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
47. TARZAN’S DANGEROUS JOURNEY
48. TOXIC TERROR
49. THE EARTHLY CHALLENGE
47. TARZAN’S DANGEROUS JOURNEY
“Yeah, I’ll live. Who’s this insane person?”
“I’m Jane Porter and this is Tarzan.”
“I’ll say one thing for ya, you know how to wrestle.”
“The jungle can be a dangerous place for a man from the city.”
“Gauntlet, it’s like an obstacle course. Only these obstacles kill. Poison arrows, spears, trees falling on you.”
Jack’s journey is Tuesday the 31st. 1992 has a Tuesday in March only. 1993 has August. 1997 has none, so maybe this can call off the idea that this timeline IS 1997 despite that ONE episode, though if this is one of the last episodes aired AND produced that would mean the end of the season which would be 1998 which has a Tuesday the 31st in MARCH.
Jack’s journal reveals what the episode will be about. While studying river birds, Jane would encounter a stranger who would save her life and drag Tarzan on a dangerous journey. I’m not sure that Jack’s journal (or Simon’s or Dan’s is a good thing for the show; it is like giving us spoilers at the very start of the episode!).
Jane has found no sign, so far, of a red crested coot which is a bad sign since they always nest in the river along the reeds. It is a sign that the pesticides used by the Bandeli farmers are killing species. Marc Gomes plays Paul Shaka. He’s been in THE CROW: STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN and KUNG FU: THE LEGEND CONTINUES as well as THE X FILES, SUE THOMAS, EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT, and MEDIUM.
Jane, canoeing on the river, stumbles and her oar, stuck, causes her to fall into the water. Sigh.
Paul rescues her. Sigh.
Tarzan watches from afar as the man tries to get water out of Jane. Tarzan attacks the man. Doesn’t he know what the man is trying to do? With bared teeth, Tarzan attacks him after being thrown by him. The grapple and roll around on top of each other. Let’s just say a lot of Wolf is revealed here!
Okay, so Tarzan does NOT know what CPR is?
Paul has not been pinned once in four years of college wrestling. Tarzan tells Paul he is strong as Mowgani and quick as Numa. Paul, at the compound, admits he should have listened to Jack. When he left the hanger, Jack told him he would get lost but he wouldn’t accept the advice.
Tarzan has his head band on so far for this episode.
Paul tells them he grew up south of where they are in the Wendahla Region (spelling?). His father was determined he would be educated. He shipped Paul off to boarding school in Europe. He went into medicine and opened a practice in London. He walked in circles all day and night. Tarzan will take him back to his people. Paul mentions his roots and also his name is a lot like Shaka Zulu.
They will go when “the sun is still yawning” and Tarzan tells him to stay in the treehouse. Tarzan tells Jack and Roger that Shaka has the dignity of a lion and the eyes of a king.
Tarzan is ready with his crossbow (we haven’t seen that a lot lately). He tells a wakened Paul that the jungle is a good place to sleep. Paul’s long jacket is short sleeved and open with no shirt underneath. Tarzan has to intimidate a leopard that blocks their way as they move under the arch from the treehouse.
I must say that Wolf, often in the past, has been a great Tarzan and shown the savage side of Tarzan as well as other sides. Here, he’s really quite scary and intimidating as Tarzan as he’s never been before. It’s a perfect performance IMO and chilling. His face shows it all: the savagery, the assuredness, the wonder of who will come out victor, and the brutality without it actually coming to violence. I have grown to think Wolf is the best Tarzan there ever was, among many good Tarzans.
He does the Tarzan yell.
When Paul asks Tarzan tells him he learned the yell from Mighty Kerchak, leader of the great apes. It was his cry of victory.
When Tarzan dumps Paul into the river to save him from a scorpion, which he rolls the rock it is on into the river, Paul wants to hire him as a body guard, jokingly. Tarzan asks, “Shaka wants Tarzan to guard his body?”
Tarzan, Cheetah and Paul eat fruit. Tarzan has visited Paul’s people several years ago and the Wagasi have always been friendly to Tarzan.
“They show smiles not spears.”
Paul tells him that his people avoided strangers. Several years ago, young boys were in the river and one was hit by a log and it was not very dangerous but Tarzan saved him. “It seems, my friend, that you’re always helping someone.”
As they continue, Tarzan feels something wrong but is not sure what. Tarzan find and sets off, purposely, a trap with a rain of arrows that would have killed them if he didn’t use his bow and arrow to set it off.
Tarzan smells poison on the tip of the arrows more deadly than the black mamba bite.
Mowgasi or Wugasi? Either way, Paul thinks they must be at war, that’s the only reason they would kill so indiscriminately. Paul trips a wire of some kind and Tarzan saves him from falling into a covered up pit which has a spike in it. Paul offers Tarzan the choice to go back, he does not want Tarzan getting killed on his behalf. “Do not worry about Tarzan,” Tarzan tells him.
At this point, this episode is a bit like an Ely episodes, one of the more brutal ones, one where he has to throw an enemy and the enemy, a former friend ends up in such a pit. It’s also bit like some of the later 1960 TARZAN movies which were more brutal, say Gordon Scott, Mike Henry, and/or Jock Mahoney. But things can’t go that violent, can they? Not in this series.
Tarzan finds it strange: this is more a trap that poachers use. Earlier a fly landed on Wolf’s hand and the fruit he was eating. Now, one lands on Gomer’s nose.
Tarzan tells him to follow him and walk with the ears and eyes of Numa.
Tarzan spots a log that was moved but that whoever did it did not want anyone to know. He sets off the booby trap that has objects crashing down on the log the moment someone reaches the middle. Tarzan gives him an ultimatum: he will tell him the truth before a beetle crawls from Tarzan’s hand or Tarzan will leave Shaka in the jungle alone. Paul tells him the truth: his father is a king and is sick. Umbula, the witch doctor, is trying to kill Paul. The witch doctor knows that once Shaka cures the people with medicine, his so called magical powers will become useless. SO this IS like an Ely TARZAN!
The witch doctor has somehow convinced the father that Paul Shaka has to earn the right to be Mugasi king by running their gauntlet. Paul tells him he does not usually lie but didn’t think Tarzan would help him.
Stress, crime, pollution has given Paul his fill of urban living. So he came back here. Since Shaka risked his life for Jane, Tarzan will risk his life to run the gauntlet with him.
Next, as they move on, flaming spears surround them and Tarzan pulls Shaka back from trying to exit, as Shaka removes his jacket. To escape, Tarzan directs him to help him lift a boulder and they jump down a hole into the cavern below. When Wolf lands, rolling, his loin cloth lifts and we see a pouch covering his lower region.
For the first time in the entire series, Wolf’s Tarzan looks wide eyed with panic and we and he realize Cheetah is not with them. It’s another marvelous performance moment. Cheetah finds them and when Paul asks how on earth he made it, Tarzan says, “Cheetah belongs to the jungle, even more than Tarzan.”
Next, once outside, near a lake or river, falling rocks threaten them. Tarzan TAKES Shaka’s hand to run!? They hide near rocks but one actually seems to hit Wolf on the shoulder and arm (right arm?) which seems not planned to have happened. I hope these rocks were fake ones but honestly if they are, they look real and not fake at all.
AND…once more it resembles an Ely episode with falling rocks threatening them, which happened more than once in the Ely TV show.
Tarzan points to natives carrying a king (?). There seem to be four carrying the king.
“Friends do not need to repay each other. And it is always good to make new friends.”
Shaka crosses the water to his calling out father.
In the last scene, Jack plays Roger in basketball. Whoever wins has to do Jane’s dishes. Roger wins 10-6. Roger is shirtless. He wears the necklace again (yes, like Jai in a certain Tarzan-Ely ep). Only Roger wears it all the time it seems. After what seems like another trip, Tarzan arrives on Tantor and has visited Paul. He is getting along much better with that witch doctor. The witch doctor knows Paul’s medicine also has powers. Tarzan makes a shot in the hoop.
