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TARZAN TV SERIES ~ 1991-1994
Starring Wolf Larson as Tarzan and Lydie Denier as Jane
Reviews by Charles Mento
26. TARZAN AND THE MISSILE OF DOOM
27. THE FORBIDDEN JEWELS
28. THE BROKEN PROMISE
26. TARZAN AND THE MISSILE OF DOOM
“McCallister wants to save his weapon. Tarzan wants to save his jungle. Tarzan is ready.”
“We’re in the jungle with a killer and a nuclear warhead. What are we supposed to do?”
Jack’s journal is Friday the 22nd. In 1992 this can only be May. In 1993, it can be in Jan or October. As Cheetah steals Jane’s new background slide, Roger’s checking his fingernails? Jack’s journal indicates Cheetah’s becoming known for stealing things, more than the odd sock. Tarzan wears a head band for the first time in the series. I am not sure I like it. Jane’s outfit seems wildly inappropriate with skin tight…tightness and revealing slits in her top.
In what feels like a need to drum up plots, Tarzan has to chase Cheetah all over the place, including over a pit of snakes which Tarzan saves him from by pulling him off the log but then the chimp resumes the chase all over again! This leads Tarzan to find a missile that is broken in half. Roger thinks it’s good that it is American but Jane worries that it does not matter what country it is from, it still kills people.
Roger thinks it might have come from that naval base in Sandaal (name?). Jack has been out of the navy for ten years. We see the same “set” base camp of Jane’s as in season one or at least it looks the same. Jane doesn’t want Tarzan and Tantor to bring the missile back. It’s difficult to tell but the inside looks a bit different again. Jack is radioed and then the next scene has him there telling them most missiles are rigged to explode at a certain altitude. He thinks something could have jammed the altimeter. When Tarzan and Cheetah confirm the missile visually, Jack believes it to be a Tomahawk or Tomahawk Jr, which have dual capability. They can carry a conventional bomb or a nuke. Tarzan does not know what a nuke is.
Jack seems to say the US has over 5000 or 5400 advanced nuclear weapons when Roger asks how the missile can just get lost. Roger seems to be asking intelligent questions in this first produced second season episode.
While they wait, Tarzan tells Roger, “Worry does not help,” and makes Jane a new slide background (did Cheetah lose the first one or leave it in the missile?).
Jack arrives in a jeep we haven’t seen before? He has Lt Commander McCallister. Roger references TOP GUN. He is from RADCON (radiological containment). He claims it will take them 24 hours to get a team in. Why? Roger doesn’t want him to call him “son.” He doesn’t give them much information but they had problems with a test run.
Tarzan comes to eat with them and claims he put a fence around the missile. He opens a coconut (?) with his knife. There seems to be an unspoken rivalry between McCallister and Tarzan. Night comes and goes…
Jack arrives after Tarzan and Buzz McCallister leave and tells Jane and Roger that McCallister has himself a bad conduct discharge (a big chicken dinner?). The knife bugged Jack so he checked up on McCallister. The knife is a Navy Seal Knife. If so, all McCallister had to do was lie about him BEING in the Seals but maybe he worried Jack could find out the truth, which he did anyway!
Jack’s sources say McCallister is an independent arms dealer who makes high tech weapons disappear and sells them to the highest bidder. Sources think McCallister killed his last two supplies to cover up loose ends!
Though Tarzan points out there is an easier way to go around the cliff (which Cheetah presumably took earlier…over a wooden bridge possibly) McCallister wants to race Tarzan up the cliff. The stunt work here is well done and the stunt man looks a lot like Wolf, always did and it works, though on DVD pause you can tell it’s not Larson but it all works. McCallister presents, so far, as taller and heavier build than Tarzan, making a formidable foe or at least half way through, the possibility of a foe that’s hard to beat.
Tarzan claims a snake does not attack unless cornered.
When McCallister takes out his knife, Tarzan whips his own knife out faster.
