6am. Tarzan goes for the eggs anyway. Stunt man noticeable but interesting shots and wild stunt, climbing up a very angled rock face hill and rocks themselves, Tarzan gets the eggs while the mother watches.

The shot of the hawk landing on Tarzan as the sun is behind he and Jane in the credits comes from this episode.

Roger wears his top buttons unbuttoned on his shirt. He will write an article about the whole hawk incident thing and try to sell it to National Geographics. Tarzan comments Roger was not there. Tarzan sharpens his knife and flexes his pecs doing so.

When Jane finds her notes, Roger tells her about the article they are “co-writing.” He was going to tell her but thought she was off in the jungle, tagging (?) gazelles or something. When she asks why his name is first, he stupidly says he did it alphabetically. This is supposed to be funny. It’s not. It feels like filler.

They let the hawk go to the other hawk. For some reason, Jane and Tarzan in the jeep with Cheetah leave Roger behind. Roger was watching the hawks, wishing his dates went as well. Once when he ws 16, his dad set him up with girl who only had…never finishes the story as he realizes they are leaving without him.

This is supposed to be funny? It’s not.

So the egg wasn’t golden and there were more than one.

I have to say about this one what I’ve said about almost all the others. Not bad. Not great. Great premise, okay execution. The visuals here are some of the best of the first season and maybe the entire series. The locations really look like Africa here and are colorful and varied. Still, we see that same waterfall, even though they are supposed to be somewhere else. The stunts are amazing here, Wolf and Lydie are in top form though the scene where Jane turns her back to scold Tarzan and turns around pointing at him is wholly terribly acted as she doesn’t seem to believe in what she’s saying.

Roger…Sean is actually a very talented actor and good looking but one can’t help but feel he’s wasted in almost every episode …as comic foil. Simon barely appears here and only then to write him out of the way of the story. The idea of another trek to save an endangered species and NO real villain here is a good one and for the most part carried out. Jane acts like a moron again though and I guess for adventure you have to have someone on the trek who does.

More missed opportunities, it is felt as Jane and Tarzan share some almost unique near romantic moments during the swinging and the fish eating.

Not terrible.


GUESTS: Chuck Shamata, Brian Trenchard-Smith and Misha MacDonald
Episode Aired May 10, 1992

Roger Sr shows up and offers Jane the job of her dreams
but it means moving away from the jungle.
Jane takes time to reflect on her work, her relationships with friends and animals
but most importantly, Tarzan.

“I just need to get out of these clothes.”
“Jane is beautiful.”
“Well, I guess I should have listened to Roger after all, huh?”

In keeping with the last two episodes’ tradition of returning characters, Roger’s father shows up, two months early, after Jane tries getting pictures up close of a bird (eagle?) in a tree AND using a rope that frays. Tarzan saves her of course but Jane…faints. Roger was using the rope below.

I must say that this series has set up Tarzan to look like he’s a stalker and I’d guess that this could be said of many of the movie TARZANs, too, as he seemed to be tracking Jane or any other number of women or safari crews. What’s worse is how this makes Jane look.

Roger, is, of course, the show’s major screw up and seems to do everything wrong…which is why…it’s amazing his father wants him to head this base of operations when and if Jane takes up Taft Senior’s proposition that she take the head job of leading his major animal research organization from NY. Roger seems to defend Jane from his father’s un-subtle ways but really when he talks more, he’s only worried about himself. He fears being left with a boss who’s old, a pencil pusher, and has bad breath. Sigh.

Jane, too, seems to have a thing against old men as when Taft tells her about the organization (Taft Institute to study and monitor endangered species which will operate like her base but more: Africa, South America, Antarctica, New Zealand totaling about a dozen) she assumes he might put an old man in charge.

George Simpkins, a zoologist out of Cornell, was approached. Jane called him an old fossil who has his nose in book for so long, “He wouldn’t know an animal if it sat on him.”

This makes her ageist or at least, nasty toward old people (maybe she’s been hanging around Tarzan and Roger too long?).

Even worse: Jane gets LOST in the jungle. LOST! Then, she goes to sleep in the day near a cave!?

THEN, she has a fire set to either keep animals away or keep her warm or both AND this sets fire to the woods/jungle/forest.

Okay, NOT sure I’ve written this before but this looks like beautiful Mexico rather than beautiful Africa. I’m not even sure the show has stated where this is supposed to be.

