|Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan|
It's amazing that Edgar Rice Burroughs' early twentieth century creation is still going strong over one hundred years later. Next summer Alexander Skarsgard is the latest actor to play the Ape Man, and in a blockbuster summer movie, no less. Let's face it, Tarzan is a product of a simpler time, a thoroughly racist and absurd concoction in a highly fictional "Africa" that nevertheless captured the imaginations of millions of readers -- and filmgoers. More recent films have done away with the condescension towards black natives, added black characters, and done their best to counteract the tone of the early movies, although in the novels Tarzan was never that disrespectful of native Africans.
This week we look at Burroughs' first Tarzan novel, as well as selected films in which Tarzan is portrayed by various actors, beginning with Johnny Weissmuller and going on to Lex Barker, Gordon Scott, Jock Mahoney, and Mike Henry.