From what Jack said earlier (voice over in Tarz’s head), Tarzan figures out McCallister is doing something wrong. McCallister wants the nuke not the missile. He kicks Tarzan down after pulling a small gun on him. Though Tarzan gets up, McCallister has the gun and knocks him down again. He picks him up by the neck, choking him and then holding him at gunpoint near the cliff, “And don’t worry about your friends. I’ll take care of them.”
Tarzan seems to rush him but is kicked off the cliff and the fall is a brilliant looking stunt. Tarzan lands on rocks on his back and spread out again like…well, like Jesus, just as before and as Ely in at least two episodes of the 60s series.
McCallister calls a contact named Balor and Balor has a chopper. McCallister also says something I cannot understand before he says, “Over.”
Jack tells Jane that a Navy Seal may be as strong as Tarzan and Tarzan may be in over his head and outmatched. Jane says, “Never.”
One of Jack’s contacts, a woman named Lee Ann, calls him back. She explains they have McCallister’s accomplice, a petty officer on a carrier who explained that McCallister has jury rigged a device that can arm or disarm the missile. The Navy is sending in a Seal’s team.
Depending on Cheetah to be their navigator, Jack, Roger and Jane get in the jeep with Cheetah and leave. If Cheetah is in the jeep, who can he lead them to where they have to find Tarzan?
As McCallister works on the device and the nuke, Tarzan rises up the cliff, wounded in various places and dirty but stalks McCallister slowly. It must be said, though Wolf’s hair doesn’t always match various takes, Wolf Larson himself, is VERY, VERY good in this episode, using a wide range of emotions and reactions from Tarzan including thinking skills, and pure rage and savagery as he returns from the bottom of the cliff. He really IS the ape man here.
FINALLY, there is a huge fight. McCallister doesn’t go down easily as past villains have but he pulls a knife so it’s a fist and kick fight as well as a knife fight. It’s fast but longer than the other fights or non fights against villains as the case may be. After the satisfying fight, McCallister seems to vanish.
Two rhinos move at the jeep. Then it’s just one. We never, once again, see the rhino or rhinos in the same shot as the jeep or Jack, Roger, Jane and Cheetah. The jeep escapes after a close call of being stuck. Sigh.
McCallister starts throwing grenades at Tarzan.
Tarzan gives a Tarzan yell, swings into McCallister, knocks him down and gets him in a choke hold. The device lands in the pit of snakes and seems to go off and the nuke will blow up in two minutes. At first, Tarzan, savagely, puts McCallister’s face toward the pit, yelling at him to get it.
In one of the best scenes of the entire series, Tarzan uses his legs to hold onto the log (presumably as we don’t see his legs really) and leans down over the snake pit UPSIDEDOWN and grabs the detonator device. THEN, when McCallister refuses to deactivate it unless he gets the gun from Jack, Tarzan holds HIM over the snake pit upside down! And this time we see the man’s face inches from the snakes. With seconds left, the man yells, “747272,” to Roger who deactivates it.
Tarzan brings the man back up and lays him down and puts his foot on him, magnificently.
Jack calls Bravo 301 Charlie to tell them the Eagle has landed, “Flat on his butt” though the man is face down.
Though at times, the headband seems off Tarzan (maybe it fell off somewhere during the fights), this is one of the best episodes, probably THE best as it delivers action, a savage Tarzan, and real danger. Sure, there are flaws (HOW did Tarzan survive such a fall onto rocks?) but these are minor. For once, EVERY one of the Tarzan allies act intelligently and aide Tarzan well. Sure, Cheetah steals but he does other things during the episode to help everyone and this episode works on every level.
In the epilog, the trio of friends go under an arch in a giant rock to the treehouse, which looks very different. Tarzan (stunt man) swings down to meet them. The stunt man is bigger but not as lean, cut or ripped as Wolf, who, in this episode in particular, looks stunning. This stunt man does NOT look exactly like the usual stunt man.
The head band in this last scene is on again.
When the Navy wants to give him an award, Tarzan does not want it. “When the fight is over, it is best to forget.”
At this, Jane hugs him. “That is reward enough for Tarzan.”
