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This article is about . For ,see Tarzan (disambiguation).

James H. Pierce and Joan Burroughs Pierce starred in the 1932-34 Tarzan radio series
1964 Edition of Tarzan of the Apes

Tarzan, a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1912 in literature|1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in twenty-three sequels. He is the son of a United Kingdom|British Lord and Lady, marooned on the coast of Africa by mutineers. His parents died when he was an infant, and he was raised by Mangani|Great Apes of a species unknown to science. Kala is his ape mother. Tarzan (White-skin) is his ape name; his English name is John Clayton, Lord Greystoke (according to Burroughs; Earl of Greystoke in later, non-canonical sources, notably the 1984 movie Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes|Greystoke). As a young adult, he meets Jane Porter (Tarzan)|Jane, and when she returns to Baltimore|America he leaves the jungle in search of his true love. Tarzan and Jane marry, and he lives with her for a time in England. They have one son, Jack, who takes the ape name Korak. Tarzan is contemptuous of the hypocrisy of civilization, and he and Jane return to Africa where, both being immortal, they still live.



Tarzan has been called one of the best-known literary characters in the world. In addition to more than two dozen books by Burroughs and a handful more by authors with the blessing of Burroughs' estate, the character has appeared in films, radio, television programs, comic strips, and comic books. Numerous parodies and pirated works have also appeared.

Science fiction author Philip José Farmer wrote Tarzan Alive!, a biography of Tarzan utilizing the Frame tale|frame device that he was a real person. Along with Doc Savage and Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan is one of the cornerstones of the Wold Newton family created by Philip José Farmer.

Even though the copyright on Tarzan of the Apes has public domain|expired in the United States of America, the name TARZAN is still protected as a trademark of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Also, the work remains under copyright in some other countries where copyright terms are longer.

Critical reception

Harikalar Diyari Tarzan 06014 nevit.jpg

While Tarzan of the Apes met with some critical success, subsequent books in the series received a cooler reception. They have been criticized for being derivative and formulaic. The characters are often said to be two-dimensional, the dialogue wooden, and the storytelling devices (such as excessive reliance on coincidence) strain credibility. While Burroughs is a vivid storyteller, he is not considered a polished novelist.

Despite critical panning, the Tarzan stories have been amazingly popular. Fans love his melodramatic situations and the elaborate details he works into his fictional world, such as his construction of a partial language for his great apes.

Since the beginning of the 1970s, Tarzan books and movies have often been criticized as being blatantly racism|racist. This comes from an overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical portrayal of Blacks and Africans. While there are positive characters, such as the Waziri tribe, they are always shown as subservient to the white characters. The fact that the character of Tarzan (whose name translates as "white-skin") is better adapted to life in Africa than the Black African characters is also seen as a sign of racism.

Burroughs' opinions, made known mainly through the narrative voice in the stories, reflect common attitudes widely held in his time which in a 21st-century context would be considered racist and sexist. The author is not especially mean-spirited in his attitudes. His heroes do not engage in violence against women or in racially motivated violence. Still, the attitudes of a superior-inferior relationship are plain and occasionally explicit; according to James Loewen's Sundown Towns, this may be a vestige of Burroughs having been from Oak Park, Illinois, a Sundown town (a town that forbids non-whites from living within it).

When Burroughs moved to Hollywood, his attitudes became much more liberal, and the later Tarzan books include heavy-handed satires of sexism and racism.

Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike, Black African Cinema, University of California Press 1994, p. 40

In Nazi Germany, Tarzan books were condemned as degenerate.

The Tarzan character

Burroughs has created in Tarzan an extreme example of a hero figure unalloyed with character flaws or faults. Tarzan is described by Burroughs as being Caucasian, extremely athletic, tall, handsome, and tanned. He has gray eyes. Emotionally, he is courageous, loyal and steady. He is intelligent and learns new languages easily. He is presented as always behaving ethically in all situations, according to Burroughs' definitions. He is deeply in love with his wife and totally devoted to her. Always the gentleman, in numerous situations where other women express their attraction to Tarzan, he politely and as kindly as possible declines their attentions. If presented with a situation where a weaker individual or party is being preyed upon by a stronger foe, Tarzan will invariably take the part of the weaker party (and invariably, if eventually, win). In dealing with other men Tarzan is firm and forceful. With male friends he is reserved but deeply loyal and generous. As a host he is likewise generous and gracious. As a leader he commands devoted loyalty.

