Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tarzan Finds A Son

People are shedding their old VHS tapes. I find them at garage sales for as little as 50 cents. Over recent weeks I've picked up some classics: "Madonna Live In Italy," "The Warriors," "Soylent Green," "Pulp Fiction" and even a copy of "Schindler's List." Unfortunately, the Guilderland Public Library recently withdrew its entire VHS collection from circulation. The Albany Public Library did that some time ago. So I guess I can consider myslef lucky because I was able to borrow and make copies of several wonderful movies on VHS that I may not see again for awhile.

The series of TARZAN movies starring one-time Olympic swimming sensation Johnny Weismuller delighted movie audiences in the 30s and 40s and television audiences through the 50s and 60s. There are interesting things going on in these pictures, if you pay close attention.

Tarzan + Jane = Joy, and of course the young baby they found when a plane crashed in the neighborhood of their treehouse. The young fellow who played "Boy" later went on to become "Bomba The Jungle BOY" or something like that...

Most of the time when I've seen animal films or documentaries on TV they don't place Lions in the trees. But if you check toward the end of "Tarzan Finds A Son" you'll see that the King of Beasts does indeed hang out in the trees. I can understand how in the simpler technological times of the 1940s these movies offered a Saturday afternoon of escape for kids of all ages.

Fast forward into the mid-1950s where TARZAN movies regularly showed up (along with those "Creature From The Black Lagoon" films) as afternoon TV movies, uberpopular with grade-schoolers. All of the pictures on this post I captured using my Kyocera Wild Card mobile phone.

While the TARZAN series of motion pictures may have not accurately portrayed Africa, it did give viewers a rough idea of what the jungle might be like. Another series of films I enjoy is THE CHARLIE CHAN COLLECTION... don't get me going on those 'cause I'll NEVER stop!

The sun has long set on Tarzan, Jane, Boy, Cheetah and the actors who portrayed them. Although some remeber, they are an almost forgotten part of American pop culture. And look at TODAY: In our current pop culture, we are mourning Michael Jackson. 70 years from now will anyone care? ELVIS has maintained a high level of continued popularity, but you know it's funny how THE BEATLES have lost a lot of gorund on the pop culture chart (if there is such a thing) considering the world-wide popularity they enjoyed. Ah, well! Chalk up another one for the "Life-Lessons" category!

Here's a shot of the Tarzan Finds A Son VHS cover art. The movies were all shot in black and white. Many of the motion pictures made in the 1930s, 40s and even 50s were shot in B&W purposely, while others (probably the Tarzan series) were shot in B&W to save the studios money. Even now, movies like "Control" are shot in B&W for that certain "film noir" effect conveyed by the lack of color.

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