The production number is 201.
Roger feels McCallister’s knife has bad vibes and he wants to give it to Tarzan. For some reason, Tarzan has Roger throw it, Tarzan catches it and swing up to the treehouse. He then throws it up into a tree higher up than the treehouse. Jack tells the others, “Some weapons are better off where no man can find them.” This silly ending seems unnecessary other than the Jane hug.
From start to finish, though, this episode is highly entertaining and holds up against the best of the Tarzan episodes from this, the past show and future shows. It is the best episode so far with little BS and lots of action that makes sense and is straight forward and little talk. It really works well.
27. THE FORBIDDEN JEWELS
“Jane is playing a dangerous game.”
Okay, right off the bat, Hauser is back and…wait. He claims he’s a reformed man and none of the regulars seem to question that he was supposed to serve five years in prison. Is this five years or later? Some sources ---Amazon, for one, claim that this season came out in 1997 (in some countries, namely America, this season didn’t air until then or later and season three in 1998). Did Hauser get out of jail early for good behavior? It would be nice if we were told. If it is 1997 here, everyone is six years older? It would explain why Roger looks older, a bit?
Jack’s journal is Friday the 1st. 1992 has this as May. 1993 has this as Jan or October. This is the SAME date as WAYWARD BALLOON. Did anybody care about the dating other than me? Okay, so judging from the above unless I find out more about why Hauser is out of prison when he was supposed to serve five years, I’ll take that it could be 1997, too!? So…1997 has a Friday the 1st in August. Sigh.
Instead of keeping it a surprise or a mystery, Jack tells us in his narration that old enemy Hauser is back and then we immediately see Karl Hauser shooting at animals with red paint (?). He also uses a whip.
I noticed that Jack anyway is calling Tarzan by the usual Tarz-On and not Tarz-An as in season one (Adrian Paul being the one that comes to mind as he pronounced Tarzan that way).
The red paint are really tranquilizer darts. Hauser talks to his one man and explains that this chimp, Cheetah, is worth something to a pharmaceutical company (Dasco?) and that the chimp was carrying a jeweled necklace a lot more to him. Hauser after being kicked down by Tarzan (who does the Tarzan yell) after Hauser darts Cheetah who falls from the tree he was in, says he has a legal permit AND did he just call Cheetah an ape? What?
Jack seems to have the same buildings and plane that Simon did, lending credence to the fact that this might be an alternate universe. Yet…it looks somewhat different and in a different location? Maybe? More trees and bush?
Tarzan says, “Tarzan does not care about permits,” but he will in POISONED RIVER, which apparently aired first? But made LATER than this episode?
Hauser tells Jane he is reformed man now. He has animals in cages and Jack says he cannot do anything because the man has a legal permit. He has a job, he claims, at the American Zoo Society captured wild animals for children’s zoos and which will protect animals that are on the endangered list and might become extinct before kids get to know them. He claims these zoos will be natural habitats where the kids can enjoy the animals up close. Hauser tells Jane he’s spent time in prison and paid his dues (SO FIVE YEARS WENT BY?). Hauser in full daylight cut the fuel line but Jack didn’t see him do that and thinks it is his fault: he should have replaced the fuel line a long time ago. He can’t fly him to Bandali till morning.
Cheetah watches Tarzan vent his anger out on a piece of wood he’s carving out. Tarzan tells Jane, “A leopard does not change his spots.” Jane doesn’t believe Hauser is reformed and he has a female chimp in a cage. She invited him to dinner to find out what he’s really doing here but Tarzan reacts angrily, “No, Tarzan does not want Jane near Hauser.”
She yells she is not a little girl and can take care of herself. Has she met herself?
Jack, despite working on the plane, and initially telling Cheetah visiting hours are over, lets Cheetah visit for five minutes with the female chimp and Cheetah gives her bananas.
As Jane sits outside with Hauser, Tarzan spies on them. Roger mistrusts Hauser, too. Wait. Jack offered Hauser to stay at his base but Hauser is staying at…Jane’s!?? WOT?
Hauser tells Roger that Jack told him that Roger is the resident genius regarding folklore around this area. Hauser tells Roger he heard about this guy picking up an ancient pendant somewhere nearby (previous villain or episode?) and wondered if ancient Spanish galleons left jewels and treasures here. Roger plays the guitar and explains the legend of the Temple of the Sea Goddesses.
Tarzan told Roger he saw the temple as a boy along the coast in some caves and Roger thinks it is baloney. WHY? Roger would and should inherently believe everything Tarzan says on past experience alone! Roger takes his shirt off fully for the first time and looks…more worked out on? More muscled?
Gosh, Cheetah looks more and more human. Here, he lets the female chimp out. Hauser tries to fire darts at them but Hauser finds a diamond ring left behind by one of them. Hauser seemed to come out of Jack’s building so maybe he stayed with him after all? Tarzan jumps in front of Hauser’s dart gun to stop him firing at Cheetah and the female chimp.
Almost 13 minutes in, Hauser shows Jack his true colors by threatening his life unless Tarzan brings Hauser to the Temple of the Sea Goddesses.
After the commercial break, he has them tied with wood behind their backs and ropes.
Roger finds the chimps hiding under a blanket in his tent.
Jane calls the female chimp Juliet.
Jack seems to hurt his ankle but fakes it. Hauser leaves Jack tied to a tree, threatening to return and kill him if Tarzan is lying to him.
Hauser forces Tarzan along the beach in a nice location. Hauser doesn’t seem to know Tarzan at all as he thinks Tarzan wants a nesting egg treasure all to himself? Inside the “temple” are a skeleton, webs, and an ancient jar. Hauser steps on a step that moves and makes a spiked door lower over the entrance. Hauser cuts Tarzan free to let him lift the door for him. Hauser keeps kicking Tarzan. Moving a rock moves another rock door or maybe hitting the door moves the rock? Snakes come in. Hauser makes Tarzan go into the hidden room first. Another door opens and spears come flying at them but they back against the wall and are missed. Some lame booby trap!
Tarzan tells Hauser he has not been to this part of the caves before. In another area, there is a huge tarantula. Here they see the treasures. Frankly, it looks pretty lame to me!
When Tarzan warns him not to pick up the statue of the sea goddess, Hauser uses his gun to force Tarzan to. As soon as Tarzan touches it, a small bunch of rocks fall. Hauser grabs the Goddess and runs and points the gun at Tarzan, intending to shoot and kill him. The lion that’s been stalking them appears and distracts Hauser but a boulder (another trap?) comes rolling and hits the distracted Hauser and he gasps with real saliva draping his mouth in the most graphic scene up to now.
Before he dies, Hauser says the ape man was right and that Tarzan wins. Hauser admits he was too greedy. He dies on screen and Tarzan looks pretty horrified.
Later, Tarzan tells Cheetah it is time. Jane explains Juliet has to go back to her own tribe. She says she misses her own family and Tarzan translates to Jane. Cheetah goes to another chimp (Bell? Balar? A female?). Jane tells Tarzan he has a lot to learn about women.
“Maybe Jane can teach Tarzan.”
In the credits, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca Mexico is mentioned as to where the hotel accommodations were.
Okay ANOTHER good, straight forward adventure with a formidable foe who has some real threat coming from him, even more than last time and real danger and again, great locations. Was the lion Numar? Probably. It seems the first two episodes filmed for season two were stepping it up quite a bit with the action amped up and the threats palpable. Roger, Jane, and Jack as well as Cheetah do NOT act stupid in this episode either and that helps. Almost flawless. The traps could have been …more threatening, though but still a very, very good try in a good episode.
Production number is 202. The credits also say a Franco/Canadian/Mexican production.
28. THE BROKEN PROMISE
“I can’t tell you how many times over the years, I wished I was back here, with you, relaxing, fishing, sleeping late.”
