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Denny Miller
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Denny Miller
Tarzan, The Ape Man
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AHRB (AH...Rice Burroughs) has done it again. They have funded thousands of dollars to a Dr. Smith for research on six Tarzan films circa 1932 to 1942. The good Dr. is to explore such issues as race, sexuality, gender and imperialism in the make-believe jungle.

As an actor playing the role of Tarzan my one and only motivating factor when I grab a vine is, "Will I be accused of Imperialism when I land in that distant tree even though that tree is already a part of my Kingdom?" And, if my takeoff is a little askew and I hit straddling the boulder next to that tree and scream out, "OH MOMMA!" is that symbolic of post-feminism thought or just because it hurts.

Furthermore, from a cultural-hysterical perspective, the vexing query arises, will the reception by society be a knee-jerk reaction of grabbing one's crotch en-mass and bring to light the threat of an immediate gender change or, God forbid, start an epidemic of homophobia.

These vexing questions on, "each and everyone's mind," will be answered in time by Dr Smith's deep and wide research.

She has already solved the tormenting problem of why the obvious metamorphisis of Jane on film from sexy stripper to cudly mother figure came about.

The answer was right there for everyone to see. WWII shaped this transition. While discussing this matter with Tempest Storm the stripper verified this theory when she told me, "Everytime I started to take off my costume I would think  "WWII" and start to sing "Rock-a Bye Baby! I'd still be a head-liner if it wasn't for WWII!"

WWII also brought on the demise of P.O.S.H. (Port Out Starboard Home) due to sunken ships in the Suez Canal but that's another study for another funding grant.

Dr. Smith has already figured out the answer to the nagging problem of race (white vs black) in most Tarzan films. By a process of elimination, contrary to common belief, her probing research has found that Johnny Weissmuller had nothing to do with the fact that that every NBA team has at least one token white player.

I along with many of my colleagues here at The Institute of Arcane, Inane and Useless Theories am thrilled that Dr. Smith has been funded for this research project and wish her well on her way to grasping the feelings of being worthwhile and self important that come with the knowledge that her efforts will have made the world a better place.

D.L. Miller  Professor Emeritus, SAG, SEG 
                  Senior Editor, "Hollywood and Vine"

Me Tarzan, you pre-feminist symbol of patriarchal repression
by Rebecca Carver ~ Monday July 26, 2004 ~ The Guardian
Research that could shed light on the intrinsic meaning and impact of the Tarzan films has been awarded funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), it was announced today. The research, which is to be conducted by Dr Sarah Smith of Reading University, will explore issues such as imperialism, social class and race, gender, film censorship, sexuality, and the reception the films have had on society. 

There are six films in the MGM series, beginning with Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) and ending with Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942). "Each and every one is interesting from a cultural-historical perspective, and it will be interesting to discover how the series evolved," Dr Smith told today.

Dr Smith is particularly interested in the history of film censorship in the UK and the US and the effects this may have had on film content and themes. She explains: "The first two films of the series are fairly liberal, focusing on sexuality and violence. In later films there is a notable shift towards portraying milder issues such as childhood, domesticity and the woman's place in the home. I suspect this to be a direct influence of the Hays code - the ultimate censorship introduced in 1934."

The pre-Hays code era of the early 1930s allowed filmmakers to be experimental. The 1934 film Tarzan and His Mate is considered a watershed film, containing uncensored scenes of homoeroticism and nudity. This seems quite radical for the era. But Dr. Smith explains: "People at the time probably accepted it as a form of entertainment, and thought it was funny." 

The casting and treatment of black people in the film will also be examined. Referring to a scene in one film, where a black man carrying bags along a cliff top falls off and other characters rush over - merely to check if the bags are undamaged, Dr Smith wonders if this treatment is ironic or deliberate. Certainly, there are uncomfortable racist overtones in many of the films, which echo 19th century imperialism and the long-held fascination with bringing a black person into white society in order to contrast the two cultures (in the latter's favour). 

The American casting of Tarzan was heavily influenced by the need to reflect the literary character's hero status and to attract the US audience. Ex-Olympic swimmer Johnny Wissemuller cut a dash as the scantily-clad wild jungle hunk and became perhaps the most famous of Tarzans. "He is definitely the quintessential Tarzan," says Dr Smith. 

Jane is also an interesting character who evolved throughout the six films. "Jane starts off a flirtatious young woman - stripping naked in Tarzan and His Mate - yet becomes a warm, motherly figure in later films, with a respected place in the home," says Dr Smith. Historical influences such as World War Two may have shaped this transition, she suggests.

Dr Smith's research will be based on the Academy of Motion Pictures archives and analysis of transcripts from meetings between directors and filmmakers at the time. Dr Smith's research is being funded by the AHRB, which will be awarding more than £222,000 to similar research projects in the creative and performing arts this year. "I am thrilled to have received sponsorship from the AHRB; it really makes me feel that what I am doing is important and worthwhile", said Dr Smith. 

Dr Smith's book on a related topic - Children's Cinema: Angels with Dirty Faces in 1930s Britain - will be published next year. © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Thanks Mary B.

Tarzan of the capes and mortar boards 
'Mickey Mouse' research and courses anger teachers 
Polly Curtis ~ Wednesday July 28, 2004 ~ The Guardian 

Tarzan's breast-beating, Jane's skimpy dress, and their treatment of Cheetah are to be placed under the academic microscope by a University of Reading historian who is trying to find out how the 1930s films went from soft-core porn to domestic bliss. Sarah Smith has been given a government grant of £4,711 to travel to Hollywood to study how the Tarzan scripts were toned down as moral panic about the effect of cinema on children spread in the 1930s. 

Her research, and new vocational degrees in surfing and soap operas, were scorned as "Mickey Mouse" affairs by the chairman of the Professional Association of Teachers, Barry Matthews, at its annual conference in Bournemouth yesterday. He told delegates from a wide range of educational fields that teenagers were being brainwashed into thinking that university was their only option as the government fretted about meeting its aim of getting 50% of young people a university education by 2010. The row about No 10's "widening participation" strategy is a talking point at the conference, which will debate a motion today urging the government to give pupils more opportunities to take up vocational training. The union's main gripe is with the introduction of vocational degrees at universities. "Do you need a degree to prove you have a vocational qualification?" Mr Matthews said yesterday. "Do we need bricklayers with degrees or with practical ability?" 

The study of Tarzan films focuses on a regulatory code established for the US film industry in 1934. Before that the Tarzan films had scenes of Jane swimming naked and homoerotic comedy featuring men taking baths together. After the code came into effect Jane became a domestic goddess, often seen in a kitchen in the trees complete with a wide range of cooking appliances. Animal cruelty became an issue after it transpired that two lions had been shot during filming in Africa.

Dr Smith said: "As a historian I'm interested in looking at how we evolved socially and culturally. The Tarzan films are interesting because of the depictions in them of class, race and gender which give us an idea of how those things were perceived at the time. "The other side is the history of film and censorship and how that has evolved. The whole thing comes within the idea about popular culture and moral panic. "Every time something terrible happens the tendency is to blame popular culture."

Universities defend courses and research accused of being "Mickey Mouse", saying that in offering degrees in surfing, pilates, pop music or golf they are simply responding to the demands of the market. © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Denny Miller
We asked Denny to share some of his impressions of Fort Collins and the Dum-Dum . . . 
. . . and to let us know of some of his current activities.
We enjoy your many flavored Zine. We also enjoyed Fort Collins. I taught one summer at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. The past two summers we've had a chance to drive though Colorado and have come to the conclusion that it's the most beautiful state we've seen. Aspen, Vail, Uray, Durango remind us of Norway and Switzerland. The air is clean, the water is clean and so are the towns and even the roads. We plan to go back there soon.

The Dum-Dum was a chance to see old friends and those same friends seemed to enjoy my book. 

In October we're going to the "Lone Pine Film Festival," in California. They expect 5,000 Western Fans. This will be our third trip there. The tiny town is located at the base of Mt. Whitney and the interesting  rock formations just west of town have been used in Western film locations for over 50 years. We did an episode of Wagon Train there starring Peter Faulk and Tommy Sands many years ago.

We're also attending the Ray Courts fan gathering at the Burbank Hilton in October. He usually has 50 to 75 TV and Movie personalities gathered in one huge room for fans to talk with and to purchase photos, posters and other memorabilia.

I hope to break into the Sci Fi gatherings. They draw the biggest number of fans with the Trekies and Star Wars fans. 

I think I qualify for their conventions what with Tarzan being among the first Sci Fi characters on film. I also did a "Buck Rogers," and a two part "Battlestar Galactica." and played Superman in 10 TV recruiting spots for the US Air Force. 

I also did an episode of "Wonder Woman." Here's a helpful hint to anyone who meets her in a narrow hallway and has to pick her up and crash through a break-away door: When you stoop to grab her around the waist, turn your face to the side real quick or one of her metal-covered boobs will put a roto-rooter on one of your eyes . . . take it from "ole One Eye."

The President of the Battlestar Gallactica fan club liked my book so maybe he'll put in a good word for me.  It's fun for an old coot like me to be part of the "Trivial Pursuit," game.

"I'm sorry to disappoint science fiction fans,
but if information is preserved
there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes."
Updates to Ron de Laat's new
Holland meets ERB Site
* Tarzan Films, Videos and DVDs
Click on Collectibles = Movies = click the Tarzan in Manhattan video image

* Tarzan cigar labels
Click on Collectibles = Others = Others and click the Cigarlabel to goto to this section.
Information about the manufacturer will be added on short term

* Overview of the Tarzan movies on the television
Found one more movie Tarzan and the Mermaids info and added to this page
Click on Movies = Television = Movies on TV  to view the listing so far.

Next :
Movies = Ron Ely overview on the Dutch tv
Movies = Wolf Larson series on the Dutch tv
Collectibles = Viewmasters
Artists bios

Dorothy Hart ~ "Jane Actress" ~ Dead at 82
Actress Dorothy Hart, well-known for her film roles in the '50s on Sunday at age 82. Hart started as a model in the '40s and then moved on to star in costume and western movies. She was Lex Barker's co-star in "Tarzan's Savage Fury."  Her filmography includes: "I Was A Communist for the FBI" and "Loan Shark."
(1952 ~ 80m ~ RKO)
LOCATIONS:  CA: Iverson Movie Ranch ~ RKO Culver City Studio 40 Acres backlot
CAST: Lex Barker ~ Dorothy Hart
ERBzine 0580 Tarzan's Savage Fury I: 3D & Trivia
ERBzine 0581 Tarzan's Savage Fury II: Barker Bio - 3D cards
ERBzine 0582 Tarzan's Savage Fury III:  Stills - 3D
ERBzine 0583 Savage Fury IV - 3D - Comics - Links
ERBzine 0608: ERB Screen Heroines II 

Fire damages two rooms in Bobo compound
Monday, July 19
A fire broke out on the roof in the compound owner Steve Sipek, the former Tarzan actor, in Loxahatchee today.

