Fun Facts Friday: Tarzan

September 14, 2012

This week I reviewed Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs which I found to remain an exciting adventure story as I remembered from childhood.

Fun Facts Friday: Tarzan

Art by Boris Vallejo

1 ) Burroughs wrote 25 sequels to Tarzan of the Apes, there are also three authorized books by other authors.

2 ) Burroughs sold the film rights for his novel, Tarzan of the Apes for $5,000 in cash advance (a record at the time) and 5% of gross receipts.

3 ) The 1918 version of Tarzan of the Apes, a silent film starring Elmo Lincoln, was the first movie ever to gross a million dollars.

4 ) There were three more silent Tarzan films, the last one starred Frank Merrill as our hero. Merrill was an acrobat and the studio worked his skills into the script, since then Tarzan swinging on vines (never in the books) through the trees has been seared into the public’s mind.

5 ) Many people know that the most famous actor to portray Tarzan, Johnny Weissmüller, was an Olympic record holder swimmer (winning 5 gold medal and 1 bronze), however, many don’t know is that he was also a yodeling champion and came up with the famous Tarzan yell.

6 ) There is at least one person that didn’t like Weissmüller’s portrayal of Tarzan – Edgar Rice Burroughs (however, I’m sure he had no complaints about the royalties).

7 ) Tarzan’s pet chimp, Cheeta, was never in any of the Tarzan novels, he was added to appeal to kids.

8 ) Buster Crabbe, who went on to be famous as Flash Gordon, was among the actors who tried to pick up the mantle after Weissmüller.

Buster Crabbe

9 ) In 1915 or 1919 Edgar Rice Burroughs purchased land in California and established the Tarzana Ranch. The author subdivided the lots with intent to create a white community (one of many planned in the Los Angeles area). In 1928 the whole town was named Tarzana and is still named so today (of course it is an integrated community).

10) When asked about his inspiration, Jerry Siegel co-creator of Superman named Tarzan as an influence.

Zohar – Man of la Book

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