Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

Merrick Pounds His Chest For Titan Books' Stunning TARZAN: THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION!!


The awesome folks over at Titan Books sent over some goodies from their recently issued TARZAN: THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION.  As indicated on the books’ cover...



...this plus-sized, 320 page publication encompasses “The Stories, The Movies, The Art” of everyone’s favorite loin-clothed swinger.  


Before centering on TARZAN however, THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION focuses on TARZAN creator Edgar Rice Burroughs’ early years and writings (a shot of Burroughs as an Idaho cowpoke at age 16 is priceless), in a ramp-up which also includes a lovely introduction by movie Tarzan Ron Ely.  



Griffin then moves on to offer an astonishing array of high-quality artwork samples (book covers, comics, Argosy pulp covers, etc.)  - all backed with ample, hugely insightful written context. 








Particularly LOVE that Joe Jusko work from TARZAN AND THE JEWELS OF OPAR (Tarzan -vs- the lion), and the Boris Vallejo art featuring Tarzan and the Triceratops!



This book isn’t just an illustrated’s a comprehensive journey through the history of an influential icon.   


Regular AICN readers know that Titan usually knocks books of this ilk out of the park. Even taking into account Titan’s lofty pedigree, TARZAN: THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION  emerges as magnificently presented, stunningly laid out, and beautifully guided by author Griffin& Co. This may be the company’s best work yet.  


Titan sent along a little exclusive for AICN readers...straight from Scott Tracy Griffin himself.  It’s the author’s list of 10 Screen Tarzans Who Suffered For Their Craft, presented here as a point of potential Talkback consideration, discussion, agreement and dismemberment.  Feel free to have at it in the Talkbacks below.  









10 Screen Tarzans Who Suffered for Their Craft




Career-ending typecasting is one peril suffered by the men cast as Tarzan. Others put their health on the line as they sought to bring authentic thrills to the screen for the enjoyment of audiences world-wide. Twenty men have portrayed Tarzan onscreen since the first film, Tarzan of the Apes (1918), starring Elmo Lincoln.


Gene Pollar, The Revenge of Tarzan (1920) – A New York City firefighter and champion athlete, Pollar’s role as Tarzan brought him a lucrative contract offer from Universal Studios. However, the Weiss Brothers, the producers behind The Revenge of Tarzan, held him to their ironclad contract, and after one film he gave up the Hollywood dream to return to firefighting.


P. Dempsey Tabler, The Son of Tarzan (1920) – One of the more unconventional castings, Tabler, a 40-year-old opera singer, broke several ribs and had to wear bindings for much of the rest of the movie, taking them off for photography.

The marks from the bandages are clearly visible in some of the film stills. Tabler performed real-life heroics on the set when he spotted an escaped lion stalking a small boy, and charged it, scaring it away with a fierce yell.


Kamuela Searle, The Son of Tarzan (1920) – Legend has it that the mesomorphic Hawaiian Searle died from injuries received on set, but he survived being dropped by an elephant, while tied to a heavy post. A combat veteran of World War I, Searle survived a mustard gas attack during the conflict, only to succumb to cancer at the untimely age of 34.


Jim Pierce, Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927) – A former All-American for the Indiana University gridiron squad, Pierce took off running on his first day on set—only to cut his bare feet to ribbons. He later put flesh-colored shoes to good use as he raced ahead of a hungry lion chasing a trail of blood that had been laid along the ground. As a reward for his tenacity, Pierce married Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ daughter Joan, with whom he would co-star on the 1932 Tarzan of the Apes radio program.


Johnny Weissmuller, Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) – Though beloved as the most iconic cinema ape-man, the genial Weissmuller found his good nature exploited repeatedly, and lost most of the money earned during a long career playing Tarzan and Jungle Jim to swindlers and bad investments.



Never one to let adversity get him down, the elderly Weissmuller continued to bellow his mighty ape cry from his hospital bed, startling the other residents of the Motion Picture & Television Retirement Home.


Herman Brix, The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935) – Hand-picked by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, Brix worked on location in the jungles of Guatemala in 1935.