Reportedly the fire was caused by an air conditioning unit being installed by Sipek. Officials had trouble getting water to the fire and had to secure the animals roaming the compound. Two rooms suffered major damage, but no injuries were reported. Officials said the fire was under control by early evening.

Funeral service honors slain tiger
By Jennifer Sorentrue, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 18, 2004

LOXAHATCHEE -- There was a hearse, a priest, a guest book and a group of tearful mourners to send off Bobo the tiger as his body was lowered into its grave Saturday afternoon. A private burial service was held at the Loxahatchee home of Bobo's grieving owner, former Tarzan actor Steve Sipek. The tiger was buried in a blond wooden coffin next to the graves of two of Sipek's other animals. Tony, a tiger, and Misho, a cougar, died within the last two years. 

"Now they are all together," he said. "They were buddies." Bobo's coffin was covered with handwritten messages that were scrawled on the wood during a public vigil Thursday night. "We will miss you Bobo," someone wrote in black marker. Another scribed: "They killed the most beautiful animal."

On Saturday afternoon, as people continued to flock to Sipek's compound, the tiger's coffin sat uncovered, dusted with dirt. Eight white carnations had been tossed on top of it. A box of tissues with a leopard-print pattern was passed around as people gazed into the hole. A public memorial service was scheduled for 6 p.m. today at Sipek's compound on C Road. The 600-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger was killed by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer Tuesday.

Sipek said he refused to look at Bobo's dead body in the days following the shooting. The results of a necropsy won't be released for several weeks, he said. "I didn't want to see what they did to him," he said. "I wanted to remember him as being gorgeous and beautiful."

Dozens of Sipek's friends and neighbors attended the private service, and some helped the former actor feed his other animals. Sandy Tessier, one of Sipek's neighbors, helped feed raw chicken to Princess, a 14-year-old tiger. Tessier said people dropped off flowers and gifts throughout the day Saturday. Some donated money, and others left candles and stuffed animals.

"It's just been people coming from everywhere," Tessier said. "Things are coming from all over."

Sipek said Saturday he's getting another tiger. He claimed that actress Betty White, known for her role on the sitcom The Golden Girls, is sending him a male tiger cub.

Bobo's owner seeks 2nd necropsy
By Rochelle Brenner, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 17, 2004

Bobo the tiger is back from his necropsy in Gainesville and is now being prepared for a second necropsy, this one done privately and sought by the owner. Former Tarzan actor Steve Sipek, owner of the Siberian-Bengal mix that was killed after it escaped, hired Boca Raton-based Novotak and Associates to investigate Bobo's death.

Investigator Andrew Novotak said the tiger was taken to a veterinary clinic and the necropsy was planned. Sipek is hoping to have a funeral for Bobo on Sunday at his home, Novotak said. Bobo escaped from Sipek's Loxahatchee compound on Monday, leading state and local officials, joined by Sipek, on a 26-hour hunt that ended Tuesday afternoon when a wildlife officer shot the tiger to death. 

Sipek and many of his supporters have questioned the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's assertion that Bobo lunged at one of its officers and that the officer was forced to shoot the animal.  Bobo's first necropsy took place at the University of Florida. The local necropsy reportedly will be in Jupiter.

"You handle it basically the same way you handle a homicide," Novotak said. "There's a lot of things there that need to be sorted out. You've got body placement, trajectory of the weapon. It's a basic crime scene." The investigation will take about three weeks, Novotak said.  "What we have to determine is if our findings match (wildlife officials') findings. If the officer was in the right, our investigation will show that also." Novotak said he likely will be paid with the money Sipek is raising through donations from sympathizers. 

Wildlife Capt. Alan Richard said the commission's investigation should be finished in a week or so. The agency will not release the name of the officer who shot the tiger. "We are moving as expeditiously as possible," Richard said. "We know this is of great public interest."  The results of the university's necropsy are not expected to be released until the investigation is complete, according to wildlife commission spokesman Willie Puz.

An inspector from the commission's Tallahassee office, Capt. Curtis Brown, has arrived in the Loxahatchee area and is expected to finish the incident investigation within the next two weeks, Puz said. The shooting set off a firestorm of public outcry. Sipek, 62, corralled his pet within a few hours of the escape Monday, but Bobo was apparently scared off by a sheriff's helicopter. 

"Wildlife officers were giving instructions to our helicopter to try and flush the tiger out and try to watch it. Then they decided it might not be best to use the helicopter the next day," said sheriff's office spokesman Paul Miller.Television helicopters covering the event complied with requests to move out of the area the next day, Miller said.

Sipek had spent the night in the woods with a caged cougar and turkey, hoping to draw Bobo toward him.

For tiger's owner, tears and outrage
Steve Sipek devotes a day to 
spreading the word that his Bobo was not ferocious.
By Mark Schwed ~ Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
LOXAHATCHEE — Steve Sipek mashes his hand into the puddle and pulls it up, dripping in blood. "Right here, see this blood?" he says. "This is where they killed my Bobo."

He is speaking to a group of reporters, something he has been doing virtually nonstop since his beloved 600-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger was shot to death Tuesday by a wildlife officer who said he feared for his life. Sipek doesn't buy it. Bobo the tiger slept in this bedroom at owner Steve Sipek's Loxahatchee home. The ex-actor uses money from his movies to care for his big cats. Steve Sipek, a Loxahatchee resident and former actor, touches the blood Wednesday where his Bengal-Siberian tiger Bobo was fatally shot by a wildlife officer Tuesday.

And he's telling anyone who will listen that Bobo was not a ferocious killer. He was a pussycat who didn't deserve to die. "Bobo was a gentle giant," says Sipek, 62, a former actor known as the Spanish Tarzan. "He loved people. He loved me. Little did he know that death waits for him from people who are heartless." Even as he holds up his bloody hand, his cellphone rings — another call from another journalist who wants to know about Bobo.

His compound, a last-chance sanctuary for tigers, lions, a jaguar and a cougar with no place else to go, has become a circus. Media trucks crowd the road and coaxial cable snakes along his dirt driveway. Reporters have moved in. There's NBC News. A producer from Larry King Live is calling. Local stations are going live. People drive from miles away just to place flowers at a makeshift shrine in front of his gates. "We'll miss you Bobo," says one poster.

Daniel Correll, 14, collects money to buy a plaque. In less than an hour, he raises $350. "I'm devastated," says his mother, Carrie, 47. It seems the whole world wants to know why Bobo had to die. "It's good I've been so busy," Sipek says. "Otherwise, I'd just fall apart." Still, he begins crying as he speaks of his favorite big cat, the one he has fed and cared for for six years.

Millions spent on big cats
"My heart is not there anymore. Bobo was the only one who was able to fill the emptiness in my heart. If the Lord would come down and say, 'You want to go with Bobo?' I'd go. As long as someone would take care of my other animals."  Sipek says he has spent millions over 35 years caring big cats. He says the money — $7 million in all — came from his movie earnings. "I didn't think $7 million would have to last for 35 years."

It was while making his first Tarzan movie that he fell in love with big cats. "The day was the 31st of October, 1970. We were shooting a scene where Tarzan and Jane were to be tortured. Somehow, something went wrong. Somebody spilled some gasoline. The whole set exploded. With all the 300 people on the set, nobody rushed in to pull me out. Nobody tried to save me. Except my lion Samson. He dragged me out. That day my life changed forever."

He bought 5 acres in Loxahatchee and built a compound that would house a total of 102 big cats over the years. Now there are only five — Missy the cougar, Oko the jaguar, Elvis and Stephanie the lions and Princess the tiger. There are no creature comforts for him — he has almost no furniture — but the animals live like kings. Their cages are lined with granite on the floors. They have plenty of turkeys and beef to eat. "They eat better than I do," Sipek says. "It costs $200 a day to feed them all."

And while the animals are confined to a series of cages, they do have the run of the house. "They even sleep in my bed. Sometimes there are so many of them, they push me out. I wind up sleeping on the floor." As he makes the rounds to feed the cats, Sipek has no fear. He walks into their cages, cuddles and sweet-talks his cats. "A lot of people will grow old and die and never know how much we love tigers," he says.

Just two days earlier, his favorite, Bobo, had escaped. Sipek still doesn't know how. "Someone must have opened a gate," he says. "There is no other way out." And for one day, Bobo the tiger was truly free. He made the best of it, taking a swim in a canal, swatting at passing cars, napping in thick brush. He even paid a visit to the neighbors. But 26 hours after slipping out of his compound, Bobo's romp through this rural community ended in gunfire.

Sipek returns to the site and finds three shell casings from the assault weapon used to bring down his cat. There are paper sheets numbered from 1 to 5, indicating how many shots were fired. Sipek pockets them to turn over to a private investigator he has hired to find out what happened.

He plans to retrieve Bobo's body from wildlife officials and have his own necropsy conducted. He has set up a special account at Fidelity Federal because so many people have offered to make donations. But still, his mind races back to Tuesday, when he was desperately trying to find his missing tiger and he heard the sound of gunfire.

"I felt five shots entering my heart," he says, tears again streaming down his face. "Bobo was dead. Bobo got free and realized it was a jungle out there. He just didn't know how to come home."

 Steve Hawkes on CNN's Larry King Show 
Wednesday, July 14

"Bobo deserved better than heartless assassination.
'Bobo Had A Heart of Gold,' Tiger's Owner Says

The owner of the 6-year-old male tiger, Steve Sipek, accused the wildlife officers of acting too quickly. He said they should have waited for an officer with a tranquilizer gun who might have saved the animal. 

"They murdered him," a teary Sipek said, his clothing soaked in the cat's blood.  "Murder is the word. They murdered a poor helpless animal that only looked ferocious, as any tiger would. But Bobo had a heart of gold."

"I was around the corner. I heard the shots, five shots, one, two, three, four, five. I knew he was dead," he said. "They didn't wait for nobody. They just shot him cold in the bushes where he slept all day," Sipek said.

