Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lost and Found: Tarzan & The Golden Lion

The Story
In 1923, Tarzan tales were still the rage.  Edgar Rice Burroughs was cranking out stories left and right & films did well in theaters.  A slew of men played the role, including Johnny Weismueller.  In this case, we are talking about James Pierce, a former Hoosier turned actor.  The silent movie was a hit for RKO, but disappeared for many years.  Would it be found?
Was It Found?                                                                                                   
Yes, but not soon enough.  While he had a fruitful career, Pierce apparently put a lot of effort into finding this film.  Sadly, he died in 1983 (otherwise a good year) before any good news would come.  That good news, you ask?  Sometime in the 1990s, a full copy of the film was found in a closet in a French Mental Asylum.  No, really.  Don't ask me how it got there, but I'll take it.
First and foremost, it's a film that represents an era and style of film-making.  Secondly, Pierce would go on to be the voice of Tarzan on the radio, plus he'd play part in the classic Flash Gordon serials featuring Buster Crabb.  There is another thing you should know too.  This movie features an early performance by Boris Karloff- playing a native named Owala!  Awk-ward.
Next up, a Japanese movie literally ends up being buried away.  How did it come to this?  Stay tuned...

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