A Blagger's Guide To: Tarzan and the Apes

Lord of the jungle earns his telegram from the Queen

Tarzan of the apes is 100 years old this year, and will be celebrating with the publication of a new book: Tarzan the Jungle Warrior, by the author, comics writer, screenwriter and Stan Lee collaborator Andy Briggs. "When a baby gorilla is snatched from its family by the world's most infamous hunter, Tarzan will stop at nothing to track him down – crossing the wild jungle and hostile African savannah to bring him to justice. Meanwhile, Jane is trying to learn more about Tarzan's past, and must decide whether reuniting him with his lost Greystoke family is the right thing to do …"

Tarzan first came to life in 1912, in an All-Story Magazine series which earned its author, Edgar Rice Burroughs $700. After being rejected by several publishers, the book was eventually bought by AC McClurg & Co and became a best-seller in 1914. Burroughs eventually wrote 27 Tarzan novels, spanning 40 years. In addition, there have been three authorised books by other authors (including Briggs's The Jungle Warrior and The Greystoke Legacy), 89 feature films, hundreds of radio and TV programmes, 400 original comic books, and all manner of merchandise.

Burroughs originally named his hero Zantar, and then Tublat-Zan. Tarzan (the third try) is the son of aristocrats – real name John Clayton, Lord Greystoke – and a member of the House of Lords. And – not that you'd know it from the films – he is a sophisticated world traveller and a master of languages including English, French, German and Swahili.

In a recent Radio 4 documentary about Tarzan's centenary, Geoffrey Richards, the professor of cultural history at Lancaster University, said: "Some scholars have seen Tarzan as an embodiment of the ideas of Rousseau and Nietzsche ... I find that unlikely." Professor Richards sees him more in Darwinian terms, he went on.

The early Tarzan books were really quite racist. In the ape language of the books, Tarzan literally means "white skin".

The first Tarzan film was released in 1918, and starred Elmo Lincoln as the jungle hero. It was one of the first films ever to make more than $1m at the box office. With his share of the profits, Burroughs bought 150 acres of LA real estate, from which he commuted to work each morning on horseback. During filming, Lincoln accidentally stabbed a lion to death.

In the books and the 1932 radio serial, Tarzan's cry sounds like "Taarmaanganiiiii!" Reports vary about the unique yodel of the Johnny Weissmuller films. Some say that the cry comprised Weissmuller's own voice, overlaid by MGM sound engineers with the howl of a hyena, the growl of a dog, the bleat of a camel and the pluck of a violin's G-string. Weissmuller, on the other hand, claimed that it was all him.

As well as Tarzan the Musical currently touring Europe (with an award-winning original score by Phil Collins), there are currently two Tarzan films in development. Constantin films is working on a 3D animation starring Twilight's Kellan Lutz, and Warner Bros is working on a version, possibly with a Harry Potter director in charge.

Tarzan the Jungle Warrior, by Andy Briggs (Faber & Faber, £6.99) is published on Thursday.

Arts and Entertainment
The Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse in London in 1971: from the left, Keys, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger

Music ...featuring Eric Clapton no less
Arts and Entertainment
In the dock: Dot Branning (June Brown); Union boss claims EastEnders writers are paid less than minimum wage

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Roger Christian wrote and directed the 1980 Black Angel original, which was lost until 2011

film
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Green (Hand out press photograph provided by Camilla Gould)

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones reviewWarning: Spoilers aplenty
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific