10 Facts About Tarzan That Will Surprise You

Tarzan of a Apes is one of a best famous characters in all of fiction. The duke of a jungle was a theme of 24 novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, as good as certified sequels by Fritz Leiber, Joe Lansdale, Philip Jose Farmer, Robin Maxwell, and Will Murray. He’s also been a categorical impression of a radio program, journal comic strips, vast comic books, mixed TV shows, and vast movies.

Despite all this, there are many things people don’t know about this near-mythic character. The bizarre novels are full of engaging and weird sum that have occasionally done it to other media. So with a new The Legend of Tarzan releasing in Jul 2016, we suspicion it would be a good time to demeanour behind during Tarzan as he seemed in a bizarre novels.

10 The Origin Of Tarzan’s Name

edgar rice burroughs

In a universe of Edgar Rice Burroughs (pictured above), a good apes have their possess singular language. And according to this gorilla dialect, “tar” means “white,” and “zan” means “skin.” Put these dual together, and voila, we get “Tarzan.” In a novels, Tarzan’s adoptive ape-mother, Kala, gives him this name when she sees his pale, clean-shaven skin.

But Burroughs didn’t come adult with that name out of nowhere. In 1910, while he was vital in Chicago, Burroughs fell in adore with a southern California village of Tarzana. He even purchased some land there. Several years later, when he indispensable a name for a tellurian child carried by apes, he suspicion of Tarzana. He forsaken that final vowel from a end, and a fable was born.

Interestingly, a village wasn’t strictly named Tarzana—or anything else, for that matter—until it incorporated and got a post bureau in 1930. This has led to a civic parable that a city was named for a ape-man, yet a law is indeed a other approach around.

9 Tarzan Was Not Raised By Gorillas


Everybody knows Tarzan was carried by gorillas. It’s partial of a determined Tarzan lore . . . right? Well, this is a common misconception. In fact, it’s so common that a array of cinema have gotten it wrong.

Tarzan was indeed carried by a class of ape different to science. These creatures resemble gorillas in distance and strength, yet they differ in other ways. These good apes mostly transport upright, hunt animals, eat meat, and have a oral language. They call themselves a “mangani,” and Burroughs describes them as “huge,” “fierce,” and “terrible.” He adds that they’re “a class closely associated to a gorilla, nonetheless some-more intelligent.” Thanks to their smarts and strength, a mangani are “the many fearsome of these grand progenitors of man.”

As for gorillas, a mangani impute to them as a “bolgani.” And trust it or not, Tarzan indeed does dispute with these vast primates. In Tarzan of a Apes, Burroughs describes a immature Tarzan’s initial confront with a vast gorilla:

He had taken wanting a dozen stairs toward a jungle when a good form rose adult before him from a shadows of a low brush. At initial he suspicion it was one of his possess people yet in another present he satisfied it was Bolgani, a outrageous gorilla.

So tighten was he that there was no possibility for moody and tiny Tarzan knew that he contingency mount and quarrel for his life; for these good beasts were a lethal enemies of his tribe, and conjunction one nor a other ever asked or gave quarter.”

8 The Lost Civilizations

jungle ruins

There were other writers who wrote anticipation stories about Africa before Edgar Rice Burroughs, and they positively shabby him. The many critical of these writers was H. Rider Haggard, an author who specialized in transparent descriptions of mislaid cities in novels like She and King Solomon’s Mines.

Burroughs started essay 4 decades after Haggard, yet there were still outrageous sections of Africa that hadn’t been mapped or explored. It was easy to consider that there were undiscovered civilizations on a supposed “dark continent,” and Burroughs let his imagination run wild. He combined over a dozen of these realms for Tarzan’s adventures.

For example, Opar is a final stays of an ancient Atlantean outpost. It’s populated by ape-like organisation and beautiful women. Opar also contains a fanciful happening in bullion ingots and altered stones, all dark within a city. Tarzan raids this value to feed his personal fortune. As for a name, it’s probable that Opar was desirous by a wealthy, biblical city of Ophir.

Then there’s a City of God, one of Burroughs’s many surprising creations. The ruler of this village is a British scientist who’s dubbed himself “God,” and he uses his believe of genetics to place his mind into a physique of a gorilla. He also has flushed a clan of gorillas with tellurian comprehension and a personalities of Henry VIII and a members of his stately court. It’s utterly probable that this almighty ape was a impulse for a DC Comics supervillain Gorilla Grodd.

