Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bungle in the Jungle

 Call me crazy, but I really think one of the best stories ever imagined is the legend of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. At the time it was written in 1912 there really was nothing like it in literature before. An abandonned child is raised by a tribe of great apes in the darkest Africa. He grows to communicate with the jungle animals, and is respected by them as the King of the Jungle.
Oh sure, there was Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book with stories of the boy named Mowgli who was raised by wolves and a bear and a panther. (Huh? I don't think so!) Older than that was the legend of Romulus and Remus, the twins raised by wolves who founded the city of Rome -- but where's the back story? Hmmm? What were those twins doing out in the woods so that wolves could get at them? And what self-respecting wolf would raise a pair of humans when they would make a darn good meal with some leftovers? Not any wolves around my neck of the woods!
However implausible Burroughs story may seem to you, it has a fully-realized plot that is so EPIC, it has been spawning it's own sequels and adaptations ever since.

I was inspired to read the Tarzan books by first reading a collection of Tarzan cartoons that was my favourite book at my local Public Library when I was a certain impressionable age. I wish I could get my hands on that book again! I think it must have included comic book art by Hal Foster. (Please check out the link)!  There have been many graphic artists over the years to illustrate the Tarzan story, but none have been more seminal than Foster. The artist had a fascinating history himself, (which I hadn't known before doing this research). He was Canadian, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was a self-taught artist who developed his talent while living in Winnipeg, Manitoba before relocating to Chicago, USA where he finally found fame.

In 1918, barely 6 years since the publication of Tarzan, the story was told in film. It was a silent version (talkies had not yet been invented) but theatre goers were enthralled with the character who eventually inspired many more screen versions. Most Tarzan devotees hail Johnny Weissmuller as the King of the movie Tarzans. I enjoyed the movie Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan of the Apes (1984) with Christopher Lambert. But, unfortunately there were also many regrettable movie versions, which are also included in this clip:
This video shows all the movie portrayals of Tarzan

 My favourite screen portrayal of Tarzan was by Ron Ely 
from the 1960s tv series of that name.
 I have to admit that I had a little-girl sized crush on him. He was so handsome and heroic and well...shirtless! And he actually spoke in proper sentences, not that nasty "Me Tarzan, you Jane" lingo.
(Yes, I know I just started a sentence with AND. If Elizabeth Gaskell can do it, then so can I!)

Here is the opening to Ron Ely's Tarzan television show.

Disney's cartoon version of the story was very well done. I also enjoyed the soundtrack which had many songs by Phil Collins. The following fanvid does a wonderful job of retelling the story.

You'll Be in My Heart / Phil Collins

Now this song doesn't really have anything to do with Tarzan but it brings back many youthful memories.

Jethro Tull  / Bungle in the Jungle

 Some other of my favourite rock songs having  a Jungle theme are: Welcome to the Jungle by  Guns N' Roses and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen's epic song Jungleland. These songs are very serious comparisons of modern society to a jungle.  A real jungle is probably less dangerous than a modern city.
Which reminds me of the Australian version of a modern Tarzan in the movie  Crocodile Dundee (1986) with Paul Hogan.

The following song was new (to me) and I'm sure very annoying to some, but I think it's a hoot!

Tarzan and Jane -- Toybox

Now here's someone in the RA fandom who has an appreciation of a Jungle theme! This wonderful fanvid by TeaRoseProductions celebrates Richard Armitage as Harry Kennedy starring with Dawn French as Geraldine Granger in The Vicar of Dibley.  If you watch it on Youtube you can change it to HD quality.

Richard Armitage has a pretty good yell! Here he is as Guy of Gisborne in the BBC's Robin Hood (2006-2009). I am sure he would have no trouble yodeling a Tarzan yell!

(April 12, 2011)

My first attempt at using my new SonyVegas Movie Studio software. It is very complex and not very user friendly so please forgive the roughness of this video.  Anyway, I wanted to make Guy do a Tarzan call... and here he is....

