THE HISTORY OF TARZAN
4. Film and Publishing Phenomenon
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Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins
Tarzan Lord of the Jungle
Tarzan and the Lost Empire
Tarzan at the Earth's Core
Burroughs accepted the offer of A.C. McClurg & Co., a small but distinguished publisher in Burroughs' home town of Chicago. Tarzan of the Apes finally appeared as a book in June of 1914. Two dollars would have bought you a copy. Today, if you can find that first edition, you might have to pay up to sixty thousand dollars! (We suggest you get a copy of the Del Rey paperback; it's easier to find and a whole lot cheaper.)

Tarzan of the Apes sold well and even got good reviews. Naturally Burroughs was quite pleased (although the critics wouldn't always be so kind). His jungle lord was popular in magazines, newspapers and books. And all of his other stories were popular too. He could afford to by his family a home. But Tarzan was about to enter a new jungle, and his adventures there would change how the world looked at the ape-man.

Tarzan was going Hollywood!

Movie producers started to show interest in Tarzan almost immediately after the first book appeared in 1914, but no one could figure out how to film a Tarzan story. How to film the lush jungle, the apes, the stampeding elephants, the battles with wild beasts, Tarzan's swift travel through the trees, all without injuring your actors or (most important to producers) going broke?

Curiously, the first Edgar Rice Burroughs story to make it to the big screen was not a Tarzan tale: The Lad and the Lion debuted in 1917 and starred "the Girl with the Million-Dollar Smile" Vivian Reed. This story of an orphaned waif adventuring among Arab nomads had some Tarzan-like elements and didn't cost a whole lot to make. But an imitation wasn't enough and so it was only a matter of time before the mighty ape-man conquered the celluloid jungle.

"Tarzan of the Apes" debuted on January 27th, 1918 at New York's Broadway Theater. In bringing the epic to the screen the film's producer promised "the largest and finest specimens of apes to be found ... not two or three lions, but a herd of twenty or thirty ... hyenas, wild boar, leopards, antelope, and all the other numerous fauna of Central Africa will appear." To give viewers the sense that they were in the depths of the African jungle the film makers trekked off to the wilds of ... Morgan City, Louisiana. And even though the film didn't include everything the producer promised, "Tarzan of the Apes" was still a hit, being one of the first films in history to gross over a million dollars. 

Tarzan in profile ~ from the 1st edition jacket for Tarzan of the Apes
A. C. McClurg
LAD AND THE LION story in All-Story Pulp Magazine
Elmo Lincoln ~ First Film Tarzan ~ and vanquished Numa
BIBLIO REFERENCES FOR SIDEBAR COVERS:
Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins ~ Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle ~ Tarzan and the Lost Empire ~ Tarzan at the Earth's Core
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THE HISTORY OF TARZAN
Tarzan 1
Tarzan 2
Tarzan 3
Tarzan 4
Tarzan 5
Tarzan 6
Tarzan 7

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The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

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BILL & SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
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