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News Volume 21

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June/July/August 2007
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Tarzan, A Great Jumping Off Point
Courant ~ June 28, 2007
I recommend the pulp fiction Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs for reading across the curriculum in middle and high schools. These juicy adventure novels would agitate bored students to learn more about human evolution, colonial racism, gender relations, plot technique, and body movement than their dumbed-down, politically correct, spiritually bland and dated textbooks. Sadly, textbooks designed for public schools are the result of a mass-market economy where publishing corporations defer to cautious administrators, who defer to school boards, who defer to the voters. Anything remotely provocative will send the buyer elsewhere. Texts are to publishers as fast food is to franchises. With a guaranteed market, the goal is the delivery of palatable nutrition or information to the broadest possible audience, not a memorable meal or learning experience, respectively. To see how vetted and dated texts are, I ask you to monitor how long (if ever) it will take for the publishers to respond to a great idea that Tarzan, a.k.a. Lord Greystoke, would have loved. In this month's Science, three British authors combined field observations about orangutans with vertebrate anatomy, paleontology and paleoecology to re-interpret the conventional wisdom about human walking.

When Tarzan wanted to move through the jungle quickly and safely, he did so above the ground, swinging on vines, running on branches and leaping from tree to tree. According to the new study, titled ``Origin of Human Bipedalism As an Adaptation for Locomotion on Flexible Branches,'' this is where the original adaptation for human walking occurred. This idea is so cool that it should be dangled as a morsel in front of every public high-school school student, especially young alpha males.

But I doubt if you will see it in their texts for years, if ever. To expose impressionable young minds to the dangerous fact that humans learned to walk with the monkeys would be unthinkable to a parent believing that humans were either created in God's image or are the perfected end products of evolution. Every text covering the animal ``kingdom'' should be honest enough to mention that humans are animals. They should be accurate enough to question the conventional wisdom that our antecedents came down from the trees and learned to knuckle-walk as chimps before standing fully upright. They should be interesting enough to link bipedal walking on terra firma to forest fragmentation and expansion of the savannah as the climate became drier. How many texts meet these standards today?

According to the new study, upright walking did not evolve to free up the hands for making tools, to carry an infant, to hold weapons or to forage for food. Nor did it evolve to help humans reduce their exposure to the overhead sun or to enhance ``full frontal'' displays of dominance. Instead, upright walking evolved as an adaptation for horizontal movement on springy branches within the tree canopy, either to travel from tree to tree, to reach food, or escape predation.

The most effective way for a large animal to move on wiggling branches is to fully extend the lower limbs between the foot and the hips while using long arms for balance. This original upright condition was retained by the orangutan lineage. It was lost by ground-dwelling chimpanzees and gorillas, whose locomotion in trees is more vertical than horizontal. It was retained by our antecedents who modified it for life on land. This explains why the earliest well-known member of our lineage (Australopithecus afarensis) was a fairly good walker and why we (Homo sapiens) have unnecessarily long arms. Being able to pitch a fastball or throw a spear is a throwback to a time when we first learned to walk. More>>>


Tarzan Treehouse in Holland (translation by Ron de Laat) ~ August 17, 2007 
Fortis, main sponsor for the musical Tarzan, is creating a special Tarzan treehouse on the promenade of Scheveningen. Ron Link and Chantal Janzen, who are playing the roles of Tarzan and Jane will open "their" new cottage on August 21st.

The treehouse is a gift from Fortis to promote the Tarzan musical which is featured exclusively in the Fortis Circustheater at Scheveningen. The unveiling of the Fortis Treehouse takes place on Tuesday, August 21st
at 15.30 on the promenade near the Pier of Scheveningen.

The treehouse is provided with spectacular images and junglesounds where the visitor to the treehouse will be in the world of Tarzan for a moment and will experience a piece of the legend. After the opening on August 21st, the Fortis treehouse will be open free to the public until August 26th.
Video (submitted by: Ras Thavas)
See more at:

Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure VaultsDanton Burroughs' new Tarzana Archives Website 
and weekly Webzine (Danton's Den) has joined the 
Armada of ERB, Inc. Websites and Webzines currently available on the Internet.
In response to the excitement surrounding the recent announcements of film projects with Disney/Pixar (live-action John Carter of Mars) and Warner Bros. (Del Toro's Tarzan of the Apes). . . as well as the international excitement over Tarzan the Musical (currently playing in Holland) . . .  the ongoing publishing and merchandising projects (Penguin, Bison Press, independents, PODs, comics, computer and online gaming, etc.). . . and the overwhelming popularity of the ERB Websites. . . Danton and Webmaster/Editor Bill Hillman have launched a new site which will feature stories, articles, photos, comics, and rare archival material which will be of interest to ERB fans and scholars. 

