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TARZAN TV SERIES ~ 1991-1994
Starring Wolf Larson as Tarzan and Lydie Denier as Jane
Reviews by Charles Mento
SEASON TWO CONCLUSION
SEASON THREE BEGINS
50. THE MYSTERIOUS FOG (Last Season Two Episode)
51. TARZAN AND THE HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURE (the start of season 3)
52. THE WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION
“The jungle did not make this fog. This fog was made by man.”
“Sometimes the needs of many means making great sacrifices. In this case, it’s your jungle.”
“Man makes a problem, man must solve it. Not kill the animals and the trees.”
The last Jack’s journal: Thursday the 21st: spring time in the jungle, one of the first instances of a time of year in the series, maybe not the first but one of the first. It’s always been a time for new arrivals.
1992 has ONE 21st on a Thursday and that is May. 1993 has Jan and October. 1997 has August (so oddly, this is the date that might fit the most—see info from the net below; also odd because I only use the 1997 and 1998 dates to satisfy ONE episode where a criminal—probably Karl---was let out of jail after a long sentence; but to be fair, by now in the last episode of season two it is probably early to mid 1998; SO…1998 has just May.
Again, who knows when this is supposed to take place? August is supposed to be the beginning of spring in some parts of Africa but who also knows WHERE this is supposed to take place!?
Info from the net: August is the beginning of spring and blossoms begin to sprout over the Western and Northern Cape. Namaqualand in the Northern Cape ends up covered in beautiful blooms and individuals travel from close and far to see them. The Cape is nippy as of now and early August sees the link vehicle for Table Mountain shut for yearly support. KwaZulu Natal is the best area to visit in August, offering warm temperatures and bounty to see and do.
More info from the net: Instead of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, most countries in East Africa and Southern Africa have a wet season (s) and a dry season. The wet season, in particular, is at different times of the year, depending on the country/region.
Roger has on a sleeveless denim vest of some kind and no shirt underneath as has been the style this season for the most part. Jane points out where gazelles give birth. Tarzan smells a branch Cheetah brings in and determines there is poison on it. Tarzan (no headband again) takes his crossbow again when Cheetah takes Tarzan to where he found the chemical doused branch.
The shots of Cheetah on the back of both Wolf in medium and closer shots and the stunt double in far shots is impressive as Tarzan swings with the chimp hanging onto his neck and on his back.
Tarzan and Cheetah find not only dead grass and leaves fallen from trees and whole areas looking dispatched but an afflicted rodent of some kind AND a fog that is not jungle morning mist. The fog rises from the ground. Tarzan takes the rodent and info to Jane. The rodent is a she and Jane and Tarzan call her Lo Paca. Jane thinks she is a bit better and absorbed some kind of chemical through her paws. He tells her that his feet felt hot when the fog came up.
Roger alerts Jane to a call from Jack. Jack tells her that he was flying back from Bendali and saw a plane in a clearing 10 miles north of Jane’s. There are about 20 canisters piled up next to it.
Charmingly, when Tarzan leaves to go after the plane and canisters and those behind it, Roger calls, “Hey, Tarzan be careful,” and when Tarzan asks if he’s worried, Roger says, “Well, you know how it is.” Then, after Tarzan leaves, seemingly smiling from this, Roger looks at Jane. It’s a puzzling scene but nice. Is Roger developing a thing for Tarzan other than friendship? Probably not but…
Now, I know some uptight fans do not like a blond Tarzan. Frankly, they got 99 percent right about the physicality of Tarzan, THIS Tarzan, the Wolf Larson Tarzan that I don’t care about that. I think Wolf is probably THE best Tarzan ever in every regard. The one thing I don’t understand is: I’ve seen Wolf in other things (and in one he played a would be rapist torturer serial killer and was fabulous) and his hair is decidedly NOT bright blond or light blond but dark blond or even light brown. Not sure why they went with blond then? In the scene where he is riding Tantor with Cheetah into the area to find the plane, his hair, for the first time looks TOO blond and as if it is dyed. A small section looks brown at his sideburns. Just an observation.
When Tarzan asks Tantor to stop, the elephant lifts her leg to let him use it to get down.
Tarzan stops the man who is spraying chemicals when he yells when it looks like the man is going to spray a revealed Cheetah and Tantor. Tarzan brings the man, Roderigo Gonzalez to Jane’s compound. He is a tester for Columbian chemical company developing a defoliant. This is being done to destroy the drug lord’s crops and areas in South America (Columbia). According to the Bendali authorities his test area is south of the river and east of the mountains which Tarzan says, “That is the whole jungle.”
