Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages and Webzines in Archive
Part 5: TARZAN
AND THE SCARLET DIAMOND
When a female pilot comes to the jungle in search of her friend,
she finds a new friend in Tarzan.
Emma's friend is an archeologist and has started a war
between the Ungala and the Lizarians.
The reason for the war? The Scarlet Diamond.
Part 6: TARZAN AND THE BLACK ORCHID
Themba becomes the victim of a deadly plague after an ape attack.
The jungle may only have a few months before the plague over runs it,
unless Tarzan finds the cure.
The Black Orchid holds that cure but is considered non-existent.
5: TARZAN AND THE SCARLET DIAMOND
Click for full-size promo splash bar
“Blood speaks loudly in the jungle.”
“Your war’s a lie.”
Well, this one wastes no time. In the first ten minutes we get the preview, the theme and opening, a plane crash, a monster kidnapping a mother from her young son, Tarzan facing off with a safari man who seemed to be waiting for the plane, Tarzan stopping the sacrifice of a woman who escaped the plane, the woman dropping a firecracker of a bomb like device to scare off the natives, the natives vs. Tarzan, a lion roar, Tarzan removing an arrow from the girl’s arm and the girl fainting, only to wake up with a great ape (Bolgani) guarding her! Phew. Before she wakes up, Tarzan tricks her into looking away as he removes the arrow. Then…something odd happens and Tarzan seems to let her just drop to the ground as…Lara gets seemingly snoozy himself and lackluster in his delivery. For such a fast paced opening, it’s an unusual acting choice to play Tarzan so…well, almost bored with things.
And again there were lots of natives. For diverting an arrow that would have killed the girl, Tarzan was attacked and had to fight many after diving out of the way of their spears. It’s a good fight but afterward, Tarzan returns and tells the native leader about the boy being safe with Timba and how the mother was taken. The chief believes she was killed.
The girl seems to be named Emma. The chief believes the thing only attacks the Ungalla. A reptilian face watches Tarzan.
When Tarzan and the chief investigate with another native, they find Themba who says the boy, Cipo, is gone. Themba will find him while Tarzan will track the reptile (man) in the morning. Tarzan returns to his cave and Emma. Themba finds Cipo and diverts his spear from the safari man who warns that the Ungalla are in danger.
Emma leaves the cave and Tarzan leads her but somehow they get separated. Was he going with her or not? The reptile man stalks her and grabs her up with his…tongue!?
There may be more than one of them? For some reason Tarzan flees after saving her and the two of them jump off a cliff into the water near a waterfall.
Tarzan blames her for fleeing? Huh? She blames him. He makes them go up a tree to sleep for the night. In the morning, we see him staring at her sleeping form. This is an odd choice as he’s educated and he seems to be studying her …or admiring her beauty as in past Tarzan films and movies and TV shows but there, most of the time, he’s not been to England or civilization yet. It’s not creepy here as the music tells us it’s charming and peaceful.
Emma’s safari man is an archeologist. Themba sees one of the lizard men coming up behind him but does not fire. Her overhears their conversation: without the man, the reptile people would have perished a long time ago. The man tells the reptile being they must not give up hope. Then, he says, “Oh, one last thing,” and stabs him and pulls out his beating heart!
Tarzan goes for some fruit. Emma comes down from the tree and goes for a swim, taking off her top shirt (she has NO bra on!). Tarzan comes to her and gives her some fruit. She touches his leg and admits she likes it here, enough to stay. He pours something over her head and tells her to rinse. Huh?
Themba follows the man who carries the reptile man’s body. The man enters into a water fall area and rock structure hidden behind it. The man lies to the other reptile people. He has also given them an incubator which will accelerate the gestation period of an egg by years.
Tarzan tells Emma that he missed Europe sometimes but does not visit because there is nothing there for him. Emma tells him he says that but she does not think he means it. He redresses her wound. She states, “There’s something else, isn’t there.” He answers, “There’s no one else.” She asks, “What about me?” He avoids the answer and tells her they should go.
Back at the Ungalla village, Tarzan, when given a tray of food speaks a foreign language to thank the woman who gives it to him. Themba explains what happened. Themba describes the man as a Westerner. The man sounded British to me. Themba says the man vanished behind the water fall by the gorge.
Emma tells Tarzan that the man is Dr. Albert Verpa. She didn’t tells Tarzan who Verpa was because he discovered the scarlet diamond and she had an obligation. She was going to take him to Europe as a client. In the morning, Tarzan finds where Verpa was.
I’m not sure what Emma wants. She can’t stay but she seems to want a relationship with Tarzan. What?
