The New Adventures of Tarzan

hotel henry berrisford

© JS Brand

The Ape Man prowled as a stealthy jaguar through the Guatemalan jungle. Ahead, the enemy agent Raglan had the Green Goddess idol containing a terrible weapon. Now that his friend D’Arnot has been freed, he had to lead his party to recover the idol and escape before the tribesmen attacked.

“Cut. That’s a wrap. Great work, Herman.”

Tarzan stepped out of character and became actor Herman Brix again. “Think Burroughs will like it, Ed?”

“He’s said your Tarzan is the closest to what’s in his books. Look. Sun’s setting. Let’s get back to the Berrisford and get cleaned up.”

I authored this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

I could see the dilapidated hotel in the photo was the Hotel Henry Berrisford. A quick Google search said it was located in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. In looking at that Wikipedia page, I discovered one of the most interesting things about the place was that in 1935, the twelve-part movie serial The New Adventures of Tarzan starring Harold Brix (later known as Bruce Bennett) was filmed there.

The serial was co-produced by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs along with Aston Dearholt and George W. Stout, and Brix’s Tarzan, unlike most other film depictions up to that time, was more in keeping with the Tarzan in the novels, who was a cultured and well-educated gentleman.

I’ve always been a Tarzan fan, so this bit of historical trivia was fun for me, though of course, the dialogue and much of the circumstances are fictional. The “Ed” mentioned is director Edward Kull.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

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59 thoughts on “The New Adventures of Tarzan

  1. I just finished a Charles Portis book where the kids in a Belize neighborhood are all waiting a week to see a Tarzan movie, but after watching an hour of it they realize it’s not a Tarzan movie at all but Swamp Fire, one of the only non-Tarzan movies Johnny Weissmuller ever made. Portis gradually reveals this in hilarious fashion, first by implying that Tarzan has a Superman-like alter ego.

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  2. While I appreciate that you had to locate this in South America for the sake of the photo-caption writing challenge, Tarzan’s animal compatriots were all African species, and the setting was entirely African. D’ja ever try to say “Ungawa” to an elephant in Guatemala? [:0].

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  3. With most of his most popular books being written in the 19-teens and 1920s, I didn’t realize that Edgar Rice Burroughs had anything to do with the film industry. Very interesting.

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    • Neither did I, but maybe he had more creative control of the films in the early days, although it’s important to remember those old movie serials were shown one per week before the main feature and were usually filmed on a shoestring. Also, I checked, and Burroughs authored Tarzan books from 1912 to the late 1940s (he died in 1950).

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  4. Great story – and I loved your notes about your research! I absolutely loved reading Edgar Rice Burroughs as a youngster and as a result I never watched any Tarzan films. The book – and therefore the ‘real’ Tarzan – was too special to be tainted by other peoples’ idea of the character. 🙂

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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    • When I was in Junior High and everyone else was working their way through the Tarzan book series, I was reading John Carter of Mars. Only a few years back did I pick up the very first Tarzan book at my local library and read it. Very different from any of the movies or TV shows. Haven’t had the opportunity to read subsequent novels.

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    • This was a movie serial so chances are it never made it to television. Back in the 1930s through the early 1950s, before the main feature, theatres would show newsreels (before television, you could only see the news at the movies), cartoons, and a short, serial movie. This one was showed in “chapters,” one per week for twelve weeks. During the depression, it was one of the ways to get audiences to come to the movies on a regular basis. Television killed the old serials, alas.

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