Not convinced?
Maybe this picture will help you to picture him as Tarzan!

Even HE doesn't look so impressed with this idea! :D

But that's not all!
I received some help in the graphics department from a dear friend who wishes to remain anonymous.

Poor Richard! He looks a bit surprised to be deposited into a jungle scenario!
Now maybe if he had Jane, he might be happier!


DEZMOND said...

when I was a kid TARZAN animated TV series was extremely popular among children, and we had a whole mania around TARZAN album with stickers :)

Dicky Armitage looks stunning in these fakes of yours, Phylly :)

RAFrenzy said...

What's great about the manips is that his body is that good or better. :D

I had forgotten about that video! Wonderful.

Phylly3 said...

@DEZMOND-- I had never seen that animated series before I started looking up Tarzan stuff. I probably would have loved it! I DO know how you like those shirtless pictures! ;)
@Frenz -- I'm pretty sure that's his his own torso in the 2nd picture -- from Strike Back. I'll find out for sure! The Jungle Drum video is very fun! I would like to make a short vid like the Gisborne Yells one but with him doing the Tarzan call. Alas, I fear I lack the skill!
Aren't you all grateful:?! ;)

Traxy said...

Those pics are hilarious! :D

Phylly3 said...

@Traxy-- Hi there! Glad to give you a giggle!:D

Avalon said...

I live in the city of Rome, in the USA, lol but we have a statue of Romulus and Remus in honor of our original city...I will have to snatch a photo and post if on my blog.

Hilarious, RA as the jungle boy! Love it! You always start your posts so interesting, then end it with a hilarious bang.

Phylly3 said...

Hi Avalon! I would like to see that statue in your blog!
Glad you like my crazy style, I do try to get Mr. A. involved in my shenanigans! Hope he doesn't mind!;)

mulubinba said...

Oh dear I can't quite see RA doing the Johnny Weissmuller stunt of swimming across the croc infested rivers in the jungle. Love the manips and of course, seeing lovely Harry and Geraldine. How long ago that seems now. :)

Phylly3 said...

@mulubinba - Yeah, I guess Richard wouldn't like the water parts. Isn't that what stunt doubles are for though? LOL
Thanks for visiting and commenting!

MaryKwizMiz said...

:) :) I grew up with Tarzan comics and Johnny Weissmüller films but the first thing that comes to my mind at the sound of the name is a tacky '77 'disco' hit by Willem.. "Tarzan ist wieder da" .. childhoood memories..
thanks for the trip down memory lane :) :)

Phylly3 said...

@TTN -- Ahhhh! My eyes! My ears! OMG! that clip really was painful! LOL There are very few genres of music that I dislike but disco is definitely one of them! I am actually grateful that I can't understand what he is singing. :)
I must quickly look at a picture of RA to wipe that image from my mind!! @@

MaryKwizMiz said...

yeah.. I actually forgot how bad the 'performance' was (let's just not mention the lyrics :P).. I just remember the 'song' .. bit like The Smurfs meet The Chipmunks at an acid party :)
I'll look at some pictures too then...

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

HAHAHAHA! Phylly, I'm glad you like doing face-in-hole pics as much as I do. Love the chimp one... hilarious! :)
My favorite Tarzan movie is the Disney version. My oldest son LOVES it, so it gets played over and over in my house.

Phylly3 said...

@Nat :D Heh!Heh! I like that expression on his face too! It's like, "Oh WHY do I have to put up with this stuff?!"
I love the Disney version too. I can't say I've seen it as much as you though, my son was quite a bit older when it first came out. I would watch it again anytime!

Starheart said...

Oh wow, Greystokes takes me back. Christopher Lambert and Andie McDowell...
I reckon it's time for another adaption, there have been so many cheeztastic ones! The gritty new millenium version is overdue.

Phylly3 said...

Welcome back Ragtag! Yes, it probably IS time for a remake -- hence my Tarzan suggestion. :) I am only partially kidding. :P