Despite bathing his body in germicide every evening, a cut on Brix’s knee became infected, swelling the joint to the size of a cantaloupe. Fortunately, he was evacuated downriver, where a doctor lanced and treated the infection. A few days later, Brix was back at work, but he carried the scar for life. Brix died in 2007, aged 100, the longest-lived film Tarzan (to date).


Lex Barker, Tarzan’s Magic Fountain (1949) – Though he escaped injury on the sound stages and back lots where his five films shot, the Hollywood lifestyle took a toll on Barker’s personal relationships, resulting in five marriages, notably to actresses Arlene Dahl and Lana Turner. Perhaps he was channeling his onscreen persona: Barker’s Tarzan had a different Jane in all five of his film outings.


Jock Mahoney, Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963) – A former stuntman and standout athlete at University of Iowa, Mahoney performed his own stunts. A high dive into a polluted Thai river, resulted in case of dysentery and dengue fever. Co-star Woody Strode attributed the delirious Mahoney’s survival of the skyrocketing fever to an ice bath and ingesting antibiotics like candy. Mahoney lost 40 pounds during the shoot, and finished filming in a gaunt, haggard condition.


Mike Henry, Tarzan and the Great River (1967) – A former University of Southern California star and linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams, Henry filmed three movies back-to-back-to-back in Brazil. A fierce bite from his co-star, the chimp Dinky, sidelined Henry for several days with monkey fever. When his third film wrapped, the weary Henry declined the offer to star in the Tarzan television series.


Ron Ely, Tarzan (1966-68) – Unwilling to break reality by using a stunt double, Ely kept paramedics in Brazil and Mexico busy. The tall Texan suffered multiple animal bites, torn muscles, and other injuries, most notably a separated shoulder and broken ribs after a high fall from an uncooperative vine. Ely retired from the jungle to write mystery novels.








TARZAN: THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION is now available HERE.  All images in this article appear in the book.  






Glen Oliver




Google +








Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Nov. 28, 2012, 11:05 a.m. CST


    by Jeff

    but who cares

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Have it...its a huge book.

    by StatelyWayneManor

    He does call tv Jane, Sarah Wayne Callies' zombie show the Living Dead insetad of the Walking Dead, though.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Tarzan was my hero when I was young.

    by pizzatheface

    I wish my kids would get into Burrough's books...

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 11:31 a.m. CST


    by GrapeFruit

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Every once in a while AICN posts something actually cool.

    by Uncle Stan

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 12:01 p.m. CST



    I has it.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 12:07 p.m. CST


    by VideoVorlon

    A young girl read Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan of the Apes and was strongly influenced by it. When she grew up, Jane Goodall became a wildlife scientist and the foremost expert on chimpanzees.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 12:10 p.m. CST

    No mention of either ...

    by DrMorbius

    Christopher Lambert ... or Miles O'Keefe?

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Can't get enought Tarzan artwork from back in the day...

    by Nice Marmot

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 12:57 p.m. CST

    The thing that annoys me about Tarzan:

    by sepharih

    Me Tarzan, you jane.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 12:59 p.m. CST


    by sepharih

    That was not what I just posted.....!?!?

  • 'Cuz: obvious.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 1:19 p.m. CST

    In the UK....

    by Brigon

    ...Articles that are actually paid advertisements in disguise have to actually admit to being such in the small print. I guess either America doesn't have that law, or the internet just doesn't need to conform to it. Also...I think Tarzan is cool, and I think a reboot could be pretty cool (except it would be marketed to the Twilight crowd with a teen Tarzan and Jane who fall in love, but can't be together.)

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 1:36 p.m. CST


    by StatelyWayneManor

    I think those were the Tarzan's who had the most problems. Lambert had a pretty good career doing Highlander/Mortal Kombat & afterwards. Just saw Miles at Chiller Theater in New Jersey. 2 days before Sandy hit.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 2:03 p.m. CST


    by Mike Soiseth

    Or to wax his chest, for that matter? A realistic Tarzan-a white, european tarzan, would have a beard and mustache-a LONG beard and mustache. His fingernails would be long and dirty. He would walk like an ape, not upright. And he would do alot of sitting up in trees screaming at the predators. Tarzan just doesnt fit in the 21st century with what we know about animals-he needs to be seriously updated away from the clean shaved, neatly trimmed european that Burroughs created.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 3 p.m. CST