Tarzan enters the water fall gorge area where Albert quickly kills another Luserian and blames it on Tarzan, who is captured and Albert punches him in the stomach. Emma has followed Tarzan. After seemingly walking on water (an illusion?) Emma enters their realm, too. She kisses Albert like a lover.
Albert seems to know about Emma and Tarzan’s…what? Love? Do they? Did they have sex? If so, how does he know a thing about them? Albert says he forgives her. For what?
Tarzan does not speak up because he thinks Emma will not be safe if he does. One of the reptile people will guide Emma and Albert through the jungle. I guess the plane is still flyable?
Tarzan breaks his wrist bonds and takes the leader with him to the jungle, followed by others. Cipo fires an arrow at the leader of the reptiles but Tarzan catches it before it can kill the leader. Themba stops Cipo from firing more.
When Emma squabbles with Albert, his bag falls and reveals red diamonds, the hearts of the reptile people. This makes him kill the reptile leader he has with him and he does this in front of Emma. The hearts change to the stones. Emma is horrified.
Albert tackles a fleeing Emma. He tells her a creature attacked him when he was alone at a dig and he found out by mistake that their hearts change to red diamonds. He thought he was defending himself. He threatens to kill her and orders her to take him home.
In an unexpected and exciting sequence, they lift the plane off but Tarzan runs for it and jumps onto the plane’s wings (it seems to be a bi-plane) and he and Albert fight on the wing. Albert’s bag of diamonds falls and he almost goes with it but Tarzan holds onto him. Because he won’t use both hands, Albert falls to this death.
Tarzan, at night, comes to Themba and Emma in full clothings. Themba thinks maybe it wasn’t entirely Albert’s fault. Themba’s mother told him the scarlet diamond flowed only in the Ruby Red river and was guarded over by the beast with his life. If an unfortunate stumbled across the diamond, he too, would earn a heart of stone. Emma says, “Poor Albert.” Really?
They drink Themba’s traditional Wagambi brew. Tarzan keeps the shirt and pants for special occasions. Tarzan can’t ask her to stay with him but she asks him to go with her. She puts her head on his shoulder. The plane leaves and he takes his shirt off. He drops it to the ground. He seems to act like an ape and then grunts and then….lets loose one of those strange “RAAAAAA!” yells. What?
The end theme starts with more drums than usual (I think).
The end theme is growing on me.
This isn’t a bad episode as it is another straight forward action adventure and there’s some action…mostly in the first ten minutes and…little else.
What makes this a shaky episode is that…sad to say, Lara and the girl playing Emma have absolutely no rapport whatsoever. The dialog doesn’t help them either, to be honest. It seems that the show is hinting that Tarzan and Jane had a huge break up but they never mention Jane at all and haven’t in the episodes before this from what I recall. Emma does not seem to love Tarzan enough to stay and he doesn’t love her enough to go and frankly, their on screen “romance” never seems to be consummated anyway (that’s debatable) and they barely seem to like to each other, unless it is me missing something here.
After the initial action, there’s little else but a series of murders by Albert and misunderstandings and yes, the thrilling fight on the plane’s wing but that is short and over quickly. The visuals are, once again, fairly good, even stunning at times. This show seems capable of a level of violence the Wolf show wasn’t and even seems to have a full on romance but it’s so lackluster as to be little more than a passing acquaintance fling. That said, this doesn’t work for me at all but on another level, being just sort of there and a bit of a Star Trek like episode, it tells that sometimes war is a sham and a shame. From what I recall we will get more Star Trek like episodes in future.
The make up for the reptile race is well done but…did the reptiles really kill Cipo’s mother? I’m guessing they did. The chief tells Tarzan she is dead from the look Tarzan gave him but we didn’t see her body; she seemed taken. How could this war end if the reptiles killed natives?
6. TARZAN AND THE BLACK ORCHID
“Uncontained, it will destroy every creature in the forest within two months.”
“If no one takes the risk, nothing will ever change.”
Tarzan is teaching Themba tracking and then removes a spearhead or knife and gives it to Themba, telling him it is time for food. Are they addressing the fact that Tarzan must kill for food? Wolf’s Tarzan seemed to eat only fish and fruit. Ely’s Tarzan? I’m not sure that was ever addressed. Before we can find out, Themba stumbles upon gorillas, one of which savagely rushes him, throws him down, and beats on his back viscously (he should be dead). Tarzan interacting with gorillas was usually steadfastly avoided in both the Ely and Wolf shows.
Tarzan, who seems to be having trouble carrying Themba (?), gets his friend to a Mission Hospital which seems to be having issues of their own as men carry a body out of a tent. The doctor (Van Dyke? Van Dine) is known by Themba. The doc tells Tarzan that Themba has plague and has less than a week to live. The doc and Tarzan track…the gorilla, which seems to die? The doc says it has no sign of the plague but then talks about it destroying every creature in the forest (?) within two months. The pair find a dead man, dead of plague with markings on him. This man (Chanatha or Jonathan?) came here with Dr. Moran years ago and they were close to finding a cure.
Tarzan goes to a woman who is chanting near a great round hanging object. She tells him if he lets Themba die, he will be the last. When she explains that the cure is the black orchid, he tells her he’s never seen such a flower. She tells him it does not exist. She next tells him:
“You have the ability to see things that others do not.”
She says other cryptic things, of facing fear, the fear of others, and not of death but of the black orchid.
The doc tells Tarzan, at night, as Tarzan reads the notes, that Moran’s communication stopped after Moran would not divulge the cure for fear that the side effects were too dangerous to allow the outside world to have.
Tarzan tells Van Dine that he does not have a problem with medicine of civilization OR the cures of nature. These two seem to disagree on everything and now argue about whether or not to tell Themba. Tarzan wants to tell him; the doc doesn’t want to. Is it me or am I picking up a sexual tension between these two as well? Maybe not?
When Themba sees Tarzan he says, “Thank God.”
Tarzan tells him.
Day: Tarzan rushes through the jungle trees and then on the ground. He walks across a bridge into mist (we’ve seen this before, the bridge and the mist). The mist, lights, and feeling like something is on his skin overcome Tarzan and he passes out.
Tarzan comes to in a tent with a woman dressed in robe like clothing who tells him he fainted near their camp. He remembers a black man hitting him in the head with the butt of a rifle…a black man he sees outside the tent sitting with the girl’s father. Tarzan takes off into the jungle and the man that he remembers hitting him says he will find him with the idea that he will not let him get lost. Tarzan seems to not remember much else as to why he is there. The girl told him he had a fever.
The man following him seems to be named M’Beko.
The father tells M’Beko that they can’t let Tarzan stop their work now and only kill Tarzan if he has to.
In a flub (?), M’Beko leans his rifle down to get something (a mist canister?) out of his bag and the rifle FALLS. Tarzan comes up behind him and they fight; Tarzan throwing the rifle over the bridge and the mist an falling, too. They are both almost overcome with more mist but M’Beko seems to take something that will help him not be overcome by it.
NOTE: so far, as Tarzan, Lara wisely uses a sense of smell to navigate and make choices.
He comes out of sleeping (a tree?) and goes to the camp where there is a strange female statue near the girl, who moves away. No one seems to notice Tarzan. Huh? Again, the locations, the sets (if they are sets?), and the music and photography are all excellent. There are, again, lots of extras in both camps.
Tarzan follows and grabs up the girl harshly (earlier he pushed her down) and it makes him seem like the villain. She reacts calmly and he lets her go. She does not see the mists that he sees around the forests/jungle.
Amid a beautiful setting sun, Tarzan kneels near the sitting girl. Tarzan points out the color of the sunset is wrong (it is pink!?) and that it is setting in the wrong direction. To him, it is fake. M’Beko attacks Tarzan who knocks him down and jumps on him bodily but the father knocks him out this time.
In a curious scene, we see the father using a scalpel to cut into a man (Tarzan!? No, possibly a dead body?) and something goes wrong and he hurts himself?
Tarzan is once more in a cell.
The girl is named Nadia. She distrusts her father now and tells him he cannot kill Tarzan but the father tells her it is him or them. Tarzan tries to get out, displaying Lara’s lat and bicep and tricep muscles. Nadia claims she saw Tarzan’s right sun for a moment (orange) but isn’t it still in the wrong place? She has gone to let Tarzan out.
The father and M’Beko come with a rifle to stop Tarzan but then let him leave, he still doesn’t remember a thing. M’Beko thinks the father made the sacrifice of his daughter years ago. As they talk, Tarzan realizes she is sick and she starts to remember bodies, death everywhere and mummies? In a shocking scene M’Beko fires a rifle and a shot hits Nadia’s body and she falls into Tarzan’s arms.
To get the bullet out, Nadia suggests Tarzan take her to the sacred temple on the hill where her father used to perform his medical work or spend time there when he used to perform medical work.
Tarzan brings here there and has to point M’Beko’s own pistol at him to get the man to do as the father says to save Nadia.