This week's Dateline Jasoom has been launched by Gridley Wave from Elmo's:
Episode 38. Elmo hates the new Flash Gordon, but digs the old.
Mike Chapman discusses his book  "Please Don't Call Me Tarzan," and memories of actor Herman Brix. Watch "Tarzan and the Green Goddess" free online here:
Elmo's Dateline Jasoom: Episode 37

Dedication of the Bob Hyde Collection during the 2007 Dum-Dum, with a speech by Bob's son, John Clayton Hyde.
From the 2007 Dum-Dum: Dum-Dum report #1 | Richard Hescox, Venus artist
A Teaser from Serial Squadron on YouTube

ADVENTURES OF TARZAN (1921) Chapter 2 Reel 1
Elmo Lincoln, the first screen Tarzan, returns to rescue Louise Lorraine as Jane in this restored serial chapter from ADVENTURES OF TARZAN, which was adapted from the final few chapters of Edgar Rice Burroughs' THE RETURN OF TARZAN. ...
More about this lovingly restored serial in's ERB Emporium:
Tree-Climbing Scientist Makes Surprising Discovery 

National Science Foundation / Live Science ~ August 17, 2007
When I was a graduate student in the early 1980’s, the canopy was dismissed by many scientists as an inaccessible and unimportant part of the forest – “just Tarzan stuff.” But we now know that the canopy holds organisms that interact with one another and their physical environment in ways that can have impacts on the entire forest. In order to truly understand forest ecology and the responses of forests to environmental threats such as global warming, we must understand how the entire forest works – from root tip to tree top. 
In 1979, I learned how to ascend trees taller than 30-story buildings using rock climbing techniques so that I could help identify the plants, animals, and microorgisms living in the treetops. Other canopy researchers have studied the canopy from walkways, construction cranes, and even hot-air balloons. 
In recent years, the use of such techniques has improved our understanding of canopy ecology. For example, we now know that some plant and animal species live their entire lives on the branches and trunks of trees without ever touching the forest floor. 
When these “plants growing on plants ” die and decompose, they generate a layer of soil up to 10 inches thick that rests on canopy branches. This soil provides a habitat for a huge diversity of insects, earthworms, and spiders, which in turn, provide critical sources of food for birds and tree-dwelling mammals. Thus, the seemingly disconnected world of the forest canopy performs essential functions for the whole ecosystem. 
After settling in on a treetop perch provided by a secure branch that summer day, I began work on my current research project: With funding from the National Science Foundation, I am studying the amazing diversity of canopy mosses. As many as 70 moss species may live in a single tree, and over 150 moss species may live in a single forest stand. I am working to identify some of the adaptations that these diverse species have evolved to survive. More>>>

Hear the first podcast reports from Dum-Dum 2007 
Dateline Jasoom #37 at
Dedication of the Bob Hyde Collection during the 2007 Dum-Dum, with a speech by Bob's son, John Clayton Hyde. Interviews with ERB artist Richard Hescox and attendees Joan Bledig, Bill Hillman, et al. 
John Carter title protest from Columbia

The latest Motion Pictures Association of America Title Registration Report. Lucasfilm, Ltd has filed for six different titles for Indiana Jones 4. The proposed titles include: Indiana Jones and the City of Gods . . . Destroyer of Worlds . . . Fourth Corner of the Earth . . . Kingdom of the Crystal Skull . . . Lost City of Gold . . . Quest for the Covenant.
Curiously, Columbia Pictures is protesting Disney’s John Carter Of Mars title on the basis of their upcoming release John Hancock. 
Energy use 'drove human walking' 

BBC News ~ July 17, 2007
Humans evolved to walk upright because it uses less energy than travelling on all fours, according to researchers. 
A US team compared the energy used by humans and by chimpanzees in walking. The human bipedal gait is about four times more efficient than chimps getting around on either two or four legs, the researchers found. Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they say this may explain why we walk bipedally, and some of our anatomical features. 
Other research groups have proposed alternative explanations for our two-legged gait. Some suggest it evolved because early humans needed to reach upwards to collect food or pass it to a mate, while others maintain it predates four-legged locomotion in primates, citing the often upright posture of orangutans as they move across slim branches. More>>>
Future of Pixar

Blue Sky Disney Blog ~ July 17, 2007
By the end of this decade we'll start to see the fruits of this evolving as Pixar becomes a studio that makes live action as well as animation. It will be a company that defines itself by the stories it tells, not that they are in animation. And that credit on the posters for "1906" or "Princess Of Mars" that says: "Executive Producer John Lasseter"... well, it's going to continue to grow. Pixar is on a path where within a decade we could see it have its own slate of films just like Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Pictures. It has the potential to become another brand for the Mouse, not just an animation brand but a fully developed brand. More>>>
Dateline Jasoom Podcast #36 includes:
Harvey Paul on little Billy from Chicago ~ Barsoomian Blade news from Mars ~ Celebrity Jeopardy with O'Banyon ~ Cheta's birthday ~  Prometheus Theater Radio does Tarzan ~ Dum-Dum 2007 news~ Now available for download at:

