Grand Years with Frank Morris

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Tarzan Of The Apes reached its 100th year as a book!

Many actors who have played the king of the jungle over the years. The last one was in 1998. Two of the finest actors to play Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller and Christopher Lambert, are in this profile.

Adapted by Frank Morris

It was 100 years ago that Tarzan Of The Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs saga of the enduring ape man, was first published as a book. The character turned out to be so popular that Burroughs continued the series with two dozen sequels.

Hollywood was quick to jump on the successful Tarzan bandwagon and produced the first film, Tarzan Of The Apes, in 1918. A silent film, it starred Elmo Lincoln and Enid Markey.

In fact, Lincoln went on to star as Tarzan a second time that year in The Romance Of Tarzan.

The best known and most easily recognised actor to play the role was Johnny Weissmuller. Weissmuller had been one of the world’s fastest swimmers in the 1920s. He won five Olympic gold medals, but it was playing Tarzan that propelled him to international stardom.

He played the character twelve times and earned an estimated $4 million. Weissmuller was the first actor to use the famous Tarzan yell. He explained in an interview that it was actually a recording of three diffentent vocalists – a soprano, an alto and a hog caller. The three vocalists were spliced together to get the effect.

Joining Weissmuller was the talented actress Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane. Then there was the famous Cheeta, the chimpanzee, although no chimpanzee actually appeared in the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels.

Perhaps the long-running Tarzan saga needed something new to appeal to filmgoers in 1984.

A French actor who spoke no English, Christopher Lambert, had to train for six months to

play the part – learning to behave like a chimp in the afternoon, having English lessons in the evening. All his 

hard work paid off. The critics loved his interpretation of the leading character.

And the box-office loved him, too. In the first eight weeks, Greystoke, The Legend Of Tarzan, took over $35 million; a record.

Who knows where this enduring popular franchise will go next?

Actors who played Tarzan

Elmo Lincoln, 1918; Gene Pollar, 1920; James Pierce, 1927; Frank Merrill, 1929; Herman Brix and Bruce Bennett, 1935, 1938; Johnny Weismuller, 1932 to 1948; Buster Crabbe, 12-chapter-movie serial, 1934; Glenn Morris, 1938; Lex Barker, 1949 to 1953; Denny Miller, 1959; Gordon Scott, 1955 to 1960; Jock Mahoney, 1962 to 1963; Mike Henry, 1966 to 1968; Miles O’Keeffe, 1981; Christopher Lambert, 1984; Casper Van Dien, 1998.

[Adapted from The People’s Friend, February l, 2014.]


1910, Central battery wallset and desk set: It was the year of 

King Edward’s death. Edward was succeeded by George V. Men had reached the North Pole. And that “interesting” Spain had become a republic. In Australia, the first Commonwealth banknotes were issued and uniform one-penny postage was introduced. The destroyers Parramatta and Yarra arrived to become the first vessels of the Australian Navy. Mr F.C. Custance, at Bolivar, South Australia, recorded his first successful powered flight in Australia.

Flashback, 1989: New Idea is worth a million readers!

It was an extra special day for the editor-in-chief of New Idea, Dulcie Boling. Let’s cross over to Ms Boling as she relates the event to the readers of the magazine. “We love breaking records around here”, said Dulcie Boling. “But this time we hit the jackpot! New Idea now has an average sale of over one million copies per week. When you add in the number of actual readers who see those million-plus magazines each week, that’s a pretty formidable slice of the Australian population. It’s a long time now since we beat all records for weeklies in this country, and became the world’s top-selling weekly magazine for women, per head of population. I’ve has my sleeves rolled up for 12 years editing this magazine, and for the past six years doing double duty running the company. A magic million makes all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile. My thanks to my loyal team, and to you, our very vocal readers, for your efforts. You are all worth a million!” A great deal had changed in 35 years. The Australian circulation is now 282,206. A far cry from one million a week.

Robyn Malone: Volunteer on a pathway

Many of Australian volunteers are in fulltime work. At the moment, 38 per cent of fulltime workers have applied and 35 per cent volunteer at least once a week.

Adapted by Frank Morris 

Why did you want to volunteer?

I retired from the workforce several years ago after being made redundant from my job. I decided to volunteer because I wanted to meet and interact with people, rather than just stay at home. I wanted continue to use my office skills. I also wanted to feel that I was contributing to society by helping a worthwhile organisation.

Did you find the process of volunteering adequate? Or could you suggest any improvement?

I wasn’t sure how to go about volunteering or where to start. So I searched on the internet and came across a community solutions volunteer organisation you can join. I think the service provided by this volunteer support group is fantastic. They are really helpful for someone like me who was not sure what type of volunteer work they would like to do. There are so many possibilities out there that you are not aware of when you first think about volunteering.

How did find the experience?

I started volunteering with the group to help with organising a local expo, which was right up my alley. I had previously worked in event management. The expo was such a happy and vibrant occasion and it was also a fantastic way to find out about all the other volunteering situations in my area.

What would you say to encourage other people to volunteer?

Everyone can benefit from volunteering. There such a wide range of positions available so you always find something to suit your interest and skills. I would ask people to contact Volunteer Link or attend the Expo working in your community.

Would you recommend volunteering?

Yes. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people. There’s a real sense of purpose and fulfilment.

Robyn is now coordination manager of the Volunteer Expos as a paid employee. This is a great example how volunteer work can lead to paid employment. More volunteer stories in 2015.


2015: Australian Chronicle Newspaper – All the news that’s fit to print: Notorious outlaws dead. In 1865, there was Ben Hall shot dead and they thought then that the reign of terror had ended. In 1880, the wild career of Ned Kelly and his gang was broken at last. Ned Kelly, the main outlaw, was hanged in Melbourne … “A tragedy”, shouted a newspaper. Edmund Kennedy and his party of ten had been speared to death by blacks … Australian museum building commenced, the newspaper announced. In 1849, Sydney will be remember as the township in which the benefits of a natural history museum were conferred … “Brave work by Flinders and Bass,” a Special Correspondent said. He was talking about the “remarkable sea exploration” the two intrepid navigators has just carried out.


Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 17 October 14

The Women: Was this a timeless tableau of evil?

Women are forced to learn jungle warfare in order to survive. Author tells all!

Frank Morris

When the curtain came down on the first performance of The Women in 1936 the author, Clare Booth Luce, realised that her comedy about divorce, cattiness and unbridled bitchiness had all the ingredients “to pack a theatre forever”.

Not withstanding the fact that the play’s comedy produced a laugh every thirty seconds, Luce knew that she had written a play that was highly commercial without having to try.

In his biography of Luce, Wilfred Sheed writes: “What was on Clare’s mind was on the audience’s too: the rich bitches on stage were playing their sisters.

“Everyone who had ever stolen a man, or had one stolen, was in there.

“What may well have begun as a satire on certain types (of women) had ended as a timeless tableau of evil.”

Fairytale, but hell itself!
One of the play’s typical ‘why-that’s-me’ characters, a basically good woman, “is forced to learn jungle warfare in order to survive.”

According to Sheed, Luce made all her characters heartless – a comedy convention from Aristophanes through Wilde.

“Clare simply had too much conviction,” writes Sheed.  “Her heartlessness rang a bell.  The beauty parlour and jewellery counter were not some….fairytale, but hell itself.”

Some years later, Luce went to unusual lengths to distance herself from “her bitches”.  She said she’d come to detest them and defined them as “a small predatory class”.
Those around Luce, critics and friends alike, thought The Women a parody of her own “type”.

A critical success
Writes Sheed: “Clare was a celebrity at large…one of the ten most – and least – admired women (in America).  She was also considered glamorous which was a bad thing in social America.”

Clare Booth Luce, playwright of social satire and public official, had always been well connected.  Even before she married Time-Life publisher, Henry Luce, in 1935.

She was associated editor of Vogue in 1930, and managing editor of Vanity Fair from 1930 to 1934.

In 1938, following the resounding critical success of The Women, which ran for 657 performances on Broadway, Luce backed up with a satire on American life, Kiss the Boys Goodbye; and Margin for error, an anti-Nazi play, in 1939.