In contrast to all these urbane and sophisticated capabilities and characteristics, Tarzan's philosophy embraces an extreme form of "return to nature". His preferred dress is a knife and a loin cloth made from uncured animal hide. His preferred abode is a convenient tree branch which happens to be nearby when he desires to sleep. His preferred food is raw meat, killed by himself; even better if he is able to bury it a week so that putrefaction has had a chance to tenderize it a bit. Although Tarzan is able to pass within society as a civilized individual, he prefers to, as Burroughs often puts it "strip off the thin veneer of civilization".

This philosophy was absorbed by countless fans, amongst whom was Jane Goodall, who describes the Tarzan series as having a major influence on her childhood. She states that she felt she would be a much better spouse for Tarzan than his fictional wife, Jane, and that when she first began to live among and study the chimpanzees she was fulfilling her childhood dream of living among the great apes just as Tarzan did.<ref name="goodall">See The Jane Goodall Institute's Biography of Jane Goodall [1].</ref>

Reoccurring themes

Besides the philosophy mentioned above that Burroughs expounds through Tarzan, there are several reoccurring themes or situations. Frequently Tarzan will come upon a large cat (lion, tiger, panther, etc.) menacing someone. Tarzan will leap upon the beast, lock his legs around the beast's loin, lock his arm around his throat, and stab it with his knife. Tarzan's growls will mingle with that of the cat, startling and horrifying the people he is rescuing. Tarzan will kill the cat, then perform his victory scream, which will reverberate through the jungle.

Other recurring plot devices include two characters who are identical in appearance, discovery of lost civilizations (often ruled by powerful women), and escape from captivity.

Pirated works

After Burroughs' death a number of writers produced new Tarzan stories without the permission of his estate. In some instances, the estate managed to prevent publication of such unauthorized pastiches. The most notable exception in the United States was a series of five novels by the pseudonymous "Barton Werper" that appeared in the mid-1960s. As a result of legal action by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., they were taken off the market and remaining copies destroyed.

Similar series appeared in other countries, notably Argentina, Israel, and some Arab countries.

Pirated Tarzan brochures in Israel

In Israel in the 1950's and early 1960's there was a thriving industry of locally-produced Tarzan adventures published weekly in 24-page brochures by several competing publishing houses, none of which bothered to get any authorization from the Burroughs estate. The stories featured Tarzan in contemporary Africa, a popular theme being his fighting against the Mau Mau in 1950s Kenya and single-handedly crushing their revolt several times over. He also fought a great variety of monsters, vampires and invaders from outer space infesting the African jungles, and discovered several more lost cities and cultures in addition to the ones depicted in the Burroughs canon. Some brochures had him meet with Israelis and take Israel's side against her Arab enemies, especially Nasser's Egypt.

None of the brochures ever bore a writer's name, and the various publishers - "Elephant Publishing" (Hebrew language|Hebrew: הוצאת הפיל), "Rhino Publishing" (Hebrew language|Hebrew: הוצאת הקרנף) and several similar names - provided no more of an address than POB numbers in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Unconfirmed rumor has it that some later well-known Israeli writers began their careers with writing pirated Tarzan stories. These Tarzan brochures were extremely popular among Israeli youths of the time, successfully competing with the numerous Hebrew translations of the original Tarzan novels, and are recalled with nostalgia by many Israelis now in their fifties. The Tarzan brochures faded out by the middle 1960s, surviving copies at present fetching high prices as collectors' items in the Israeli used-book market. Researcher Eli Eshed has spent considerable time and effort on the Tarzan brochures and other Israeli pulp magazines and paperbacks. See: [2], [3] - and [4] (Hebrew website with cover of "Tarzan's War Against the Germans").

