Friday, August 16, 2013

Tarzan the Centenarian










Over the summer I bought and read Scott Tracy Griffin's beautiful coffee-table book The Centennial Celebration Tarzan: The Stories - The Movies - The Art, published late last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the magazine publication of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes in 1912 (the novel came out in book form in 1914).

It's a beaut. Its 320 colorfully illustrated pages, warmly introduced by Ron Ely, provide a synopsis of every Tarzan book written by Burroughs, a survey of the movie Tarzans from Gordon Griffith and Elmo Lincoln in 1918 to Casper Van Dien in 1998 (no mention, of course, of the not-yet-announced Kellan Lutz 3-D vehicle, currently filming, and only a curt yet positive mention of the 1981 Bo Derek stinker, starring the nevertheless impressive Miles O'Keeffe), and the myriad manifestations of Tarzan on the radio, on TV, in comics, in unauthorized sequels, on stage, and on lunchboxes. We get three full-page, full-color photos of Joe Lara in a loincloth, stunning, worth the $26.46 price at Amazon by themselves.

I can't think of anything officially Tarzan-related that doesn't get at least a mention in the 10x12.8" book, and the illustrations are as lavish, violent, and erotic as I could have wished for. Unofficially, the Tarzans of lucha libre and pro wrestling could have lifted the book to holy scripture status for me, but I was not that lucky. Still, if you call yourself a Tarzan fan, you need (need) this gorgeous book.

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