Saturday, February 04, 2017
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle: "Tarzan and the Ice Creature" (December 4, 1976)
In “Tarzan and the Ice Creature,” an ice volcano erupts in the jungle, releasing a giant abominable snowman, or yeti, the legendary “Graykor.”
Tarzan knows that the beast is an innocent, like a cub, but two white hunters want to capture the snowman, and take him back to civilization so as to make their fortune.
Tarzan must defend the giant beast from the avarice of the modern world.
Tarzan comes to the aid of a cuddly (if gigantic) abominable snowman in “Tarzan and the Ice Creature,” and once again foils the plotting of nefarious white hunters, in this case Norcross and Phelps.
How exactly, however, Tarzan knows that the creature, Graykor, will prove harmless, is not discussed in the episode. Instead, he just knows, and sets out to preserve another being. “We must figure out a plan to make sure you are never exploited,” he states to the (derpy-looking) snowman.
Speaking of exploitation, there’s a scene here of the giant ape-like ice creature battling a bi-plane and it is virtually impossible not to think of King Kong.
So between last week’s episode -- which featured the title of one 1970s fantasy movie, At the Earth’s Core (1976) -- and this week’s episode -- which boasts resonances of another blockbuster of that year, King Kong (1976) --- this little Filmation show was tapping into the pop culture zeitgeist in a big way.
Still, one has to wonder why ice volcanoes (which are theoretically possible phenomena, called "cryovolcanoes") are sprouting up in Tarzan's tropical jungle? Is this a common happenstance? Do all ice volcanoes house hibernating innocent, giant, abominable snowmen?
Despite such questions, this one isn’t a bad episode, and it’s entertaining to think about how many Saturday morning shows of the 1970s, from Land of the Lost (1974-1977) to Return to the Planet of the Apes (1975) featured abominable snowmen.
Here, the yeti turns out to be friendly; the opposite of a traditional monster. Instead, real evil is again represented by outside forces, by the pillaging white hunters.
Next week: “Tarzan’s Trial.”