The popularity of Tarzan in Israel had some effect on the spoken Hebrew language. As it happens, "tarzan" (Hebrew language|Hebrew: טרזן) is a long-established Hebrew word, translatable as "dandy, fop, coxcomb" (according to R. Alcalay's Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary of 1990). However, a word could not survive with that meaning while being identical with the name of a popular fictional character usually depicted as wearing a loincloth and jumping from tree to tree in the jungle. Since the 1950s the word in its original meaning has completely disappeared from the spoken language, and is virtually unknown to Hebrew speakers at present - though still duly appearing in dictionaries.

Pirated Tarzan in Arab Countries

In the 1950's Syria and Lebanon also saw the flourishing of pirated Tarzan stories. As could be expected, Tarzan in this version was a staunch supporter of the Arab cause and helped his Arab friends foil various fiendish Israeli plots. (James R. Nesteby,'Tarzan of Arabia', in the Journal of Popular Culture, volume 15, number 1, 1981.)

Tarsa the Bear Man in Finland

In the 1940s, the Finnish writer Lahja Valakivi published several adventure novels about Tarsa karhumies, i.e., Tarsa the Bear Man. The books were obviously inspired by Tarzan, but they were adapted into a Finnish setting: as there are no apes in Finland, the hero Tarsa was raised by bears instead.[5]


The Internet Movie Database lists 88 movies with Tarzan in the title between 1918 and 1999. The first Tarzan movies were silent pictures adapted from the original Tarzan novels which appeared within a few years of the character's creation. With the advent of talking pictures, a popular Tarzan movie franchise was developed, anchored at first by actor Johnny Weissmüller in the title role, which lasted from the 1930s through the 1960s. Tarzan films from the 1930s on often featured Tarzan's chimpanzee companion Cheeta. Later Tarzan films have been occasional and somewhat idiosyncratic.

Silent film

The first Tarzan movies were eight silent features and serials released between 1918 and 1928, most based on novels in the original series. Elmo Lincoln starred in the first Tarzan feature, Tarzan of the Apes (1918), which may be the most faithful cinematic rendering of Burroughs's first Tarzan novel to date. Lincoln appeared in two sequels. Additional silents in the 1920s continued the pattern with other actors (three of these films -- The Romance of Tarzan (1918, Elmo Lincoln), The Revenge of Tarzan (1920, Gene Pollar), and Tarzan the Mighty (1928, Frank Merrill) -- have been lost). One of the silents, Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927), featured the then-unknown Boris Karloff as a villainous native chieftan. The first Tarzan sound film was Tarzan the Tiger (1929), featuring Frank Merrill as the Ape Man, shot as a silent but partially dubbed for release. It was Merrill’s second Tarzan movie, and it cost him the role, as his voice was deemed unsuitable for the part.

The Weissmuller era

The most popular series of Tarzan films began with Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), starring Johnny Weissmüller and Maureen O'Sullivan. Starting afresh with an extremely free adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes which threw out everything that had gone before, it was a boon to the franchise if not to the character. In contrast to the articulate nobleman of Burroughs's novels, Weissmuller's Tarzan was a natural hero with a limited vocabulary. The ersatz pidgin of his dialogue has often been mocked as "Me Tarzan, you Jane," although that particular line was never spoken in any of the films. The beauteous and scantily-clad O'Sullivan was a major factor in the early popularity of the series, although her role was reduced as the series went on (the scriptwriters may have been running out of ways for her to be rescued by Tarzan). Tarzan and Jane were married in the novels, but the relationship was never specified in the Weissmuller films, even though they shared a jungle treehouse. In keeping with production code requirements, their son "Boy" was found and adopted rather than born to Jane. Cheeta the chimpanzee provided comedy relief through the series. Weissmüller starred as the Ape Man in a total of twelve films, through 1948.

During the Weissmüller period a number of competing films were made starring other actors, including Tarzan the Fearless (1933), featuring Buster Crabbe. The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935), hearkening back to the original concept of the character as an intelligent Englishman, was a serial featuring Herman Brix that was reedited into two feature films, the first (confusingly) released in the same year and with the same title as the serial, and the second, Tarzan and the Green Goddess released in 1938. Tarzan’s Revenge, also released in 1938, starred Glenn Morris.