Anything over 40 pounds will be safe. Isn’t he kind?
“Sometimes the needs of many means making great sacrifices. In this case, it’s your jungle.”
Oh no, Jane just didn-unt! She’s going to side with the war on drugs over the jungle she says she loves. Is she bluffing? She on drugs? Roger seems to agree with Jane. Oh no, HE did-unt!
“People on the other side of the world cannot decide what to do in Tarzan’s jungle.” You go, guy!
The man tells Jane he is sorry to be the cause of so many problems and he seems sincere. Jane says, “Tarzan doesn’t understand. He hasn’t been outside of the jungle since he was a child.” SO, this is NOT the same continuity as TARZAN IN MANHATTAN.
Jane and Roger go for a walk. She cannot believe she’s thinking of helping a man who is going to wipe out hundreds of trees with a chemical formula. Us, neither, traitor!
Tarzan might be able to clear out the animals but not save the trees.
Roger finds Tarzan looking for more sick animals. Roger has friends back home and they know friends and they all know somebody who have been affected by drugs. Sigh. Why can’t they go the brave route and tell us that Roger has a friend or two that was affected by drugs. It feels a cowardly scripted move.
Tarzan’s answer is: “Man makes a problem, man must solve it. Not kill the animals and the trees.”
Roger offers to talk to Gonzalez to limit the test area but Tarzan says to kill any part of the jungle is to kill too much.
Gonzalez’s handle is Papa Bear? He uses this to call his base? The person on the other end calls the chemical a testing of a weapon. He even calls themselves mercenary chemists or calls Gonzalez a mercenary chemist so Gonzalez WAS lying about the war on drugs. This should not be surprising but it was and it also sort of dilutes the moral dilemma that faces Tarzan’s friends (namely the traitor Jane and the less traitor Roger: at least Roger came up with at least two instances of not making this as bad as it would be if he said nothing) and Tarzan himself in a way (and Jack, too, I guess). It sort of takes the easy way out in making Gonzalez a liar and a phony instead of making the gang fight something that was officially sanctioned.
But this is a kid adventure show, not a philosophical documentary or morality play like STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION became ….and that show became boring with that stuff after a bit so…
…The voice on the other end of the radio tells Gonzalez that they have some Middle Eastern gentlemen interested in low density fog and they can be sold this weapon. It sounds like it comes in fog format, concentrated liquid form, and something else I could not make out.
What does Roger mean when he tells Cheetah, “I’m sure if we asked him to limit the test area, it wouldn’t make much difference anyways.”
I can’t understand some of Gonzalez’s dialog as he does something really stupid. Worse: I can’t understand his actions here.
I’m not sure why the writer thought this would make sense even from a villain. Gonzalez seems to have the gov’t on his side (did Jack even check on this? Did Jane?) not to mention Roger and Jane and probably Jack, too. Unless Tarzan was actively trying to do something against him, WHY would he attack Tarzan with a flame thrower? It makes NO sense.
Tarzan falls from the fired vine and is out cold again. The stunt work here is incredible.
Gonzalez’ plane is XA PAO or Q.
Looking for Gonzalez in his tent, Roger with Cheetah find documentation that shows Gonzalez is conducting chemical warfare tests. Airborne chemical drops or something can be added to it. Gonzalez catches Roger and makes him lie face down on the bed and ties his hands behind his back. Cheetah leaves with a test tube.
Cheetah alerts Jane and Jack to Roger’s hat and predicament as well as the test tube. Just then, Bendali calls to ask about Jack’s “new plane” which is Gonzalez. They’ve never heard of Gonzalez and would never give permission for someone to test in the jungle at all. Jane, Jack, and Roger have been really stupid not checking on this. Jane claims she was going to ask Bendali about this but she’s had plenty of time to and didn’t.
Roger managed to knock over the cot he’s on (off screen, unfortunately, but I bet some footage exists somewhere!), wiggle into a spot to stand, and then get to a glass on the table he accidently almost knocks over, too. He even hits his head on a table (unplanned?).
Before he can get free (and Sean Roberge is excellent in this and in this entire episode), Gonzalez returns, smoking a cigar. He figures Roger was going to use the acid to cut the rope.
Roger is wearing his pendant and crystal on it again. His shirt mostly comes down off his shoulders.
Gonzalez says, “I’m sorry I didn’t give you enough credit. If I wasn’t going to kill you I’d offer you a job.” In another few hours he was going to perfect the chemical fog formula. He tells Roger about Tarzan falling into a deep ravine. He re-ties Roger up.
