Saturday, February 25, 2017
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle: Tarzan the Hated"
In “Tarzan, the Hated,” the Mangani accuse Tarzan of destroying their food supplies.
Tarzan claims innocence. When he investigates, he learns that the Bolgani are actually responsible, and are seeking to re-locate their civilization to the geologically unstable region of Opar, which stands above lava pits.
The Bolmangi capture a human female archaeologist, and now Tarzan must rescue her as well as prevent the relocation to the dangerous land.
The final episode of the first season Filmation series, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1976) is another pleasant enough time waster, with Tarzan battling intelligent apes. The episode, like “Tarzan’s Trial” incorporates stock footage into it, and the menace of the Emperor Ape is undercut some by the fact he appears to be wearing a pink gown. It's a strange fashion choice for an ape hoping to intimidate.
Although the last few episodes of the season are not as good as some of the earlier installments, and show signs of being produced in a terrible rush, I still feel that Tarzan is a high-quality show of its era. The formula is repetitive and familiar by this episode, and yet some episodes in the canon offer genuine surprise, adding science fiction concepts to the adventure in stories like “Tarzan’s Rival” or “Tarzan and the Strange Visitors.”
The stories are still entertaining at this point, even if no new ground is being broken. We’ve had a season of lost worlds and high adventure, and for Saturday mornings in the 1970s, it must have felt like a dream come true. At a minimum, Tarzan and his world are treated with respect and dignity here.
For that reason, I would rank this show near other Filmation efforts that I like very much, including Star Trek (1973-1975) and Flash Gordon (1979-1981). I certainly appreciate the attempt on the part of Filmation to tell stories that are faithful to Burroughs’ vision, though there have been some missed opportunities too (see: “Tarzan at the Earth’s Core.”)
Next week, I’m going to leave Filmation behind, and visit the weird and wild world of Sid and Marty Krofft’s Liddsville (1970).