With the exception of The New Adventures of Tarzan, which was partially filmed in Guatemala, the Tarzan movies of this period were mostly filmed on Hollywood sound stages, with stock jungle and wildlife footage edited into the final product.

The franchise after Weissmuller

Following the Weissmuller films, Lex Barker portrayed Tarzan in five low-budget films (1949-1953), in which he essentially imitated Weissmuller. Next came six films starring Gordon Scott (1955-1960), of which the best received were Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959) and Tarzan the Magnificent (1960). Tarzan, the Ape Man was remade in 1959 in a poorly-received version starring Denny Miller.

Then there were two films featuring Jock Mahoney](1962-1963), three with Mike Henry (1966-1968), and two (adaptations of television episodes) with Ron Ely (1970). The later Tarzan films, beginning with Gordon Scott's, saw the character evolve from Weissmuller’s simple family man who lived in a treehouse with Jane and Boy into an intelligent but apparently rootless adventurer. The Mike Henry films, such as Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), were clearly influenced by the James Bond fad, and had Tarzan jetting around the world to fight international criminals.

Later films

After the Ely films, the movie Tarzan went on hiatus until another remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man in 1981, a disastrous flop with Miles O'Keeffe in the title role, whose sole reason for existence seemed to be to exhibit co-star Bo Derek as Jane in various states of undress.

The better received Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes followed in 1984, starring Christopher Lambert. Returning to the source material, it updated Burroughs’ original novel in the light of 1980s sensibilities and science, utilizing a number of corrective ideas first put forth by science fiction author Philip José Farmer in his mock-biography Tarzan Alive. While restoring Tarzan’s identity as an intelligent human being, Greystoke portrayed his adaptation to civilization as a failure, and his return to the wild as a matter of necessity rather than choice.

In Asia, Philippine Cinema's inclination in satirizing western entertainment produced Starzan, a comedy film loosely based on the original Tarzan franchise. It stars Filipino comedic actor Joey De Leon as Starzan, Rene Requiestas as "Chitae", and Zsa Zsa Padilla as Jane. The last live-action Tarzan movie to date was Tarzan and the Lost City (film)|Tarzan and the Lost City (1998).

The Disney Tarzan

Walt Disney Pictures|Disney’s animated Tarzan (1999 film)|Tarzan (1999) marked a new beginning for the ape man, taking its inspiration equally from Burroughs and Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes|Greystoke. Its major innovations were recasting the original fictitious ape species that adopted Tarzan with gorillas and turning Clayton (Tarzan)|Clayton, his cousin and rival for the affections of Jane in the early novels, into a brawny out-and-out villain. Tarzan was voiced by actor Tony Goldwyn.

Two direct to video sequels followed, Tarzan & Jane (2002), and Tarzan II (2005), a re-exploration of the ape man’s childhood. In Tarzan & Jane, Tony Goldwyn|Goldwyn was replaced by Michael T. Weiss.

The Disney Version of Tarzan also recently made its way to Broadway, and is now a full-blown Broadway musical.


The film Tarzan corpus also includes a number of documentaries, most of them either made for television or to accompany video sets of Tarzan movies, a number of derivative foreign-language productions from China, India, and Turkey, and various spoofs and parodies.


Meanwhile, series television had emerged as the primary vehicle bringing the character to the public. In 1958, in the middle of his six film reign as Tarzan, Gordon Scott filmed three episodes for a prospective television series. The program did not sell, and in 1966 the three pilots were edited into a 90-minute television feature entitled Tarzan and The Trappers.

Ron Ely’s live action Tarzan (NBC series)|Tarzan series ran on National Broadcasting Company|NBC from 1966-1968, where Tarzan was accompanied by Cheeta the chimpanzee from the movies and a child sidekick, the orphan boy Jai (Manuel Padilla, Jr., who also played the similar roles of Ramel and Pepe in Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966) and Tarzan and the Great River (1967)). The character Jai first appeared in the film Tarzan Goes to India, played by a young actor of the same name.

An animated series from Filmation, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, aired from 1976–1977, with new and repeat episodes in the anthology programs Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour (1977–1978), Tarzan and the Super 7 (1978–1980), The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour (1980–1981), and The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour) (1981–1982).

Following were Tarzan in Manhattan (1989), an offbeat TV movie, and Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996), a new live-action series. Disney’s animated series The Legend of Tarzan (2001-2003) was a spin-off from its animated film. The latest television series was the live-action Tarzan (WB series)|Tarzan (2003), which updated the setting to contemporary New York City, with Jane as a police detective. The series failed to meet studio expectations and was cancelled after only eight episodes.

Anime and Manga

In Japan there was also an anime and manga series loosely based on Tarzan. "Jungle no Ouja Ta-chan" (King of the Jungle Ta-chan) was originally a manga by Tokuhiro Masaya, which was later made into an anime series. It featured the characters of Tarzan and his wife Jane, who had become obese after settling down with Tarzan. The series begins as a comical parody of Tarzan, but later expands to other settings, such as a martial arts tournament in China, professional wrestling in America, and even a fight with vampires. [6]


Comic strips

Tarzan of the Apes was the first novel to be adapted in newspaper strip form, in early 1929, with illustrations by Hal Foster. A full page Sunday strip began March 15 1931 by Rex Maxon.

Over the years, many artists have drawn the Tarzan comic strip, notably Burne Hogarth, Russ Manning, and Mike Grell. The daily strip began to reprint old dailies after the last Russ Manning daily (#10,308, which ran on 29 July, 1972). The Sunday strip also turned to reprints circa 2000. Both strips continue as reprints today in a few newspapers and in Comics Revue magazine.

The comic strip has often borrowed plots and characters from the Burroughs books. Writer Don Kraar, who wrote the strip from 1982 to 1995, included in his scripts David Innes and John Carter of Mars.

Comic books

Tarzan has appeared in many comic books from many publishers over the years.

  • Comic strip reprints were published in several titles, such as Sparkler, Tip Top Comics and Single Series.
  • Western Publishing published Tarzan in Dell Comics's Four Color|Four Color Comics #134 & 161 in 1947, before giving him his own series, Tarzan #1-131 (Jan-Feb 1948 to July-August 1962), through Dell Comics (as well as in some Dell Giants and March of Comics giveaways), then continued the series with #132-206 (November, 1962 to February, 1972) through their own Gold Key Comics. This series featured artwork by Jesse Marsh, Russ Manning, and Doug Wildey, and included adaptions of most Tarzan novels through Tarzan and the Lion Men, as well as original stories and other features. Almost all of the Dell Comics Tarzan stories were written by Gaylord DuBois.
  • Charlton Comics briefly published a Tarzan comic, on the mistaken belief that the character was in the public domain.
  • DC Comics|DC published Tarzan #207-258 from April 1972 to February 1977, showcasing artist Joe Kubert's depiction of the character. The series included adaptions of other Burroughs creations, and had companion books Korak (later renamed Tarzan Family) and Weird Worlds (comics)|Weird Worlds.
  • Marvel Comics published Tarzan #1-28 (as well as three Annuals), from June 1977 to October 1979, featuring artwork by John Buscema.
  • Blackthorne Comics published Tarzan in 1986.
  • Malibu Comics published Tarzan comics in 1992.
  • Dark Horse Comics has published various Tarzan series from 1996 to the present, including reprints of works from previous publishers like Gold Key and DC.
    • Dark Horse and DC published two crossover (fiction)|crossover titles teaming Tarzan with Batman and Superman. Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Cat-Woman is a "straight" team-up between Tarzan and the 1930s Batman, while Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle is a revisionist version in which Lord Greystoke grows up in England, while Kal-El is raised by the apes as "Argozan".
  • Though not mentioned by name, Tarzan is referenced in Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Places and people from the original Tarzan novels are referred to, suggesting that Tarzan does or did exist in that World of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen|universe.


A 1921 Broadway production of Tarzan of The Apes starred Ronald Adair as Tarzan and Greta Kimble Cooper as Jane Porter.

In 1976, Richard O'Brien wrote a musical entitled "T. Zee", loosely based off the idea of Tarzan but restyled in a rock idiom.