Stupidly, Roger takes Jack’s bet that if Tarzan makes it in again, Roger will do the dishes for a whole week.
Tarzan, of course, makes it. Roger leaves to do the dishes and Jane asks where Tarzan learned to do that. Tarzan came by when Jack was practicing at the hanger and Jack showed him. They conned Roger. Not cool.
A more serious episode, which, though we know no one will die, we’re not sure of Paul’s real motives so maybe he might? It’s more tense than some of the other episodes and the early fight between Tarzan and Paul makes up for lack of a physical confrontation between anyone and anyone. Still, the format of the show in not being able to pay much for more than one or two guest stars is wearing thin and it is predictable that unlike the Ely TV show and maybe the later Joe Lara show, there won’t be many others appearing in the show after one or two guest stars.
Yet despite that, this episode is fun and exciting in more ways than…well, two: it’s a friendship ep and briefly, a mystery as to why his own people are trying to kill him. The unseen villain, the witch doctor, has been better portrayed in some of the movies and definitely better in the Ely TV show. Here, it’s just lip service but in the confines of this show, it’s okay, sort of. Gomer makes one of the more serious guest characters, too.
48. TOXIC TERROR
“The ocean is a source of life, who would want to destroy it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Tarzan? Again? He’s like a curse or something. This time I’m going to kill him.
I’m going to do it slowly and slow. I’m gonna make that ape man sweat first.”
Jack’s journal: Monday the 23rd: 1993 has August; 1992 has March and November (though I think at this late date in the schedule of the 1992-1993 season we can figure the year is supposed to be 1993 but who knows?); 1997 has June; 1998 has Feb, Nov, and March.
The narration of Jack gives away everything here: As Roger injures his leg on a rusty pipe, it would cause Tarzan and Jane to face an old enemy and end a major pollution threat. WHY? Spoilers, gentlemen!
Roger is once again shirtless, this time in a bathing suit, racking up more shirtlessness this season than in last season. Roger is swimming and testing himself and it’s not long before some kind of riptide is gripping him and he’s yelling his head off for Tarzan to help him. Tarzan runs to the area (no headband). Roger gets is leg stuck on a barrel sized pipe as the water tide hits him and black liquid is on his leg. Veins popping, Tarzan cuts the wiring on the barrel shape and frees Roger and saves him. Roger passes out. Later, Jane treats Roger’s leg and it’s nasty looking wounds we see.
Tarzan tells Jane that this happened at a pipe near the beach at Dolphin Cove. When Roger wants to come with Jane and Tarzan when they go investigate, Tarzan sets what Roger calls a three foot tall baby sitter, Cheetah to stay and watch over Roger. He has second degree burns.
Charmingly, Cheetah brings round a grumpy Roger by kissing his cheek. Jack meets Tarzan and Jane at the treehouse with a metal detector.
A fly buzzes and lands on Jane when Jack asks Tarzan why Tarzan doesn’t take him on one of his mysterious missions. Was that planned? We then hear the buzz of the fly.
Using his knife, Tarzan gets Jane a sample of the liquid without touching it. Jane discusses things dumped in the ocean; PCBs, DDTs, dioxin, if these chemicals destroy the plankton, it will mean starvation for life in the ocean and not just Tarzan’s dolphin friends. There are 97 varieties of fish on the endangered species list.
“Tarzan again?” A voice says. Meant to be the same character, a different sounding voice says, “He’s like a curse or something.” Karl Hauser is back.
Karl was in THE SILENT CHILD, RIVER OF DOOM, and FORBIDDEN JEWELS. IMDB also says Karl was in THE BROKEN PROMISE but that’s not true unless I totally missed something?