    Movie Tarzan?

    by Shoegeezer

    Ely only played Tarzan on tv. Whoever paid for this advertorial may want a refund.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 3:14 p.m. CST


    by Hairy Nutsack

    Chest waxing of the actors aside, Tarzan learned a lot about English culture from books that his Father and pregnant Mother had brought with them on the ship. Tarzan's father had recovered a lot of stuff that had washed up on the beach after the shipwreck, including a chest full of their belongings with the books inside. Among those books were picture books for children. Sometime during his childhood being raised by apes he discovered the shelter his Father had built and the books, and because Tarzan was like Reeds Richards intelligent he was able to teach himself how to read English, but he was unable to speak it because he didn't know how to pronounce the words.<p> <p> He also found his Father's knife, which he started shaving with because that's what he saw in the books.

  • Do you children ever watch movies that weren't made in the last 10 years?

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Whoa those leopard guys look awesome!

    by D.Vader

    And one of those frames looks like Kazar fighting Sauron!

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 10:13 p.m. CST

    ubermanagain...get off the internet and go read a book...

    by Mikey Wood

    ...OR, if you prefer to read your books via the internet, go here: OR, if you'd rather someone read it TO you, they have audio book options as well. All of the things you mentioned are explained. READ. THE. BOOK. Even if it's only the first one.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 10:15 p.m. CST

    And, hairy nutsack...

    by Mikey Wood

    ...tell a man about a book and you entertain him for a paragraph, tell the man to read the book himself, you entertain him for a lifetime. Maybe. If he reads it.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Lana Turner's daughter C.Crane accussed Lex Barker

    by hallmitchell

    Of Sexually abusing her. Isn't there enough perverts in entertainment?

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 1 a.m. CST

    I know a lot of fanboys

    by hallmitchell

    Why isn't anyone into Tarzan?

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 2:58 a.m. CST

    I thought I knew Tarzan, then I read Burroughs' book

    by BEHEM Pascal

    ...boy the cinematic adaptation only scratches the surface of this awesome character and Burroughs' imagination. A story so sad, cruel and exhilarating at the same time… A brilliant novel that no movies did justice to. The loss of Kala’s child, and her carrying the lifeless little corpse with her, the tragedy of Tarzan’s parents, Tarzan’s mother going crazy for months before just dying, the utter despair of Clayton when discovering it, and his fatal mistake, Kala exchanging the babies, the savagery of the dum-dum ceremony, the brutality of the fights, with Tarzan’s scalp half-ripped off… And that’s just the beginning. But I guess no viewer would want to see an R-rated Tarzan adaptation either… I don’t expect much from the David Yates adaptation, but we’ll see.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Hollywood will NEVER do this character right.

    by Douglas

    Hollywood (and the general public) will never be able to handle a Tarzan that can teach himself to read and can communicate quite nicely once he's taught a language. Hollywood (and the general public) will ALWAYS see this character as the dumb, mono-syllabic "Me Tarzan, ugh ugh." crap that Weismueller propigated. Also, the sheer savagery and violence on display in the books (not to mention the not-so-subtle racism) would never go over well (despite the fact that this was indeed prevelant in the era this story is supposed to take place).

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 7:49 a.m. CST

    The role Arnie was born to play

    by Con Shonnery

    Pity he didn't. But he came close at the end of Predator when he was swinging through the jungle.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 8:11 a.m. CST

    I would do Tarzan like a Predator movie...

    by StatelyWayneManor

    Group comes into the jungle to find a white ape. Hilarity ensues.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 11:44 a.m. CST