Big cat lover in Loxahatchee insists he will keep his tigers
South Florida Sun-Sentinel ~ July 14, 2007
A year ago, federal inspectors denied Sipek an exotic animal permit to legally keep his cats because his five-acre ranch did not meet standards in the Animal Welfare Act. But the former B-movie actor, known around the Groves simply as "Tarzan," was granted a state permit that allowed him to keep the cats if he used them for educational or commercial purposes. Sipek said he's reapplying for another state license, but remains defiant as ever toward federal officials and what he calls their "ridiculously high standards" for animal care. He said his cats are well cared for and challenges the authority of the federal officials to make any demands for better conditions. His last federal license inspection lasted less than an hour before Sipek ran the officials off his property.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health division last toured Sipek's ranch in January 2006. The inspection and licensing arm of the USDA had given Sipek failing grades on two previous inspections and found conditions had improved little this time. Inspection records note that Sipek did not have a veterinarian on site or on call and that no medical records existed for the cats. Inspectors found a section of fence was only seven-feet high, a foot lower than the minimum standards for these types of animals. They noted vertical gaps in the fencing large enough for outside animals to pass through to gain access to the enclosed tigers and lioness. They also pointed out other potential weak points in the fence. Records show inspectors told Sipek that he did not provide a proper diet and feeding program for the cats and that his grounds were littered with dangerous debris. As with past failed inspectors, this record concludes that Sipek is not allowed to participate in USDA "regulated activities," such as exhibiting the animals, until he obtains a federal license.

Five months later, Sipek easily passed inspection by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and received a state license. Sipek admits he's frustrated by this discrepancy in state and federal standards. While the state last year said he was a good guardian for the cats, the USDA launched an investigation into his care. USDA officials would not say whether the investigation is ongoing. "It's a lousy situation," Sipek said. "The USDA is not qualified to issue licenses." West agrees it's a confusing and complicated permit process and said the state has ongoing discussions with the USDA to simplify it.

The Croatian-born Sipek, who starred as Tarzan in a foreign remake of the film in 1970, garnered international attention in 2004 when a 600-pound Bengal tiger he owned, Bobo, escaped from his compound and into the rural residential community of the Groves. The tiger was later shot by Fish and Wildlife officials, but soon after, Sipek received another commercial license from the state for two tiger cubs, Bo and Little Bo. Those cubs are now 2 years old and weigh 400 pounds. "Nobody could take better care of my cats than I can," Sipek said. "The health of the cats is all that matters. That's all I care about and that's all they should care about, too." More>>>

Found: the giant lion-eating chimps of the magic forest
The Guardian ~ July 14, 2007
Deep in the Congolese jungle is a band of apes that, according to local legend, kill lions, catch fish and even howl at the moon. Local hunters speak of massive creatures that seem to be some sort of hybrid between a chimp and a gorilla. Their location at the centre of one of the bloodiest conflicts on the planet, the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has meant that the mystery apes have been little studied by western scientists. Reaching the region means negotiating the shifting fortunes of warring rebel factions, and the heart of the animals' range is deep in impenetrable forest. But despite the difficulties, a handful of scientists have succeeded in studying the animals. Early speculation that the apes may be some yeti-like new species or a chimp/gorilla hybrid proved unfounded, but the truth has turned out to be in many ways even more fascinating. They are actually a population of super-sized chimps with a unique culture - and it seems, a taste for big cat flesh. The most detailed and recent data comes from Cleve Hicks, at the University of Amsterdam, who has spent 18 months in the field watching the Bili apes - named after a local town - since 2004. His team's most striking find came after one of his trackers heard chimps calling for several days from the same spot. When he investigated he came across a chimp feasting on the carcass of a leopard. Mr Hicks cannot be sure the animal was killed by the chimp, but the find lends credence to the apes' lion-eating reputation. 

"What we have found is this completely new chimpanzee culture," said Mr Hicks. Previously, researchers had only managed to snatch glimpses of the animals or take photos of them using camera traps. But Mr Hicks used local knowledge to get closer to them and photograph them. "We were told of this sort of fabled land out west by one of our trackers who goes out there to fish," said Mr Hicks whose project is supported by the Wasmoeth Wildlife Foundation. "I call it the magic forest. It is a very special place."