Tarzan wakes up and does the call. Apparently he gets out of the ravine because the next time we see him he’s in the jungle on Tantor.
Jack and Jane drive into purple mist which we see has wiped out insects and leaves are all over the ground. Jack fires a flare for Tarzan to see them?
Gonzalez starts to attack Tarzan with a new spray that is more lethal and after he kills Tarzan and Roger he will destroy the jungle trees and leaves for 30 miles. Gonalez is so insane he does not see a fire started on a table that blows up the plane (Tarzan leaps over the plane, being sprayed at and maybe even sprayed on) and we see HIM blow up on screen. It’s a fitting end for one of the worst people on TV and one of the best villains, even if he acts stupidly most of the time here.
Again, the stunt here and the plane exploding is real and stunning. Wolf looks like he’s in real danger as the shrapnel from the plane launches at him, behind him. And he turns to look at it!
When Tarzan frees Roger, possibly and charmingly, when Roger expresses that he thought the monster had killed Tarzan, Tarzan uses his knife to pat Roger on the back of the head gently. Tarzan smelled rain coming and the rain will wash away the poison. Not sure that’s how it really would work but maybe?
Roger, Jane and Tarzan have returned from seeing the birth of gazelles. Tarzan tells them, “The jungle always defeats those who try and do it harm.”
They are now headed for a barbeque that Jack invited them to. It’s not very often that he does that. La Paca looks cured if that is the same one. The trio see a large area filled with smoke. It is Jack cooking. Jane thought it was Gonzalez. It couldn’t be she says. No, he was blown up, on screen!
Jack’s last scene in the series has him cooking and making lots of smoke. “Are we going to eat or what?”
And so with production 225, TARZAN AND THE MYSTERIOUS FOG, season two ends.
I liked season one a lot and though they did some experimental things, I think season two was somehow somewhat better though more of the same. Jane still acts dumb for a scientist in the jungle, doesn’t know how to protect herself, and is sometimes difficult to understand. The subtitles on Amazon are a pain because you can’t just fast forward through them. The DVDs from what I can tell when watched on computer don’t have sub titles.
Roger acts less dumb in season two and traditionally he acts more like the “boy” character, which almost makes sense. In an odd way his character shares similar trajectories as Jai in Ely’s TARZAN. First, Jai started out in the first few episodes (maybe the first five to seven?) fully clothed before donning his loin cloth for most of the rest of the series and all of season two. While Roger never wears a loin cloth that I can see or have yet seen, he begins to go shirtless more and more. It started at the end of season one and in this season he’s shirtless in almost every episode in some way, shape or form.
Second, in one of Jai’s episodes he picked up some kind of pendant that he wore and then lost and then re-gained. It was only seen maybe two or three times in the Ely series and it was distracting. What was it’s origin? Similarly, Roger wears a necklace pendant of some kind that he picked up somewhere. Not sure this is ever explained either.
This episode more than any other shows Jane as not only useless but also as almost unnecessary to the show overall. If Jack provided the link to society and civilization, and Roger provided the person to save, Jane doesn’t serve any purpose whatsoever really and only goes against Tarzan’s wishes her, saying, “This is going to be hard for me.” Sigh. I almost wonder what this series would have been like if it were just Tarzan and Roger. In the Ely series, a number of officials appear, most of them an ally of Tarzan and none of them very memorable. It’s a shame Jack has to go and this is his last episode as I think he was personable and rather more interesting than Simon, though Simon grew on me, too. It will remain to be seen if Dan will and I think in many ways, Dan is a more familiar actor and presence.
I’m sure the show will just go with the idea that Dan was always there, making that a third universe of the series in a way or rather a multiverse.
All in all, a good season with the most vile villains and the bravery, some of the time, to try different things and to almost ramp up the “romance” Tarzan and Jane almost seem to have but don’t here (or do they?). In some ways, Roger and Tarzan grow closer this season than Tarzan and Jane but Jane seems to commit more than last season. What IS wrong with her? I mean look at Tarzan. For that matter, why doesn’t he just like…well, take her?
I’ve also come to realize that most of these episodes I’ve never seen and in fact, I don’t think I’ve seen one episode from this season before this marathon or season three, despite having had them for years on video tape from the UK transposed into our region code by a friend who had a machine that could do that. I’ve gotten rid of all of those now and have them on DVD and on Amazon (though I think that Amazon, annoyingly, doesn’t have season one).