Of course, we’re customarily scratching a aspect here. In Tarzan and a Ant-Men, a favourite finds dual opposition cities populated with 46-centimeter-tall (18 in) humans. In Tarzan, Lord of a Jungle, there’s a vale inhabited by crusaders, stranded there given a 12th century. And in Tarzan Triumphant, we find a city of epileptic eremite fanatics who perspective their seizures as a present from God.

Then there’s Pal-ul-don, a city inhabited by dinosaurs, and let’s not forget Xuja, a city of mislaid madmen who lift lions for food and ceremony parrots and monkeys. There’s also Kaji and Zuli, cities ruled by a sorceress who uses an mystic gem to control both populations. And afterwards there’s a Portuguese-style palace run by a descendants of conquistadores and internal Africans. It’s a customarily mislaid city in all of Tarzan’s Africa that is not run by white-skinned people.

7 Tarzan Is A British Lord


While he spends many of his time overhanging by a jungle, Tarzan is unequivocally a British lord. If you’ve seen a 1984 film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of a Apes, afterwards we competence already know about his elegant background. But Tarzan’s legacy is indeed determined in a initial novel.

In a book, Tarzan’s parents, John and Alice Clayton, are also Lord and Lady Greystoke. They die in a initial novel, and it’s not until a finish of The Return of Tarzan that a ape-man claims his correct inheritance.

“Lord” isn’t accurately a title, though. In England, it’s a form of residence used when vocalization to a duke, marquess, earl, viscount, or baron. So what was Tarzan’s correct title? Burroughs reveals this when one of a Knights of Nimmr meets a ape-man in section 19 of Tarzan, Lord of a Jungle:

‘I am called Tarzan,’ pronounced a ape-man.

‘And thy rank?’ inquired Sir Bertram.

Tarzan was confounded by a bizarre manners and clothe of his clearly accessible inquisitor, yet he sensed that whatever a male competence be he took himself utterly severely and would be some-more tender if he knew Tarzan was a male of position, and so he answered him truthfully, in his still way.

‘A viscount,’ he said.”

This would meant that Tarzan, who was named after his father, is indeed John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke. Then again, in Tarzan Alive, a unapproved “biography” of a duke of a jungle, Philip Jose Farmer points out that a pretension of viscount was not used in England until a 15th century. In other words, a Knights of Nimmr wouldn’t have famous it. Farmer afterwards suggests that Tarzan also reason a comparison pretension of Earl of Greystoke. While that’s not official, a film Greystoke indeed supports this theory.

6 Tarzan Does Not Live In A Tree House

tree house

Beginning with a Johnny Weissmuller cinema of a 1930s, Tarzan and Jane were mostly shown vital in a obsolete yet elaborate tree house, low in a jungle. Surprisingly, this was not a box in a novels. Tarzan’s English-style residence is initial described in The Eternal Lover, a Burroughs novel where Tarzan has a teenager role:

South of Uziri, a nation of a Waziri, lies a sequence of imperishable plateau during a feet of that stretches a extended plain where antelope, zebra, giraffe, rhinos and elephant abound, and here are lion and leopard and hyena preying, any after his possess fashion, on a sleek, fat herds of antelope, zebra, and giraffe. Here, too, are buffalo—irritable, monster beasts, some-more challenging than a lion himself Clayton says.

It is indeed a hunter’s paradise, and wanting a day upheld that did not find a celebration absent from a low, wayward bungalow of a Greystokes in hunt of diversion and adventure . . . ”

We get a somewhat some-more minute design of a residence in The Son of Tarzan when a favourite offers to let a lady named Meriem stay there. According to Burroughs, Tarzan lives in a “flower-covered bungalow behind that lay a barns and outhouses of a well-ordered African farm.”

When he’s not off fighting furious animals or finding mislaid cities, Tarzan is surprisingly domestic.

5 Edgar Rice Burroughs Killed Jane

legend of tarzan

The initial singer to play Jane Porter was Enid Markey in Tarzan of a Apes. Unfortunately, Ms. Markey was a brunette, that went opposite Burroughs’s picture of Jane. In a novels, Jane is indeed a blonde. (She isn’t British, either. She’s indeed from Maryland.) It didn’t assistance that Burroughs hated Markey’s performance. In fact, he presumably hated it so many that he killed off Jane in his subsequent story.

