Combustible Celluloid
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With: Robert Ridgely, Joan Gerber, Linda Gary, Ted Cassidy, Alan Oppenheimer (voices)
Written by: Len Janson, Chuck Menville, based on stories/characters by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Directed by: Don Towsley
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 360
Date: 06/14/2016

Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle (The Complete Season One) (1976)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Jungle... Here I Was Born

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Kids who grew up on Saturday Morning Cartoons probably saw something from Filmation, whether it be "Star Trek," "Batman," or "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe." The company was known for being quick and cheap, and certainly some of its efforts are laughable, but there's a certain combination of charm, whimsy, and nostalgia that make some of them worth enjoying again. Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle was among the company's high points, produced before cartoons became too hyperactive and attention-grabbing. It actually has some dignity. The show does away (mostly) with Tarzan's romantic interest, Jane, and instead gives him a monkey pal, N'kima, allowing him to speak plot points aloud without sounding dumb. The animation isn't flawless, but it looks better than you might expect, with beautiful jungle backgrounds and motion that, while not totally fluid, is far from jerky. Warner Home Video has released a new two-disc DVD set, and although it appears that no remastering has been done (the images are a tad fuzzy and wobbly), the cartoons are still very watchable. This set includes sixteen, half-hour episodes, with no extras (other than some previews). Subsequent Tarzan cartoons were shorter, and appeared as part of programs like "The Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour," "Tarzan and the Super 7," "The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour," "The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour." Perhaps we can hope for more releases in the future.

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