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TARZAN TV SERIES ~ 1991-1994
Starring Wolf Larson as Tarzan and Lydie Denier as Jane
Reviews by Charles Mento
41. THE FIRE FIELD
42. THE MOVIE STAR
43. THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
41. THE FIRE FIELD
Jane (about Roger): "You know I care about him. I don’t want him to get hurt."
“Tarzan will not let anything happen to Roger.”
Jack’s journal is Tuesday the 3rd. 1992 has Tuesday the 3rd in March and November. 1993 has it in August only. 1997 has it in just June. If we think any of these could be 1998, 1998 has it in Feb, November and March!
Maybe it’s my imagination but the opening credits’ clips look a bit different? Jane’s close up at the end? The narration tells us that there’s a time in a boy’s life when he knows he must become a man and if he’s lucky he has a friend like Tarzan to show the way. What?
The diary of one Dr. Heller may lead Roger and Jane to the world’s last fossilized stegosaurus egg. Jack’s jeep looks sufficiently beat up and even colorless. Of note in these episodes: Roger wears some kind of pendant around his neck. Here, he also wears his shirt open to show his chest and abs again (and frankly, this time he’s ripped).
Jack lent Jane his jeep so he can fix her jeep. Roger thinks Jack’s jeep is faster. Roger drives too fast in his eagerness. He doesn’t listen to Jane when she tells him not to get too close and to park the jeep. He then doesn’t listen to her to wait as he crosses a field toward the egg. The ground under him MOVES and fire comes from the ground after he falls, nearly flipping. Leaving the jeep, Jane runs to help him and has to get past blasts from the ground, one of which destroys the jeep.
Jane scolds Roger on the way back. He tells her to tell his father that he messed up. She calls him a baby more or less. Tarzan hears this as they walk his way, he has a headband on. Tarzan asks why she is so angry. She briefly explains and then mentions the area. Tarzan knows of it as a place where the air is bad and it is called NaGooma. Jane surmises it must be underground pockets of methane gas and the rumbling some geothermal activity. Roger thinks the methane might be why the egg is preserved. Any shift in pressure can cause the gas to ignite and cause the fires. Many animals have been killed there.
When Jane and Roger start fighting again, Tarzan forcefully demands they “STOP!” yelling at each other.
Tarzan will have Tantor give Jane and Roger a ride back to the compound. Roger walks back and just gets back as Jack arrives and yells something like, “You’re back!” or “Jack,” to Roger?
When Jane explains to Jack, Jack tells him, “Hey, he’s a teenager.” Just how old is Roger? Jack tells her that Roger means well but he’s just overly enthusiastic. He suggests Jane apologize. Jane will not and then breaks the news that his jeep was blown up. Jane repeats Jack’s own words to him when Jack claims he will kill Roger.
Though he yelled at Cheetah when Cheetah wanted to follow him, Roger thought that the chimp wanted to scod him, too, now, in his tent, Roger is amused Cheetah is under his bed. He stops sulking for a bit. Cheetah knows it was Roger who found the mention of the egg in Captain Heller’s diary. Roger channels Rodney Dangerfield when he says, “I tell ya, I get no respect. None.”
After her shower, Jane asks Jack if he wants dinner but he doesn’t and she’s a bit more sympathetic to him and touches him. He couldn’t talk to Roger because Roger was asleep.
There’s a nice fade out to a sun set or sun rise with some kind of ostriches or bigger birds.
Roger’s tent looks stronger and sturdier than usual and may be a totally different one. He talks to Cheetah who seems to agree with him at first about him being treated like a child. Then Cheetah seems to not agree with Roger as he leaves on a mission of his own to put an end to “this abuse.” He’s acting like the moron of season one again. He also has his pants lower and shirt open again, showing off his stomach and chest.
When Cheetah starts to follow Roger, holding onto his leg, Roger tells him to stay. This is a solo flight. There’s another tent near Roger’s.
To save a few miles, Roger takes the old rope bridge, which has two ropes that both break while he’s in the middle. He manages to make it up one side of the ravine. To be honest, the stunt man looks too big and not skinny enough to be Roger and the “drop” this time does not look, from some angles, to be that much of a drop.