I’m glad this show is on DVD. It’s an uneven show with a great cast and a great Tarzan, possibly the best Tarzan ever. I do wish it were a bit less kiddie and a bit more solid in the adventure and action bits though no one can fault the stunts and effects. It almost reaches the heights of some of the better Ron Ely episodes and in some episodes goes “there” but in others almost goes there.
On another level, I’m not sure the shirtless tying up of a barely out of his teenage years “boy” or young man who is gagged and seemingly almost tortured would be done this way today. Sean is excellent in these scenes and keeps all dignity. I’m haunted by what happened to him and yet believe in an afterlife. He was so good in this series. In any case, the wiggling, wriggling, and uncomfortable Roger would probably not be done today as real as it was in this episode and it does make an impact. It was done well and realistically.
51. TARZANAND THE HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURE (the start of season 3)
“What is this man doing here? I hate him. Get him out!”
“Bibi, it’s Tarzan’s jungle. I can’t ask him to very well leave, now can I?”
“Well, I’m fed up. I hate this place. I’m leaving!”
“There’s enough explosives here to blow us all to kingdom come.”
The credits have a few extra clips in them. Two are new scenes of Roger. Two others are new guy Dan Miller played by William S. Taylor. One or two are of new Tarzan running shots. There might be a new shot of Jane talking into a tape recorder as she wears a blue tank top.
Taylor has a ton of credits including KYLE XY, MASTERS OF HORROR, LA LAW, SUPERNATURAL, HELLRAISER: HELL SEEKER, SEVEN DAYS, FIRST WAVE and was a regular in the wonderful NEON RIDER (which ran from 1989 to 1994).
To make info about this series any worse, IMDB seems to say that this third season’s episodes have dates of 1993 (HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURE, WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, STONEMAN, RUSSIAN INVASION, PIRATE’S REVENGE, DEATH SPIDERS, DEADLY CARGO), 1994 (CURSE OF DEATH, DANGEROUS COMPETION, EVIL TWIN, JEWEL OF JUSTICE, KING OF THE APES, MATING SEASON, NEW COMISSIONER, RETURN OF THE BRONX, THE ROCK STAR, SAPPHIRE ELEPHANT), and 1995 (ODD COUPLE, FEAR OF BLINDNESS, GIFT OF LIFE, FIERY END, TARZAN AND CHEETAH’S DESPERATE ADVENTURE, THE SIXTH SENSE, RING OF ROMANCE, and finally, NIGHT HORRORS).
Why did I think dating this season would be easier than seasons one and two?
None of the above are in any kind of order that matches production order, air order or any kind of order. Wikipedia says the third season goes from 1993 to 1994 but…see above? Gosh.
None of them seem to match the DVD presentation order, though I suspect the DVD order might be the air order and the order on Wikipedia might be the production order but who knows? Other than me, who cares?
I don’t know if this is a sign of things to come but this episode, more than any other before it, seems set to be a “comedy” over the top unfunny segment which sort of is a change of pace but might not bode well for the season. Also, unrelated maybe, but Roger seems VERY covered up after the constant skin on display and his shirtlessness of last season.
I’d love to know the back story as to why they first has Simon (perhaps he became ill?), then Jack, then Dan. What was going on behind the scenes?
The title happens immediately after the credits unlike past episodes which seem to have a two to five second lag before the titles come up.
Dan’s journal: Tuesday the 1st. 1993 has this only in June. This is the most likely date and month and year. Now, because of ONE episode last year where Karl left prison after serving his time (five years?), we made last season concessions for 1997 to 1998. 1997 was the air date for some countries, namely the US, which I would have ignored but the in script situation seemed to call forth the idea that the year MIGHT be 1997. 1997 has this in July and April.
To complicate matters the entire third season was shown in 1998 in the US and the second season was shown in 1997.
Okay, so, 1998 has this date in September and December!
To make things even odder, Dan seems to know Nick (Nicholas) Dimato. If it was Jack in the last season’s Nick story, how does Dan know Nick? I’ve already hypothesized that each season is in its own universe with events slightly different from the other seasons but similar. BUT even within season two there are some discrepancies such as Karl dying before returning! WT? In any case in this season, as we shall see, it’s almost as if Dan were there from season one and there was no Simon and no Jack. In fact, when Simon’s god son returns from the Bronx later (aired as the last episode), HE IS DAN’S GOD SON. And no one in season two mentions Simon and unless I’m very wrong no one in season three mentions either Simon OR Jack. It feels an odd way to run a show, almost as if it didn’t matter or they didn’t care!