    thanks @pascalahad2 and @drwhoman

    by sepharih

    I had a long comment I wrote out yesterday that for some reason got shortened to the last sentence much to my annoyance...but I share your general sentiments. Being a fan of Burrough's Tarzan in todays world could almost be likened to being a fan of the Dark Knight in a world where the only Batman movies that ever happened where the schumacher and Adam West interpretations. Rampant racism aside (which should definitely be toned down for the movie), a big part of the whole appeal of the character to me is that while he may start out a savage brute due to his upbringing; he *could* have been one of the great intellectuals of his time under different circumstances. But to this day, pop culture still has this image of tarzan as a brain dead brute grunting “me tarzan, you jane”. so wrong. Still...I hold out hope, because icons can change very fast in pop culture under the right circumstances. The Batman example from earlier can attest to this, because for all Tim Burton did wrong he did show the general public how cool a dark brooding Batman can be. Likewise, it would have been inconceivable that the charming gadget using ladykiller Bond has been years could suddenly be reintroduced as the steely eyed assassin he is today. I still have hope that one day a talented filmmaker who's familiar with the original story will get some money thrown their way, and we'll see a similar transformation with Tarzan.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 11:49 a.m. CST

    The best Tarzan adaptations (film wise) thusfar...

    by Mikey Wood

    ...have been GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES and, believe it or not, the Disney animated feature.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, noon CST

    @mikeywood have to agree actually.

    by sepharih

    Haven't seen Greystoke in a long long time since I was a teenager...but it's the closest they've gotten to the original character. Still a lot of problems with his characterization though...and the film gets kind of weird from what I remember in certain parts. Disney's Tarzan is pretty good...for a disney adaptation at least. Not that Disney adaptations are bad....but it's enjoyable I guess in the same way that someone who's read The Hunchback of Notre Dame can appreciate the disney version.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Prefer Tarzan & his Mate to Greystoke

    by StatelyWayneManor

    But yeah, Disney did a good job even if Tarzan seemed more like a skateboarder than a jungle man.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST

    The role Arnie was born to play?

    by elmo

    Me Tahzan, You Jane, vait here, I'll Be Back with a Fahntasteec leopard skin coat for you. Could have probably played the loincloth scenes OK, at least with his trimmed down look from later films, but to be the cultured English lord Tarzan became (in the books)? Not seeing it.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Note to illustrators and filmmakers: Lions do NOT live in the Jungle

    by Jack Desmondi

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Greystoke sucked

    by Jack Desmondi

    Yes, production design and Rick Baker's makeup effects were superb, but that was it. The movie was a turgid, boring mess. And Christopher Lambert was and remains as wooden as the petrified forest. Jesus, Miles O'Keefe was a better actor.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Go home, killdeer1...

    by Mikey Wood're drunk.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 6:46 p.m. CST

    Note to killdeer1

    by sepharih

    Dinosaurs are extinct.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 8:12 p.m. CST

    Admit it, Greystoke had issues . . .

    by elmo

    It started off fine and hopes were high for the best, most literate Tarzan adaptation yet, but degenerated into something that was NOT Tarzan, examples; -Sitting in a tree with his ape father (WTF, never a hint of such in the books, in fact, the "father" figure Kerchack of the ape tribe wanted to kill him) throwing branches at the pursuers, I half expected him to throw his shit next. -The ending where he flees from civilization back to the jungle, in the books he CONQUERED civilization, gaining an education and world at large experience and THEN returned to the jungle, contemptuous of civilized society, not running from it in fear. Basically, Tarzan became the victim and not the hero, and that defeats the purpose of even making the film in the first place.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 8:29 a.m. CST

    I never took it aas him "running from [civilization] in fear"...

    by Mikey Wood

    ...I took it as him leaving in disgust. The beaasts of the jungle being far more civilized than those in civilization etc. etc.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Whether it was disgust or fear:

    by sepharih

    The ending for Greystoke definitely showed him running from civilization from what I remember. The moral, drastically simplified of course, seemed to be: "you can take the ape man out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the ape man." I haven't read anywhere near all the books (stopped around son of Tarzan), but I remember that the first few times he returns to the jungle it's due to a series of events outside his control. I hear he does eventually choose to return to the Jungle permenantly, but again, that's a choice he makes and not one thrust upon him by an inability to integrate into society. The thing that separates Tarzan's original character arc from how he's largely been interpreted in pop culture is that even though he is always a man caught between two worlds, he is also the *master* of those two worlds. When in the Jungle, he is Tarzan of the Apes. When in civilization he is John Clayton Earl Greystoke.

  • It didn't matter what jungle he was in (including urban), he was the King of all.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 3:29 p.m. CST


    by Smerdyakov

    Is that like when she says "That fucking dickhead raped me"?