Tarzan is one of the most iconic figures in literature. He is the archetypal “jungle hero,” a symbol of strength and courage who has been adapted and reimagined in countless ways over the years. Tarzan first appeared in the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes by American author Edgar Rice Burroughs, and has since become a pop culture phenomenon.
In this essay, we will explore Tarzan’s origin story, the influence of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Tarzan’s impact on pop culture. We will also take a look at Tarzan’s various adaptations in film and television. By the end, you will have a better understanding of the character and the legacy he has left behind.
2. Tarzan’s Origin Story
Tarzan, the fabled jungle hero, has captured the imaginations of generations of readers and moviegoers alike. But where did this legendary figure come from? Tarzan’s origin story can be traced back to the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes by American author Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The novel begins with the ill-fated voyage of John and Alice Clayton, Lord and Lady Greystoke, to Africa in search of adventure. After their ship is wrecked off the coast of West Africa, the couple are stranded in the jungle. Though they are attacked by a tribe of apes, the couple manage to survive in the wild and soon have a child, whom they name John Clayton, after his father.
Unfortunately, both of John and Alice’s lives are cut short when they are killed by a rival tribe of apes. John Clayton, now an orphan, is adopted and raised by the tribe of apes, who name him Tarzan, meaning “white skin” in their language.
Tarzan soon learns to survive in the jungle, relying on his wits, strength, and agility. He also develops a bond with the apes, learning their language and customs. As he grows older, Tarzan discovers a cabin in the jungle that belonged to his parents. Inside, he finds a wealth of knowledge, including books, maps, and weapons.
Tarzan also learns of his true identity – he is the rightful heir to the title of Lord Greystoke. With this newfound knowledge, Tarzan sets out to reclaim his inheritance and avenge his parents’ deaths.
The novel follows Tarzan as he navigates the wild jungles of Africa, battles rival tribes, and learns to live among the animals. Along the way, he also meets Jane Porter, an American woman who was stranded in the jungle. The two eventually fall in love and marry, forging a bond that would last a lifetime.
The novel was an instant hit, and Tarzan’s origin story has been adapted for film, television, and other media countless times. Tarzan’s story continues to captivate readers and viewers alike, and his legacy as an enduring figure of adventure and heroism is sure to last for generations to come.
3. Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs is the creator of Tarzan, the iconic character known and loved around the world. Burroughs was born in Chicago in 1875 and attended the Michigan Military Academy, where he developed a lifelong interest in military tactics and strategy. After a brief stint in the military, Burroughs moved to Idaho and then to California, where he began writing stories for pulp magazines.
Burroughs’ first novel was A Princess of Mars, which was published in 1912 and was the first of a series of novels set on the planet Mars. The novel was a success, and Burroughs followed it up with several other novels set in the same universe.
In 1914, Burroughs wrote Tarzan of the Apes, which was the first novel in the Tarzan series. The novel was an immediate success, and it spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs. Tarzan quickly became a popular character, appearing in films, comic books, and even a Broadway musical.
In addition to Tarzan, Burroughs wrote a number of other novels, including The Land That Time Forgot and The Moon Maid. He also wrote a series of novels set in the fictional world of Pellucidar, a world located at the Earth’s core.
Burroughs’ writing was often criticized for its lack of depth and complexity, but he was still able to create compelling stories and characters that have endured for over a century. His stories have been adapted into films, television shows, comic books, and video games, and his characters have become part of popular culture.
Burroughs died in 1950, but his legacy lives on in the form of Tarzan and the many other characters he created. He was a prolific writer who left behind a body of work that will continue to entertain and inspire readers for generations to come.
4. Tarzan’s Impact on Pop Culture
Tarzan, the legendary character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, has had a lasting impact on popular culture. Since his first appearance in the 1912 novel, Tarzan of the Apes, Tarzan has been featured in countless books, films, television shows, and other forms of media.
Tarzan’s story has been adapted and re-imagined many times over the years. He has become a symbol of strength and courage, and his adventures have inspired countless generations. His popularity has been so great that he has been featured in many different forms of media, from comic books to video games.
In addition to books and films, Tarzan has also been featured in numerous television shows. The most famous of these is the 1960s series, The Legend of Tarzan, which ran for two seasons and starred Ron Ely as the titular character. The show was extremely popular and spawned a number of spin-offs, including Tarzan and the Super 7 and Tarzan and the Valley of Gold.
Tarzan has also had a significant influence on popular music. Numerous songs have been written about the character, with some of the most famous being “Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora, “Tarzan and Jane” by Toy-Box, and “Strangers Like Me” by Phil Collins. These songs, along with many others, have helped to keep Tarzan’s legacy alive in the minds of fans.
Tarzan has also been featured in a number of video games, from the classic side-scrolling Super Nintendo game, Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle, to the more recent Disney’s Tarzan: Return to the Jungle for the PlayStation 2. These games have allowed fans to experience the adventure of being Tarzan, and have helped to keep his legacy alive.
Tarzan has been an important part of popular culture for over a century, and his legacy is still strong today. He is a symbol of strength, courage, and adventure, and his stories have inspired countless generations. His impact on popular culture is undeniable, and he is sure to remain a beloved character for many years to come.
5. Tarzan in Film and Television
Tarzan has been a popular character in film and television since the 1920s. The first adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel was a silent film of the same name released in 1918. Since then, Tarzan has featured in over 40 movies, television shows, and animated series.
The most famous Tarzan movie is the 1932 version starring Johnny Weissmuller. This film was a major success, spawning 12 sequels and making Weissmuller a star. The film also introduced the iconic yell that has become synonymous with Tarzan.
In the 1960s, Tarzan was adapted into a television series starring Ron Ely. The series ran for three seasons and featured a more civilized version of the character. Later on, Tarzan was adapted into an animated series by Filmation. This series ran for two seasons and featured a more traditional version of the character.
In 1999, Disney released its version of Tarzan, which was a major success at the box office. The film was praised for its animation and its music, which won an Academy Award. Disney followed up the success of the film with a direct-to-video sequel, Tarzan & Jane, in 2002.
In recent years, Tarzan has been featured in a variety of television series, including The Legend of Tarzan, which ran for two seasons on the WB. The series was a modern adaptation of the character, featuring Tarzan as a British Lord.
Tarzan has also been featured in various live-action films, including The Legend of Tarzan (2016) starring Alexander Skarsgard and The Legend of Tarzan (2019) starring Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie. Both films were box office successes and received positive reviews from critics.
Tarzan is a character that has been embraced by pop culture for over a century. From silent films to modern blockbusters, the character has been adapted for the big and small screen. His iconic yell and adventures have made him a beloved character for generations of fans.
Tarzan, the legendary character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, has had a lasting impact on pop culture since his introduction in 1912. His origin story of being raised by apes in the African jungle has been the source of many adaptations in film, television, and other media. Tarzan has been portrayed in multiple ways, from a wild, feral creature to a noble, heroic figure. He has been a source of inspiration for many generations, and his story continues to capture the imagination of audiences around the world.
Tarzan’s story has been adapted and reimagined in a variety of ways since his creation, but the core of his character remains the same. He is a symbol of strength, courage, and perseverance, and his story has been a source of inspiration for many. Whether in film, television, or other media, Tarzan’s story continues to captivate audiences and will likely do so for many years to come.