Friday, January 29, 2016
FRIDAY's FORGOTTEN BOOKS, January 29, 2016
I WILL NEED SOMEONE TO GATHER LINKS ON 2/26/16
Jerry House lives in Florida. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TARZAN OF THE MOVIES by Gabe Essoe (From the archives)
With the death of Johnny Sheffield last month, I got to thinking about Tarzan movies. Five-year old Sheffield had been handpicked by Johnny Weismuller to play Boy in TARZAN FINDS A SON. Weismuller had looked on Sheffield as the son he couldn't have during his tempetuous marriage to Lupe Velez. (Weismuller's first marriage to Bobbe Arnst ended at the request of MGM Studios, which paid Bobbe $10,000 for the divorce, because the studio felt marriage would be a hindrance to Weismuller's career; his later romancing of Velez was approved by the studio as good publicity.)
This is just one tidbit from Gabe Essoe's TARZAN OF THE MOVIES: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS OF EDGAR RICE BURROUGH'S LEGENDARY HERO (Cadillac Publishing, 1968), a chatty walk down memory lane from Elmo Lincoln to Mike Henry, with a side jaunt to the Ron Ely television series and a few unauthorized foreign films (such as Singapore's THE ADVENTURES OF CHINESE TARZAN, 1940). Some of the other interesting items:
- When a drugged lion turned on him during the filming of TARZAN OF THE APES, Elmo Lincoln stabbed and killed the lion.
- Boris Karloff's first screen appearance was as a Waziri chief in TARZAN AND THE GOLDEN LION, the last true silent Tarzan movie, which also featured Burroughs' future son-in-law Jim Pierce as Tarzan. That movie, by the way, was financed by Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy. The book has a great photograph of Karloff as an angry African warrior.
- The several attempts to kill off (or ignore) Jane as a character.
- The deaths of an actor, a trainer, and a stuntman during the filming the series.
- Among the actors rejected for the role of Tarzan was Clark Gable. (Because, "He has no body.")
- How Weismuller made a friend of the movie Cheetah by hitting him hard on the head with his hunting knife to show him who was boss,.
- The original Tarzan yell was created by using four different synchronized sound tracks: a camel's bleat, a hyena's howl, the growl of a dog, and the plunking of a violin's G-string. Weismuller and Lex Barker were able to recreate the yell; Ron Ely wasn't.
The book portrays Burroughs as a sometimes canny/sometimes naive businessman whose protective nature for his creation was paramount. His disdain for many of the portrayals of his character is evident, as we follow the complicated business dealings that allowed "duelling" Tarzans from different studios. All too often the producing studios' visions led to the degradation of the series to strictly juvenile fare.
TARZAN OF THE MOVIES also contains hundreds of photographs (all, alas, in black and white), including those of television guest stars Diana Ross and Mary Wilson, Ethel Merman, Fernando Lamas, and Julie Harris.
Bottom line: a casual and entertaining overview and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Sergio Angelini, PURITY, Jonathan Frantzen
Joe Barone, THE GIVER, Lois Lowry
Bernadette, THE JUMP, Douglas Johnstone
Les Blatt, NOT QUITE DEAD ENOUGH, Rex Stout
Brian Busby, TED ALLEN
Bill Crider, THE TALL STRANGER, Louis L'Amour
Scott Cupp, THE DEEP RANGE, Arthur C . Clarke
Martin Edwards, THE CASE IS ALTERED, William Plomer
Ed Gorman, BLACK FRIDAY, David Goodis
Rick Horton, GREAT SCIENCE FICTION ADVENTURE, ed. Larry T Shaw
Jerry House, THE FEATHER MERCHANTS, Max Shulman
George Kelley, THE YELLOW CLAW and THE GOLDEN SCORPION, Sax Rohmer
Margot Kinberg, THE MERCHANT'S HOUSE, Kate Ellis
Rob Kitchin, DREGS, JORN LIER HORST
B.V. Lawson, SYLVIA, Howard Fast
Steve Lewis/Walter Albert, AMAZONIA, James Rollins
Todd Mason, TEENSPELL edited by Betty M. Owen; BENCHMARKS REVISITED by Algis Budrys
J.F. Norris, THE STONES OF MUNCASTER CATHEDRAL, Robert Westall
Mathew Paust, APOCALYPSE, D. H. Lawrence
James Reasoner, DAUGHTER OF THE NIGHT, Richard S. Shaver
Richard Robinson, THE LEAGUE OF FRIGHTENED MEN, Rex Stout
Gerard Saylor, THE CONFESSION, Domenic Stansberry
TomCat, A PLAGUE OF THIEVES AFFAIR, Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
TracyK, THE NERO WOLFE NOVELLAS
Zybahn, BETE NOIR #3