A croc, this time, looks as if it blends into the ground!
Roger makes his way through a grove of leafless trees, which looks impressive. Roger gets his feet stuck in mud and a croc comes at him. He gets out and climbs one of the trees. Impressively, it is Sean in the trees. Roger makes fun of the croc (in some kind of Cheetah type noises and maybe even a whacky version of the Tarzan call?) until he realizes the branch he’s sitting on is breaking. He jumps off the branch as it falls and swings on a vine to safety. He says, “Eat your heart out, Tarzan.” Why?
When Cheetah brings Jane to Roger’s empty tent, something is moving on the left of the screen (the trainer?) and we hear a spitting sound? What the? Jane thinks maybe Roger went over to Jack’s.
When Tantor brings Cheetah and Jane to Jack’s, it appears to be raining. Tantor wakes Jack up with her trunk. Jack has been using Jane’s jeep it seems. He gives her ride in it (it is the red one). They go to Tarzan’s treehouse. Tarzan tells them that when Boogani comes to adulthood he must prove himself to the tribe.
Jane says, “Roger is a man.”
Tarzan tells her, “He must still prove himself.”
So which is it? Is he a teenager? Or a man?
“A young man must find his testing ground. Even in the jungle.”
Tarzan takes off into the trees, swinging, giving the Tarzan yell. Elk (?) run. Tarzan tracks Roger via the rope bridge and the broken branch. There is extensive tree swinging here and it works well, a mix of Wolf bravely swinging and the stunt man. Of course DVDs now can determine which is which but it still works well. This also does NOT look like stock footage, most of it, and some new angles are offered up. It’s very well done IMO.
Other than the blond hair, I don’t know that anyone’s ever looked more like the real TARZAN, before and after Wolf. His body and face really look like Tarzan brought to life.
Roger has his shirt buttoned by the time Tarzan catches up with him at the fire field.
I have to say that this is, since the start, the most impressive stunt and set piece in the entire series. It really DOES look like the actors are in danger on this fire field as blasts are going off incredibly close to both Wolf and Sean as well as both stunt people and the blast that knocks Roger onto his back looks very close to Sean’s face. None of this looks like CGI or any kind of trickery but who knows? It looks VERY real. And actually scary.
Before he runs into blasts to save Roger and…seems to fail…as he’s knocked onto his stomach, Tarzan says something. He also seems to be awake on the ground. Is the implication that Tarzan is doing this on purpose to make Roger save him? If so, it’s kind of stupid. If not, it’s brave to have Roger save Tarzan for once and smart. I’m not sure which it is but it could be a combination of both?
Tarzan opens his eyes a few times as if he’s waiting for Roger to save him and move him so it seems as if he could have done it all, which makes some kind of sense for the show’s hero, however, it would have been nice if he were, for once, hurt and Roger had to fully save him.
On the other hand IF Tarzan faked all of this, it makes him sort of a huge liar.
Roger keeps him awake from falling back into unconsciousness which he never really seemed to be in in the first place?
The egg is blown up. Tarzan says, “Some things man is never meant to possess.”
Roger laments the Taft Stegosaurus egg would have looked great in a museum. Tarzan tells him some day Roger will find an even greater piece of history. Today, he claims Roger saved his life. Roger guesses Tarzan doesn’t want him to tell anyone. Tarzan just smiles.
Roger and Jane apologize to each other. Jack asks Roger to tell them again how he saved Tarzan’s life. Tarzan washes up. Jane washed Roger’s face. Jane thinks when you least expect it, that is when you will find something valuable.
Cheetah brings Roger a mint condition dinosaur bone (jaw?). Tarzan says, “When you least expect it.”
Is it me or are there now elephant and bird sounds during the end credits theme? Were there always? This is production 216.
Part of the problems with episodic TV (which I like better than the long form soap opera boredom that came with the likes of THE SOPRANOS and TRUE BLOOD, among others) is that characters are often not affected by events in the previous episodes (STAR TREK’s Capt Kirk can watch the love of his life Edith Keeler die in one ep and the next ep she’s not even mentioned and he’s just fine, ready to start a new romance). Here, I am not sure how to feel about this episode.
One the one hand, it’s a coming of age story for Roger. On the other, he was already acting more mature throughout most of this season, for the most part. He seemed to have already grown up. If this came as first in the season, I might totally be on board for it. And to believe it. Does he stop doing reckless things after this? Time will tell.
For him to go back to doing stupid stuff just seems…a step back. Here, he goes after the egg, parks the jeep too close and gets it destroyed, almost gets himself and Jane and later Tarzan killed, AND takes NO responsibility for it, even by the end of the episode. He is bragging how he saved Tarzan’s life without really facing that he put Tarzan’s life in danger in the first place. If you think about it, he’s a huge liability to all of them. That he did not need saving from the mud, the croc and the rope bridge collapse is not only refreshing, it’s amazing and unpredictable. Tarzan was not around so maybe it was predictable? On the one hand, it feels good to have him get himself out of trouble but on the other, he’s creating the trouble out of greed and selfishness here and causing the other three problems.
I like this episode but truth be told, I want to love it but I just can’t. Not only does Roger act like an idiot and not take any blame for anything that’s happened, Tarzan seems to say and do something that’s not exactly honest here. He seems to have put himself in the line of fire (literally) to get Roger to save him so Roger can what? Prove himself? So what did Roger prove exactly? That he’s a jerk? That he put his friends in danger for fame?
It’s another uneven episode with a fair amount of great stunts and amazing visuals, most of them we haven’t seen before. I like it but don’t love it. And I should.
Again, Wolf, to me anyway, seems the total embodiment of Tarzan brought to life from the books and comics, other than the blond hair but who cares about that other than total purists and complainers?
Again, I have to say a good episode (mostly down to the stunts and action) but it could have been a great one.
42. THE MOVIE STAR
“Tarzan thinks this man is trouble.”
“I’m going to survive in this place if it kills me!”
Jack’s journal is Monday the 1st. This is June in 1992. Feb, Nov, and March in 1993. Sept and Dec in 1997. June, Sept, and Dec in 1998.
While Jack lets a movie star fly his plane after the Hollywood star Nicolas Dimato (actor Graham Heywood under the name Peter Pyper), claims he can, Tarzan (with head band on) and Jane find damaged foliage that a wounded elephant---injured by a poacher---has run through. Tarzan finds blood. Dimato meets Jane and Tarzan after a rough landing that Jack had to take over for, fighting Nicholas over it. He appears to be British.
He insults Tarzan by asking Jane if he speaks English.
Roger tells Cheetah that if things are a mess it is his neck. Cheetah seems to say something and Roger says, “All right, next time I’ll be more specific.” This is a cute joke, meaning Roger’s buttocks. Roger is wearing a sleeveless tank top, all black, which is unusual for him.
Dimato doesn’t treat Roger well either. When Roger tells him that WINGS OVER SAIGON was his favorite movie and extends his hand to shake, Diamto shoves a bag of his in it. Jane and Jack seem to think this is funny. Roger carries the bag to the guest tent.
The movie star’s next movie is set in the jungle and he likes to research his roles. The producer is a friend of Roger’s dad and the producer promised a percent of the film proceeds will go to the Foundation.
Tarzan eats a fruit.
Night: Dimato is calling someone named Jay on a satellite phone and having trouble, delaying Roger and Jane eating dinner as Jane insists on waiting for him. Roger tries to eat toast but Jane slaps it out of his hand. Dimato takes off his hat and Jane nearly laughs at his head: his wig is off inside his hat. He tells Jane that his friends call him Nicky.
The next movie is about a stock broker yuppie type who gets shipwrecked on a jungle beach. He befriends a lion and the lion teaches him how to survive in the jungle. Roger laughs at this, “It’s a comedy, huh?” Tarzan overhears and tells him that a lion does not survive in the jungle like a man. He also claims a lion is not a pet. Tarzan eats a banana. Dimato asks Tarzan if he saw BORN FREE. He also tells Jane she is incredibly beautiful and asks if she ever considered acting a career. Tarzan seems to eat something else, too, reaching for it. It looks like bread. Dimato tells Roger to stick to his day job when Roger states he would like to act.