In bed, Roger is reading I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN by Joanne Greenberg. Cheetah brings him cookies and insists he stay in bed.
When a big cat of some kind (bob cat? She lion?) scares her, Tarzan lifts her out of the way and readies his crossbow but it runs away. Was he really going to shoot it? Jane dropped Jack’s metal detector into a bubbling pit of oil? Tarzan uses his arrows to detect the metal pipe and how it runs.
When Jane asks, “How come you make everything so simple?”
“Practice,” Tarzan tells her.
The handsome well built lean aide of Karl’s is bringing a container of something into the jungle. He is in a jeep. He plays some kind of pop music or rock music. But no, that’s Roger playing that. This aide is at the compound. Cheetah wants to take Roger’s temperature. The aide pours black gunk into the water supply over the shower. Jane and Tarzan see Karl get a delivery from another man, one who is smoking. Before Tarzan confronts him, Jane wants to know what he is up to. They go to Jack for help.
Jack poses as Karl’s next delivery driver. What? How? Despite the regular lapses in logic, story wise, (why did they---the writers and/or the characters think this would work?), this throws up all sorts of continuity problems. In past episodes Karl knew Simon but in at least one episode, FORBIDDEN JEWELS, Karl has a rifle pointed in Jack’s face so he met Jack and knows his face well. Here…he says this:
“I’ve never seen you before. Who are you?”
Jack poses as a driver bringing stuff the other driver “forgot to bring”.
He has a rag tied around his head. Disguise?
Tarzan sits on a branch in an unusual way. He climbs down and it’s Wolf doing these, it appears but in total long shot. Why?
Jack distracts Karl and his aide long enough for Tarzan to go into the cabin to see a hole in the floor? Tarzan from the roof knocks the aide into the jeep but Karl gets Jack and threatens to kill him if Tarzan doesn’t give up. Tarzan already was shot at by Karl’s rapid fire gun (?). Karl then threatens to cut Jack’s throat if Tarzan doesn’t come out. Karl wants Tarzan to suffer. For some reason, Karl doesn’t carry out his threat but lets Tarzan call him out as a coward and to fight face to face. Karl fires bullets into the chemical barrels and they explode as Tarzan runs. This gives Jack time to recover and knock Karl out from behind. What?
Jack and Jane run right into a lion.
Jane realizes it is Numa.
Tarzan does the Tarzan yell.
Tarzan drops down onto the building and as Karl recovers, drops down behind him and chokes him. I’m not sure what Jack and Jane are complaining about or if they are trying to stop Tarzan from killing Karl in his own chemicals which leak from a barrel he shot as he tried to shoot Tarzan. Tarzan stops him and seems about to kill him but Jane and Jack seem to be trying to convince him not to? Huh?
Karl then tells him he added chemicals to the shower water at the compound, meaning Roger is in danger.
Karl taunts the others and Tarzan with weird sounds. He’s certifiable at this point.
Roger takes off his shirt again to take a shower at Cheetah’s insistence.
Tarzan fires an arrow that stops the shower that would have killed Roger. Jack and Jane arrive moments after.
Using beer and the beer bottle, Karl escapes Numa and his ropes and hides in the shack as Tarzan returns.
Karl says twice Tarzan let him out of the jungle empty handed but not this time.
When Tarzan goes up the pipe toward the hole in the shack, Karl hears a rock fall and dumps the chemicals of black color down the chute at Tarzan.
Tarzan does another Tarzan yell to get Numa away from the area and rubs two rocks together to create a spark. Karl gets out as the shack explodes.
Tarzan (has he had a hair cut?) rides Tantor with Cheetah. Tantor crushes the pipe.
“The warden said if you bring in one more bad guy, they’re going to have to name a wing after you,” Jack tells Tarzan when Tarzan asks if Hauser will not return. It is time for Roger’s injection and everyone thinks this is funny, even more so as Roger runs away from this.