Jane cannot even blame Roger for these mishaps. Before the fire, she wonders, “Jane Porter how do you get yourself into these messes?”

Taft says they will start out small: five or six million (dollars? Or staff?). His people have already located an area in Manhattan to set up mainframes, labs, and offices.

Tarzan sees the smoke from feeding a giraffe (these animals have been featured in the show of late). Using Tantor to get to her fast, Tarzan puts the fire down (but not out?) and brings her to the treehouse. He shows her something Simon brought a female outfit (what was Simon thinking and he gave this to Tarzan???) from a faraway land (it looks Polynesian?). She changes into it and has to tell Tarzan to turn around and not watch, sharing a Western custom. Tarzan is not sure why he has to turn around. She tells Cheetah to close his eyes, too, but he just covers them with his own hand.

As she takes a nap in his hammock, Tarzan says something like, “Jane agree with the jungle.” What? She must know what she is doing?

Roger worries he (himself) will trash everything if Jane leaves. Roger also, earlier, when his father mentioned he has a crush on Jane Porter, said, “Come on!” BUT then he talks to his father and worries that Tarzan will bail on the project if Jane goes (“I don’t know if you noticed but she’s not that bad looking.”). Roger is told by his dad that “ambition is a very strong drug,” but Roger’s answer is, “Not for Jane.”

BTW, Jane taking a shower while Roger pumps the water is…I guess functional but odd in a way if you think about it. Don’t think about it too hard, though. She rants in French, probably because the water is too cold.

In an almost BAYWATCH like montage, Jane dreams (of course, the show won’t take a chance like making Tarzan and Jane hook up this early in its inception, season one, even at the end) that she and Tarzan are looking at each other THAT WAY and that she’s touching his bare (what else?) chest AND kissing. Then, to lessen the impact of that, unknowingly (?), they make it Cheetah who’s actually kissing the sleeping Jane. Sigh.

Jane goes swimming later at the waterfall area. Tarzan is barefoot (rare for this show and usually only when he’s near this lake or other water and not even always then).

Earlier, Simon told Jane years ago he had malaria and every once in a while it comes back. It does and he crashes his jeep. This jeep looks different from some of the other ones.

Jane and Tarzan emerge from the water on a sort of beach and just as this seems to be headed for a FROM HERE TO ETERNITY beach romance scene, Jane leaves. Poor Tarzan. WTH?

Seriously, I know this is a kid show and all but should Tarzan be just a kid show? I mean I know the writers were not making Jane this way purposely but…it looks like they just made her a willing tease to Tarzan. As a kid show, they really can’t take the plunge but why use that as an excuse…plenty of 1990s prime time “adult” shows didn’t take the plunge and usually when they did, they lost audiences (MOONLIGHTING, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST). Still, Tarzan is a totally different animal.

Though the stunt work and cinematography are fantastic, on DVD it is noticeable that the man riding Tantor in long shots is not Wolf.

Kudos to Malick, the actor playing Simon, for letting a large snake crawl from jeep to near his face and on his shoulder. Even trained, this snake looks formidable. I’ve been hard on this actor but the truth is when he’s gone in an episode from now and not in seasons two and three, I shall miss him.

More on this later but…I’ve seen glimpses of season two and three and it seems as if…Simon is just replaced with first, Jack (another actor who has passed away) and then Dan (a good actor) but IT’S AS IF THEY EACH HAD ALWAYS BEEN THERE!? What? For instance in the last episode of the entire series (at least in air order) THE RETURN OF THE BRONX (what a dumb title), Carlos, SIMON’S god son, returns and Dan calls him HIS god son as if Dan was always his god father. I mean are we in a SEASON THREE alternate universe? And is SEASON TWO also an alternate universe where there never was a Simon? And is SEASON THREE an alternate universe where there was never a Jack or a Simon?

To me, that smacks of indecision at best and lazy writing at worst. Maybe they should have just called each successive actor Simon and be done with that since they had no explanation as to why Simon was gone and why Jack was there and later why Jack was gone and Dan was there! And it seemed as if Dan was always there, even in his memories as he talks about them!? What the hell?

Maybe there is some explanation and I’ll uncover it when I start watching those episodes but I highly doubt it.

Back to THE TEST OF FRIENDSHIP. Jane tells Roger she will accept the position because she feels she’s getting complacent and careless, being here too long. Roger tells Jane he’s tried to contact Simon on two different frequencies so Jane goes to Tarzan to go find Simon.

In a contrast to previous Tarzans (BUT not Ron Ely’s who handled snakes calmly, too) such as Gordon Scott, Tarzan removes the snake calmly and quietly and places it on a tree.

Like Ely, he even smiles at the snake.

Simon had hit his head in the crash and is bandaged by Jane. In a conversation Simon has with Jane, we learn she’s told Tarzan OFF SCREEN that she’s leaving. WOT? WHY would they NOT show such a critical moment in their friendship when this episode is all about their friendship???

“Jane Porter never did anything because of a man,” Simon told Tarzan when Tarzan believed it was something he did. Again, rather than have Simon relate this info from his bed, why didn’t we see these conversations. I think it would have been more effective. Then again, maybe not?

Jane talks to Simon about saving the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the Bengal Tiger. Jane also tells him that she woul love the theater, restaurants, a shower that works, and shopping. Simon told her he once missed the city once: including the sight of beautiful women in dresses and high heels (!) and the excitement, the rush, and the colors of the city. This place is not even on the map. He feels closer to God here. He loves the birds, the trees, and the ground so alive you can almost see it breathing.

Roger calls Jane to see the butterfly that finally emerged in …their canister! They let it go…Jane flings it into the air!?
Jane thanks Taft but tells her this is where she belongs, even after she packed.

Jane returns the dress to Tarzan so that if she ever needs it again she knows where it is. She kisses him…this time on the cheek. WOT? Sigh.

Roger addresses Tarzan, “How you doin’ big guy?”

When Roger’s shower still does not work, Tarzan signals Tantor to shower Jane. She catches on quick. Everyone laughs as Tantor showers Jane some more. (in this scene Wolf reached for something but it’s abruptly cut).

The production number is 120.

An important episode but again, as ever, one feels it could have been more and maybe even expanded to a two parter or an hour in full. Given all the inherent flaws in the format of this series and TARZAN as a whole, it’s one of the better episodes. It also shows the relations better in a way and does not make Roger look so…incompetent. Jane, however, looks like a mess here, at least in spirit. Again, it’s hard to dismiss this show as junk but it’s also hard to feel it could be ANYONE’S favorite TV show ever, as it’s sort of just there with a great cast, great filming, great locations, and a great theme music (THAT will change in season two and whoever changed the theme to the season two and three music should have been fired on the spot!). At the same time, it feels as if there’s a lot of wasted potential. And an almost too home spun atmosphere. This is NOT DENNIS THE MENACE or HAZEL!

I mean honestly: how did Tarzan feel about Jane leaving? Would he be angry, sad, selfish, selfless, and/or happy for her opportunity? We learn nothing about any of that. What was the actual test of friendship? Indeed, is this just a friendship? The show doesn’t seem to want to make any statements one way or the other and that’s just cowardly or lazy or both. Does Jane stay because of Tarzan, too? Do we ever fully learn WHY she feels this is where she belongs? Would Tarzan let Jane go and do what is best for her? Does Jane even know?

None of this is answered, even less addressed in this important episode and in what could have established things but TV back then was set in resetting everything to just be like it was in the first episode: Jane and Tarzan are good friends with hints of possibly more in the future (but you can only bait a show for so long before people give up). We know this is going nowhere but somehow it feels like it might?

Simon’s journal is Wednesday the 8th. January, April, or July.

Anyone notice that pronounce Tarzan like Tarz-Anne?

25   "Tarzan in the Eye of the Hurricane"       TBA TBA May 17, 1992        125
Roger has written a book detailing some of the adventures
that have occurred and during the storm's lull, Jane starts to read it aloud.
It seems the way Roger has portrayed events and his heroicsdiffer from everyone else's recollections.


“When the snow comes to the jungle, that is when Roger and Simon will not fight.”

Last Simon episode. Last episode with the only really good theme song for this series. Whoever made the decision to change this excellent theme song for the lackluster theme song of seasons two and three should have been fired on the spot. The second and third season theme lack any kind of action oriented bits.

Last Simon journal: Sunday the 4th: 1992 has only October. 1993 has April and July.

Production 125: the last of the season.