Tarzan (musical)|Tarzan, a musical stage adaptation of the 1999 animated feature, opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in 2006. The show, a Disney Theatrical production, was directed and designed by Bob Crowley.

Tarzan also appeared in the Tarzan Rocks! show at the Theatre in the Wild at Walt Disney World Resort's Disney's Animal Kingdom. The show closed in 2006.

Computer games

A computer game by Michael Archer was produced by Martech. For more information see Tarzan (computer game).

Disney's Tarzan had seen video games released for the PlayStation and Game Boy Color.

Tarzan also appeared in the PS2 game Kingdom Hearts. Sora (Kingdom Hearts)|Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy had to work with Tarzan to save his home from the heartless.


There have been several Tarzan View-Master reels and packets, plus numerous Tarzan coloring books, children's books, follow-the-dots and activity books.

In the film Histoire de Pen there is a character named after Tarzan and another named after The Phantom.

Superman's Song by the Canadia] rock band the Crash Test Dummies compares Tarzan unfavourably to Superman.


  • In a fictional 1999 comic book story featuring The Phantom, the hero meets Edgar Rice Burroughs, and inspires him to create Tarzan.
  • Tarzana, California, where Burroughs made his home, was renamed in honor of Tarzan in 1927.
  • Tarzan appears briefly as a character in the book Lust, by Geoff Ryman.
  • Michael Heseltine, a former British Member of Parliament|MP and senior government minister, is nicknamed Tarzan in honour of his having once seized the ceremonial mace in the House of Commons and swung it about his head in the middle of a debate. This action, together with Heseltines flowing golden hair, was said to be distinctly in the style of Tarzan. The nickname has also been combined with his name into the portmanteau]] nickname Hezza.
  • The March 1959 issue of Man's Adventure published a story titled “The Man Who Really Was… Tarzan” by Thomas Llewellan Jones. This article claims that Tarzan was based on William Charles Mildin, 14th Earl of Streatham, who supposedly lived among the apes from 1868 (age 11) to 1883, before returning to England. None of the news stories claimed in the article exist in the archives of the London papers, and there is no record of such an Earl in the British peerage. None-the-less, the story sometimes resurfaces as “fact”.
  • Tarzan comics were the first publications put on the index by the German Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften after its foundation in 1954.


by Edgar Rice Burroughs

  1. Tarzan of the Apes (1912) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[7])
  2. The Return of Tarzan (1913) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[8])
  3. The Beasts of Tarzan (1914) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[9])
  4. The Son of Tarzan (1914) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[10])
  5. Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar (1916) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[11])
  6. Jungle Tales of Tarzan (1916, 1917) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[12])
  7. Tarzan the Untamed (1919, 1921) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[13])
  8. Tarzan the Terrible (1921) (Project Gutenberg Entry:[14])
  9. Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1922, 1923)
  10. Tarzan and the Ant Men (1924)
  11. Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (novel)|Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1927, 1928)
  12. Tarzan and the Lost Empire (1928)
  13. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1929)
  14. Tarzan the Invincible (1930, 1931)
  15. Tarzan Triumphant (1931)
  16. Tarzan and the City of Gold (1932)
  17. Tarzan and the Lion Man (1933, 1934)
  18. Tarzan and the Leopard Men (1935)
  19. Tarzan's Quest (1935, 1936)
  20. Tarzan and the Forbidden City (1938)
  21. Tarzan the Magnificent (novel)|Tarzan the Magnificent (1936, 1937)
  22. Tarzan and the Foreign Legion (1947)
  23. Tarzan and the Madman (1964)
  24. Tarzan and the Castaways (1940, 1941, 1965)
  • with Joe R. Lansdale
    • Tarzan: the Lost Adventure (1995)
  • for younger readers
    • Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins (1927, 1936, 1963)