Nick brings Bibi Gunnarson here to film a movie about Tarzan. He will give the Foundation which hires Jane 50,000 dollars to film it here. Tarzan (the head band a total thing of the past so he does not have one on) and Jane watch them land. Nick was allowed by Dan to fly the plane and brings them down too fast. Bibi complains about the plane and the heat. She feels it is like sauna. She’s the first character not totally taken to Tarzan and does not seem impressed by him or even like him. Nick calls Tarzan, “My man” and tells him it’s been far too long and seemingly tries to hug him, touching Tarzan’s ribs, while Tarzan looks wary of Nick. Jane turns and laughs at this. Are they, once again, trying to tell us that Nick is gay?
On the first day of location shooting with rubber snake and blond Bibi screaming, Tarzan swings to the rescue, doing the Tarzan yell. We don’t see what he does to her, for some reason the camera cuts away but we can assume he grabs her up. He says, “Tarzan will save you.” Bibi reacts by telling Nick she hates Tarzan and hates the jungle and leaves, slapping him in the shoulder. She calls this Nick’s first directing job.
This DOES make Tarzan look incredibly stupid. He saw the movie crew arrive and he knew Nick was making a movie so how did he not see the cameras and know this was a film being made?
You can see why, even though this was filmed first, they didn’t start the season with this turkey.
One of the prop girls, with flowers, is called Maude.
When Nick, oddly with shirt open, wearing (shudder) a loin cloth and a blond wig, goes to see Jane, Jane is reading an old book that looks like it could be an old Tarzan book (red cover with jungle on it?) and she puts it down. When Nick picks it up, there’s an illustration shown quickly that could be ERB or one of his characters.
Nick cons Jane into being the star and replacing Bibi. He tells her Julia wants the role (Roberts?). She says no but then he brings up another 20,000 dollars.
Maybe it’s me but the compound looks different again as this season starts off.
Tarzan finds Jane rehearsing and he seems mad that she is taking up Nick (who’s back to wearing the black wig for a time) on his offer. What’s his problem? Jane asks his opinion and he tells her he thinks she’s already made up her mind. He’s still talking without using personal pronouns but the person’s name and even his own, talking about himself in third person.
Dan drives Roger, Jane, and Cheetah to the location shoot. Roger thinks Tom Cruise better watch out, he tells Dan. He tells Dan he is looking at Hollywood’s next heart throb. Dan asks, “You or Cheetah?” Dan, worried that Jane might be looking forward to making a career out of this asks her, “Okay, but then you’re coming back to us, right. I mean you don’t…you’re not looking forward to making a career out of this, right?” How long has Dan been with them? It seems like a long time. Which gives more credence to this being a new universe.
Cheetah’s pull back reaction to seeing Nick as Tarzan (with blond wig under a red cap!) is hilarious. When he asks about the Swedish meatball (Bibi), Dan explains she’s at a Bendali lounge taking in cocktails. Roger asks about his part: Nick said he’d give him a job. He’s given him assistant to special effects. Nick calls Cheetah Rita and wants him to report to make up right away. Cheetah finds a locket on a necklace Nick left in the jeep.
Jane asks about how the script has changed. Nick has given it an edge: “Born Free meets Die Hard 2.”
Roger tells Cheetah that he’s just typecasted as Cheetah gets make up put on by…a man or a girl? He also finds explosives. When Nick and Jane rehearse the kissing, Tarzan, watching from the trees, drops in, angry that she did not tell him she was leaving. What is his problem? Jealous much?
Nick uses the phrase, “Excuse M Wah.”
Cheetah, fooling with an eye glass, drops it when Roger calls him to help him. This causes a fire from the sun’s rays on it.
The stunt man Nick hired is stuck in Bandali with Visa problems.
The fire looks more orange this time than yellow as in past episodes.
At first everyone runs but then others come to put the fire out. Tarzan has Tantor spray water. She seems to spray the equipment and not the fire. Nick uses a fire extinguisher and takes credit. Honestly, it looks like he DID put out the remainder of it. Nick tells Tarzan, “You could double for me.”
Nick thinks Tarzan is a pretty good match for him but Roger jokes, “Sure, if he uses a long lens!”
Tarzan agrees to be the stunt double for Jane.
Cheetah has taken to wearing shades.
Tarzan has on clothes like Nick: denim vest with cut off sleeves (so no sleeves), lower ankle work boots, and now light green shorts. Nick tries to direct Tarzan to be more “animal.” Gosh.