The Ulos (?) river is going to overflow; Roger loses his bag of writing in the river but saves it but Tarzan has to save him. Tarzan carries him over his shoulder as he did Jane in a past episode where she …fainted. Another storm is hitting; another hurricane. Roger is writing a book OUT OF THE JUNGLE. Tarzan calls the eye of the hurricane Agala. Roger distorts all the stories, calling Jane his young associate.

Basically this is a clip show. When Irwin did ONE of them, he used clips on a machine and not that many of them in LOST IN SPACE-PRISONERS OF SPACE but many shows do clips shows. BEWITCHED’s second season took two episodes, the Christmas episode of season one and the episode where Aunt Clara meets Darren’s parents, wrapped new scenes around them to introduce the story (“remember when” type scenes) and to exit the story. That was fine but…those were mostly repeats.

Lazy tv shows in the 80s and 90s did clip shows. Basically the characters sit around discussing what happened in other episodes and then we see clips from those episodes. It’s really poor storytelling to do it that way.

Now, when VCRs and DVD players were not around, it was okay to do this as there were little to no chances we’d ever see these episodes again but by 1992…maybe not so much. Clips shows are almost always curios pieces and almost always boring and easily discarded. This one is one of the worst ways of doing it.

Roger’s already risked his life and the life of Tarzan to go bring his “book”, which is on ripped out notebook paper and pen (?), to where? A plane? In a hurricane? Then, after nearly drowning, he tries to go out again, only Tarzan stops him bodily.

So for example, Jane says, “As I recall…” and we see the scene of Winslow putting Jane on a contraption over water from CAVES OF DARKNESS. In which he also saved Roger from drowning (a favorite predicament of this show). Roger’s writing makes him the one who saved Jane and it was up to him to save Tarzan rather than the truth.

As if to rub it in that the theme will change, the exciting first season theme is signature and different but played in a new fashion during the Roger rescue (I guess it was that way in the episode the clip came from?).

Then, they discuss the next story: Jane fearlessly risking her life to save eagle chicks. This comes from the episode just before this one, THE TEST OF FRIENDSHIP. Sigh. She wasn’t saving eagle eggs, she was taking photographs. Or something. She mentions having to get these shots so…

The next clip is from PICTURE OF DEATH with Roger and the model. The next after that is from KILLER’S REVENGE. Jane reads from the book and another clip from that show happens. Roger called Simon Big Guy. Simon believes prayer is a powerful thing.

The next clip, after Tarzan demands Roger and Simon STOP fighting is from their fight in TARZAN’S CHRISTMAS. Simon and Roger then fight over their apology.

Later, after the storm is over and Cheetah tells them, a wind blows Roger’s book pages out of his hands just as Simon told him that he would fly it to the city. Roger made a second copy and it is in his tent.

Not sure what to say about this episode?

SO ends the first season. Surely, it’s not bad but not quite as excellent as it could have been. Also surely, it was a success because they made a second and then a third season. Some shows, especially those in the 1950s to 1980s were more about what they set up rather than what they actually presented in each individual episode. BUT to apply that here might be a fallacy. Many episodes here (almost all of them) have had great premises with almost great execution but almost every time, the execution was…a bit on the lame side.

This episode is really JUST a clip show with all of the action in the clips but it also signals the show’s main problem: most of the driving action comes from Tarzan having to save liability characters who mess up almost every time: Jane, Kenda, and Roger. He fights snakes and crocs and bad guys like Winslow and Bruno. It sort of features both the show’s main reason for being good and also the drawback of the show.

Tarzan’s faults though had been built in from the start of the novels, really. One can barely get it all wrong, though the CW show really did.

If you have a jungle, a hint of romance, animals, action of some kind, exotic looking locales, environmental issues, and vicious bad guys from time to time, you can hardly go wrong. AND with this cast, it’s also hard to go wrong: Wolf, Lydie, and Sean were all likable personalities and despite Jane and Roger acting like total incompetents and morons at times, they WERE and are likable.

Simon Govier is another thing altogether. Mostly a plot device from the journal to the transportation of most of the antagonists, allies and villains, not to mention things a plot might need, Simon served his function and even started to grow on me and have some interesting background stuff like a belief in God and former love of the city (though his talking about women like that might not be done today).

All in all a good first season. Simon will be replaced by Jack as if he never were there!



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