The Opposite Sex … brittle

All three plays were adapted for films, the most successful of which was The Women.  Directed by George Cukor in 1939, the all-female cast included Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Hedda Hopper and Joan Crawford in one of her best roles as the bitchy Crystal Allen.

It re-appeared as a musical in 1956 called The Opposite Sex, starring, among others, Joan Collins, Ann Sheridan, June Allyson and Agnes Moorehead.

The critic, Leonard Maltin describes it as “a well-heeled musical with a stellar cast…but it pales next to the brittle original.

Luce, who died in 1988, served in the US House of Representatives from 1943 to 1947.  In 1953 President Eisenhower appointed to Italy; she resigned three years later due to ill health.

In 1959 she was appointed ambassador of Brazil by Eisenhower. But after a month of criticism and controversy, she decided to “step down”.

[In 1988 Frank Morris was asked to write on aspect of Clare Booth Luce extraordinary life. He picked The Women.]


1894: The Magneto Wallset. England was celebrating two great construction achievements in this year: the Manchester Ship Canal was opened; and The London landmark destined to become something of a symbol of the city, the Tower Bridge. In Australia, the public imagination was being captured by the experiment of one of our country’s most notable aeronautic pioneers, Lawrence Hargrave. Earlier, his development of a rotary aeroplane engine was regarded as something of importance. On November 12, 1894, at Stanwell Park, NSW, four box kites lifted him to a height of 16 ft. from the ground. And the first Australian colony to give the vote: South Australia.


Lest We Forget: Dedicated to the thousands of men and women who died in World War 1, this finely crafted collectors’ coin offers a timely reminder of the men and women who fought and gave up their lives. It has been specially produced in commemoration of 100 years since the beginning of war in June 1914. This double-sided coin has the image of a lone soldier and cross in a Flanders poppy field on one side and commemorative text and poppies on the reverse. The coin is produced in brass material with a silver-coloured metal finish. Each coin is supplied in a quality hinged presentation box and is a memento that can be handed down through your family for generations to come. WW1 Commemorative Coin, overseas, 14 pounds 99. Call on:’ or by post: The People’s Friend Remembrance Offer, D.C. Thomson Shop, PO Box 766, Haywards Heath, RH16 9GF.

Health: Hip Surgery – Pain, stiffness may limit your activities – even prevent walking

One of the body’s largest weight bearing joints.

Adapted by Frank Morris

No matter what age you are, a hip problem may keep you from activities that you would enjoy. Pain and stiffness may even limit the daily chores you can do. Problems with the hip joint gradually tend to build up over time.

The hip joint is one of the body’s largest weight bearing joints.

It is a ball-and-socket joint which helps the hip remain stable, even with turning, twisting and other extreme functions in motion. If conservative treatment has not aided your movements, your surgeon will evaluate the hip joint to assess whether surgical treatment may benefit you in the long run.

The femur thigh bone is the bone for the upper portion of the leg. It is the longest, largest and heaviest bone of the body.


The femoral neck supports the femoral head. Its length allows for maximum leverage and rotation.


The femoral head is the top ball-shaped end of the femur. The femoral head fits into the socket of the pelvic bone to form the hip joint. Cartilage on the head will cushion the joint in the socket, allowing for smooth rotation.


This is a ligament which connects the femoral head to the acetabulum.


These are the three strong ligaments to the femoral ligament which are attached the femur bone, which in tur are to the pelvis. They stretch over the joint to bolster and support it.


This cavity in the hip bone forms the socket that holds the femoral head.


A soft part of the hip’s socket. The cartilage allows the joint to rotate.


There are two hip bones that come together to form a girdle at the bottom of the body. This is called the pelvis. It carries and transmits weight from the upper body to the lower limbs in standing or sitting positions. Each hip bone is divided into three sections.

[Adapted from Orthosports.]

2015: For kids (and adults) – Kookaburra Laughs. John Mystery tells the story of why each day you hear the Kookaburras laugh! … The 1913 fashion scene … The Great War: We are getting ready for Galliopoli.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 10 October 14

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