Getting there means a gruelling 40km (25-mile) trek through the jungle, from the nearest road, not to mention navigating croc-infested rivers. But when he arrived he found apes without their normal fear of humans. Chimps near the road flee immediately at the sight of people because they know the consequences of a hunter's rifle, but these animals were happy to approach him. "The further away from the road the more fearless the chimps got," he added. Mr Hicks reports that he found a unique chimp culture. For example, unlike their cousins in other parts of Africa the chimps regularly bed down for the night in nests on the ground. Around a fifth of the nests he found were there rather than in the trees. "How can they get away with sleeping on the ground when there are lions, leopards, golden cats around as well as other dangerous animals like elephants and buffalo?" said Mr Hicks.

"I don't like to paint them as being more aggressive, but maybe they prey on some of these predators and the predators kind of leave them alone." He is keen to point out though that they don't howl at the moon. "The ground nests were very big and there was obviously something very unusual going on there. They are not unknown elsewhere but very unusual," said Colin Groves, an expert on primate morphology at the Australian National University in Canberra who has observed the nests in the field. Prof Groves believes that the Bili apes should prompt a radical rethink of the family tree of chimp sub-species. He has proposed that primatologists should now recognise five different sub-divisions instead of the current four. Mr Hicks said the animals also have what he calls a "smashing culture" - a blunt but effective way of solving problems. He has found hundreds of snails and hard-shelled fruits smashed for food, seen chimps carrying termite mounds to rocks to break them open and also found a turtle that was almost certainly smashed apart by chimps. Like chimp populations in other parts of Africa, the Bili chimps use sticks to fish for ants, but here the tools are up to 2.5 metres long. The most exciting thing about this population of chimps though is that it is much bigger than anyone realised and may be one of the largest remaining continuous populations of the species left in Africa. Mr Hicks and his colleague Jeroen Swinkels surveyed an area of 7,000 square kilometres and found chimps everywhere. Their unique culture was uniform throughout.

However, the future for the Bili apes is far from secure. "Things are not promising," said Karl Ammann, an independent wildlife photographer who began investigating the apes 1996. "The absence of a strong central government has resulted in most of the region becoming more independent and lawless. In conservation terms this is a disaster."

Beyond the Farthest Star
Astronomers spot most distant galaxies ever seen
CNN Technology ~ July 11, 2007
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Astronomers using a giant telescope say they have found glimpses of the most distant -- and oldest -- galaxies ever seen, a finding that will help provide clues to the origins of the universe. The light the researchers viewed originated when the universe was only 500 million years old and has been traveling through distant space for billions of years. This means the team found galaxies further back in time than anyone has ever seen as scientists try to better understand how the universe was born some 13.5 billion years ago, he said in a telephone interview. The findings offer important clues into the origins of the universe, which scientists believe was created with an explosion of energetic radiation -- the Big Bang. More>>>
Watch Disney Movies on Your Xbox 360

Microsoft E3 Press Event - July 12, 2007
Last night at a press conference kicking off the E3 gaming conference, Microsoft added Disney to the increasingly growing list of content providers for its movie, TV-show, and video download service on Xbox Live. This means that users can now download movies such as 'Tarzan,' 'The Emperor's New Groove,' 'The Queen,' 'Bridge to Terabithtia,' and others-- all in HD -- to their Xbox 360s. 

A Eurotrash Double Feature of Tarzan Clones On TCM DVD
Retromedia Entertainment’s “Italian Jungle Collection” DVD features two European bush adventures patterned after Hollywood’s hugely successful Tarzan franchise.  It was inevitable that Italy, having exhausted the sundry possibilities of such shirtless Greco-Roman titans as Hercules, Maciste, Ursus, Samson and Goliath, would want to give the more cost effective Tarzan game a go. A co-production of Italy and West Germany, Luana stars Netherlands-born actor Glenn Saxson.  The expedition to find the remains of Isobel’s scientist father, whose plane went down fifteen years earlier in the jungles of Darkest Africa while searching for a rare plant, is joined by the late Derek Donovan’s business partner, Norman Albright (Pietro Tordi), who has designs on the plant that are less than scientific. As bad luck plagues the expedition, Barrett finds himself falling for Isobel, whose wears a charm bracelet identical to one he had seen on a mysterious jungle girl who once saved him from certain death. The tree-swinging Luana is played by Mei Chen.  Mei Chen may not be a very compelling “daughter of the virgin forest” but there are a couple of near-nude scenes that surely made male moviegoers stand up and take notice forty years ago. A hardbodied non-entity named Johnny Kissmuller, Jr. is Karzan, Jungle Lord  The bulk of this tedious trek across the Serengheti is taken up with an expedition to find a specimen of “white ape” glimpsed on a remote plateau. Karzan, Jungle Lord benefits from greater location photography and less reliance on studio interiors, giving the production a slightly more expensive feel. More>>>
Ray Bradbury and the Secret Self