Jack’s journal is Thursday the 18th. This is June in 1992, Feb, Nov or March in 1993, and Sept or Dec in 1997. Jack narrates that “I woke up this morning feeling that today was going to be one of those days. Boy, did I hit that nail on the head.”
Roger and Tarzan climb down from a huge cliff on a mountain looking for (red footed hawks) nests for Jane. She is convinced the migration route is here, over a gorge. Roger’s wooden vine rope breaks and he lands on a ledge with six horrid tarantula spiders near his hands! Tarzan rescues him, uses his knife to fling the spiders away without killing them and when Roger’s wrist is hurting, Tarzan carries him over one shoulder to another way that Tarzan found many years ago.
This is production 203.
It’s been 15 years since this man, who has now returned with Jack in his jeep, has been to see Tarzan.
Jane and Roger work in an open hut. Roger has his shirt open in the second or so of many more chest and ab showing scenes for Roger. Good for him.
For equal time, Jane has his top unbuttoned to …well, unbuttoned for a bit, let’s say!
Roger exaggerates about the size of the spider and their number (he told Jane 30 one time and now says there were 50). Never noticed this before but the jeep is driven on the right side (Europe).
Jack arrive and introduces the old buddy of Tarzan’s: Sean Murphy. He seems to have an Australian accent. When Jane expresses surprise Tarzan had an old friend, Jack tells her, “But you know Tarzan, not one to shoot his mouth off.”
Sean claims he was sort of like that but he was the first white man Tarzan ever met, according to Sean himself. Sean supposes Tarzan was 14 or 15.
When Tarzan enters camp, he has on the head band again, which he didn’t seem to be when he saved Roger earlier in the episode. Tarzan tells him he is not welcome here and later, in the trees, seems to be in pain from the memories of the man. As the man helps Tarzan in a flashback, he appears to have a wedding ring on. Tarzan seems to be on the ground, a different and younger actor playing him, as Sean gets spiders away from him. Murphy carries a hurt Tarzan on his shoulder and back. He also washes and binds Tarzan’s ankle. Tarzan remembers him showing Sean how he beat his chest, them sitting on the treehouse edge, and fishing (with spears) in the lake or lagoon. They were also looking at a newspaper that had a headline: BIG QUESTION. He remembers Sean in a tree both smiling or laughing as Sean is afraid of meeting Numar or some other lion Tarzan is friends with.
He remembers sneaking up on Sean as Sean was sleeping in a hammock outside on the treehouse (it seems) and flipping him out of it and laughing.
Sean is shown putting sand into a hole with a pipe? Tarzan then climbs one morning to give Sean fish and finds him gone. He is very upset. For his part, with little dialog and lots of sequences of physicality, the young actor playing young Tarzan does VERY well. I also wonder if TWO different people are playing him as at times, he looks different and a bit older than the other? For instance, the one sitting on the rock sad looks different than the one who was first found my Murphy and the one who found him gone?
Murphy approaches the treehouse but Tarzan is in the trees. Murphy tells him that he could not live with his conscience, knowing he walked on a friend without a word and tells Tarzan, even if Tarzan doesn’t forgive him, at least he made the effort.
Tarzan shoots an arrow while Sean Murphy walks away and Sean knows that Tarzan is too good a shot to miss him and must mean Tarzan wants a pow wow, which he does. Of course, we NEVER suspect Tarzan is going to shoot an arrow INTO Sean at all.
Sean’s story: two men came in a helicopter and said that his brother was dying. He left behind his hat and realized he never gave word to Tarzan why he left. Tarzan asks, “Why did Murphy not come visit like Jane’s friends?” He claims between work and raising a family, he never had time. He claims there is no excuse for what he did and knows that now.
Gosh, I have to stop and give pause here: WOLF is so VERY good in this episode and these scenes. You can believe totally that he loves this man. They go to the treehouse and…does the treehouse overlook the lagoon now?
Tarzan seems to call Murphy “Murph” and the man plans on staying until Tarzan kicks him out. Tarzan asks him, “Why would Tarzan do this to his old friend?”