Nick fakes the Tarzan calls as Tarzan does it, for the film.
One of the camera men or editors is named Barry.
Tarzan shakes his head no for the first time!?
This might be the first time a stunt double is doubling for Tarzan pretending to be a stunt double for another actor pretending to be an actor. Or something?
And sad to say, this time, the stunt man is very noticeable and probably was back in 1993.
Jane is dressed in 1940s or 30s style Jane primitive clothing for a scene.
WTF is with Roger dressing in camouflage bushes hoping to be in the scene but only laughs at what’s going on? Was something cut?
Roger ruins a shot so Nick makes him serve cold drinks for the rest of the crew, who laugh at Roger’s comment about giving the scene atmosphere. This is so asinine.
Though earlier Tarzan told her that Nick was using her, Nick invites her to go to Hollywood. When Dan comes to visit Jane, Jane tells him she is thinking about going. Dan realizes that is why Tarzan is not sticking around, it would hurt him too much. What is that red rag Dan has in his hands?
Jane catches up to Tarzan. “Jane does not need Tarzan any longer.” Jane tells him that is not true. He will not help Nick. Jane declares she needs him now and the movie means something to her but not if it means she is going to lose Tarzan. She touches his face romantically. She gets him back to helping. Sigh.
The next scene is a staged swing by Nick with Jane in his arms and landing, then kissing her. Nick is back in loin cloth, heaven help us all. He directs Tarzan’s last stunt: a swing into a fire. Tarzan goes up a ladder!? He swings to rescue Jane from the fire (staged stunt).
Jane swings with Tarzan holding onto her?
At the end of this swing, they look at each other and move at each other and FINALLY lock lips and kiss. It’s not a peck either. It looks like there is French kissing involved. And it’s a long kiss, too. Nick has to pry them apart. Nick says he’s not supposed to kiss her but then he wants to kiss Jane. Jane refuses him. Jane asks Tarzan to go see the herons. Is that some kind of euphemism? Or code for…gulp…sex!? Tarzan suddenly looks very happy! Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah walk away. Roger follows, giving the tray of drinks to Nick, “It’s been great working with you, Mr. Dimato. You almost made it into every scene.” The crew thinks this is funny.
Later, saying goodbye to Jane, Nick impersonates Humphrey Bogart and does the scene from the goodbye in CASABLANCA (an over rated and boring movie). He says he will see her for the sequel!
Cheetah has Nick’s red cap on. Jane tells Tarzan she would never be as happy in Hollywood as she is here. Roger tells them there are enough monkeys in Hollywood anyways. Jane laughs.
Sigh. What was that about the locket? Never developed? What is Cheetah wearing around his neck? A different kind of eyeglass?
This is 301.
This could have been a great parody of movie making and Tarzan movie making directly. It almost is and almost works but it’s just so slow moving and boring in many ways. Tarzan is jealous. Jane doesn’t think about this? What is their relationship? Is this episode taking it to the newest level? Or has it risen there before? Maybe Tarzan is angry because he wants this to go THERE and it never has before? The whole episode is a sham in a way and it’s only saved by that kiss at the end. This seems to cement their relationship as sexual. A few scenes almost hit that satire spot and seem to be satirizing the entire Tarzan movie making from the 1930s to just about Bo Derek’s TARZAN. Only it doesn’t go far enough. Some stuff makes no sense, mostly regarding Roger and that under bushes stuff as well as the locket Cheetah finds. What is that all about? Also: Tarzan being SO very angry at things here. It’s almost a different Tarzan. Then there’s the whole Dan thing that I’ve already addressed.
NOTE: The title on the DVD says TARZAN’S HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURE but on screen it is TARZAN AND THE HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURE. Sigh. What is it with this show that the DVDs can’t get the titles right?
52. THE WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION
“Tarzan does not like guns.”
“Hang in there, buddy, Tarzan and Jane on their way!”
Dan’s journal tells us it is Friday the 7th AND that it is October. SO, this is not 1993 as there is only a Thursday October 7th in that year! 1994 has a Friday October 7th! SO the year is 1994!? NONE of the other years around 1994 have a Friday October the 7th including 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998 and 1999. UNLESS Dan is dopey enough to write this AFTER the date of the adventure and recorded the day of recording as Friday the 7th in some other month? It shows that the makers of the show did seem to care by picking Oct 7th, looking ahead to 1994. So despite details in season two making this five years later, I’m guessing it IS not 1998 or 1997!?