Not a bad episode at all, pretty entertaining with less of the usual lapses in logic. The writers seem unwilling to have Tarzan kill in this series. BTW what happened to Hauser’s aide? Was he knocked out? Ran away?
NOTE: Okay, Karl DIED in FORBIDDEN JEWELS so how did he return here? I mean...what? For a show that brings back villains and guest visitors often enough, they really didn't bother about continuity. AND in either production order or air order, this episode comes AFTER the ep Karl died in!? Is this an alt universe TARZAN, this episode or the one he died in from each other?
49. THE EARTHLY CHALLENGE
“Women can also be kind. Like Jane.”
Jack’s journal: Tuesday the 1st: 1992 has Sept and Dec; 1993 has June (this being the second to last episode filmed in the second season this is the likely candidate); 1997 has April and July; 1998 has Sept and Dec.
Jane and Roger are in dark caves with flashlights. Jane wants a good night’s sleep for tomorrow’s Earth Day Challenge-the Great Earth Day Showdown. Roger believes he has it “licked.” Jack calls via radio and tells Roger that he has a letter from Julie Markwell. They have been looking for bats. They find a skeleton and a lion comes running at them. Roger thought Julie wanted to return his ID bracelet to him. Predictably, the two of them end up screaming for Tarzan as the lion is below them and they end up on a ledge. He swings to the caves and goes in with a torch (no headband like all of the last episode). He calls this loin Terrack and fights it with the torch. Jane claims they got lost and that Roger was a little distracted. This lion’s family was killed by hunters and now he hunts for revenge. Jack knows that Roger hasn’t heard from Julie in almost a year.
Julie’s dumped Roger three times. Tarzan thinks Roger is strong but Jane thinks that when it comes to women, men are weak. Tarzan just smiles at that. Wolf has some bump on his right shoulder? Tarzan does not want to judge the contest tomorrow. Jane asks him, rather sexually, “If I win, what will my prize be?” Jack and Roger return before he can answer.
Tarzan, just before that says this curious line, “Tarzan already knows that Jane cannot live a day without doing harm to the jungle.” What?
Roger reads Julie’s letter outside against a tree while Cheetah listens and reacts. Uhm, is there a truck backing up nearby? The sound of that alarm that goes off slightly when a truck backs up is heard? WTF? Is that a bird sounding that way? She wants him to come back as college life and dating has been great but just reminds her that she wants him.
Jane tries to get Roger interested in the Earth Day Showdown again. She tells him that in their lifetime an average person throws away about 600 times their weight in garbage. Roger wishes everyone would mind their own business and storms into his tent.
Jane thinks the challenge should be cancelled but Tarzan tells her when the tiger is tested it only grows stronger and that women can be kind, like Jane is.
In honor of Earth Day, they are going to see which of them can get through the day without doing damage to the environment. Roger has his shirt open again showing off his stomach and chest. He’s being cynical due to his issues with Julie. Earlier he said life stinks. Jane uses biodegradable soap. Roger has to go the bathroom and Cheetah will not allow him to use toilet paper that’s not recyclable. Okay are they trying to imply that Cheetah accidentally took a photo with Jane’s camera of…Roger going to the bathroom with his pants down?
Jane tells Jack that Bendali gets its meat from South America which destroys rainforests for grazing land. Roger snaps at Cheetah and waves him off. Jane scolds Roger that he’s been acting like a teenager. He says, “I am a teenager.” He is? I thought by now he’d be at least 20?
Roger tells Jane when she pushes him that he’s sick and tired of being the entertainment around here and that he knows what everyone thinks of him: like what kind of trouble will Roger get into today and/or maybe he’ll get one thing right this time. He asks her if she would hire him if his father were not funding the project. She does not answer. He storms off that home offers college, pizza, movies, and MTV. He IS thinking of leaving.
We see Roger go onto his bicycle for the first time. He puts a cap on (Justin Boot Company). It’s not 15 seconds before he crashes it and the lion comes upon him. For one of those rare times we see it in the same frame as him. In another of those wonderful stunts, Roger races his bike over the bridge as the lion gives chase AND then jumps off his bike over the rail of the bridge. It’s impressive. He ends up holding on over a ravine or a fall with the lion over him.