Tarzan lets him sleep in the treehouse like before. Murphy plans on staying a long time and Tarzan is glad.
Also: a word about the music here in the entire episode: it’s rather good and very – jungle-y.
Murphy sneaks out in the morning and we see, behind the treehouse, that rock archway which started in the second season.
Cheetah watches from a tree as Sean unburies a chest and opens it. Inside is a gun and lots of money in bills (UK money? Australian money? French money?).
“When Cheetah hides things, it is because he stole them. Did you steal this money?” Tarzan followed Sean and asked this.
Sean tells him he will kill him if he tries to stop him.
Sean tells him he was like a son to him once.
Tarzan tells him if money is that important, then Murphy must shoot Tarzan in the back. I don’t get this. Why doesn’t Tarzan just let him take it and go? Why the dramatics?
I guess knocking him unconscious is better than shooting him in the back but…ewl, what a bad old friend Sean is.
Sean talks to no one and says he wishes he had time to explain but doesn’t. This doesn’t ring true as he did.
Jack hears a report on the radio that Interpol just reported that American (!?) fugitive Sean Murphy was seen at the Bendali airport. Sean leaves Tarzan tied up. Tarzan, when awake, tells Cheetah who can’t seem to untie Tarzan this time, to get Numar, which he does. Sean picks up and smashes Jane’s radio while Jack calls, warning her about Sean being wanted by the police for numerous parole violations.
Numar chews quickly through the ropes and Tarzan is freed.
Sean steals Jane’s red jeep and back hand-punches Roger down. Roger is now wearing a purple shirt but Jane has the same outfit on.
Roger says, “It takes a lot to knock out old…” and then sees the ape man, “…Tarzan!”
Tarzan calls his yell to get Tantor to block the jeep’s path.
Murphy hesitates to shoot at the elephant and flees on foot. Tarzan swings into him, knocks the thrown chest down, and disarms Sean with his bow, then gets him in a headlock and tells him to stop.
At Jack’s hangar, which looks much more like Simon’s, complete with makeshift landing run, Sean, who rode there on Tantor (btw there’s a parrot sound that occurs at least three times during this episode in WTF moments), explains more. Sean tells him everything he’s said up to now is a lie. His brother’s daughter Lisa is in danger of being killed by mobsters Sean used to run with. He left them, stole their money and came to the jungle. When his brother was in a car accident, he left Tarzan but was arrested and was in prison all this time. When he was paroled, he met his brother and Lisa in a motel but mobsters came in and demanded their money back. The brother resisted and was gunned down. They gave Sean a week to get the money to them or they would kill Lisa.
“Life is simpler in the jungle,” Tarzan tells Jack, who gives him friend advice: human beings have to be able to adapt to survive in the world outside the jungle where things are not so black and white but often shades of gray.
Tarzan lets him go: he once saved Tarzan’s life and Tarzan can now help save a young girl’s life.
WTF does Jane say in the epilog as we return from an ad break?
Jack reports that Murph turned himself and the money in to the FBI and the FBI nailed the mobsters that were holding his niece. Murph will stay out on parole. A sent photo of Murph with Lisa arrives to Tarzan. Jane seems to think it was sent by Lisa. She wants to invite them to visit with them. Tarzan thinks Roger deserves Jane’s respect and half seriously tells Roger that he will go back to the gorge with him, all after Roger brags about how big the spiders were that crawled over him, a total exaggeration. Tarzan claims they can learn more about “these deadly spiders.” The third season has an episode called TARZAN AND THE DEATH SPIDERS.
Roger comes up with an excuse not to go back climbing near deadly spiders. Jane, Jack and Tarzan laugh. Jane holds a baby wolf?
So another superior episode but I can’t help but think that the Ely show would have had Tarzan rescue the girl and beat the tar out of the mobsters rather than have all that off screen.
Everyone does a good job in this episode, another stand out plot and script as well as performances from all, especially Wolf and Erol who plays Jack. Of course, the title, once more, makes no sense: I mean Murphy didn’t really promise Tarzan anything really so how was it broken?
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