A small group of angry animal lovers and Sipek's neighbors gathered at the scene in protest. Some wept and one held a sign reading "Bobo deserved better than heartless assassination." 

"I'm very angry because I don't think people have respect for the animals," said one woman. "I think this guy just figured he'd shoot the cat and it would be no big deal. Well, it is a big deal for a lot of us," she said.

"We all want to cry because Bobo was a victim. They didn't have to shoot him," said Kim Smith, who lives on the edge of the search area where neighbors have held candlelight vigils and made signs and T-shirts that read "I love Bobo." 

"I was crying my eyes out when I heard," said Nicholas Hernandez, 14, who lives nearby. "I met the animal before, and it was really peaceful with me. It's sad to see the creature go." 

Sipek said he would bury the cat on his property. "My heart is ripped out because there is no reason for this thing to happen, none whatsoever," Sipek said.

Steve Sipek, a former actor who once played Tarzan in a series of Spanish-language movies in the early 1970s, owned Bobo. Sipek said he has been devoted to the big cats since one pulled him from a fire during a Tarzan filming.

Sipek pleaded with officials not to hurt the animal.

"Please, do not shoot Bobo," he had told the Palm Beach Post. "Bobo is scared right now. Bobo's not a killer, Bobo's not a dangerous tiger. Just call me and wildlife to take him home."

Sipek claims that the tiger didn’t actually escape, but that someone let him out to, as he puts it, “cause problems.” Sipek says there are four gates between his house and the outside world and that someone opened all of them.  He also has accused wildlife authorities of abusing power when they killed Bobo, saying they should have used their tranquilizer guns instead of the M-4 rifle. 

"Bobo was shot in the right side of the face, which means Bobo was surprised and only had enough time to raise his head before they shot him," said Sipek, who described Bobo and his other cats as his children. 

A necropsy - an animal autopsy - is expected to be performed in the near future.  Authorities also are investigating whether Sipek can keep his license for his other cats, and whether he should pay for the hunt for his escaped pet. "I will not let them go. I will never give them up," he said, sitting about 10 feet from "Elvis," a lion who was napping in a cage. 

Sipek's neighbors say they will rally to help him keep his remaining big cats. "He's done nothing but good for these animals and the community is going to support Tarzan," said neighbor Nathan Hanson.  Jack Mitch, another neighbor, described Bobo as a well-known community celebrity. "He was our mascot out here," Mitch said. 

(Jon Way/Reuters)
Steve Sipek is seen in a shirt soaked with the blood of his 600 lb. tiger Bobo after the animal was shot and killed 

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Steve Sipek's girlfriend, Linda Turk, hugs Sipek after learning his tiger, Bobo, had been killed. Sipek has blood on his hands and shirt after cradling the Bengal tiger's body.

(Marc Serota/Reuters) 
A statue of a lion sits at the front gate 
of the Steve Hawkes residence


See 27 more photos here
View the WTSP News Video Here

Tarzan's tiger shot dead in Florida 
July 14, 2004 
Wildlife officers shot and killed a 270-kg tiger called Bobo after it escaped from the Florida home of a B-movie actor who played Tarzan. 

Officers hunted the fugitive cat for more than 24 hours in thick scrub around Loxahatchee, 80 km north of Miami. They spotted it on Tuesday afternoon and hoped to use a tranquilizer dart to recapture it, but the animal lunged at them and was fatally shot, officials said. 

"The tiger attacked one of our officers. Our officers unfortunately had no choice but to use lethal fire and shot the tiger," a wildlife official told reporters at the scene. "We're very, very sad to report the tiger is deceased." 

The 6-year-old male tiger, which actor Steve Sipek raised since it was a cub, was declawed but not defanged. It was not necessarily considered a threat to local residents, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Willie Puz said before the animal was killed. 

"From what I'm told, it's the first time it's been away from home so it's checking to see if it's greener on the other side of the fence, I don't know," Puz said. 

Sipek, who played Tarzan in two movies in 1969 and 1972 under the screen name Steve Hawkes, looks after mistreated big cats and has another tiger, two lions, a black leopard and a cougar. Local newspapers said the cats roamed freely around his home. 

Sipek had long had a permit to keep exotic wildlife as pets, said Puz. 

Local residents were escorted to and from their houses, if they requested it, during the hunt for the elusive cat. Some decided to help wildlife officers hunt for Bobo. 

Linda Meredith packed a live Yorkshire pig in the trunk of her Cadillac and offered its services in drawing the tiger back home, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported.  "He has all these humans screaming at him, but he doesn't want that. He wants dinner and that's a pig squealing," she said. 

The wildlife officers thanked Meredith but sent her and her pig packing. 

Escaped tiger and owner

Steve Sipek feeds raw chicken to his tiger, Bobo, at his rural Loxhatchee home in this file photo from Dec. 21, 2003. 

About 3 p.m. Monday, Bobo jumped the 12-foot fence surrounding Sipek's property. The 600-pound tiger eluded capture Tuesday. Sipek is a former movie actor who played Tarzan in 1969 and 1970 and who cares for several exotic animals.
(Sun-Sentinel/Scott Fisher) Copyright © 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel 

Tarzan's Escaped Tiger 
Eludes Fla. Search For Second Day
July 13, 2004
LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. (AP) - A 600-pound tiger eluded capture for a second day Tuesday after escaping from the compound of its owner, a former actor who once played Tarzan.

