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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Johnny Weissmuller


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#1 riffraf

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 07:22 PM

 

 

24f386ad956de14d46fcdb007142e15e.jpg



#2 riffraf

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 12:21 AM

https://youtu.be/MwHWbsvgQUE



#3 SueSueApplegate

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 03:51 AM

What a great moment! Sounds like such fun. He was a very nice man,
jolly, cheerful, and visiting with the kids. When I met him, it was either
1962 or 1963.

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#4 bOb39

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 08:49 PM

For suesueApplegate. I met Johnny Weissmuller, too. New Haven Ct on March 10 1970. He was invited to the Yale campus to speak at a Tarzan film festival. During the screening of Tarzan the Ape Man, black students rioted when the scenes of the blacks being whipped and mistreated on safari, were shown. On the other side of the theater, my brother and I saw some students guiding JW up the aisle to the lobby. We scrambled out to the lobby to head them off and help if needed. We walked right up to his little group and offered to stand between him and the crowd if they broke out into the lobby. For my childhood hero, who was at that time, 65 years old, I was ready to go down fighting and my brother would be right by my side. Instead they took us to the student lounge and we all sat around a table drinking champagne and Johnny regaled us with stories of the old days making the Tarzan movies. I sat next to him and he autographed 2 photos that I brought with me. It was an hour or so of my life that I will never forget. bOb.

#5 SueSueApplegate

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 07:07 PM

I was lucky enough to meet Weissmuller about 1962 dressed as Jungle
Jim. He was promoting some real estate in Louisiana.

The only Tarzan for me!

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#6 BronxGuy

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 05:33 PM

> But he's right! ;-)

Correctomundo! Dad's are always right. I was trying to point out that we all are products of our generation. But...who really knows how to measure a man's swashbuckling skills. The flashing smile and hearty laughter during swordplay has as much to do with it as acrobatics. It's probably been done, but would make an interesting thread. Who was the greatest swashbuckler of them all..and what made him so?

#7 dfordoom

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 05:05 AM

> Reminds me of my Dad telling me Douglas Fairbanks
> was a greater swashbuckler than Douglas Fairbanks
> Jr.

But he's right! ;-)

#8 blackhangman

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:56 PM

It's hard to tell what might have happened. I'm surprised Thalberg ordered the re-shooting of TARZAN ESCAPES, but he was quite ill at the time and his duties were limited. Of course, by the time the next installment was made, he was dead. One book on the subject, and I forget which one, also said that there was a lot of "funny-money" things happening on TARZAN ESCAPES--charges from other films were transferred to the TE books, thereby inflating the budget for the film. Who knows??

#9 bOb39

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 09:12 PM

Geaorge MacCready was an excellent villain in avery film I ever saw him in. I think he helped raise "Tarzan's Peril" to a level above the other Lex Barker movies. And a few of Weissmuller's, too.
What I really want to reply to, blackhangman, is your comments about the lost footage of "Tarzan Escapes". That is an excellent subject to bring up. I've been hoping for decades that news might break someday on that lost footage being found and released. But as more and more time goes by, it doesn't look promising. I believe the working title was "The Capture of Tarzan". You're right, that was a turning point in the Tarzan film series, when they re-shot it to tone it down for kids. I can't help but wonder if subsequent releases might have been a bit more "adult" in a violent and action-oriented way if "The Capture of Tarzan" had been released as originally shot. bOb.

#10 bOb39

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 08:54 PM

Indeed He was. It was a shame that none of the other screen Tarzans were portrayed the way Herman Brix portrayed him. And that serial, "The New Adventures of Tarzan" from 1935 was a real action-packed story. Too bad the production values were low. It was the kind of story that Burroughs often had Tarzan involved in. I think MGM had the wrong idea. I wished they used Weissmuller the way Burroughs' production company used Brix.
One of these days I'm gonna buy Bruce Bennett's (Herman Brix) bio and find out why he titled it "Please Don't Call Me Tarzan'. Although, I think I could make a good guess. bOb.

#11 bOb39

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 08:27 PM

I agree. We may be about the same age. When I was a kid, Weissmuller was Tarzan. When I was 9 or 10, Lex Barker became the newest Tarzan. But I was so into the Tarzan thing that I guess whoever was Tarzan at the time was good enough. But whoever, no one was nearly as good as Weissmuller. During Barker's reign, they kept re-releasing old Weissmuller/Tarzan films and I thought they were the ultimate. I'd sit throught them twice every time.

I've had this Tarzan Collection DVD set of the 6 MGM Weissmuller films for over a year and just last night I was watching the documentary disc. On it there is a short 15 minute film of the making of some of the swimming scenes for "Tarzan Finds A Son!". I watched it about 6 or 7 months ago, but last night was the first time I noticed that the boy swimming with Johnny Weissmuller was clearly not Johnny Sheffield, but his stand in. Throughout the program, the announcer constantly referred to him as "Little Johnny Sheffield".
Also, the film's working title, "Tarzan in Exile" was referenced several times by both the announcer and the newspaper clippings from the local papers in that area as they were shown on screen. Interesting stuff.

#12 William735

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 11:11 PM

Herman Brix is probably the closest we've come to seeing Tarzan the way Burrough's intended him to be seen.

#13 BronxGuy

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 02:04 PM

Re: Johnny vs. Gordon vs Lex, etc. I think the answer is whoever you grew up watching. To me, it's always been Johnny. That's who was on the screen when I was 7-10 years old. When Lex took over, I viewed him (unfairly) as a fraud. Gordon looked like he spent most of his time in a gym and there were no gyms in the "French Belgium Congo" where I always assumed Tarzan lived.

This nostalgic Tarzan discussion reminds me of chatting with my daughters about James Bond. They find my opinion that Sean Connery was the best James Bond silly and old fashioned and causes them to roll their eyes at each other. They're smug in their knowledge that the "real" James Bond is Roger Moore. Reminds me of my Dad telling me Douglas Fairbanks was a greater swashbuckler than Douglas Fairbanks Jr. - another screen hero of my youth.

#14 William735

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 12:59 AM

While Johnny Weissmuller was good as Tarzan, my personal favorite apeman is still Gordon Scott, who was the first Tarzan I saw at the local movie theater. He and Herman Brix are the 2 oldest living Tarzans.

I would like to see TCM show Tarzan movies on a weekly basis, starting with either the Weissmuller films or the silent movies.

#15 d120421

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 05:18 PM

It would indeed. I've always regretted that that footage was lost, particularly the footage of the giant bats carrying off their victims.

Another "lost" potentially "adult" scene was the death of Jane in Tarzan Finds a Son!. Reportedly, the role of "Boy" was created when actress Maureen O'Sullivan announced her intention to leave the series following completion of this film. Studio writers decided to kill Jane off by having her get a spear in the back from an angry tribesman. TARZAN author Edgar Rice Burroughs reportedly had a fit when he learned of MGM's intention of killing Jane, but the studio's attorneys informed him that while MGM's contract with ERB forbade them from killing off or demeaning the Tarzan character, it was silent on the character of Jane and they were free to plan her demise. They also told ERB that it was too late to do anything about it as the scenes of Tarzan and Boy at Jane's grave had already been shot.

However, when pre-release publicity blurbs announced Jane's impending demise, fans of the series reportedly went ballistic, threatening to boycott not only the series, but other MGM films as well. The result: Public Opinion accomplished what TARZAN's creator could not: Jane's demise was averted by writing in a scene in which she recovered from her wound and Miss O'Sullivan was given a substantial raise in salary...which probably helped to assuage, but didn't entirely HEAL the emotional frustration she felt at becoming typecast in the role.

#16 blackhangman

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 03:20 PM

The first two Weismuller's were excellent adult feature with some chilling scene's (like the pit with the Ape). What really dropped the series down to matinee level was the third film, TARZAN ESCAPES. From everything I have read about this movie, the original version was another adult film, with that cave/swamp sequence with giant bats carrying off screaming victims and the bearers being butchered by that unfriendly tribe. But the preview raised such a furor among mothers that the film was virtually reshot with a new director. Isn't it a shame that the original version doesn't exist anymore? It would be a real thrill to see it.

#17 d120421

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 01:36 PM

I actually thought even Scott's first 3 or 4 TARZAN films had their moments, such as his fight with the giant python in Tarzan's Fight For Life. (Reportedly, it took six men to unwrap the snake from Scott's body after the scene was shot. The snake nearly killed him.)

Of course, they weren't on the level of his last two films with Sy Weintraub, but I do think those two films are the best in the series. It might not seem like much for Tarzan to tackle a group of men, but when the men were as heavily armed and ruthless as the foes Scott faced, it made for a pair of genuinely suspenseful, absorbing and fast-paced first-rate adventure films. The Weissmuller films were more fanciful, but after the first 2 or 3 MGMs they tended to settle down into "jungle family/cute chimp" mode, and though I still enjoyed them (and still enjoy watching them today), they lost much of that adult edge they had originally.

I kinda like Lex Barker's performance as Tarzan. Perhaps because he's the most aristocratic-looking of the actors who played the role. I agree that TARZAN'S PERIL is probably his best, but I also liked TARZAN AND THE SHE-DEVIL, which had a sort of noir-ish look to it, and I thought Dorothy Hart, Barker's "mate" in TARZAN'S SAVAGE FURY was probably the best "Jane" after Maureen O'Sullivan. Too bad they didn't keep her around longer.

#18 bOb39

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 10:31 AM

Whoa! That is interesting. Another possibility might be that as a result of one of the hurricanes that whalloped Florida in recent years, wrecked a zoo or animal farm and some of the animals escaped. I think I remember reading something about that a few years ago. But I like the story you heard, about the old Tarzan movies, much better.

#19 BronxGuy

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 02:42 PM

I took a canoe trip down the Oklawaha River in central Florida a number of months ago. As you travel along you occasionally spot a monkey. The rumor is that these are the descendants of the monkeys used at Silver Springs for the old Tarzan movies. When they packed up, they didn't bother to round up the monkeys. Anyone ever hear that story? Any truth to it? It sounds plausible in a pre-PETA movie era.

#20 blackhangman

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 11:47 AM

I'd agree about TARZAN'S PERIL. Interesting film that was shot on location (a big deal back then), and George MacReady is an excellent villain. Of the earlier Scott films, TARZAN & THE LOST SAFARI is the best of the four. Shot in color (the first Tarzan film to be shot in color) and on location with a pretty good supporting cast including Robert Beatty.




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