By other authors

  • Barton Werper
    1. Tarzan and the Silver Globe (1964)
    2. Tarzan and the Cave City (1964)
    3. Tarzan and the Snake People (1964)
    4. Tarzan and the Abominable Snowmen (1965)
    5. Tarzan and the Winged Invaders (1965)
    • note: the Werper novels were never authorized by ERB, Inc.; they were taken off the market and remaining copies destroyed.
  • Fritz Leiber
    • Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (novel)|Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966)
  • Philip José Farmer
    • A character based on Tarzan (Lord Grandrith) appears in the Nine trilogy:
      • A Feast Unknown (circa 1966)
      • Lord of the Trees (circa 1966)
      • The Mad Goblin
    • Tarzan Alive (1972)--A fictional biography of Tarzan (here Lord Greystoke), which is one of the two foundational books (along with [[Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life) of the Wold Newton family.
    • The Adventure of the Peerless Peer (1974)
    • Time's Last Gift (1985)
    • The Dark Heart of Time (1999)
    • Hadon of Ancient Opar (1974)
    • Flight to Opar (1976)
      • Note: A secondary character of these novels is not referred to as "Tarzan", but was intended to be Tarzan by Farmer, and is included as such by most Wold Newton family scholars.
Farmer also wrote a novel based on his own fascination with Tarzan, entitled Lord Tyger, and translated the novel Tarzan of the Apes into Esperanto.
  • R. A. Salvatore
    • Tarzan: the Epic Adventures (1996)
  • Nigel Cox
    • Tarzan Presley (novel)|Tarzan Presley (2004). This novel combines aspects of Tarzan and Elvis Presley into a single character named Ted Nugent, within New Zealand and United States|American settings. Upon its release, it was subject to legal action in the United States, and has not been reprinted since its initial publication.



  • Tarzan of the Apes (film)|Tarzan of the Apes (1918) (Elmo Lincoln) – based on the first part of the novel Tarzan of the Apes
  • The Romance of Tarzan (1918) (Elmo Lincoln) – based on the second part of the novel Tarzan of the Apes
  • The Revenge of Tarzan (1920) (Gene Pollar) – based on the first part of the novel The Return of Tarzan
  • Son of Tarzan (1920) (P. Demsey Tabler) – serial based on the novel The Son of Tarzan
  • The Adventures of Tarzan (1921) (Elmo Lincoln) – based on the second part of the novel The Return of Tarzan
  • Tarzan and the Golden Lion (film)|Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927) (James Pierce) – based on the novel Tarzan and the Golden Lion
  • Tarzan the Mighty (1928) (Frank Merrill) – an original story; the working title was Jungle Tales of Tarzan but it is not based on the Burroughs novel of that name
  • Tarzan the Tiger (1929) (Frank Merrill) – based on the novel Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar; filmed as a silent but partially dubbed to become the first Tarzan sound film

Franchise films

With Johnny Weissmuller

  • Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
  • Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
  • Tarzan Escapes (1936)
  • Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)
  • Tarzan's Secret Treasure (1941)
  • Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942)
  • Tarzan Triumphs (1943)
  • Tarzan’s Desert Mystery (1943)
  • Tarzan and the Amazons (1945)
  • Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946)
  • Tarzan and the Huntress (1947)
  • Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948)

With Lex Barker

  • Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949)
  • Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950)
  • Tarzan's Peril (1951)
  • Tarzan's Savage Fury (1952)
  • Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953)

With Gordon Scott

  • Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955)
  • Tarzan and the Lost Safari (1957)
  • Tarzan and the Trappers (1958)
  • Tarzan's Fight for Life (1958)
  • Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959)
  • Tarzan the Magnificent]] (1960) – not based on the Burroughs novel of that title

With other actors

  • Tarzan Goes to India (1962) (Jock Mahoney)
  • Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963) (Jock Mahoney)
  • Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (film)|Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966) (Mike Henry) – novelization by Fritz Lieber
  • Tarzan and the Great River (1967) (Mike Henry)
  • Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968) (Mike Henry)
  • Tarzan's Deadly Silence (a compilation of television episodes released to theaters) (1970) (Ron Ely)

Competing films

  • Tarzan the Fearless (1933) (Buster Crabbe) - released as a serial and as an edited feature film
  • The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935) (Bruce Bennett|Herman Brix) – released as a serial and as a feature film
  • Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938) (Bruce Bennett|Herman Brix) - second feature film version of the serial The New Adventures of Tarzan
  • Tarzan’s Revenge (1938) (Glen Morris)
  • Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959)|Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959) (Denny Miller)