Dimato records on his tape recorder, “I think I can get some really good character beats from that ape man.”
As Nick makes plans to change the story to be more akin to him playing Tarzan, Tarzan swings in and does the yell. Tarzan doesn’t seem to happy Nick is in his house and seems to be showing male dominance to him. He jumps, runs, dives, and goes into the water. Nick, after some false start, does his own jungle call.
Did I miss something? Nick is shadowing Tarzan as Tarzan hunts with bow and arrow. Jane has asked Tarzan to help Nicholas. Numa comes to them and Nick almost shoots the lion but Tarzan tells him Numa is a friend.
“A lion cannot be a pet. A lion can be a friend but a lion is still a lion,” Tarzan tells him.
Nick sneaks out alone to give meat to Numa. We see, for a rare time, Nick from behind and in the same frame as the lion. Nick gives the lion meat, runs, climbs a tree, throws meat from the tree, falls out of the tree and then flees from the lion again. He calls for Tarzan.
Wolf does an impressive swing from a tree.
Tarzan tries to find out what happened. “There is no shame in being afraid.” Nick denies it but Tantor scares him from the window, Nick thinking it was the rogue elephant. Jane tells him they are all afraid sometimes and they all depend on Tarzan. Nick storms off.
Nick overhears Jane talking to Tarzan about how this is important to her studies and to Roger’s dad. She wants them to help him get over his fear. Nick tells them that Tarzan wouldn’t last in the jungle of Hollywood.
While Roger talks to Jane at night, Cheetah, adorably, wears one of Nick’s hats and eats a banana, agreeing with Roger, who tells Jane that Nick on screen seemed like a nice guy but is really a jerk. Jane will apologize to Nick to soothe things over. She will also talk to Tarzan again. Nick records in his tent and he’s really an annoying character, to be honest. When Cheetah visits Nick, Nick throws his shoe at the chimp, making us hate him more.
Morning? Jack delivers a message from Roger’s dad to Jane to trust all is well with Dimato. Jane’s radio is broken. Throughout this episode, bugs bother Nick, mosquitoes probably.
Pointing out what is wrong with this episode (predictability), Jane points out that Tarzan will find Nick and bring him back. Nick, for his stupidity, takes off alone AGAIN. Tarzan tracks him via the trees.
Nick falls again and this time a croc (yawn) threatens him. He calls for help AGAIN. The croc makes growling sounds (?). Tarzan rushes to cut Nick out of the thicket he’s stuck in. Okay, as if he’s not annoying enough, Nick insists on staying in the jungle if it kills him. Tarzan tells him it will and that “we go,” and THEN, Nick starts pushing Tarzan around, telling Tarzan that he’s sick and tired of Tarzan pushing HIM around!? WTF?
THEN, as if he’s not bad enough, Nick pulls a knife on Tarzan and claims he knows how to use it! The wounded elephant shows up just then and Tarzan warns Nick not to move. It has a spear through its leg. Tarzan tells Nick not to try to run and Nick tries anyway and falls.
Okay, have to stop here for a second. There are annoying characters and there are annoying characters with charm. Dr. Smith from LOST IN SPACE (both versions), Mr. Fitzhugh from LAND OF THE GIANTS, Rodney from STARGATE ATLANTIS, Jonathan from FANTASTIC JOURNEY and others. What makes Nick NOT like them is that he has no charm, no real humor, no real human qualities, and NO sense. All the others had some sense, some survival skills, if you will. On the other hand we have the villain from JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, the 1960 movie (some sources say 1959). He EATS the duck Gertrude and thus, we WANT HIM TO DIE! And satisfyingly, he does. Here, I’ve reached the point where I want the elephant to stamp Nick to death, Tarzan to choke him to death, the croc to eat him, and Numa to claw him to death. He’s that annoying. I also, with only minutes left in the episode, do not think there’s time for a believable turn around for Nick to see the error of his ways.
Horribly, we see Tarzan pull the blood spear out of the leg. There is a belt around the leg. Tarzan angrily jabs it into the ground. He uses mud to stop the bleeding. He tells it to go back to the herd.
Nick returns with Tarzan without further issues.
