Tarzan, a friend of the family.

My Dad was born October 1930 in Calcutta, India. He was placed in a boarding school in Nanital, India at the base of the Himalaya Mountains, when school age was reached.

He had kid brother John there with him and cousin Joyce was in the girls section of the school. The school in Nanital was named Sherwood and Dad has always had an attachment to Robin of Sherwood Forest or Robin Hood because of that, but it was really Errol Flynn that hooked him.

Dad’s Errol Flynn is my Kurt Russell. Just replace Robin with Snake.

So when my older brother Craig and I were of age to view TV shows we were introduced to a show called Daktari starring Clarence the Cross-eyed Lion and Tarzan starring Ron Ely.

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My Dad’s parents Dolly and Theo whom met each other in India also lived in Toronto now and on Sunday’s we would go over to their house, have dinner and watch Untamed World and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

Nature and Wildlife was a huge part of my growing up as was Tarzan.

Dad’s first influence of the character Tarzan was competitive swimmer turned actor, Johnny Weissmuller. In black & white Johnny’s films were old by my standards as a tween film critic and I didn’t learn till later that Weissmuller was the only actor to portray the young Lord Greystoke that could do the yell for real. The yells are used in the film.

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For Dad being in a boarding school, a treat of a Tarzan movie had all the boys swinging from vines and yelling his yell throughout the next days.

Remember this is in India 1940’s.

So I now know of two Tarzan, one B&W film star who talk like he no speak good and one in Technicolor that was educated and through personal choice went back to the jungles of Africa.

Enter the 80’s and Christopher Lambert starred in Legend of Greystoke Lord of the Apes

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This told the story closest to Burroughs novel. Young John Greystoke’s soon to be parents were shipwrecked, set up camp…and so on.

It wasn’t till I worked part-time Christmas of 2012 at my local Chapters, that I found the Centenary Edition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes. All 6 original first novels in one big, honking soft cover trade pb!

Black cover, Gold flake Tarzan riding on back of Lion.

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Let’s face it – you don’t know the real story unless you read it yourself. But getting to know Burroughs Tarzan is not unlike knowing James Bond or Jason Bourne, Matt Helm or Jack Reacher. Like any story of fiction you buy into it.

Unless the trees talk, that’s just stupid.

Take it easy, s

 

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