The Inferior 4+1 Blog ~ July 11, 2007
From at Ray Bradbury 2003 interview 2003 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Fahrenheit 451. 
PW: Do you still write every day? 
RB: Every day for seventy years. 
PW: We solicited questions from readers and teachers of your work, and selected two to ask you. I'll ask the teacher's question first.  What can teachers, educators, and parents do to instill a love of language in young people so that they appreciate the power of the word in a culture that is increasingly dominated by the visual? 
RB: (laughs) Hand them a book, that's all. Science fiction, fantasy – my books have changed a lot of lives. My books are full of images and metaphors, but they're connected to intellectual concepts. Give one of my books to a twelve-year-old boy who doesn't like to read, and that boy will fall in love and start to read. 
PW: What books did you fall in love with as a boy? 
RB: The Oz books. Tarzan and John Carter, Warlord of Mars, by Burroughs. Jules Verne, at a certain age. Edgar Allen Poe when I was nine. And H.G. Wells, who was very negative but very exciting, because when you're sixteen years old, you're paranoid, and H.G. Wells is a very paranoid writer. And a very necessary one. More>>>
Tarzan Video Game

Game Advisors Blog ~ July 10, 2007
The legendary boy who grown in monkey family is going for the new adventures in African jungles. This game was developed by Disney Studio and it is based on their famous movie of the same name. It was originally released for Nintendo 64 in the late 90th. Now it is abandoned. That means you can play it for free.Tarzan is a high-quality three-dimensional game. You need to run through levels collecting coins and jumping over the monkeys and other unfriendly animals. Created by professional cartoonists, its a very beautiful game. Unlike many other similar games which are stricted to two-dimensional space, Tarzan can thrill you with three-dimensional effects. The birds are flying in three dimensions, the road is turning, also in 3D.
It has many levels and they are very different. You have to walk, jump, climb on trees, swim and even run from the herd of scared elephants. The world of Tarzan is just amazing! Flying birds, cute animals, big trees, waterfalls - all the beautiful nature of African jungles that live it’s own life. If you love this kind of games, or if you like the original cartoon - welcome to the jungles! Downloads and More>>>
Minnie Driver is the New Lara Croft 

TV Guide ~ July 12, 2007
Minnie Driver, who previously voiced Jane in Disney's hit animated Tarzan, will be providing the voice of Lara Croft in GameTap's new 10-part animated series premiering July 10 at GameTap is Turner Broadcasting's video-game-themed broadband network.
As "Tarzan" swings off Broadway. . . Princess of Mars?
Jim Hill Media ~ July 6, 2007
It's likely that Pixar's first live action / animated film will actually be a big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "A Princess of Mars" series. I'm told that the Disney brass views this particular project as the logical stepping-off point for an entire series of "John Carter of Mars" movies. And given that Mickey is franchise-crazy these days ... Well, that's why "Princess" is now being fast-tracked while "1906" remains in preliminary development. More>>>
Tarzan Swings Out of Richard Rodgers Theatre NY

Playbill ~ July 8, 2007
 In a recent statement Disney Theatrical producer Thomas Schumacher said, "I am disappointed that the Broadway production of Tarzan will close earlier than any of us had hoped, and I would have loved for it to have been as successful in New York as it is now in Holland. Despite this, Tarzan was the Broadway debut for two artists I have long admired and respected, and for this I am extremely proud. The opportunity to work again with the legendary Phil Collins, who expanded his film score for the stage production, and with Bob Crowley in his Broadway directorial debut has been hugely gratifying. I know that as we continue to produce Tarzan around the world, audiences will embrace it with as much enthusiasm as we put into creating it."
The first European production of Tarzan officially opened in Holland at the Circustheatre near Amsterdam April 15. Heading the cast of the Dutch-language production is 27-year-old Ron Link from Nijmegen in the title role with 27-year-old Chantal Janzen from Tegelen as Jane. The original Broadway cast recording of Tarzan is available on the Walt Disney Records label. More>>>

Convention extols pulp fiction
PulpCon has been in Dayton more often than any other city, an organizer says.
Dayton Daily News ~ July 08, 2007
DAYTON — The 36th Annual PulpCon is a gathering for people interested in "pulp magazines" — the pre-comic book magazines featuring characters such as Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian, and of course, their damsels in distress. The event is at the Dayton Convention Center this weekend and features vendors of all kinds of pulp products. These products start around $10 and can cost up to $1,000, said Jack Cullers, who helps run PulpCon. On Friday and Saturday, PulpCon featured a special presentation from Glenn Lord, who has compiled the work of, and is considered the expert on, Robert E. Howard, whose most famous work is Conan the Barbarian. "This is the history of modern popular entertainment," said John Goodwin, a publisher at the event. "The major blockbusters that you've seen over the last decade were either pulp pieces or based on pulp themes," Goodwin said, citing "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Superman." More>>>
50 Most Influential People Who Never Lived ~ July 8, 2007
49. Tarzan - The man raised by the animals. Described as a flawless hero.
1. Marlboro Man - Tobacco-advertising, rugged cowboy. First word being most influential, "Tobacco."
2. Big Brother - Telescreen image of a dictator of Oceania in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four
3. King Arthur - If possible, he sat at the head of the Knight’s Round Table
4. Santa Claus (St. Nick) - Single-handedly straightens out every kid in the world
5. Hamlet - "To be, or not to be…"
6. Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster - A symbol for science experiments gone bad and physical brutes
7. Siegfried - Legendary dragon-slayer
8. Sherlock Holmes -Infamous, deductive detective. No sh**, Sherlock!
9. Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare created this couple, the epitome of "love"
10. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde - One-man, two completely opposite personalities
50. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock - Along with Star Wars, Star Trek brought SciFi into the popularity it receives today. More>>>

Pronounced by an american citizen, it makes TARZAN !
"thank you to Steven Anker 
See our WEBSITE :
English side - GABON PAGE ..."
Add royal touch to landscape with dazzling Jewels-of-Opar

Clarion Ledger ~ June 29, 2007
You might think you've heard of Jewels-of-Opar before, and you may be right. Your grandma may have grown the regular green version and called it Jewels-of-Opar.
On the other hand, if you are a fan of Tarzan, then there is a distinct possibility that this is where you heard the name. Edgar Rice Burroughs mentioned Opar in 1913 in his second Tarzan book, The Return of Tarzan, and then in 1916, he wrote Tarzan and the Jewels-of-Opar.
Knowing that a plant has a common name synonymous with a mythical ancient city full of riches should give you a clue that someone thought very highly of the plant.
Jewels-of-Opar has attractive, succulent-looking foliage and is quick to send up arching panicles adorned with light to hot pink star-shaped flowers. Amazingly, these flowers appear repeatedly over a long period of time.
The long panicles are perfect for cutting and using as you would baby's breath. Once the flowers are gone, the stems have fruit capsules that are amber-colored at first finishing off to a cinnamon red. These, too, are very attractive elements for the vase.
Most information sites list Jewels-of-Opar as perennial in zones 9-11, although I hear from gardeners and by reading botanical garden sites that they have a spring return in zone 8. If you live in a colder area, enjoy this plant like you would a vigorous Joseph's coat.
Pan American Seed introducing the new chartreuse-colored Limón should open the door for gardeners to have widespread opportunity to buy this and other selections as well. Until now, the Jewels-of-Opar has been relegated to pass-along or mail-order status at best. You have to tip your hat to those real plant collector nurseries that have had them for years.
Louisiana gymnasts monkeyed around in 1917 Tarzan movie

Daily Advertiser - Lafayette, LA ~ May 28, 2007
Report from an old clipping:
There were several problems to overcome in the making of Tarzan of the Apes, not the least of which was a lack of apes hanging around South Louisiana. To fix that, the movie-makers brought in E.M. Jahraus, who'd been the head of the Universal property department, and, according to news accounts, "under his direction a corps of assistants ... engaged in making costumes which exactly simulate the ape, including not only a hairy covering for the entire body but a head and face as well."
They used brown goat skins to make 40 ape suits, sewing them in the rented Shannon Building on Everett Street. According to the Morgan City Review account, "Because real apes and monkeys were considered too dangerous to use before the cameras at that time, a group of young athletes from the New Orleans Gymnastics Cub were hired to put on these ape skins and swing through the trees."
They also were able to manipulate "a peculiar arrangement of wires in the mask" to make scary ape faces.
The gymnasts apparently did a lot more swinging than Tarzan did. According to later accounts, Elmo Lincoln had the physique for a Tarzan, but not the hair. Apparently he had trouble swinging through the trees and keeping his wig on at the same time.

Spectacular opening for the first International production of Tarzan the Musical. 
See the ERBzine coverage at:

Tarzan The Musical to live on in Netherlands
Disney Blog ~ June 27, 2007
Although Tarzan hasn't brought in the sustainable numbers that's required to keep a big production open on Broadway, a slightly updated version is making waves over seas. Right now its playing in the Netherlands and Germany could be next:
"Tarzan there not only opened to impressive advance ticket sales (the trick here not only being the Disney brand and Phil Collins as composer but also the fact that the lead of Tarzan was casted in a tv-show) but also glowing reviews. Why? The creative team from the Broadway was able to correct many mistakes made in the original version of the show that were only discovered too late in New York, due to the lack of a decent out-of-town-try-outs. The result (according to reviewers who have seen both versions) is a much more engaging, substantial show."