Sigh…and calling for Tarzan.
Tarzan saves Roger and promises Tarack that the lion can trust Tarzan. He tells Roger some day he will teach the lion that not all men are bad. Tarzan takes Roger on canoe. Roger feels his life is not working out here. Tarzan tells him the river follows one course. The weather may change but it follows one course. This is not altogether true. In any case, Roger agrees to finish the contest but then says after it is over, it is “hasta la viesta,” which is a phrase popularized by TERMINATOR 2. Roger takes a 1990s version of a selfie with Cheetah. Jane comes to his tent and tells him that he finds simple ways to do things that make him smart and also that she’s not afraid when she sees he is not. She also does not see him as lazy and always wanted a younger brother and now feels like she is losing him. They hug.
Roger has on his necklace and charm. In the swim in the ocean scenes last ep he was not wearing it and some of the subsequent scenes he also did not have it on. In the shower or near shower scene he DID have it on.
We see the parrot again.
Jane, upset that Roger is packing, goes for a walk but when Roger looks for her a few moments later, he realizes she forgot about the lion. He runs off to help her. With Jane stuck in a tree, the lion just under her, Roger swings to her after climbing up another tree. Of course, this show is TARZAN so Tarzan has to come to save them both and scare/ward the lion off. Actually Tarak lays down at Tarzan’s feet, trusting him. “Tarak, because some men are bad does not mean all men are bad. We all share the jungle. Together, as friends.”
“Julie may want me for my looks and possibly my charm but you guys, would be dead without me.”
Uhm, Roger says that, not Tarzan.
While I found the opposite, Jack tells Roger that friendship is forever and Jane tells Roger that love doesn’t always last. Roger feels that they didn’t need him before but now he feels they can’t get along without him.
Roger turns his butt to them and tells them if they want him to leave they’re going to have to kick his butt out of here. When he turns, Jack and Jane kick his butt. They laugh.
Not sure how I feel about this episode. I love Roger themed episodes. Truth is however, Jack, Jane, and Roger, not to mention Cheetah (not so much this season or lately) and even Numa (last episode only) ALL are liabilities to living in a jungle full of manmade and natural dangers.
This has been a problem with the series from the start, though Simon had more sense last season, even he did some dopey things to get him into trouble so that hero Tarzan could save him. Jane forgets about a killer lion, goes off for a walk on her own with no protection, and generally seems ill fit to live in the jungle, even getting lost in the bat caves and blaming Roger who knew about the cave routes but gets lost anyway.
Roger should be about 19 or 20 so him calling himself a teenager is a stretch though many males that age (females too) consider themselves teens even though they know they’re too old to be or just out of their teens. No one wants to really get older these days.
At least this ep is more consistent than last episode but not as exciting. As ever, the ep is not a bad one but a bit predictable. I mean since it was nearing the end of the season (and back then who knew if the show was coming back for a third; it did), it might mean Roger WAS really going to leave the show and go home (New York?). As it stands, we know that Tarzan will have to have at least two rescues this episode and so it happens. And Roger will stay. And there will be a laugh at the end.
Nothing totally memorable but not bad either. I DO like the idea of a killer lion who wants revenge but this is almost a secondary plot line there for the rescues and some “danger.” It works. This episode works and that’s more than saying most about some shows’ scripts. If you buy this show, you buy the premises. I guess.
Oddly, Wolf no longer wears the headband for the last two episodes so far and we shall see the next episode if he does and his body seems to change here from one scene to another. At times (stock?) he looks more bulk muscled and at others more lean. And I’m not talking about the stunt man, that’s obvious but not so much back in the 1990s before DVD and blu ray (video tape couldn’t help much either as it is not as clear as DVD and blu ray) and the show hardly came out on video tape anyway.
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.