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

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