Director Harold Schuster
Assistant Director Harry Templeton
Producer Sol Lesser
Screenplay William Lively

Tarzan Gordon Scott
Jill Hardy Vera Miles
Dr Celliers Peter Van Eyck
Sukulu chief Rex Ingram
Burger Jack Elam
DeGroot Charles Fredericks
Witch Doctor Jester Hairston
Reeves Richard Reeves

• Sol Lesser's reluctance to sign Lex Barker for any more than one picture at a time, prompted by declining interest in the series, led him on a search for a new Tarzan.  A Hollywood agent on holidays in Las Vegas spotted six-foot-three, 218 pound (99 kg) Gordon Wershkull beside a pool where he was performing lifeguard duties.  He notified Lesser immediately and a six-hour screen test was organised.  Wershkull's inherent physicality made him a natural - he had been a cowpoke and an infantry drill instructor.  His displays of running, tree-climbing and vine-swinging easily outclassed the other 200 applicants for the job.  His name was changed to Gordon Scott and he was signed for the role.  Fortunately he was also a decent actor.  The first of Scott's six Tarzan films was an inauspicious beginning.  It is slowly-paced, has little action and one of it's best scenes has Tarzan confronting the attractive nurse, Jill Hardy (Vera Miles), while she is bathing.  Scott would grow into the role and many fans identify him as their favourite Tarzan.  Gordon Scott and Vera Miles became romantically involved during the production and were soon married. (Essoe & Fury)

• Click on the image at right to hear the ape cry used in this film

PLOT - Note: Spoiler warning
• Tarzan befriends Dr Celliers, a UN doctor, and his attractive nurse, Jill Hardy, when he visits their jungle hospital for medicine for a young elephant wounded by a group of vicious white hunters who have invaded the district.  Celliers agrees to let two UN photographers accompany him into Sukululand, not realising that they Burger and DeGroot, hunters keen for access to this prohibited game-rich area.  Tarzan realises their true purpose and warns them to stay away from his jungle friends (left).  Jill and Tarzan band together to find and warn Dr Celliers but when they reach the Sukulu village they are both taken prisoner by the villagers who blame them, as well as Dr Celliers, for bringing the evil white men who have driven off the animals.  Tarzan escapes into the jungle and calls the animals back across the river to Sukululand and Burger and DeGroot are crushed in the stampede.  When Tarzan returns to the village he arrives just as Jill and Celliers are thrown into a lion pit.  He leaps in and drives off the lions.  The Sukulus free Jill and the doctor and are grateful to Tarzan for bringing back their animals.  Tarzan bids farewell and disappears into the jungle.

Click on the image below to see Gordon Scott's appearance on Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life, plus the trailer for this film:

Click on the image below to see a complete set of lobby cards for this film:

Tarzan of the Movies by Gabe Essoe, 1968, The Citadel Press
Kings of the Jungle by David Fury, 1994, McFarland Classics
• The poster for this film was pilfered from an eBay auction item
• Both photos are screenshots taken from my DVD of this film
• The video clip of You Bet Your Life, and the trailer for this film, were uploaded to Youtube by me specifically to embed in this page
• Read a review and rating of this film at At-A-Glance Film Reviews
• Read a Gordon Scott filmography at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
• This film has never been released commercially but collectors sometimes offer it on DVD on eBay

TARZAN® is the property of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Tarzana CA.
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Tarzan material is copyright © 2002-2008 Paul Wickham
This page was updated June 2009