Tarzan of the airwaves
in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
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Everyone has heard of Tarzan, the white man raised by apes in the African jungle who became a legendary warrior and fought for good against evil. However the Tarzan of the MGM films differed in many respects from the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes and developed in twenty-five subsequent books. MGM's Tarzan was a monosyllabic noble savage of indeterminate origin, living in a tree house with a pet chimpanzee and eventually mating with Jane Parker, the daughter of an English trader. So popular was the character of Tarzan with young readers that an organization was set up to cater for them in 1916. The Tribes of Tarzan (later the Tarzan Clans) was rather similar to the Boy Scouts, whose junior branch, the Wolf Cubs, was directly modelled on The Jungle Book.


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