In a initial section of Tarzan a Untamed, Tarzan is divided from home when World War we breaks out. When he returns, he finds that German soldiers have looted and burnt his home, murdering many of his servants and friends in a process. And shockingly, they’ve murdered Jane.

As Burroughs puts it:

For a prolonged time [Tarzan] stood there customarily looking down on a passed body, charred over recognition, and afterwards he stooped and carried it in his arms. As he incited a physique over and saw how horribly genocide had been meted he plumbed, in that instant, a uttermost inlet of grief and fear and hatred.

Nor did he need a justification of a damaged German purloin in a outdoor room, or a ripped and blood-stained use top on a floor, to tell him who had been a perpetrators of this horrible and invalid crime.

For a impulse he had hoped opposite wish that a blackened remains was not that of his mate, yet when his eyes detected and famous a rings on her fingers a final gloomy ray of wish forsook him.”

It’s a comfortless scene, and it launches Tarzan on a heartless query for vengeance. The ape-man hunts down and kills each German infantryman he can find, either they were concerned or not. It’s a depart for Tarzan, whose actions are customarily unequivocally noble.

Of course, Jane wasn’t unequivocally dead. She wasn’t even mostly dead. Since a story was published as a serial, Burroughs altered Jane’s predestine before a final chapter, nonetheless no one is certain why. At a finish of a story, Tarzan discovers that Jane was abducted, not killed. The physique he detected was that of a maid, burnt over approval so a ape-man would consider it was his wife. The reason for this elaborate hoax is never revealed, and it leaves a flattering vast hole in a plot, yet fans didn’t care.

Jane was back.

4 Tarzan Auditioned For A Tarzan Movie


Edgar Rice Burroughs had a love/hate attribute with Hollywood. He desired a bearing and additional income, yet he hated a approach cinema altered his character. He quite disliked Elmo Lincoln, a initial film Tarzan, who was fearful of heights. Lincoln was also a brawny male with a 132-centimeter (52 in) chest in contrariety to a lean, jaunty Tarzan of a books.

Nor was Burroughs happy with Johnny Weissmuller (pictured above), a many famous film Tarzan. He wanted Tarzan to be articulate, yet Weissmuller’s chronicle could hardly pronounce English.

The author took out his disappointment in Tarzan and a Lion Man. In this novel, a favourite rescues a film organisation filming in a African jungle. Along a way, Burroughs mocks a actors, directors, and moviemaking in general. But a manoeuvre de beauty comes in a final chapter. After his adventure, Tarzan visits Hollywood, and he’s taken to accommodate a casting director:

The casting executive sized Clayton up. ‘You demeanour all right to me; I’ll take we adult to Mr. Goldeen; he’s prolongation manager. Had any experience?’

‘As Tarzan?’

The casting executive laughed. ‘I meant in pictures.’


‘Well, we competence be all right during that. You don’t have to be a Barrymore to play Tarzan. Come on, we’ll go adult to Mr. Goldeen’s office.’

They had to wait a few mins in a outdoor office, and afterwards a secretary ushered them in.

‘Hello, Ben!’ a casting executive greeted Goldeen. ‘I consider I’ve got customarily a male for you. This is Mr. Clayton, Mr. Goldeen.’

‘For what?’

‘For Tarzan.’

‘Oh, m-m-m.’

Goldeen’s eyes surveyed Clayton critically for an instant; afterwards a prolongation manager done a gesticulate with his palm as yet fluttering them away. He shook his head. ‘Not a type,’ he snapped. ‘Not a type, during all.’”

3 Tarzan Knows Martial Arts

tarzan contra leopard 2

A male who is clever and flexible adequate to combat good apes substantially doesn’t need some-more of an edge, yet he has one anyway. According to Joe Lansdale’s certified novel, Tarzan, a Lost Adventure, a ape-man once visited a Shaolin Temple to investigate kung fu. For this list, though, we’re going to extent ourselves to a Burroughs novels.

