"The Jungle -- here I was born, and here my parents died when I was but an
infant. I would have soon perished too,
had I not been found by a kindly she-ape named Kala who adopted me as her own
and taught me the ways of the wild.
I learned quickly and grew stronger each day. And now I share the frendship and
trust of all jungle animals. The
Jungle is filled with beauty and danger, and lost cities filled with good and
evil. This is my domain, and I
protect those who come here for I am Tazan, Lord of the Jungle."
In the fall of 1976 Tarzan became a Saturday morning cartoon show. This would be the first animated appearance
of Tarzan on television. Based largely on the work of comics artist Burne Hogarth, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle
featured impressive animation which was far above the average norm. Tarzan's body movements were heavily rotoscoped,
and the jungle tapestry had realism and depth, a rarity in in television animation up to this point. The animation
had a very "full" look to it. The backround music had an exotic, moody flavor, and the production overall had a lush,
decadent look and feel.
Filmation's Tarzan remains one of the most faithful adaptations of Burroughs' Tarzan to date. Filmation's Tarzan, Lord of
the Jungle left behind the childish monosylabic idiot character of the movie series for a more well-spoken jungle
do-gooder. The hero still swung around on vines and communed with beasts, but his manner better reflected his
noble English birth than his years being raised in the African jungle by an ape named Kala.
Robert Ridgely, a Filmation veteran, provided an excellent voice of Tarzan. He would be the voice of main
characters for arguably three of the best animated adventure series of the era, the other two being (The New
Adventures of) Flash Gordon and Ruby Spears' Thundarr the Barbarian.
One of the best things about Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle was the inclusion of the Mangani language of
the books. Tarzan spoke of Tantor the Elephant, Numa the Lion, Usha the wind, and admonished
jungle animals to "unk!" (leave) when dismissing them. The characters and some of the plots were adapted
straight from the books too. No Cheeta the Chimp, Tarzan had his monkey companion N'kima and even Jad-bal-ja the
Golden Lion made his appearance.
After Tarzan's first solo season, he was teamed with Batman for the Tarzan/Batman Hour in 1977. 1978 saw Tarzan
teamed with a whole slew of superheroes in Tarzan & the Super 7. By 1980 The Super 7 and Batman had left
and now Tarzan reruns were paired with new cartoon episodes of the Lone Ranger for the Tarzan/Lone Ranger
Adventure Hour. For the 1981-82 Season Zorro joined to form the Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour,
Tarzan episodes were still reruns, however. After a few years off the air Tarzan returned as a solo series for a
seven month period in 1984, although still in reruns. Tarzan would not appear in animation again until 1999
with Walt Disney's Tarzan and later as an animated television show in September 2001 with Disney's
Legend of Tarzan.