Director Robert F Hill
Producer Sol Lesser
Story Edgar Rice Burroughs
Adaptation Basil Dickey &
George H Plympton

Tarzan Buster Crabbe
Mary Brooks Jaqueline Wells
Bob Hall Eddie Woods
Jeff Philo McCullough
Mary's father E Allyn Warren
Eltar, High Priest of Zar Mischa Auer
Nick Moran Matthew Betz
Abdul, aide to the High Priest Frank Lackteen
Priestess of Zar Carlotta Monti
Cheta Jiggs

• A few weeks into production of Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) MGM found itself in a crisis.  Independent producer Sol Lesser had purchased a five picture Tarzan contract from another independent producer in 1928 and had announced he was about to start production.  After numerous legal wranglings the courts decided in Lesser's favour and ERB found himself embarrassed and MGM, who were under the impression they had sole rights to a Tarzan picture, were annoyed.  MGM lawyers persuaded Lesser, for a nominal fee, to delay commencement of his film until the Weissmuller film was completed.  When Lesser eventually read it closely he discovered that the contract, which had been a wedding present to his son-in-law, stipulated that James Pierce must play the role of the ape-man.  Pierce, who had been lean and athletic in 1927 when he made Tarzan and the Golden Lion, was now heavily overweight and was working on the Tarzan radio show where appearance was less important.  Lesser wanted a sensual athletic actor for the part and paid Pierce off with $5,000.  Buster Crabbe, 1932 400-metre freestyle Olympic gold medalist had made a Tarzan-inspired jungle film earlier in the year, King of the Jungle.  Lesser approached Crabbe to star in a 12-chapter Tarzan serial and a deal was struck.  It was Crabbe's only outing as Tarzan but he went on to a successful film career, probably because his dramatic talents exceeded Weissmuller's.  The only surviving print of this film is a 61-minute feature edited from the serial, which has not survived. (Essoe & Fury)

• To hear the ape cry used in this film click on the image at right

PLOT - Note: Spoiler warning
• Mary Brooks organises a safari to search for her father who has gone missing while searching for treasure in the lost city of Zar.  She is assisted by her boyfriend, Bob, and two unscrupulous safari bosses, Moran and Herbert.  Mary meets a friend of her father's, Tarzan, an inarticulate wild man, who gives her a note from her father explaining his destination. Mary is kidnapped by Abdul, an Arab, and his band, but she is soon rescued by Tarzan.  Moran and Herbert also hope to collect a 10,000 pound reward posted by the executors of the Greystoke estate for confirming the existence or death of Tarzan.  They attempt to reach the treasure of Zar but Moran is killed by a lion.  When Herbert reaches Zar he steals a sacred emerald from the main idol, incurring the wrath of Eltar, the high priest, who swears vengeance upon the foreigners. Tarzan's animal friends rescue him from a lion pit he has fallen into and and he races to Zar where Mary, her father, and her friends are held prisoner.  Tarzan frees the prisoners and fights Herbert to the death.  Mary decides to stay on in the jungle with her father and Tarzan.

Chapter 1 - The Dive of Death Chapter 2 - The Storm God Strikes Chapter 3 - Thundering Death
Chapter 4 - The Pit of Peril Chapter 5 - Blood Money Chapter 6 - Voodoo Vengeance
Chapter 7 - Caught by Cannibals Chapter 8 - The Creeping Terror Chapter 9 - Eyes of Evil
Chapter 10 - The Death Plunge Chapter 11 - Harvest of Hate Chapter 12 - Jungle Justice

Click on the images below to view two scenes from this film:

Tarzan of the Movies by Gabe Essoe, 1968, The Citadel Press
Kings of the Jungle by David Fury, 1994, McFarland Classics
• The embedded Youtube video of the opening scenes of this film was provided by Youtuber ethetoy.  Many thanks!
• The embedded Youtube video of Cheeta's jungle dance was provided by Youtuber HoughsVideos.  Many thanks!
• Rohinton Ghandi's email inspired me to include the credit for Jiggs the chimpanzee, who played Cheta. Many thanks, Ro!
• The photo of Eddie Woods, Buster Crabbe and Jaqueline Wells was pilfered from an eBay auction item
The bottom photo is from Kings of the Jungle by David Fury, 1994, McFarland Classics
• Read a review and rating of this film at At-A-Glance Film Reviews
• Read a Buster Crabbe filmography at the Internet Movie Database(IMDb)
• Bag yourself a copy of this film on DVD at Amazon.com or eBay

TARZAN® is the property of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Tarzana CA.
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Tarzan material is copyright © 2002-2012 Paul Wickham
This page was updated February 2012