So did Edgar Rice give Tarzan martial humanities skills? Well, in The Beasts of Tarzan, Burroughs talks about this in a ubiquitous way:

With a low snarl a savage now hurled himself during Tarzan, yet a ape-man had found, among other things in a haunts of courteous man, certain methods of systematic crusade that are different to a jungle folk.

Whereas, a few years since, he would have met a beast rush with beast force, he now sidestepped his antagonist’s uncontrolled charge, and as a beast hurtled past him swung a strong right to a array of a ape’s stomach.”

It looks like Tarzan has schooled to box, and it’s protected to assume that he complicated wrestling, too. It’s even probable that he’s complicated savate, a French form of kickboxing, given a European who introduced him to civilization was a Frenchman named Paul d’Arnot. But a one martial art we know for certain he complicated is jujitsu. In Tarzan a Untamed, Burroughs writes:

The ape-man, as a lady watched him, seemed wholly confused for a assign and she looked to see him borne down and slain during a initial rush. The good longhorn [ape] was roughly on him with outrageous hands outstretched to seize him before Tarzan done a move, yet when he did pierce his speed would have put Ara, a lightning, to shame. As darts brazen a conduct of Histah, a snake, so darted brazen a left palm of a man-beast as he seized a left wrist of his antagonist. A discerning spin and a bull’s right arm was hermetic underneath a right arm of his enemy in a jujutsu reason that Tarzan had schooled among courteous men—a reason with that he competence simply mangle a good bones, a reason that left a ape helpless.

2 Tarzan And Jane Are Immortal

tarzan family

In Tarzan’s Quest, a ape-man comes into dispute with a Kavuru, a antagonistic clan that’s terrorizing a jungle and hidden women. They even kidnap Jane. It also turns out that a Kavuru are immortal, carrying grown a tablet that grants them almighty youth. In section 28, a Kavuru high clergyman explains to Jane:

‘You can offer a customarily purpose for that women are fit. Man might customarily achieve sanctity alone. Woman weakens and destroys him. Look during me! Look during my priests! You consider we are all immature men. We are not. A hundred rains have come and left given a latest neophyte assimilated a holy order. And how have we achieved this deathlessness? Through women. We are all celibates. Our vows of virginity were hermetic in a blood of women; in a possess blood will we be punished if we mangle them. It would be genocide for a Kavuru clergyman to stoop to a wiles of a woman.’

Jane shook her head. ‘I still do not understand,’ she said.

‘But we will. Long ago we schooled a tip of eternal youth. It lies in an elixir brewed of many things—the pollen of certain plants, a roots of others, a spinal liquid of leopards, and, principally, a glands and blood of women—young women. Now do we understand?’”

After Tarzan rescues Jane, they lapse home with a box of a immortality pills and order them among their allies. They even let Tarzan’s gorilla companion, Nkima, have some of their imperishable medicine. With that in mind, it’s peculiar that Tarzan and Jane didn’t consider to get a few pills for their son, Korak, and his wife, Meriem. But they weren’t in this sold book, so a heck with them.

1 Tarzan Flew To The Center Of The Earth


In further to a Tarzan books, Burroughs wrote several other series, including a Pellucidar novels. In these stories, adventurers David Innis and Abner Perry build an initial drilling appurtenance and learn a Earth is hollow. In fact, it’s even illuminated by an interior sun. This universe is inhabited by dinosaurs, obsolete humans, and a vast accumulation of intelligent, non-human races.

In Tarzan during a Earth’s Core, a ape-man and a tiny organisation of companions go in hunt of Innis and Perry. Tarzan uses his resources to financial a construction of a special dirigible called a O-220. Using this outrageous drifting machine, they transport by a enormous hole during a North Pole, and by flitting by a tunnel, they finish adult in a core of a world.

The thought of a Hollow Earth is an tangible pseudoscientific thought that’s been around given a 18th century. It’s not transparent if Burroughs took this thought seriously, yet he positively found it useful in his fiction. In fact, this judgment wasn’t customarily singular to a Earth. In his novels The Moon Maid and The Moon Men, a Moon is also vale and contains several ancient civilizations.

Matthew Baugh is a author of some-more than 40 published brief stories and 3 novels: The Vampire Count of Monte Cristo, A Girl and Her C.A.T. (with Win Scott Eckert), and The Avenger: The Sun King. He is a longtime comic book and cocktail enlightenment nerd as good as an consecrated pastor.


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