As birds are disturbed and white birds fly across water and a hippo is seen there are very definite visual reminders of the Ron Ely opening and closing credits. Another hippo joins the first one.
In what feels like an EMERALD FOREST moment of rare secret nature Tarzan, Tarzan has a close up on his eyes as he’s hidden and watching a small river boat (again shades of Ely episodes). Very small boat.
From the conversation it sounds like Roger was taking flying lessons from Dan but it looks like Dan is flying at the moment. They have Cheetah in the back seat!? What is all that stuff around Cheetah? Heirlooms? Roger does not calm Dan’s nervousness about having to testify against a guy who gunned down a bank guard. Okay, Roger tries on a mask and explains the artefacts in the back are things the two of them gathered together. Roger believes they belong to the lost Dulunga tribe. Legend has it they just vanished into thin air. Roger then says something like “some folks” but it sounds like, “Some locals…” swear they can hear the lost tribe playing the flute. Cheetah, after Roger mentions the tribe playing flutes, tries to play the dart shooter like a flute and once more proves a liability as in season one (?) fires a dart from a wooden tube and the dart goes into Dan’s neck.
Dan is going to put the plane down on the south side of the Green Mountain while Jane, called by radio, will find Tarzan and bring the serum. Dan fights sleep in order to land the plane. Dan falls asleep and it is up to Roger to land the plane. I must admit the music has always been good and at least, adequate but this is the first time I felt the music is excellent in a scene. Jane speeds to Dan’s plane base in the red jeep and it’s clear that the stunt double for Jane is driving the jeep. She must be getting the serum and a man with a gun comes out to hold her prisoner. Tarzan is watching. He stealthily sneaks up behind the man and disarms him and gets him in a choke hold. He is officer Ron Marley of the Bendali police, he claims. He came up on the motor launch and the mosquitoes ate him alive. He is here to escort Dan Miller to the murder trial. Jane explains about the Green Mountain, which is in the middle of the jungle.
There’s an interesting shot of a big bird on a deer’s back.
The jungle looks slightly different here and the photography looks more vivid, if that’s possible. Is there a new director of photography?
After the plane crash/landing, Roger has his shirt open as he helps Dan out of the plane. Dan apologizes to Roger but Roger tells him not to worry, Tarzan and Jane are on their way. Roger is once more wearing his necklace and amulet. Cheetah tosses down a fruit to Roger for Dan to drink. What was Roger doing with his sleeve on Dan’s head? Wiping his brow?
A certain vine (I can’t understand Jane) yields water for them as Tarzan gets it. Jane also points out for Ron something that is edible. Tantor arrives and Ron almost shoots her. Tarzan uses his crossbow to fire an arrow to knock Ron’s gun down.
A leopard and zebra as well as earlier, some gazelles, continue to remind me of the Ely opening and closing credits.
Cheetah gives Roger the idea to call Jane to find out where she and Tarzan are. While he’s doing this, a thick snake comes out of a tree and curls around Dan! This is another Ely mainstay: a snake threat.
Roger calls Jane to tell Tarzan to hurry. The snake wraps around Roger when he moves to help Dan. The clip of Tarzan running from the third season credits that is new comes from this scene. Tarzan gets rid of the python and tells Roger, “Tarzan is proud of Roger. Roger saved Dan’s life.” In an odd sound byte, while it seems no one is talking, we hear this: “He didn’t save me.” WTF? This voice does not sound like Dan (who is unconscious), Roger, or Tarzan. It sounds French. WTF again?
Jane administers the antidote to Dan.
In the next scene as Roger approaches the plane, telling them to get “this old crate turned around” he looks less sun tanned or sun burned than he did in the earlier part of the episode. He looks almost pale!? He also looks rather muscular.
Ron complains of his knee so he can’t help (shades of Dr. Smith from LOST IN SPACE?).
The plane says JBH and has the numbers 264624.
Uhm, as Roger and Jane help to turn the plane around, why does it look like Tarzan is trying to hold the plane back from moving?
The criminal that Dan can help put behind bars is named Reese Williams.
IMDB says this about Scott Hoxby who plays Ron: “He is a trained Marriage and Family Therapist and a psychology teacher at a college in Los Angeles, California. He is currently working on his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (2008).” It also says he’s divorced!!!??
VERY PREDICTABLY, Ron is going to try to kill Dan. Dan comes to and tells Ron, “Wait a minute. There were two men who shot that bank guard. Reese Williams was captured. The other man…”
“Is yours truly.”
