Nov 18, 2012

Tarzan Toys

Tarzan was a stable, reliable source of beefcake throughout my childhood: a dozen old movies on tv, 3 in theaters, a tv series (1966-68), cartoons (1976-82), a comic strip, comic books, a Big-Little book, and eventually the original novels.

But that's not all.  When I was still a toddler and we were living in Racine, Wisconsin, I had a Little Golden Book of the half-naked muscleman gazing fondly at baby animals. Were my parents trying to instill a lifelong appreciation of massive biceps and six-pack abs?






Around 1966, my parents bought me this adaptation of the first Burroughs novel, with a stern, well-coiffed Tarzan wearing gold and ivory bracelets, at a local department store.  I could read most of the words, but I had to ask Mom what the sentence "Tarzan was naked" meant.

It came with an Official Ape-English Dictionary, but I never learned to speak Ape.

 I read the text and looked at the pictures so often that in a few months, the binding broke, and I needed a new one.











I collected Tarzan bubblegum cards (if you put them in order, they told a complete story).  I took a Tarzan lunchbox to school (until he was supplainted by the Wild Wild West).









For coloring, how about a 1966 Whitman coloring book with Ron Ely (from the tv series) on the cover?

I also had a Tarzan Cartoon Kit and a Viewmaster that showed mostly African animals.
















And a Tarzan "Bop Bag."  The blond Adonis didn't look like any movie or tv Tarzan, but he was fun to hit.  You could also pretend he was your buddy and hug him.


The only thing missing was an action figure.  I got one, but it turned out to be a dud.  What idiot decided to give the Lord of the Apes long underwear? Did he need to keep warm as he swung through the rain forests?















And underneath, he had the same problem as my G.I. Joe:

See also: Cave Man Toys