Deputy sheriffs and state game officials set up a perimeter around a search area and started beating the bush again at daybreak, said Willie Puz, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The 6-year-old tiger was spotted several times, most recently around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday by a woman who said it was in her back yard. Officials hoped it would simply grow hungry and return home in search of food, Puz said.

The tiger was reported missing Monday afternoon from the home of Steve Sipek, who played Tarzan decades ago under the screen name Steve Hawkes, said Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Sipek has raised the tiger since it was a cub. When the first deputies arrived on the scene Monday, the cat jumped on top of their car, Miller said. Puz said searchers who spotted it several times Monday evening were never close enough to shoot it with tranquilizer darts.

Though law enforcement officers were available to escort nervous residents away from the area, Puz said officials were encouraging people to "go about their normal business."  "The tiger has only roamed about 200 yards from its home, which means it's not out free-roaming all over," he said. The 6-year-old tiger was spotted several times, most recently around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday by a woman who said it was in her back yard. Officials hoped it would simply grow hungry and return home in search of food, Puz said.

In 1985, a tame, three-legged black leopard belonging to Sipek eluded searchers for nearly three days before being found wandering near a fence on his property. Sipek said at the time that he had been devoted to the big cats ever since one pulled him from a fire during the filming of a Tarzan movie.

According to the Internet Movie Data Base, "Steve Hawkes" played Tarzan in a series of Spanish-language Tarzan movies around 1970 and was called Zan of the Jungle when they were released in English. He retired from acting after an on-set accident, it said. 

His property is about 15 miles west of Palm Beach. It is bordered by other similar sized estates and mini-ranches, many with livestock. Canals and wooded areas and scrubby brush surround the homes that sit on five-acre lots off dirt roads. Lion County Safari and the swampy Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge are a few miles away.

~ Thanks Thomas
Steve Hawkes Mini Bio on IMDB
Born in Eastern Europe, Hawkes (or Hucks) immigrated to America as a teenager to pursue an acting career citing Johnny Weissmuller as a childhood influence. He played a Tarzan type character in a series of Spanish language movies. In Spain his character was referred to as Tarzan but when they were released in English language territories they directly avoided mentioning the Tarzan name, instead referring to Hawkes character as "Zan of the Jungle." In 1971 he played the lead in the much loved exploitation movie Blood Freak in which he turns into a monster turkey. In the mid-Seventies he was badly burnt in an on set accident putting an end to his acting career. Now completely retired, today he runs an animal sanctuary out of Florida.
From the ERBzine Dum-Dum Archives
While filming the Tarzan and the Rainbow in 1970, on location at Rainbow Springs, Steve Hawkes (Tarzan) and Kitty Svanholm (Jane) were badly burned. During the filming of a torture scene, the two actors were tied to stakes when gasoline-soaked leaves ignited and both were burned seriously. They were rushed to the University of Florida Medical Centre in Gainsville. They remained there for months for skin graft treatment, while the rest of the crew departed for Bogota, Columbia and on to Spain,  to shoot more scenes. The film  eventually saw Spanish release in 1974.
See the Steve Hawkes Interview at the Bunkum Site

Tiger Escapes From Home of Ex-'Tarzan' 
Mon July 12, 2004
LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. - Deputies and wildlife officers were armed with tranquilizer guns Monday as they searched for a tiger that escaped from the home of an actor who once portrayed Tarzan. When the first deputies arrived on the scene, the 6-year-old tiger jumped on top of their car, said Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. 

Steven Hawkes and Lydie DenierThe cat was reported missing from Steve Sipek's residence, which is near a wilderness area about 15 miles west of West Palm Beach. Sipek has another tiger, two lions, a black leopard and a cougar on his 5-acre property, the Palm Beach Post reported. The cats, mostly castoffs from zoos, are in a mazelike series of interlocking cages. 

People nearby were asked to stay indoors, said Willie Puz, spokesman for the conservation commission. "There's no such thing as a tame wild animal," he said. The town is a few miles from Lion County Safari and the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. 

Sipek portrayed Tarzan under the screen name Steve Hawkes in movies made in the late 1960s, Miller said. In 2002, a 750-pound tiger mauled a woman who was helping Sipek during a photo shoot at his compound, which is barricaded with an iron gate and flanked by tall concrete slabs. "It was my mistake, and I paid the price for it," bite victim Carol Pistilli said. At that time, Sipek had taken in 52 animals during 32 years. 

(Photo courtesy Dave Critchfield ~ Steven Hawkes and Lydie Denier at Pete Ogden's Dum-Dum 2001: A Florida Odyssey )

ERBzine Spotlight on Tarzan Actor
Steve Hawkes
Didn't You Used To Be What's His Name?
The New Autobiography by Denny Miller
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ISBN: 0-9753917-0-4

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From apes to fish: 
The life and times of 'What's his name' 
By Mike Leonard, Hoosier Times
July 4, 2004 
Denny Miller is fond of the aphorism, "Life is what happens to you when you're on your way to do something else."

The Bloomington native wasn't thinking about much more than being a basketball player for John Wooden's UCLA Bruins and aiming toward a career in physical education when a talent scout stopped him on the street and asked to see his hairline. 