Later films

  • Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981) (Miles O’Keeffe)
  • Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes]' (1984) (Christopher Lambert)
  • Tarzan and the Lost City (film)|Tarzan and the Lost City (1998) (Casper Van Dien)
  • Tarzan (1999 film)|Tarzan (1999) – animated feature
  • Tarzan & Jane (2002) – direct to video animated feature
  • Tarzan II (2005) – direct to video animated feature


  • Tarzan and The Trappers (filmed 1958, aired 1966) - three episodes filmed as pilots for a series that never materialized, edited into a television feature, starring Gordon Scott
  • Tarzan (NBC series)|Tarzan (1966–1968) — NBC series starring Ron Ely
  • Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1976–1977) — Filmation animated series (season one)
    • Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour (1977–1978) — (season two)
    • Tarzan and the Super 7 (1978–1980) — (seasons three and four)
    • The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour (1980–1981) — (season five, repeats only)
    • The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour (1981–1982) — (season six, repeats only)
  • TRarzan in Manhattan (1989) — CBS TV movie starring Joe Lar
  • Tarzán (1991–1994) — syndicated series starriTarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996) — syndicated series starring Joe Lara
  • The Legend of Tarzan (2001–2003) — Walt Disney Television|Disney animated series
  • Tarzan (WB series)|Tarzan (2003) — WB Television Network|WB series


Actors portraying Tarzan

A number of actors have played Tarzan over the years, with the most famous and longest-lasting being Johnny Weissmuller, a Danube Swabian born in Austro-Hungary (in a town now in Romania), who came with his parents to the United States.

Due to complex licensing issues relating to Tarzan, several Tarzan movie series actually overlapped. For example, Buster Crabbe, Herman Brix and Glenn Morris all made Tarzan films concurrently with the 1932-1948 Weismuller series. Mike Henry played Tarzan in three theatrical releases that came out concurrently with Ron Ely's TV series, though all three had been filmed before the series debuted. (Henry had been approached to star in the TV series but had declined.)

In the movies (adult)

In the movies (youth)

On radio


On stage

In video games

Primal Skills and Abilities

His abilities gained from a jungle upbringing include being capable of climbing, clinging and leaping as well as any great ape, as well as walking on all fours exceptionally well, despite his human-type, opposite body proportion. His senses are enhanced above human level, having been able to smell food or would-be poachers at least two thirds of a mile away, and hear approaching stampedes from two. His physically close and intimately affectionate life around his loving Ape family has given him an astounding ability to read body language as well and clearly as though it were an excellently detailed comic book. He is also a great judge of character, having alerted Jane to dangerous people that she hasn't seen, even if they're right in front of her, more than once. The constant challenge of having to go to extreme lengths to obtain food or protect his family from danger, natural or predatory, has enhanced his strength, speed, agility, reflexes, balance, flexibility, reaction time and his ability to multi-task and swim to at least ten times normal human level. He has wrestled full grown bull apes and gorillas, rhinos, crocodiles, anacondas, sharks, big cats and even dinosaurs, when he visited Pellucidar. He has bent iron bars in his bare hands and easily lifted large treasure chests one-handed that 4 burly sailors had trouble with. Whenever he has thrown a projectile at something or someone, he has never missed, due to his excellent aim. His feet are just as useful to him as his hands, having clung to trees just by his toes. In the Disney series he has constantly surfed along branches, like a modern-day skateboarder, as well as swing between the dense gathering of vines in the trees, which are his trademark. He is also more than capable of communicating with every single species of animal in the jungle, short of predators. Also, he has in the novels healed from wounds that would have easily killed normal men, such as gunshot wounds to the head. He has had soldier's training from WWI and possesses advanced learning skills which enabled him to teach himself without outside interference how to read with nothing but a few books. Also, later on during the novels he is attacked by a sorcerer who is using a magic rock to mindcontrol only to discover Tarzan is immune to mental probing. Tarzan also becomes immortal later on due to a witch doctor's potion.

See also


<references />

External links

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