Okay, so we get new info, which I guess was smart to hold back but it’s still very predictable that Ron is a killer trying to silence Dan. Well, if he got away, why would he risk capture if he fails to kill Dan? I guess he really, really likes Reese?
His real name is Fred Clark. (Fred Clark was the name of a real life actor who played in BURNS AND ALLEN and was also in ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KEYSTONE COPS). Fred fed the real Ron Marley to the crocodiles.
When will Jane learn to check with Bandali when someone who claims to be someone arrives? Fred DID have Ron’s badge but still. Also: WHY would Tarzan give back Fred’s gun earlier? Sigh. With their track record for failing to quickly recognize bad guys, would you?
Fred starts to smother Dan, who claims he will now not have to kill Dan’s friends because it will look like Dan’s fever came back. Cheetah cries out; Tarzan arrives. The others arrive, too but Fred threatens to use his gun on Dan to stop them. Fred will blow up the plane and kill all of them. When Cheetah runs and protests, Fred says, “It’s a good thing you can’t talk or you’d be history, too!”
Fred orders them to the plane. They don’t move yet. Then, Cheetah climbs a tree and then…we seem to skip something. Suddenly, at the plane, Fred has Jane against him with a gun to her and ordering Roger to tie up Tarzan, “Come on Roger, tie him up.” As if he’s already ordered Roger once to do this. WT?
Cheetah watches Jane tie up Roger and…what IS in his mouth?
Cheetah after Ron leaves, gets a spearhead directed by Tarzan to find something sharp and by Roger who remembered the spearhead in the plane. Tarzan frees himself, then unties Roger then reaches to untie Jane. Again, a strange voice over says, “All right,” as if it is Jane speaking to Tarzan. It does not sound like Jane and we do not see her in the frame at that point. Again WT?
As everyone leaves, Roger gets the artefacts out of the burning plane!
For some reason, the escape here is VERY close up and oddly edited. And camera shaky. Tarzan says RUN; Roger seems to be helping Dan but then Tarzan is. Roger is saying, “All right, hang on, hang on.” Then, Jane is yelling back at Roger who is now at the plane unloading it. It’s all very oddly edited and filmed, almost no long shots and very few medium shots. I’ve almost run out of WTFs?
Roger seems to have delayed Jane. Jane and he rush to Dan and Tarzan and spectacularly and impressively the plane explodes in a huge blast with the four actors in the same shot not that far away!
“Is Dan all right?”
“Yes, Tarzan. Just make sure you get him.”
Tarzan swings after Fred, does the Tarzan call twice, and summons Tantor. NOTE: Tarzan does NOT wear a headband in this episode at all.
Fred steals the red jeep and is blocked by Tantor. Where is his gun? He flees the jeep. Fred fires his gun at swinging Tarzan who then rolls, flips and runs tree to tree. Fred is, predictably, a terrible shot. He runs out of bullets and kicks up a branch from the dirt to fight Tarzan. He loses. Tarzan seems about to break his neck from behind when Fred gives up.
In the epilog, Dan paddles in the water to the treehouse which looks totally different and in a different spot. Dan is back after being gone. Tarzan’s stunt double, no shoes or boots on, dives into the water. The stunt double for Roger jumps in, too. This double looks female! By mistake, Roger tips Dan out of the canoe. When Dan shakes Tarzan’s hand, he says something I can’t really figure out, something that sounds like, “Cool with Cheetah.” That makes no sense really.
Cheetah comes with the mask and the spear, two of the artefacts missing from the museum but that Roger saved. The mask is a creepy double face. As ever, the four of them think this is very funny: Cheetah wearing the mask and holding the spear; not that the mask is creepy.
It is hard to hate this episode. The guest villain is a good actor and makes you hate him, he even cheers and whoops when the plane explodes and he believes he’s killed all four main characters. The photography is well done even if some of the editing is …shaky at best, bizarre at worst. It could be they were trying different things to liven up a very predictable script. NO ONE is taking the piss out of the premise or going over the top, which was rare in this show (HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURE) but there is a feeling this was a bit rushed as bits seem to be missing, especially in the second half. Things feel a bit choppy in the editing and it’s clear what will happen: Ron will turn out to be bad and try to kill Dan; Tarzan will stop him. It is surprising Roger returned to get the artefacts. Cheetah once again saves the day but caused most of the problem, too. AND we get another villain who has killed in the past. Not bad, not terribly challenging either. Wolf and Lydie as well as Sean, look great. And the music is a cut above all the other soundtracks or “incidental” music.
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