Months later, Miller would become Tarzan, star of Tarzan - The Ape Man, the 1959 film he jovially calls the worst Tarzan movie ever made until Bo Derek and her husband, John, took a swing at the venerable character in 1981. 

"I was a misplaced basketball player and I was frightened to death by what I was doing," he confessed recently. 

But Miller continued in acting and carved out an enviable career as a character actor, ranging from a regular role as scout Duke Shannon in the television series "Wagon Train" on through numerous movie, television and commercial roles. For the past 14-plus years, he's been the Gorton's Fisherman with a visage so recognizable the company changed its logo to resemble the ruggedly handsome, bearded actor who first greeted the world at Bloomington Hospital 70 years ago. 

The affable Hoosier wrote his memoirs recently and with characteristic humility titled the autobiography, Didn't You Used To Be What's His Name?

"I've always appreciated my life and my career but I don't think I ever really appreciated things enough until I sat down and actually read what I wrote and thought, 'My God, look at how lucky you are!'" he marveled. 

Miller was fortunate enough to have director George Cukor give him his first screen test - and his first acting lesson. And to have Cukor take him to dinner at the home of a fellow Hoosier, Cole Porter, who regaled him with the theories on the origin of the Hoosier moniker. 

He was lucky enough to work with or get to know a dazzling array of actors, including Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Juliet Prouse, Charles Bronson, Sidney Poitier, Jack Lord, Peter Sellers, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and many, many more. 

They're all in the book, along with other anecdotes that make one marvel at how many stories can come out of a life well-lived. Like the time during a UCLA/North Carolina alumni basketball game when Miller, the oldest man on the floor, found himself as the only defender against a fast break led by Michael Jordan and James Worthy. "I cupped my hands and yelled to the thousands (in attendance) - HELP!" Miller writes. 

Didn't You Used To Be What's His Name? is written in a casual, folksy style that doesn't pretend to be anything more than the memoirs of a man who's led what might be called a quietly extraordinary life. When Waldron High School won the 2004 1A Indiana High School basketball championship, Miller squeezed in a chapter to point out some fascinating coincidences, including the fact that his father, Ben, and his identical twin, Len, led Waldron to the 1927 state finals and another set of identical twins led the 2004 team to its title. 

Ben and Len Miller played for coach Branch McCracken at Indiana University and played against Wooden, the Purdue player who would become Denny's eventual coach and mentor. And at UCLA, Miller's teammates included future Louisville coach Denny Crum and Olympic decathlete Rafer Johnson

Still, it's the Tarzan connection that seems to have the most staying power. "They say there are four fictional characters known 'round the world - Batman, Superman, Mickey Mouse and Tarzan," Miller said. There have been 20 different Tarzans and three have hailed from the Hoosier state: Elmo Lincoln from the silent film days; James Pierce, from Freedom in Owen County; and Miller

"It was a real honor to play Tarzan, because he was one of the good guys," said Miller, who played a lot of bad guys over the course of his career. "He was an environmentalist before that word was even known. He was kind of a cross between Dr. Doolittle and an Olympic athlete. And a few Tarzans were, in fact, Olympic gold medal winners, including Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe and Glenn Morris." 

Despite the fact that a great many athletes prove to be terrible actors, Miller sees a strong link between acting and sports. "They're both team sports, actually. Even if you're doing a monologue and the guy on the spotlight isn't with you, you're in the dark," he explained. 

"There are stars in a movie or a play and there are stars on a basketball team and supporting players," Miller said. "The coach is the director." 

Being athletic and handsome always helped Miller, and for good genes and good values, he thanks his father, Ben, who became an IU faculty member and, later, the chairman of the physical education department at UCLA and president of the American Academy of Physical Education. "He spent a great deal of his time trying to justify his field of study to academia," Miller said. 

The veteran actor continues to be an avid proponent of physical fitness and he complains, passionately, that "We've become the fattest and most overweight nation in the world and it costs our country dearly in dollars and unfulfilled lives." 

He's also become an ardent spokesman for mental health after inexplicably being stricken with bouts of depression rather late in life. "They say that there are 6 million men out there right now who suffer from depression and will not seek help," Miller said. "At every opportunity I get, I urge people to seek help. It's not a weakness. It's a chemical imbalance in most cases. I'm just so grateful that mine is under control." 

Although technically, Didn't You Used To Be What's His Name? is set for September publication, it's available now on Miller's Web site at

The author hopes to come through his home town on a book tour this fall. A trip to the area seems logical, he said, especially given that a close associate is George T. McWhorter, curator of the Edward Rice Burroughs (Tarzan creator) Memorial Collection at the University of Louisville, KY.

Columnist Mike Leonard can be reached at (812) 331-4368, or by e-mail at
The Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.

'Chicken man' learning to love: 
Raised in coop, Fijian 'making up for lost time'

A Fijian man, 32-year-old Sujit Kumar, who spent his formative years living in a chicken coop, clucking and pecking at his food, is now learning to walk, talk and eat like a human. Apparently his mother died when he was about four years old. The boy lived with his father until he was about eight years old, and apparently, his father confined him to a chicken coop.