Nick, on leaving, tells Jane he would have learned more if Tarzan hadn’t babysat him. WHAT? He says he’s kidding but he wants what went down here between them. He’s a jerk. He’s learned nothing.
Nick’s tape recorder and phone are missing (I suspect Cheetah?). Nick says, “Tarzan, my man, you are beautiful!” AND he kisses him on the cheek and hugs him at the same time. “Just don’t change.” He tells Roger to Shake N Bake (a famous advertisement on TV and probably one of the ads for EARTHQUAKE and maybe THE TOWERING INFERNO?). Jane’s look and Nick’s reaction make me think Nick fancies…Tarzan!?
Cheetah has the missing items. Cheetah seems to be talking to Jay? Tarzan thinks Cheetah is too smart to be an actor. Jane and Tarzan laugh.
This is production 217.
This episode is worth watching only as a show case for seeing the beauty that is Lydie and even more of a show case for the magnificent and very vascular Wolf Larson, who’s probably the best built and healthiest man to ever grace TV and/or movies ever. In this episode he looks better than ever and seems to get better and better every episode. I mean I’ve never seen abs, arms, chest, shoulders and legs like this on TV or in the movies.
That stated, there’s nothing else here. Nick is an annoying character, period. He doesn’t even seem to learn his lesson. AND to make matters worse, there’s a sequel next season with Nick in it! Gosh.
There’s little action here and what there is all Nick’s fault (running from a lion, trapped by a croc, a rogue elephant nearby). Nick is unlikable from start to finish and I feel there’s a missed opportunity to tell a story about those who can survive in the jungle vs those who survive in the big city and manmade society but it’s all lost here. There’s also a chance to examine fear and other than being barely touched on, there’s none of that here either. What we have is an attempt to do a Harry Mudd/Dr. Zachary Smith character and insert him into Tarzan. And the lessons from those shows is NOT learned here as Nick hardly comes close to being funny, likeable, charming and/or containing redeeming qualities deep down. It seems he does not and is none of those things. He’s just a self indulgent pest who didn’t learn his lesson some four times. This might not be the worst episode but it probably IS the most annoying, offset by how beautiful both Wolf and Lydie look in this.
43. THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
“Kiki must come with Tarzan.”
“Well, that’s the best offer I’ve had since I got here.”
Jack’s journal states it is Friday the 13th and today a beautiful woman arrived in “our” jungle. 1993 has a Friday the 13th in August. 1994 has one in May. 1997 has one in June. 1998 has two: Feb and March.
The opening credits here seem VERY long and stretch on into the episode further, it would seem, than most. Tarzan is swimming and sees a plane, knows something is wrong and it lands harshly. He pulls a tall woman out of the plane as it explodes behind him. For the first time, I’ve noticed the music is this synth kind of 1990s thing they were doing since the late 1980s but it never felt this show was doing that. Now, it does, in this ep anyway. I don’t mind it but it sounds like other shows of its time: THE LOST WORLD, BEASTMASTER, MUTANT X, CONAN, SINBAD, and others.
Roger has a butterfly or more likely a moth, a rare species that he will take photos of and then Jane tells him to let her go. Cheetah and another chimp, Tokay (?), are going through the woman’s things. Roger seems to recognize her. Jane finds FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH SKIN REJUVENATOR, which sells for 300 dollars an item. The passports says the woman is Kiki Bluet (icon Sarah Douglas of SUPERMAN 2 fame and other things including SPACE: 1999-THE ABCHRYSALIS). She is an heiress to a cosmetic company of her family. She is an adventuress who gets tired of cellular phones and yes men. She is here on a herb finding mission for a new cosmetic. Roger brings Kiki breakfast and Jack brings her flowers.
Kiki’s bag is missing. The chimps, including Cheetah, have covered it up. Roger tells her about some of the other animals that live around here. It sounds like gallagers, howlers, collbus? Tarzan has on a headband.
Is it the next day when Jane tells Kiki that Roger cannot take her because he has to collect specimens for her and that tomorrow he has to help Tarzan? It looks like they are eating breakfast.
When Cheetah and Tokay wreck her tent, Kiki thinks animals despise her and swears it is biological.