Playbill cites Disney Theatrical producer Thomas Schumacher saying “I am disappointed that the Broadway production of Tarzan will close earlier than any of us had hoped, and I would have loved for it to have been as successful in New York as it is now in Holland. […] I know that as we continue to produce Tarzan around the world, audiences will embrace it with as much enthusiasm as we put into creating it.”
MouseKingdom Blog

Tarzan not only opened in the Netherlands to impressive advance ticket sales (the trick here not only being the Disney brand and Phil Collins as composer but also the fact that the lead of Tarzan was casted in a tv-show) but also glowing reviews. Why? The creative team from the Broadway was able to correct many mistakes made in the original version of the show that were only discovered too late in New York, due to the lack of a decent out-of-town-try-outs. The result (according to reviewers who have seen both versions) is a much more engaging, substantial show. Too bad that Disney Theatricals robbed themselves of the chance to make the necessary adjustements prior to the Broadway premiere and thus of the chance to present a better show.
Bruce Scivally, longtime ERB fan and researcher, who has worked on a major documentary on Johnny Weissmuller and is author of one of the most comprehensive books on the cinematic James Bond, James Bond: The Legacy ~ has just completed:

Superman on Film, Television, Radio & Broadway  ~ Mcfarland & Co. Inc. ~ See the cover illustration at
The book is now available with full information and contact information at Bruce's Website:
Disneyland: Tarzan's Treehouse is expected to reopen on June 30.
Disney's 'Tarzan' closes its doors in N.Y. 

Variety ~ June 23 
Disney Theatrical Productions' "Tarzan" has posted a closing notice for July 8 to end its fairly short run on Broadway in New York. The show, which opened in May 2006 to mixed reviews and featured music from Phil Collins, never built the sales momentum that made "The Lion King" and "Mary Poppins" so successful, reported. "The sales trends over the last few weeks just haven't held up," said David Schrader, managing director and CFO of Disney Theatrical. Besides "Tarzan" Disney has seen a lot of success on Broadway, including "Aida," which played a four-year run. "Tarzan" is running in the Netherlands in a retooled staging. There is interest in the show in other markets as well, according to Schrader.
John Carter of Mars Live Action or Animated? - The Movie Recorder ~ June 22, 2007
With Pixar behind it one has to wonder. Well boy and girls we’ve got your answer. IESB was told that John Carter of Mars would be both. Pixar will use both live action and animation working together to bring the story to life. Meanwhile, one more tidbit of news, Brad Bird reconfirmed that he is definitely working on 1906 next. Anybody that was still hopeful, as we posted previously, he will not be directing John Carter of Mars. 

Montecito Journal ~ June 24, 2007
Don't write anything else, and don't listen to any people who think they're critics. You have to follow your heart and mind and soul. My life has been based on love. I started loving Edgar Rice Burroughs and “Tarzan” when I was ten. When I started writing at twelve, it was a sequel to one of his books. It’s always been about love. If you do that, you'll have a career like mine…. It' s not easy. But it's wonderful. If you're in love, it's a great life. More>>>

This week's Podcast from
Episode 35: An interview with Brooks Agnew, who is planning an expedition in 2008 to discover whether there's an opening at the North Pole leading to an Inner World. 
If there is, he promises to dub it Pellucidar. His Web site is
Click the "Apex" link for details of the expedition.
See the related news release on this mission in ERBzine News from May 30th. Now in Archive No. 20
Jane Goodall: Her Chimp Instinct is All Good ~ June 7, 2007
As a child, Goodall said she spent her time "dreaming about Africa. When I was 11, I fell in love with Tarzan." One summer her mother saved money to take Jane to a Tarzan movie. But when she got there, Goodall said, "I burst into tears. She had to take me out (of the cinema). My mother asked, 'What's the matter?' I told her, 'That's not Tarzan. That's Johnny Weissmuller.' " Rather than be alarmed, her mother encouraged her dreaming.
"They all thought I was crazy," Goodall said. "All through my childhood people told me you'll never get to Africa. You can't go off into the bush. They all thought of Africa as the Dark Continent, with the natives using poison arrows. But my mother used to tell me if you really want to go, you can." More>>>
River access, carefully

Lower Hudson ~ Journal News ~ June 8, 2007
Mayo's Landing, a couple of open riverfront acres off a winding, narrow road in Croton-on-Hudson, is a victim of its own beauty. The site, acquired by the village in 1945, offers a rock outcropping that provides stunning views of the Croton River Gorge and a platform from which brave souls dive into the cool water below. Said to be the location of the first "Tarzan'' silent movies, the Croton riverfront is packed with local lore, including tales of hidden speakeasies and once-glamorous hotels. More>>>
Mike Chapman honoured at Wrestling Hall of Fame 