"He had imitated or imprinted with the chicken," says Ms. Clayton, the social worker who has been working with him.. "He was perching, he was picking at his food, he was hopping around like a chicken. He'd keep his hands in a chickenlike fashion, and he'd make a noise, which was like the calling of a chicken, which he still has." He has reportedly made "remarkable progress," learning to walk and speak like a human. Ms. Clayton said doctors examined Sunjit and found no mental defects. Professionals agreed that his condition was the result of years of neglect and abuse.

Mr. Kumar spent the two decades living in a seniors' home in Suva, where staff did not know what to make of his odd behaviour. Ms. Clayton said they tethered him to a bed with cotton sheeting for long stretches. 

He now has stopped hunting for food at all times and can tell the difference between peeled an unpeeled oranges. Ms. Clayton says she is using "unconventional means" to develop Mr. Kumar's language and motor skills. He has learned one constructive sound so far -- "broooom broooom broooom" -- the sound of her van. He uses the sound when speaking to others, as though he is conversing with them.

"Once upon a time, he was aggressive, very aggressive," Ms. Clayton said in an interview yesterday. "Now, he's become very loving in his actions. He likes to hug and he likes to sit near someone and he likes to be held and touched. He's really making up for lost time. You can see the determination and what happens when one gives love."

More on the Chicken Man Story in Canada's National Post ` Thursday, July 15, 2004

Tarzana Street Fair ~ Sunday July 11
Ventura Blvd Between Reseda and Crebs
Fans in full swing at Tarzan convention (Dum-Dum 2004)
Skull & Bones. The Rat Pack. Tarzan?
By Matthew Benson  ~ June 26, 2004 in the Coloradan
The loin-clothed club is as exclusive as any, with just 20 men playing Tarzan over the course of 51 films.

Fans rejoiced in the jungle hero Friday, with the Fort Collins Ramada Inn playing host to the annual Tarzan national convention. The convention runs through today. But if you go, call it a Dum Dum -- as Tarzan did when he called apes together for meetings.

If the Tarzan fraternity was more about great pecs than acting prowess, you'll hear no apologies from Denny Miller.  As the star of the 1959 "Tarzan the Apeman," his dialogue was ... chimp-like? The main line was pronounced oongowa, Miller said -- jungle-speak for everything from "stop" and "go" to "there's a zebra." "It was like being in a circus," said Miller, sitting behind a table heaped with Tarzan books and memorabilia. "Go ride that elephant. Play with that chimpanzee. Jump off that limb into the pond."

Not Shakespeare, perhaps, but there were benefits. Like Jane. "That wasn't too bad. There have been a lot of pretty ones," Miller said, pointing out a calendar with images of a semi-clad Lyndie (sic) Denier. She played Jane in the 1990s Tarzan television series.

But you might squint yourself blind trying to see the 24-year-old Miller of then in the 70-year-old Miller of now. He's still a giant of a man, maybe 6 foot 4, but his waves of blond hair have gone gray. And a thick, silver beard covers his face.  The look suits the role for which he is now perhaps best known: the Gorton's Fisherman.  From chimps to shrimps, I call it," Miller said.  "The kids love me. If I go to a grocery store with a yellow slicker on, they surround me like I'm Santa Claus."

Besides Tarzan, the primary focus of this year's  convention is a tribute to Glenn Morris, the former Colorado State University athletic standout and Olympic gold medallist.  Two years after winning the decathlon at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Morris starred in "Tarzan's Revenge."

"Glenn Morris had steel blue eyes and when he looked at you, he could look right through you," said Jim Larson, a  memorabilia vendor who has collected  more than 6,000 autographs. "If he were to walk in this room right now, all the eyes would go to him." Larson, 78, served with Morris in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  While celebrated for his athletic and film success, Morris never recovered from what he saw in battle. Tormented by post-traumatic stress disorder,  Morris died in  military hospital in 1974. He was 62.  "I can't say anything bad about him," Larson said. "He was a lonely man."

Larson's wares were on display Friday,  though much of it -- an autographed picture of Christie Brinkley? -- seemed out of place at a Tarzan convention.  The crowd was sparse, though vendors insisted that  more will be on hand today. Most of the attendees were perusing vintage Tarzan movie posters, books and  other materials, as well as novels by Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Gene Arnold, 79, was among the collectors, scanning the items with his wife in tow.  Arnold has a collection of 70-plus Tarzan novels and one play, and noted that Tarzan memorabilia is big business. A mint condition copy of the 1914  "Tarzan of the Apes" could fetch $25,000.

Arnold and his wife, Bea, live in St. Louis,  but attend the national Tarzan convention every year. Bea, 76, isn't as huge a Tarzan fan. But when you get married,  she explained, your husband's hobby can become your own. "I'm very fortunate," Gene said. "She's a dear. She puts up with this." Added Bea, "My love is clothes and his is books. It's as simple as that."

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Interesting article on Mars:
Leaving Home: Sir Arthur C. Clarke on Terraforming
". . . The mirage of Percival Lowell's canals was beginning to fade, though it would not vanish completely until our space probes began arriving in the late 1970's. It was still generally believed that Mars had a thin but useful atmosphere, and that vegetation flourished--at least in the equatorial regions where the temperature often rose above the freezing point. And where there was vegetation, of course, there might more more interesting forms of life--though nothing remotely human. Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian princesses had joined the canals in mythology. . . . " 

Unofficial Pre-Production Art for the JC Film

Art by Rafael Kayanan

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