By Scott Tracy Griffin (Titan Books)
Soon after the publication of Tarzan of the Apes in 1912, the character – thanks in no small part to Edgar Rice Burroughsâ€™ acumen as a self-promoter – became a multi-media sensation and global star.
Many sequels followed; a comic strip arrived in 1929, followed by a radio show in 1932 and the Ape-Man inevitably carved out a solid slice of the comicbook market too once the industry was firmly established. However, the earliest and most effective promotional tool – one which took on a life of its own – was Tarzanâ€™s frequent forays into the world of celluloid.
This impressive coffee-table art-book, released to coincide with the latest long-awaited movie, offers an eye-popping blend of intimate background, biographies and a critical overview, supplanted by hundreds of production stills, candid photos and – most welcome to art lovers – movie posters and promotional artwork from each theatre release.
Compiled and written by author and historian Scott Tracy Griffin (Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration), the book catalogues the history of the filmic franchise by focusing on every film and each actor to play the Ape-Man and his mate Jane, as well as finding room to spotlight the most memorable villains, glamorous femme fatales, supporting characters and even that purely filmic innovation Cheetah.
Affording equal importance to the large and small screen iterations – live-action or animated – the history lesson begins after an Foreword from past-Tarzan Casper Van Dien and traces the iconic, world-famous Jungle Lord from Elmo Lincoln in 1918â€™s Tarzan of the Apes (one of the first six films ever to gross more than a million dollars) through to todayâ€™s The Legend of Tarzan, with Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd delivering the â€œvictory cry of the Great Bull-Apeâ€â€¦
Thereâ€™s even a tantalising section on the â€œOriginal Kidsâ€ CGI series Tarzan and Jane forthcoming from Netflixâ€¦
This magnificently monolithic epic (224 pages and 262 x 23 x 333 mm) hardback volume is liberally illustrated with photographic stills and promo art, and also includes examples of Bob Klineâ€™s production art and storyboards, model sheets and stills from the glorious Filmation Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle Saturday morning cartoon show from 1976-1984.
For the technically-minded and those of a completist bent thereâ€™s also a full list of The Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, including Tarzan Feature Films, Movie Serials, TV Movies and Series and thematically-linked Additional Films plus Acknowledgements and a copious catalogue of suggested Further Readingâ€¦
It seems that whatever your vintage, thereâ€™s a nostalgia-drenched Tarzan waiting (mine is Ron Ely who starred as both TV and movie Man-Ape from 1966-1970) to spark old memories and foster fresh thrills and this is just the book to get those primal juices flowing.
Tarzan on Film is both intriguing and pretty: enticing and genuinely informative enough to keep any fan happy. If itâ€™s not too soon for the â€œCâ€ word it might well be this years first suggestion for giant-sized end-of year stocking-stufferâ€¦
Tarzan Â® & Â© 2016 Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All images Â© 2016 Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., Warner Bros, or Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved.