Tarzan, Robin Hood and The Little Rascals

Last night I watched Tarzan and His Mate, part of the Johnny Weismuller Tarzan collection my parents got me for Christmas. Wow. Such memories. When I was a kid I’d often catch these flicks on Saturday afternoon TV. It would always send me to the back yard, where I’d climb our mimosa tree and think about stampeding elephants and hungry lions. Me and some friends would hang ropes from the branches and try to swing around the tree like Tarzan. Results were mixed, and sometimes painful.

As a kid, I  never noticed how damn sexy Maureen O’Sullivan was. And this DVD version shows her nekkid! I didn’t realize Tarzan’s “vines” were moderately disguised trapeze or that the gorillas were guys in monkey suits. Or that the charging rhinos were on a screen in front of the actors. It was all real enough for me.

The TV series of Tarzan was also big then, but I only remember bits and pieces of episodes … no complete stories. A friend did have the loin cloth swimsuit with plastic knife that was often advertised during the show. I was quite jealous.

When Tarzan wasn’t the flavor of the summer day it was often Erroll Flynn’s Robin Hood. I had a longbow my dad had given me and some cheap target arrows. We’d draw targets on cardboard boxes and shoot them in the back yard. I once beat the crap out of one of my best friends for deliberately breaking one of those arrows during an arguement and refusing to pay for it. Eh, not all memories are good.

Something else I’d often watch as a kid was The Little Rascals. Yeah, it was 40 years old, but like Tarzan and Robin Hood, I loved it. Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Buckwheat and that crazy looking dog. And the bullies. I didn’t understand all the Depression Era stuff. I just saw a group of kids having fun with little parental supervision and that seemed like the way to live. I haven’t seen an episode of The Little Rascals in ages.

Okay, the journey down memory lane ends here. I just needed a minute to ramble about how the Tarzan movies take me back to being about 10 years old, when the definition of a life crisis was finding unwanted peas on my dinner plate.

0 responses to “Tarzan, Robin Hood and The Little Rascals”

  1. Awwww!
    I got that set for Christmas, too. My mother and I used to love those movies SOOO MUCH. On one of the last good days I spent with her before she died we watched one of them, and had a good laugh about all the silliness, in spite of which, they were still really wonderful movies.
    I haven’t been able to re-watch them, yet. I get all maudlin looking at them. But they’ll be there when I’m ready, and it was a really thoughtful gift on my husband’s part.

  2. I LOVED the Little Rascals!! I wish I could get some on DVD – especially the one where Spanky is babysitting all the kids and the one keeps repeating “remaaarkabllle” and the other one spanky glues to the ground… you remember that one? Loved that show…

    • I vaguely remember those. It’s been so long. I know they were always putting on shows they’d charge other kids to see. And going fishing in a park.
      I used to see DVDs with a few episodes on them, but never picked them up. I’ll have to look for them now … which means they’ll be impossible to find. (And Kim will roll her eyes and say, “Just what we need. More DVDs.)

  3. That Tarzan set is amazing. TARZAN AND HIS MATE and TARZAN FINDS A SON! still hold up. TARZAN THE APE MAN, which I saw for the first time, just may be the most racist film I’ve ever seen.
    Have you watched the Flynn ROBIN HOOD recently? What a joke! The moment Will Scarlet came on screen, I wanted to puke.

    • No, I haven’t watched Flynn’s Robin Hood in a while. Well, other than the part where he throws the deer carcass on John’s table. It was on TNT or something a few months back.
      I thought both the first two Tarzan movies were pretty racist. (That’s as far as I’ve got in the collection and can’t remember race elements from the later ones.) In both, the black men are referred to as “boy” and “boys” constantly and they’re whipped for their superstitions and exhaustion. Plus just being cannon fodder, though I guess that’s pretty standard for anybody in the “pack mule” role, even today.
      One of the most racist films I’ve ever seen was King of the Zombies. They might as well have fired the black actor and hired a white guy in blackface for the comedy relief. In Tarzan, you can dismiss it as ignorance and/or the white characters’ prejudice, but that zombie movie was racist to the point of distraction.

      • No question that all of the films are racist (watch every one of them, and you’ll see the same poor tribesman falling off that cliff every time a safari goes up it!), but I was astonished by what I saw in the first one, and understand now why it was aired so infrequently by the TV stations I grew up with.

  4. Loin cloth swimsuit
    the loin cloth swimsuit with plastic knife that was often advertised during the show. I was quite jealous.
    Now you own dozens of them and wear them everywhere…explains the plastic knife too.

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