The Dream Vaults of Opar

The New Adventures of Tarzan

    Thanks to the kindness of Doug Wirth (and John Guidry, who acted as both intermediary and delivery boy), I have finally managed to view the complete 1935 serial The New Adventures of Tarzan, which stars Herman Brix and was produced by Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises under the auspices of Edgar Rice Burroughs himself. Elsewhere in this mailing John has already offered his own insights into this extravaganza, so my comments will be brief. John is a movie fan par excellence and his observations and comments on such matters are almost always extremely interesting and insightful.
    I suppose most of us have seen the television "feature" versions of this film, one of which is not only abridged from the original feature version, but has a completely redubbed sound track. To enjoy the movie, one must see the complete serial. It's dated, of course, as is any production of its vintage--have you seen the original King Kong recently?--but comes closer to capturing the real John Clayton than any dramatic presentation I have ever seen, including Greystoke. Brix is largely responsible for this, more than looking the role. He was a superb athlete and it shows whenever he moves.
    My only regret is that I do not have a complete copy of the (original) feature version of New Adventures--the twelve-chapter serial boils down the material of the feature, omitting some scenes. This is most striking (as pointed out by Doug) in the final chapter, where a résumé of the foregoing action includes a scene from the feature which is not seen in the serial version at all.
    Technical flaws aside, Tarzan has never been better portrayed as an adult.

    The seventh mailing of ERB-APA continued our tradition of providing a generous feast of things Burroughsian, and demands comment. I found the formal theme--commentary on The Bandit of Bell's Bend--quite interesting. Oddly, the fact that not everyone chose to contribute to this "symposium" was a plus; the theme appeared naturally, scattered throughout the mailing, with refreshing changes of topic in between.
    George McWhorter's article on the origin of the Leper King provided new information, as did Oswald Train's article concerning the red-orange reprints and Bob Barrett's concerning the much overlooked post-war editions. John F. Roy continues to delve into his bottomless cornucopia (ERB's own genealogy of the Julians, no less!) and the reports on the Louisville ERB convention made me wish I could have attended.
   I'm afraid Alan Hanson is absolutely right about Diana Henders, that "piece of frontier fluff"; but I'm surprised (and flattered) by his comments concerning the information I recorded in ERB-dom #29 ("A Means of Authenticating ERB"). It's very nice to know that someone else found it of interest. (To digress on a related topic: it galls me that all these years later we still don't have ERB's original text of "Jimber Jaw" or "Jungle Murders," which are the two most significant examples of spurious material published under Burroughs' name in book form. "Giant of Mars," of course, was not written by ERB at all, but by his son, John Coleman Burroughs. It is more than likely that ERB's original texts survives and could easily be published. Possibly his versions are inferior to those we have; still, I'd like the opportunity to decide that for myself. Of course, no new ERB at all has been published in a very long time.)
   Bob O'Malley: I have it filed in my head that ERB did indeed write the Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., jacket blurbs, but I can't recall the source of this information. You might be interested in reading the original jacket blurb for Savage Pellucidar, which I believe is in Lupoff's Master of Adventure.
   Leonard Homel: I look forward to seeing how ERB-APA will evolve under your direction [as new ERB-APA "Official Editor"]. George Jones, I enjoyed your anecdote concerning the use of hypnosis to induce a Barsoomian experience, as well as the wonderful reprints you include. And Doug Wirth, you've got a knack for telling a story (in this case, ERB, WWII, and Tarzan and "the Foreign Legion") through carefully selected and patched together clippings. This isn't easy, either, but works very effectively the way you do it; you gain authenticity without footnotes! Mike Conran and Bill Ross also must be complimented; I'm amazed they have time to contribute to ERB-APA at all while producing their excellent ERB fanzines.

   I recently received the newest issue of Erbania from Pete Ogden; it is devoted to the various incarnations of Tarzan on radio and presents the most complete compilation of this material to date, with previously unavailable titles and air dates. I am still attempting to find many of these shows on tape, and Pete's detailed listings will be very helpful.

    The last three months have been very busy for me. Since the last mailing I have sold my first novel to Ace, The Lord of the Crooked Paths, a mythological romance (in the old sense) set in the Age of the Titans. Publication date has not yet been decided, but it will probably be in the first half of 1987. A second volume, though not yet purchased, is written and waiting for an opening in the publishing schedule.
    As a result of this good fortune, my wife's indulgence, and trickle-down economics, you are reading the first issue of "Dream Vaults" composed on my new, "inexpensive" word processing system [actually an Atari 800XL computer].
   Finally, and most significantly, my second son and third child was born. Eight pounds, three ounces. Mother and child are doing wonderfully, thank you.
   All best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 1986.

--December 31, 1985
New Adventures of Tarzan (movie serial)
Other Tarzan videos
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Copyright © 1999 Patrick H. Adkins. All rights reserved.