National Wrestling Hall of Fame ~ June 3, 2007
Mike Chapman of Newton, Iowa has been elected to receive the Order of Merit from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Okla. The Order of Merit is presented to an individual who has made significant contribution to the advancement of wrestling, other than success as an athlete or coach. The winner is selected by a vote of the Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Chapman, a professional journalist with a passion for wrestling, has been a leader within the sport for decades with a 
focus on the promotion of the sport. His involvement has been at many levels, including as a publisher, author, historian, publicist and speaker. Gifted as a writer and communicator, Chapman has used those skills to tell the stories of wrestling’s heroes and bring the excitement and drama of the sport to millions of people worldwide. He has also written biographies of three movie stars from the past – Herman Brix, Glenn Morris and Tom Tyler. Because of his interest in Tarzan, Chapman received the Golden Lion Award, given annually to a person who has helped further the worldwide popularity of Tarzan. More>>>

Me Thorpie, you Jane
The Australian ~ June 02, 2007 
Many an athlete descending from Olympian heights seems excessively subject to the forces of gravity. Take . . . To head off the flab I urge an Australian film producer to send a cheque to the descendants of Edgar Rice Burroughs and travel to some remaining skerrick of Queensland's tropical rainforests to star young Ian in a Tarzan film. That used to be standard procedure. Herman Brix, who died recently (at 100!), won Olympic silver as a putter of shot. He then started tossing himself around as Tarzan. As did other Olympians – Buster Crabbe, Glenn Morris and Johnny Weissmuller, the Thorpie of his era. Each of them took turns in thumping their pectorals and yodelling in the treetops. More>>>
Valiant effort to honor cartoonist is paying off

A Skokie man's tenacity gets 'Prince Valiant' creator Hal Foster's work prominent showing
Chicago Tribune ~ June 3, 2007 ~ More>>>
See also the Harold Foster Tribute Pages in ERBzine:

C'est Vrai: 'Tarzan' filming helped reveal German spying
The Daily Advertiser ~ June 3, 2007
You may remember an earlier discussion here about how the filming of the first Tarzan movie was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. That's apparently why one of its crew members was arrested as a spy. Some military craft were being built by the Union Bridge & Iron Works in a shipyard across Bayou Boeuf "in full view from Avoca Island, where much of the filming of Tarzan was done," according to newspaper accounts. The Morgan City Review of Dec. 20, 1917, reported that Beebe Bean, a woman in the crew who posed as a man and went by the name of Jack Bean, was arrested in San Francisco "at the home of Franz Schulenberg, a master spy for the German Secret Service." Schulenberg reportedly had worked as an extra on several movies, but I don't know whether he was involved with the Tarzan filming. Be that as it may, the arresting agents uncovered plans "for the establishment of a German U-boat base in South Louisiana and authorities were investigating the presence of German sailors hiding in the inland waterways and swamps of South Louisiana," according to the report. The account assured, "The possibility of sabotage (of the shipyard) and of the Atchafalaya Bay Ship Channel by German U-boats lurking in the Gulf of Mexico was very real." There were similar tales during World War II of submarines coming into (entirely too shallow) Louisiana bayous to stop and shop for Evangeline Maid bread and Regal beer. More>>>
See more on Tarzan films at ERBzine Silver Screen
Entrance to Barsoom Interior

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Site ~ 2007
Black spots have been discovered on Mars that are so dark that nothing inside can be seen. Quite possibly, the spots are entrances to deep underground caves capable of protecting Martian life, were it to exist. The unusual hole pictured at the NASA photo site was found on the slopes of the giant Martian volcano Arsia Mons. It was captured  by the HiRISE instrument onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter currently circling Mars. The holes were originally identified on lower resolution images from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. The hole is about the size of a football field and is so deep that it is completely unilluminated by the Sun. Such holes and underground caves might be prime targets for future spacecraft, robots, and even the next generation of human interplanetary explorers. More>>>
Man Clad In Underwear Pins Leopard

Yahoo! News ~ May 29, 2007
A man clad only in underwear and a T-shirt wrestled a wild leopard to the floor and pinned it for 20 minutes after the cat leapt through a window of his home and hopped into bed with his sleeping family. "This kind of thing doesn't happen every day," said 49-year-old Arthur Du Mosch, a nature guide. "I don't know why I did it. I wasn't thinking, I just acted." Authorities said it was probably food that lured the big cat. Du Mosch's pet cat was in the bed with him at the time, along with his young daughter who had been frightened by a mosquito in her own room.  The leopard was very weak when park rangers arrived at Du Mosch's home after the surprise late-night visit. He said nature officials would likely release it back into the wild. More>>>
Tarzan's Big Weekend Holiday Didn't Go As Planned . . .

DUM-DUM 2007
Mark your calendar for Dum-Dum 2007 Louisville, Kentucky -- August 2 - 5, 2007
Home of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection
There will be a formal dedication of the Bob Hyde Collection, and an exhibition of his ERB highlights.
For past reports and up-to-date info on ERB conventions check the ECOF/Dum-Dum Dossier at:



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