At night, Roger sneaks into Kiki’s tent and tells her he will sneak her out early and get back before they miss her. She kisses him on the lips. In the morning, he does just that, his shirt open to his stomach but tucked in front.
Even as Tarzan tracks them, the two cross a bridge and Kiki falls toward the bottom of a pit of snakes but manages to hold on. Impressively, we see Sarah Douglas, the actress, holding onto a branch AND the snakes below her in one frame in one shot.
Roger pulls her up and out but falls and has to hold onto the branch himself. Somehow his shirt is now buttoned up.
In the next shot, his shirt is unbuttoned but only at the bottom unlike how it was before.
Kiki leaves Roger there.
Amazingly and against all expectations two things happen: Tarzan does not show up to get Roger out and Roger gets himself out and a third thing happens that is even more unexpected: one of the snakes actually bites Roger’s ankle!
Tarzan finds Roger, feels his heart, uses his headband to tie off Roger’s upper leg, sucks the poison out of his ankle and spits it out.
Cheetah and the other chimp lead Jane to the covered up bag of Kiki’s. Jane takes it and finds bottles of some sort of animal tissue. Never noticed this before but Jack’s green jeep seems to have the wheel in the center!?
Tarzan brings Roger to Jack at Jane’s base. He goes off to find Kiki. Tarzan has put his headband back on. We saw him take it off Roger’s ankle.
Jane analyzes the animal skins and finds that Kiki is using monkey pituitary glands in her FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH skin cream. Roger has his shirt fully open now as he lays, recovering. Jane figures she has to warn Tarzan about Kiki so leaves Jack to watch over Roger to go warn him. Tarzan catches up with Kiki who hides the fact that she was about to shoot a monkey.
Kiki seems to have a British accent.
When Kiki pulls a gun on Tarzan, a monkey screech distracts her and she fires the gun which seems to graze Tarzan’s head and he spins and falls. She looks genuinely shocked that she shot Tarzan, not meaning to have shot him. He also falls back first off a high cliff into a ravine. She seems smug about it now.
As Kiki fires on the monkeys (we don’t actually see her hit one but we’re not sure if she does nor not), Jane attacks her but loses and Kiki gets her gun back and points it at Jane.
Tarzan stops her from behind before she can shoot Jane. The dialog here is a bit odd as she screams for him to put her down and she does and then she tries to scare Jane talking about her solicitor?
In the end scene Roger has on a new shirt, open to reveal his chest and stomach (boy has abs now). Kiki kept talking about her uncle the ambassador (she did?) but it won’t do her much good. Roger says she sure is beautiful and is going to miss her but he means his moth. Tarzan says beauty comes from time. Tantor has many wrinkles and the wrinkles signify wisdom in Tarzan’s jungle. “The ability to survive in the jungle. To Tarzan, this is beauty.” He gives Jane a flower. But of course, without him, Jane could NEVER survive in the jungle.
The skin cream is off the shelves and Kiki is in a four star jail cell.
Jane says if you look at magazines you would think women over 30 didn’t exist.
Roger brags that he likes to only read National Geographic and American Scientist. Cheetah says that a magazine with Kiki’s picture in it belongs to Roger. Roger says, “Well, he’s lying.” Tarzan, Jack and Jane seem to think this is very funny.
Production number is 218.
An okay episode and one that I’m surprised wasn’t done earlier. Sarah Douglas seems a bit…sedate as Kiki though she does some damage here and there but I think her villainess could have been even more dangerous. I also wonder why they didn’t just have Jane win in her fight over Kiki rather than have Tarzan have to come to the rescue yet again. It would have made for a nice change but I guess the show is called TARZAN. If Jane had won, it might have made the end of Tarzan finding beauty in survival in the jungle make more sense…even though Jane has time and time again proven she CANNOT survive in the jungle on her own. Roger, either. And Jack is doubtful, too!
All in all, despite that, a good episode that delivers the goods, I guess.
We DO get a lot of scenes of Tarzan swinging, tracking, running, etc.
I’m also not sure why they needed a second chimp alongside Cheetah?
The butterfly/moth we first see Jane identifies as a Rachelia (and I can’t understand the second word she says, JackBa?). This can be a moth.
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