The father reveals to Tarzan that they all have the plague. In “their” efforts to find a new cure, they created a new strain: a deadly strain. The mists slow down the symptoms but Tarzan tells him the mists feed them lies of a normal life. The needle and what it contains keep M’Beko and the father from being affected by the mists.
Tarzan dives off a cliff in what feels like stock footage but looks great anyway. He passes the same waterfall we saw in previous episodes.
We keep going back to Themba suffering, falling out of bed and later, watching a truly gruesome scene as the doctor burns a dead body!
Gorilla, blood, and now a dead body being burned, this is not like the other Tarzan TV shows!
Tarzan wakes up on the beach. Before he passed out he thought he failed as the orchids were not black but now as he touches one it turns black and a light is on his arm. What? Mystical? Before he can take it, a gorilla monster wearing a belt (?) attacks him. He hits it with a branch of regular orchids? It vanishes. The orchid on it is black and it seems to heal him. Tarzan runs to deliver it. He seems to have on tight Haines underwear? This is not the first time we see some kind of wardrobe malfunction this episode but who cares? But wait…is that really Lara from behind running across that bridge? Or is it someone wearing a wig?
Tarzan gives the cure directly onto Themba’s chest and he’s healed. Themba thanks God. The Doc thought only if he had another week he might make a cure but…what?
Tarzan leaves, promising the doc he will take him to the orchids “for research”? What? Wasn’t there a full plague going on? The black orchids on Themba or the petals of one (?) crumble. Tarzan returns to the area of Nadia’s people. He finds only a fire that’s gone out. He then goes to the island beyond the waterfall and now finds all the orchids are black ones. He returns with a baby elephant near him. There seem to be three of them in a few shots.
The mists nourished the orchids (so does that mean the mists are gone and now the black orchids are dead?). Tarzan talks more clap trap with the lady he saw in the start of the episode. The others run away and the cure was in their grasp but they don’t know it.
Bolgani is credited. Is he the ape that died or not?
Tarzan finds Nadia, who looks on the door of passing on, and she asks if the sunset is real and he tells her it is. She rests her head on his shoulder as they watch it. Nice cinematography.
Ep ends. Huh?
Again, what starts off promising enough an episode reduces itself to clap trap in a second half of confusion and unexplained events. Okay, unexplained worked for a weird show like SPACE: 1999 and while TARZAN: THE EPIC ADVENTURES is weird in a way that most TARZAN’s are not (but are weird in their own way, every one of them), this cannot hope to rival that in any way. It emerges as a bunch of pseudo mystical clap trap nonsense. AND as usual a bunch of questions go unanswered, leaving me/us (?) feeling as if there’s a part missing here or that this is a first part of a two part episode.
Are the orchids still viable as a cure? Isn’t there still a plague going on for the doc’s patients and mission area as well as Nadia’s father’s people? Is Tarzan going to do after them to help them get the cure? If Themba died why did the old lady say that would be the end of the plague? And worst of all: is Nadia going to die? Tarzan doesn’t leave at the end with ANY more of the black orchids? Are they dead now that they are white again? I do not even want to speculate on what THAT means let alone what any of this episode means.
Again, it’s not a bad episode but not a good one either. The monster comes and goes. Was that imaginary? The flashbacks of memory are all in black and white, giving it a sort of throwback feel to the 1950 Tarzan and Bomba films.
I’m not really partial to plague and virus episodes where large scales of people are going to die or do die. It’s just too scary a notion and far too real life for me. Terry Nation’s original THE SURVIVORS first two episodes are so hard hitting, they’re hard to watch. In fact the whole idea of plagues is disturbing as is this one…at least at first. By 15 minutes, the plague stuff is treated as a fantasy and never fully dealt with, despite some upsetting scenes such as the doctor burning a body (are we meant to think, at first, that it was Themba?).
Lara is still a good Tarzan and once more performs well here. He’s also credited as producer.
The show still hasn’t really found its feet despite the legion episode. It is still an odd mix of jungle (forest?) adventure and fantasy clap trap and science fiction settings. The stuff with the father, M’Beka, and Nadia feels almost dream like and out of reality and then they vanish at the end with no explanation as to whether or not they will survive. And Tarzan already told them the plague was going to spread!? So…again, some of the writing is uneasy and unexplained events happen, giving this an incomplete feel.
If the show were to succeed as Ely and Wolf’s shows did, it would have to do better than this and give us more straight forward adventures. I’m not sure it ever did but let’s find out!
There’s also a two part story from DOCTOR WHO named BLACK ORCHID.
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 ©1996-2023 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.